Why Is My Chainsaw Chain Smoke? (How I Fixed)

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A chainsaw is the most used cutting tool in woodworking. When you use it, have you ever seen is there smoke rise from the chainsaw chain? As for me, I have experienced it two-three times. So It is better to know all about chainsaw chain smoking and how to fix it successfully.

A chainsaw chain can smoke due to these 06 reasons such as blunt chain, no lubricants on the bar, bent chainsaw bar, too much tight chain, bent chain, and cutting a compression wood piece.

Smoke rise due to the friction between, the chainsaw bar, chain, and wood piece. So it is important to identify the correct reason and fix it successfully. So let’s keep reading on until you get the right solution.

How to Detect Chainsaw Chain Smoking?

You can detect chain saw chains by visual observation, smell, and cutting quality. Chainsaw chain smoke it completely different than the chainsaw smoke which arises from the fuel burning.

  1. Visual inspection – You can observe the chain saw chain smoke from the cutting area while the chainsaw is running.
  2. Smell during the sawing – Burnt oil or wood has distinct smells. If you notice any unusual, burnt, or smoky odours, it may indicate that the chainsaw is smoking.
  3. Monitor workpiece cutting quality – If you notice that it’s taking more effort to cut through the wood, it could be a sign of a problem due to a chain saw. We can see, burning marks on the cutting surface which cause to smoke from the chain saw chain.

What are the 6 Reasons and Solutions for Chainsaw Chain Smoke?

1. Chain Saw Chain is Blunt

blunt chainsaw chain
Blunt chainsaw chain

The most identified reason for chainsaw smoke is a blunt chain. There are a few signs to identify a blunt chain when you are working with chainsaws.

6 signs of a blunt chainsaw chain

  1. Apply high pressure or thrust to cut the workpiece
  2. Spend more time cutting the wood piece
  3. Cutting chips consist mostly of dust or small particles.
  4. Chain saw bar and chain tend to heat up.
  5. Higher fuel consumption
  6. Higher noise level

When a chainsaw chain is blunt, its sharp-cutting teeth become dull. As a result of this, it will scratch the wood piece instead of cutting it. Due to the friction between the wood pieces and chain teeth, both will heat up.

Solution for the blunt chainsaw: You must sharpen the chainsaw properly.

Is your chainsaw dull? These 08 signs will show it.

2. No Lubricants in Bar

When you use a chainsaw, it is very important to lubricate your chainsaw bar for a smooth cutting experience. If there is no lubricant in the bar, it will be one of the reasons for producing smoke from your chainsaw chain.

Oil can lubricate the chainsaw bar and chain-moving path. And also, it is a real heat-dissipated liquid that can transfer heat throughout the cutting process. So heat generation can be controlled easily.

When there is a problem check whether your oil system has filled with a suitable oil mix ratio. Oil is the only way to lubricate your chain and chainsaw.

Solution: Check your oil system carefully. You can check the oil in the side of the guide bar that what your oil is coming out for your chainsaw bar and chain. If it is blocked with dust, clean the hole. It is important to clean your bar also to lubricate change properly within the bar and chain.

chainsaw chain lubricating
Chainsaws should have chain lubricating

3. The Chainsaw Bar Has Bent

The chainsaw bar is the path for the chain. So it should be a straight one. If there is any bend, the chain can be touched with the point. So both can be heated up due to friction. If you use lubricants, it is useless. Due to the friction, heat, and oil, the bar can be smoked easily. So you should identify this properly.

You can check whether your chainsaw bar has bent by eyesight. For that, remove the bar from the machine and keep its flat surface. If your bar is not fit with a straight surface, it has a bent.

Solutions: You can fix this on your own by giving some beat on the bend by using a rubber hammer. But my advice is that it is good to repair the bar from a repair shop or if it is worse to buy a new bar.

4. The chain is Too Much Tight

When using a chainsaw, chain tension is very important, and if your chain is too tight, it makes your chainsaw smoke. When your chain is too tight, the chain will shrink, and it will put huge pressure on the bar and your sprocket. This causes the machine to heat up and smoke from the chain.

When you have good tension on your chain, it will be easy to rotate the chain on the bar, and it always rotates forwards and not backward.

Solution: You can fix this easily by applying proper tension. I will give you some tips on how to decide the proper tension of your chain. Your bar and bottom of the chain are snugged up just enough to not be too much tight.

Chainsaw chain tightness
Chainsaw chain tightness

5. Chain Has a Bend

If your chainsaw chain has a bend, it will cause to smoke your chainsaw chain. When you use a chainsaw, you can see jammed chain links or your chain that won’t move properly it is a sign of chain bending.

When your chain has a bend, it creates a weak link between bending it back and straight because of this chain will get stuck, and it makes the engine and blade heat up and smoke coming from the blade. Also, it will cause a breaking chain, and it might drop or pull on your feet or face with harming.

Solution: You can fix it with your own hand with the following safety guides or you can put some beat with a rubber hammer on them. Also, you can those bending links replace with new links. Those are the cheap ways to fix the bending chains. If it is really bad, please junk the chain and buy a new one. It is good for your chainsaw.

6. Cutting a Compression Wood Piece

There are two main stresses in branches. Most upper layers are tension, and the lower layers are compression on the branches in the tree. Tension and compression can be varied with the wood piece supports.

Compression happens when the wood fibers are being pushed towards each other. When you cut wood under compression, chainsaws can be clogged in the cutting path due to compression. Due to compression, friction can be increased. As a result of this, we can observe heat increases. We can see smoke from the chainsaw chain when this happens too much.

Solution: You can use wedges. Wedges avoid the cut closing up on the bar and jamming it, and it helps to reduce the stress of compression.

There is various kinds of wedges, like plastic, aluminum, and steel. Aluminium and steel wedges will damage the chain when accidentally coming into contact with the wedge, and you can avoid this by using plastic or wood wedges.

How to Prevent Chainsaw Chain Smoking?

You can prevent chain saw chain-smoking by following the below

  1. Use a sharpened chain – A dull chain requires more power to cut through wood and can heat up and smoke. To prevent this, regularly sharpen your chainsaw chain and replace it as needed.
  2. Lubricate the chain regularly – You should lubricate the chainsaw chain regularly in order to prevent smoking from the chain. Chainsaw chains require a steady supply of oil to run smoothly and prevent overheating.
  3. Correct chain tension – You should adjust the chain tension as recommended by the manufacturer. Before you use. Because an overly tight or loose chain can cause extra friction, leading to smoking.
  4. Regular maintenance – You should regularly clean your chainsaw, including air filter, clutch, cylinder fins, and the spark arrester screen, to maintain its efficiency and prevent smoking.
  5. Cut straight – You should use a chainsaw straight. If you angle while you are sawing, you can see buting marks on the workpiece.




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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