Chainsaw Cutting Crooked: 8 Ways To Fix The Problem Fast

The convenience of using a chainsaw to cut wood is undeniable, but getting straight and accurate cuts can be a source of frustration.

Not to worry, though. In this article, we’ll focus on fixing the issue of crooked chainsaw cuts and provide tips for making straight and accurate cuts every time. That being said, let’s get right into it!

Why is Chainsaw Cutting Crooked?

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To tackle the issue of crooked chainsaw cuts, it’s important to understand the root causes first. Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons behind this problem.

1.. Dull Chain

Dull chains are a common problem for people who use chainsaws frequently, as the blades can become dull from constant use and striking hard materials like rocks, concrete, or metal.

A dull chain will not cut straight because the teeth on the blade are no longer sharp enough to make a clean, precise cut. This can cause the saw to veer off course, as the blade will not be able to grip the material it is cutting and will instead simply slide along it.

The consequences of using a dull chain can be significant. Not only will the saw be less efficient, requiring more time and effort to complete the job, but it can also be dangerouswhen a chainsaw blade is dull, it is more likely to bind in the material it is cutting, which can cause the saw to kick back, potentially causing injury to the operator.

Additionally, a dull chain can also cause more wear and tear on the saw’s engine, leading to more frequent repairs and decreased tool lifespan.

2. Bent Guide Bar

A guide bar is a metal bar that runs along the bottom of a chainsaw and guides the cutting chain around it. A bent guide bar can be caused by striking a hard object, like a rock or a log, or by putting excessive force on the bar while cutting.

When a guide bar is bent, it can cause the chain to cut crooked and make it difficult to control the saw. The consequences of using a bent guide bar can be severe. When the chain cuts crooked, it can cause the saw to veer off course and create an uneven cut.

This not only makes the saw less efficient but can also increase the risk of injury, as it can be difficult to control the saw’s movement. Furthermore, a bent guide bar can cause the following:

3. Loose Chain Tension

A chainsaw chain needs to be tightened to a certain level of tension in order to work correctly and safely. If the chain tension is too loose, it can cause the chain to sag, resulting in the saw cutting unevenly and making it difficult to control the saw.

A wandering saw can be dangerous, as it can be more likely to kick back, which can cause injury to the operator. An uneven cut can also result in a poor quality of work and make it more difficult to achieve the desired result.

4. Engine Vibration

Engine vibration is a common problem in chainsaws and can cause a variety of issues if not addressed. Excessive engine vibration can disrupt the operator’s ability to control the saw and make it difficult to achieve accurate cuts.

This is because the vibration can cause the saw to move erratically and make it more difficult to maintain a steady grip on the handle. The result can be a crooked or uneven cut, which can be both inefficient and unsightly. 

In addition to affecting the quality of the cut, excessive engine vibration can also cause wear and tear on the saw and its components. Over time, this can lead to increased maintenance costs and a shorter lifespan for the saw.

Finally, excessive engine vibration can be uncomfortable for the operator and cause fatigue, making it challenging to work for long periods of time.

4. Incorrect Cutting Angle

The angle at which a chainsaw cuts is a critical factor in determining the quality of the cut and the efficiency of the saw. If the cutting angle is not set correctly, the saw tends to veer off course and cause the cut to be crooked. This can make it difficult to achieve the desired result and can end in wasted time and materials.

The cutting angle is determined by the position of the guide bar relative to the ground. It is important to set the cutting angle correctly for the type of material being cut, as different materials may require different cutting angles. For example, cutting through softwood may require a different angle than cutting through hardwood.

In addition to affecting the quality of the cut, an incorrect cutting angle can also affect the safety of the saw. When the saw veers off course, it can be more likely to kick back, which can cause injury to the operator.

5. Operator Technique

Operator technique plays a critical role in the accuracy and safety of chainsaw cutting. Poor operator technique can cause the saw to cut crooked, compromise the cut’s quality, and increase the risk of injury.

For example, if the operator does not hold the saw level, it can cause the saw to cut unevenly and veer off course. This can result in a crooked cut, which may not meet the desired specifications or look aesthetically pleasing.

Holding the saw level requires proper posture and hand placement, as well as maintaining an even pressure on the saw during the cut. Similarly, if the operator applies uneven pressure on the saw, it can cause the saw to cut crooked.

This is because the pressure affects the direction and speed of the saw and can cause it to veer off course if it is not applied evenly. To achieve a straight and accurate cut, it is important to apply even pressure to the saw, using a smooth and consistent motion.

