Why Won’t My Chainsaw Cut?

How often do you find yourself in the dreaded situation where your chainsaw won’t cut? It’s a pretty annoying situation, right?

You’ve got to keep pulling on it, making sure you’re holding it right, and then eventually giving up and throwing it in the corner of your shop. One problem people who use chainsaws tend to face is the chainsaw not cutting properly.

Often when you try to use a chainsaw to cut wood, you notice that your chainsaw isn’t cutting the wood.

What do you do when your chainsaw stops cutting? Spending an hour in the woods can be frustrating, and not getting the job done as you should. If you’re tired of getting nothing but wood chips, then this article is here to help. It’s packed with information on how to fix a chainsaw when it doesn’t cut.

Well, there are different reasons why your chainsaw isn’t cutting or functioning as well as you would like. Maybe the chain is stuck, or the chain bar isn’t opening. Perhaps your saw just isn’t starting, and you want to know what’s wrong with it.

All these reasons are going to be addressed below. Whatever the case, let’s find out what’s going on with your chainsaw so you can get back to woodcutting. We will also give you more relevant information, such as why your chainsaw dulls so quickly and possible solutions to your problem.

Why Won’t My Chainsaw Cut? Causes and What To Do

There are different reasons why your chainsaw isn’t cutting. Below are possible reasons you should consider.

1. Dull Cutting Chain

This is usually the most common reason why your chainsaw isn’t cutting. Many people do not pay attention to the sharpness of their cutting chain.  You should know that if your cutting chain is dull, its ability to cut through wood is much more reduced. The longer you use your cutting chan without sharpening, the duller it becomes.

There are different ways you can fix a dull cutting chain. The first method is to remove the cutting chain from the chainsaw and sharpen it yourself. You can always use a file, an electric sharpener, or many other things. Be careful not to destroy the cutting chain.

If you have no idea how to sharpen the chain, you can carry the chain to a professional to help. You can also buy a new chain to replace the dull one.

2. Bad Chain Adjustment or Bad Adjustment Screw

This is another common reason why your chain might not be cutting. People often make bad adjustments to their cutting chains when fixing them to their chainsaws. If the cutting chain is fixed too tightly around the chain, it will likely affect its speed and piercing ability. This results in the chain not cutting properly.

Apart from a bad chain adjustment, there is also the possibility of a bad adjustment screw being responsible for your chainsaw not cutting properly.  There will not be enough tension on your chain if the adjustment screw is broken. Your chain might even fall off the chainsaw entirely.

Fixing a bad adjustment screw is pretty easy. All you need to do is tighten or loosen the adjustment screw to some extent. If you notice that the screws are completely ruined, you can get a new one in any home improvement store or shop around you. You can also contact the nearest chainsaw repair company to adjust the screw.

3. The Emergency Stop Lever

The emergency stop lever is another thing that could be responsible for your chainsaw not cutting. Often, levers like these tend to wear out over time.

The moment it wears out, the lever begins to kick in by itself, preventing your chain from working correctly. You will notice that your chain saw isn’t rolling or the speed is much slower than expected.

Simply disengage the emergency stop lever. You will find it near the clutch kit. Once you have successfully disengaged it, your chainsaw should begin to cut correctly. If the rate it kicks in is becoming too much, you can buy a new level to change the bad one.

Why Does My Chainsaw Chain Dull So Quickly?

There are different reasons why the chain in your chainsaw gets dull so quickly. Below are the likeliest reasons.

1. The Type of Tree You Cut

Why Won't My Chainsaw Cut

Chainsaws are great for cutting almost any type of tree. However, the type of trees you cut often determines how long the chain in your chainsaw can stay sharp. If you cut trees with a high water or moisture content, your chainsaw will become dull as time goes by.

Many people often use their chainsaws to cut any tree without considering its effect on their chains. This usually leads to their chain being dull after a while.

2. Your cutting technique

Sometimes, the only reason the chain in your chainsaw gets dull too quickly is your cutting technique. If you have a bad cutting technique when attempting to cut or fall trees, it will lead to your chainsaw chain getting dull quickly, or worse, it might even affect the chain bar of your chainsaw.

