Is My Chainsaw Chain Dull? -08 Signs

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A dull chainsaw is considered when chainsaw blade cutting angle is varied between 25° and 35°. A dull chainsaw has disadvantages such as increased wood cutting time, lower efficiency of the chainsaw, increased unnecessary strain on the engine, increased fuel consumption, uneven cuts, kickback, injuries, increased wear and tear, and higher physical exertion, potential damages.

You can detect a dull chainsaw by turning chainsaw chips into powder, having a slower cutting speed, needing to apply too much pressure on the chainsaw, smoke rising from the chainsaw, consuming a higher amount of fuel, round cutting edges on the chain, burn marks on the wood piece, heating up the chainsaw bar.

You can prevent the chainsaw from dulling by sharpening the chainsaw regularly, using a proper type of fuel, avoiding cutting dirty or sandy wood, storing it in a proper place, using the tension of the right chain, avoiding applying too much pressure, checking and replacing the chain regularly, and using a protective cover when not in use.

What is a Dull Chainsaw Chain?

When a chain saw blade cutting angle is varied between 25° and 35° is called a dull chain saw. Chain saw chain lose its sharpness due to usage or age. This makes it harder to cut through wood. When you use it it can get stuck in the wood. It produces more fine powder rather than bigger, proper woodchips.

What are the Disadvantages of a Dull Chainsaw Chain?

Using a chainsaw with a dull chain can pose various challenges and may not yield the best results. A dull chainsaw can affect not only the efficiency of your work but also your safety. These are the disadvantages of a dull chainsaw.

  1. Increased wood-cutting time
  2. The lower efficiency of the chainsaw
  3. Unnecessary strain on the chainsaw engine
  4. Increased fuel consumption or battery drain for cordless models
  5. Dull chainsaw chain gains result in ragged, uneven cuts
  6. Higher likelihood of kickback, causing potential injuries
  7. Increased wear and tear on the chainsaw
  8. Greater physical exertion is needed in handling the chainsaw
  9. Potential damage to the material being cut
  10. Shortens the lifespan of your chainsaw chain

How to Detect a Dull Chainsaw Chain?

You can detect a dull chainsaw by following the below 8 signs. These are the most common 8 signs of a dull chainsaw and when you observe these, you should sharpen the chainsaw.

1. Saw Chips Turn into Powder

Dull vs sharp chainsaw chips
Dull vs sharp chainsaw chips

When we use a chainsaw, we can see-sawing chips. Those are a bit large particles. When the chain is dull, chips turn into smaller particles and contain more dust in the chips’ mixture.

So when you see this, you should check the chainsaw chain first. Sometimes, decomposed trees will provide the smaller saw particles. That is not a dull problem. It is a wood problem.

Chip sizes vary with chain size. So make sure every time that the chips belong to the same chainsaw.

You can see saw chips of different sizes when you cut a dry tree. Due to the dryness, chips will break easily.

2. Slower Cutting Speed

Cutting speed is very important for the chainsaw. Because it can save fuel and time efficiently. If you feel your chainsaw cutting speed has reduced, check the sharpness and other factors mentioned here. Then you can realize the chain is dull. More than that, only the sharpness of the chain will not cause the cutting speed.

Sometimes, the chainsaw bar or the chain can be bent due to unexpected damage. Hence, we can observe a slower cutting speed in the chainsaw.

Sometimes, the chainsaw cutting speed will reduce when it is overloaded. So you had better use a high-capacity chainsaw with proper CC for the task.

3. Need to Apply too Much Pressure

Dull chainsaw applying force
A dull chainsaw needs to apply too much pressure

When your chain saw is dull, you have to apply more thrust (pressure) to cut the wood piece. Due to the slower cutting speed, you may think to apply more pressure to force it more. Normally, we do not need additional pressure to cut using the chainsaw.

Self-weight and sharpness can drive a chainsaw properly on its cutting path.

If you tend to apply additional pressure rather than regular usage, it is time to sharpen the chainsaw. When you thrust more, you can observe heat increases, and smoke rises quickly.

4. Smoke Rises from Chainsaw Chain

When a chainsaw chain is dull, you can see smoke has risen from the chainsaw chain. So let’s see what is that happening?

When a chainsaw chain is dull, its all sharp edges have become blunt. Due to this, it does not cut the wood piece properly. As a result, cutting teeth tightly scratch the surface without cutting it. Due to the friction between wood and chain, both temperatures has increased. Hence we can see smoke has risen from the chain.

These are the 06 Reasons for chainsaw chain smoking. So you had better know all of these facts when you use it.

5. Consume a High Amount of Fuel

If your chainsaw consumes a high amount of fuel, it is time to check the sharpness of the chainsaw chain. When a chainsaw chain is dull, it takes too much time to cut a wood piece, and as a result, fuel consumption will increase.

When you use fuel for chainsaws, you should use a proper chainsaw gas-oil mix ratio in order to gain maximum and safe power.

6. Round Cutting Edges On Chain

Dull vs sharp chainsaw chain
Dull vs sharp chainsaw chain

Cutting teeth are on the chain saw chain. Cutting teeth should be clean and sharp. After so many wood sawing, we can observe cutting teeth corner edges turn into a round shape. When it turns to a round edge, we can’t expect a proper cutting process.

So you have to sharpen it properly.

7. Burning Marks on Wood

A dull chainsaw chain can make burning marks on the wood. So let’s see how is this happens. When a chainsaw chain is dull, it does not cut the wood piece properly. Cutting edges tend to scratch the wood piece instead of cutting it.

So heat goes up and we can see burning markets on the cutting surface. As well as when you cut harder trees, you can observe this due to the hardness of the wood. So always identify the reason for the problem.

8. Heating Up Chainsaw Bar

A dull chain can increase the heat of the chain and engine. When the chainsaw is operating under high thrust with a dull chain, first chainsaw bar and chain heat are up then it is used continuously, we can see, the chainsaw engine also heated up due to continuous use.

So it is important to sharpen the chainsaw every time. If you observe one of these signs in your tool, start the chainsaw chain sharpening.

How to Prevent Chainsaw Dull?

Working with a dull chainsaw not only affects the effectiveness of your cutting tasks, but also poses potential safety risks. In order to prevent this you should follow the below 11 steps.

  1. Regularly sharpen the chainsaw chain.
  2. Use the correct type of fuel.
  3. Avoid cutting dirty or sandy wood.
  4. Do not let the chainsaw’s chain touch the ground.
  5. Store the chainsaw in a dry, clean place.
  6. Clean the chainsaw after every use.
  7. Do not cut with the tip of the chainsaw.
  8. Use the right chain tension.
  9. Avoid applying too much pressure when cutting.
  10. Check and replace the chain regularly.
  11. Use a protective cover when not in use.
Chainsaw Chain Sharpen Video

Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.


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