February 7

How to Set the Chainsaw Chain Direction

A chainsaw is a reliable and practical power tool. However, maintenance and tweaking are always necessary to keep it working properly

 Learning how to set the chainsaw chain direction guarantees that it will work just the way you need it to.

After you’ve replaced the chain on your chainsaw, you might accidentally place it wrong. This might cause your chainsaw to work improperly, being unable to cut the material you want to cut.

It might even cut in the wrong direction, and damage another material that you didn’t intend to cut in the first place.

How to Set the Chainsaw Chain Direction: After you’ve replaced the chain on your chainsaw, you might accidentally place it wrong. This might cause your...

Check the Chainsaw Chain Direction

For safety reasons, you need to make sure that the chain is appropriately placed on the chainsaw. Otherwise, the cutters will be facing you. This is why you need to make sure that everything is placed correctly before cutting any material.

BLACK+DECKER 40V MAX* Cordless Chainsaw, Tool Only, 12 in. (LCS1240B)

A chainsaw can go dull when used for a long time, which is why you will eventually need to replace it. You know that you need to replace the chainsaw if you’re dealing with one of the following situations.

  • You need to push the chainsaw while you’re cutting.
  • The chainsaw shakes and doesn’t feel stable when you’re cutting.
  • You see a lot of fine sawdust.
  • The chainsaw pulls in one direction, giving uneven cuts.
  • You can see a lot of smoke.

How to Make Sure that your Chainsaw Chain Direction is Right

Regardless of your chainsaw model, setting and adjusting the chainsaw chain is always a straightforward task.

The sharp edges of the blade should always face the clockwise direction. If this is not the case, then you need to have your chain adjusted.

Before you start, you need to make sure that you’ve cleared the work area, so you can examine and adjust your chain properly.

Make sure that you’ve unplugged your chainsaw before attempting to make any adjustments. It’s also recommended to wear protective work gloves to protect your fingers from the blade's sharp edges.

Vgo 1-Pair Chainsaw Work Gloves Saw Protection on Left Hand Back (Size L, Orange, GA8912)
  • Ideal for logging, forest, metal working, hand tools, power tools and DIY works

Check from the Top View

The blades on the chain have 2 sides. One of them is sharp, and the other is dull. From the top view, the sharp blades should always face the clockwise direction, which is opposite the direction of the chainsaw's motor. If this is not the case, then you need to adjust the chain on your chainsaw.

Check from the Bottom View

This will be the opposite of the previous view. If the chainsaw chain is placed correctly, the sharp edges should be pointing to the body or the chainsaw's motor if you’re checking the chain from the bottom view.

SALEM MASTER 18 Inch Chainsaw Chains - .050' Gauge - 3/8 LP Pitch - 62 Drive Links, Semi-Chisel Gas Powered Chainsaw Chain

Check from the Side View

In this case, the chain should be on the right-hand side, while the engine should be on the left-hand side. As a result, the blade should be going from left to right, or the blade will be cutting in the wrong direction once you turn the chainsaw on.

Once you’ve checked the chain, you can decide if you need to make a few adjustments or if it has been appropriately placed. It’s easy to remove and reinstall the chain if you’ve made a mistake. Anyone can adjust the chain on their chainsaw as long as they’ve followed the right steps.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Set the Chainsaw Chain Direction

These easy to follow steps guarantee that your chainsaw chain will be set in the correct direction, so your chainsaw will work the way it should.

1. Remove the Chainsaw Casing

When you remove the side casing, you will have a better view of the bar and the chain. As a result, you’ll be able to inspect the chain and remove it for adjustment. Make sure that you keep all the screws in a safe place because you’ll have to put everything back at the end, once you’ve adjusted the direction of the chain.

2. Remove the Chain

This step is crucial if you have previously installed the chain in the wrong direction. Removing the chain after it has been installed doesn’t affect the way it works. It will improve the way the chainsaw is working and will guarantee that you can use it safely.

Husqvarna 20 Inch 460 Rancher Gas Chainsaw

3. Check the Correct Direction

After you’ve removed the chain and the blade, you can inspect the chain to make sure that it’s good to go. There should be no dents or broken links. If you don’t feel that the chain is in top condition, you can have it replaced to guarantee the best performance of the chainsaw.

Next, you should check the drive link. It should be pointing forward or towards the end of the bar to make sure that the chain is in the correct direction.

You can also pick the right direction for the chain by inspecting the cutter. This is the part that cuts through the wood. The front of the cutter looks different from the back.

You can simply look at the cutter, and the front part will be taller than the back part. You can also inspect it by touching it carefully.

The last step is to inspect the guide. The guide’s purpose is to control the amount of wood that is cut by the cutter. You should make sure that the guide is placed directly in front of the cutter.

4. Put Everything Back Together

Now that you have fixed everything, it’s time to reassemble your chainsaw. Make sure that the bar is clean before reinstallation and hold the chain carefully because the teeth will be very sharp, especially if the chain is still new.

Screw in the front and side panel to put the whole chainsaw back together. Next, you need to tighten the chain's tension to make sure that it will work properly.

The tension screw is either found on the front of the chainsaw on the side of the bar or the side of the chainsaw, right next to the bolt that holds the casing together. Check the tension to make sure that the chain isn’t too tight or too loose.

Wrap Up

Installing the chain on the chainsaw isn’t a difficult task. Nevertheless, you need to make sure that you’ve installed it in the right direction to guarantee that your chainsaw will work the way it should.

About Me.

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Cut The Timber. On this site, I share everything that learned and continue to learn about wood. From grains, to projects, to saws, and everything in between. 

I grew up camping with my family and ended up becoming an Eagle Scout. Currently, my family and I live on a ranch outside of Montana with tons of trees and fire pit fun. 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me: jeremy@cutthetimber.com

You may also like

6 Best Outdoor Firewood Racks

6 Best Outdoor Firewood Racks