Another aspect of the operator technique that can affect the quality of the cut is the speed at which the saw is moved through the material being cut. If the saw is moved too quickly or too slowly, it can cause the saw to cut crooked. 

6. Damaged Chain Brake

The chain brake is a critical safety feature on a chainsaw that helps prevent operator injury. It works by stopping the chain’s rotation in the event of a kickback, which is when the saw suddenly moves back toward the operator.

A damaged chain brake can cause the saw to cut crooked and pose a safety risk to the operator. If the chain brake is damaged, it may not be able to stop the chain’s rotation in the event of a kickback, which can cause the saw to veer off course and cut crooked.

It also may not function properly, which can put the operator at risk of serious injury in the event of a kickback.

7. Uneven Tree Limbs

Cutting uneven tree limbs can present a challenge for a chainsaw operator, as it can cause the saw to cut unevenly. This is because the uneven nature of the limb can cause the saw to veer off course, making it challenging to maintain a straight and accurate cut.

The result can be an uneven or crooked cut, which can be both unsightly and inefficient.

How to Fix Crooked Chainsaw Cuts?

Now that you know the reasons behind crooked chainsaw cuts, let’s dive into the best solutions to rectify the problem.

1. Sharpen the Blade

It is important to regularly sharpen your chainsaw blade and replace it when necessary. This can be done with a file guide and round file or by using an electric chainsaw sharpener.

Sharpening the blades regularly will ensure that your saw cuts straight, reducing the risk of veering off course and improving its overall efficiency and safety.

2. Replace the Guide Bar

To avoid these problems, it is important to regularly inspect the guide bar for any signs of bending. If you notice a bend, it is best to replace the bar immediately. Replacing the bar is a relatively simple process that can be done with a few basic tools, but if you’re unsure, it’s best to have a professional repair it.

A straight guide bar is essential for making accurate cuts, controlling the saw’s movement, and ensuring your saw operates safely and efficiently.

3. Adjust the Chain Tension

The chain tension can be adjusted by turning the tensioning screw located on the side of the saw. The chain should be tightened until it is snug against the guide bar but not so tight that it causes excessive wear on the bar or the drive sprocket.

The chain tension should also be checked regularly, especially after cutting through hard or abrasive materials, as these can cause the chain to stretch and loosen over time.

Maintaining the correct chain tension is vital for ensuring that your saw operates safely and effectively. It is recommended to check the tension before each use and adjust it as needed.

  • Note: If you’re unsure how to properly adjust the chain tension, consult the saw’s manual or professional repair service.

4. Reduce Engine Vibration 

To reduce engine vibration, it is important to properly maintain the saw. This can include tightening loose parts, checking the condition of the spark plug, and ensuring that the saw is properly balanced.

In some cases, excessive engine vibration may be due to a problem with the engine itself, such as worn bearings or a misaligned crankshaft. In these cases, it is best to have the saw serviced by a professional repair service.

5. Correct the Cutting Angle 

Improper cutting angle can be corrected by adjusting the height of the guide bar relative to the ground. This can be done by loosening the bar clamp bolts and adjusting the bar or by adjusting the height of the saw’s stand or skid plate if it has one.

You also want to maintain a consistent speed and rhythm, using the saw at a pace appropriate for the material being cut.

6. Improve your Cutting Technique 

Improving operator technique is important to achieving a straight and accurate chainsaw cut. By paying attention to posture, hand placement, pressure, and speed, you can reduce the risk of injury and improve the quality of your cuts.

It is also important to receive proper training and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure that your saw is used safely and effectively.

7. Repair or Replace the Chain Brake 

To prevent these problems, it is essential to regularly inspect the chain brake for signs of damage and to repair or replace it as needed.

Some common signs of damage to the chain brake include cracks or breaks in the brake band or mechanism, as well as corrosion or rust.

If you suspect that your chain brake is damaged, it is crucial to stop using the saw immediately and have it repaired or replaced by a professional repair service. Do not attempt to repair the chain brake yourself, as this can be dangerous and may cause further damage.

8. Ensure the Limb Is In a Stable Position

To help prevent the saw from cutting crooked, it is important to ensure that the limb is supported in a stable position before making the cut. This can be done by using a ladder or a saw horse or having a helper hold the limb steady. 

Additionally, it is important to make sure that the saw is positioned correctly and balanced before making the cut. In some cases, it may be necessary to make multiple cuts to remove an uneven limb rather than trying to remove it in one cut.

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( Licensed Chainsaw Professional )

Jake is a chainsaws expert with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field. He is a licensed professional by the National Chainsaw Program, which attests to his skills and expertise in the safe and efficient use of chainsaws.