How To Tell If Chainsaw Is Dull | Signs Of A Dull Chainsaw Chain

Do you feel like your chainsaw isn’t cutting as quickly or accurately as it used to?

Are the cuts rough and jagged instead of smooth?

If so, then your chainsaw may be dull.

Knowing when your chainsaw blade is no longer at its peak performance can save time and energy in the long run and reduce sawdust!

So, if you’re wondering how to tell if chainsaw is dull, read on to learn what signs to look for and what techniques should be used during routine maintenance.

Signs of a Dull Chainsaw Chain

Signs of a Dull Chainsaw Chain

Chainsaw Starts Producing Sawdust Instead Of Saw Chips

When a chainsaw produces sawdust instead of saw chips, it indicates that the chain is becoming dull.

Chainsaw Chain Resists Entering The Wood

Chainsaw Chain Resists Entering The Wood

If your chain resists entering the wood, it is a sign that it is dull.

This is because the teeth of a dull chain are not sharp enough to pull itself into the log or tree. This results in heavy pressure being applied to it instead. 

A sharp chain, however, will easily pull itself into the wood.

The difference between these two scenarios is best illustrated by feeling the difference in resistance when pulling a knife through a piece of meat.

With a sharp blade, this can be done with ease and minimal effort, but it won’t pass through if it’s dull. 

You’re Not Able to Make Straight Cuts

You’re Not Able to Make Straight Cuts

When a chainsaw chain is dull, it cannot make straight cuts.

Instead, the wood won’t be cut evenly, resulting in jagged, uneven lines that may look crooked or curved. 

Your Chainsaw Starts to Smoke or Burn the Wood

Your Chainsaw Starts to Smoke or Burn the Wood

When a chainsaw starts to smoke or burns wood, it usually indicates that the chain is dull and needs sharpening or replacement.

Due to a lack of cutting power, a dull chain cannot efficiently cut through the material.

This causes heat to build up on the guide bar and chain, which can cause smoking or charring of the wood surface.

Chainsaw Chain Cutters Appear Rounded Or Blunted At The Edges

Chainsaw Chain Cutters Appear Rounded Or Blunted At The Edges

A dull chainsaw has chain cutters that appear rounded or blunt at the edges. 

 As the cutters become rounded, they can no longer cut through wood fibres effectively, leading to more wear. 

Chainsaw Produces More Vibrations Than The Usual

Chainsaw Produces More Vibrations Than The Usual

Chainsaw Produces More Vibrations Than The Usual is a tell-tale sign of a dull chainsaw chain.

As the chain becomes more and more worn out, the blade tip becomes more rounded and blunt. As a result, there is greater resistance and friction when cutting, resulting in higher vibration levels.

How Often Do You Need To Sharpen A Chainsaw Chain?

How Often Do You Need To Sharpen A Chainsaw Chain

How often you need to sharpen a chainsaw chain depends on how frequently you use it, how hard you use it, and the type of material being cut.

On average, a chainsaw can be sharpened up to 20 times before it needs to be replaced.

However, it varies depending on the type and size of the chainsaw and its usage frequency.

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How To Tell If Chainsaw Is Dull: FAQs

Why does my chainsaw chain dull so quickly?

Chainsaw chains dull quickly if not properly maintained and sharpened, as well as when cutting tough and dense wood.

The chain’s sharpness decreases with every cut, and if it is not properly cared for, the chain will become blunt quickly.

The main reasons why a chainsaw chain dulls quickly include improper lubrication, improper tensioning or angles while cutting, and sawing harder materials that require more energy. 

How to Tell When a Chainsaw Chain is Worn Out?

 The signs and symptoms that a chainsaw chain is worn out include the production of sawdust rather than saw chips, resistance when entering the wood, an inability to make straight cuts, smoking or burning the wood, and cutters appearing rounded or blunted at the edges.

In addition, more vibrations than usual may be present while operating the chainsaw. 

Is It Better to Sharpen or Replace a Chainsaw Chain?

Replacing your chainsaw chain may be necessary if it has become damaged beyond repair due to wear and tear or has been abused.

It is also important to replace chains if they are incompatible with your saw or do not meet your cutting needs; for instance, if you need a different chain type for harder wood.

Final thoughts

As we have seen, there are various telltale signs that it’s time to sharpen your chainsaw.

Always inspect your saw chain for any signs of wear or dullness. Follow the manufacturer’s maintenance instructions in your user manual to properly care for the saw.

When you notice the signs above, sharpen your chain before using it again. In the end, properly maintaining and sharpening your chainsaw will keep it running efficiently and help you get the job done faster and more safely.

With this knowledge of how to tell if your chainsaw is dull, you can go forth confidently in tackling – and accomplishing – any task!

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Charlie Bass

Charlie has been a mechanic for over 25 years and has worked on everything from small engine gardening equipment to huge diesel-electric mining haul trucks, trains and even aircraft. This broad range of industry experience gives him a unique insight into almost anything mechanical especially with an engine, including gardening and landscaping equipment. He currently owns his own mobile mechanic business and lives with his family in Australia.

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