It is advisable not to have the rakers too far down when using your chainsaw. There is a good chance your chainsaw chain will last longer if you set the rakers a little higher than usual. Also, your sharpening angle determines how long your chainsaw chain stays sharp.

3. Dirt

If there is one thing that tends to ruin the chain of many people’s chainsaws, it is dirt. When your chainsaw accumulates dirt over time, it begins to affect the edges of the chain leading to rust and, subsequently, making it dull.

There are different ways your chain saw can acquire dirt on its chain. If you often put your chainsaw on the ground, it is easy to pick up dirt. Also, if the trees you cut are dirty, it will affect the chainsaw over time.

RELATED: Should a Chainsaw Blade Get Hot?

Why Does Chainsaw Cut In A Curve?

Different reasons could be responsible for your chainsaw cutting in a curve. Below are some of the reasons

1. A bad or improper chain tension

A bad or improper chain tension will cause your chainsaw to cut in a curve.  Whenever the tension in your chainsaw isn’t balanced, or there is more tension at one side over the other, your chainsaw will not cut straight. Your chainsaw might even get loose and cause serious harm to its user.

You should check the tension the moment you notice that your chainsaw isn’t cutting straight. Tighten or loosen the adjustment screw to make proper adjustments to the tension.

2. A bent chainsaw bar

If your chainsaw bar is bent, there is a good chance it will affect the ability of your chainsaw to function properly. The first thing it will affect is the slicing accuracy of your chainsaw. Your chainsaw will not be able to cut straight with a bent bar.

There are different things you can do to fix this. You can start by straightening the chainsaw bar. If that doesn’t work, you can get a new chainsaw bar.

3. Uneven sharpness of the chain

This is another common reason why your chainsaw might not be cutting straight. If your chainsaw chain isn’t evenly sharpened, it will cause it to cut in a curve.  Uneven sharpness often happens when you annually sharpen your chainsaw chain.

Fixing this is pretty straightforward. Sharpen all the ends of the chains instead of focusing on only one side. You can even take your chain to the professionals to help get this sorted. Once it is fixed, your chain saw should begin to cut normally.

Why Does My Chainsaw Not Cut Well?

Several things could be responsible for your chainsaw not cutting well. Here are some of the things below.

1. Bad cutting chain

What causes a chainsaw not to cut

This is the most obvious reason your chainsaw might not cut well. If the cutting chain is terrible or completely ruined, your chainsaw will not be able to function correctly. You need to take your time to check out the cutting chain the moment you notice that your chainsaw isn’t cutting well.

Once you have confirmed that the problem is from the cutting chain, you can sharpen it if it needs sharpening. However, getting a new chain and replacing the old one is a better option.

2. A bad clutch

The clutch in your chainsaw is a very important component. Without it, your chainsaw will not be able to function. If your clutch has worn out or has gotten destroyed, it will lead to your chainsaw not cutting well.

It is pretty hard to repair the clutch of your chainsaw except if you take it to the chainsaw repair shop. If you do not want to take it to the shop, you can buy a new clutch compatible with your chainsaw.

Why Is My Chainsaw Not Cutting With a New Chain?

A new chain should be working perfectly for your chainsaw. However, the moment you notice your chainsaw is not cutting with your new chain, you should first check the adjustment screws. If the screws are too loose or too tight, it will affect the chainsaw. You should also check the chainsaw bar to ensure they are well straightened.

Lastly, ensure you check if the chain is fitted properly. If it isn’t properly fitted or set up, your chainsaw will not cut.


Remember to always read your chainsaw’s instructions and manual before filing it. Most problems with a chain will occur due to not knowing when to lubricate it, or how often. There are different reasons why your chainsaw might not work or cut properly. All of these reasons and more have been discussed in this article.

Hopefully, this has given you a better idea of how to identify and solve the most common chainsaw problems. If you’re still having trouble with your chainsaw, look up a nearby repair shop in your handbook, call them up, and have them walk you through the problem until it’s solved. Happy cutting!

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