How to tension the chain on a chainsaw

How to tension the chain on your electric chainsaw?

During operation, the chain on the electric saw can loosen, which negatively affects the functionality of the power tool. If you notice sagging at the bottom, and at the top. displacement to the side, it means that the chain has not tensioned enough. Ignoring a problem causes the chainsaw to perform poorly and the bar to wear out more quickly. How to tension the chain correctly? Why does it get loose?? Is it possible to prevent or slow down the chain slackening?? Let’s get to the bottom of this!

An electric chainsaw will operate properly if cared for and maintained properly. The chain is one of the most important pieces of equipment. It is a consumable that wears and wears out, so it requires adjustment and replacement. Let’s start with the causes of chain looseness. Even if you follow all the rules for using your power tool, the components will wear out. But there are factors that speed up wear and cause the chain to loosen frequently, affecting your comfort and productivity.

How to Tension a Chainsaw Chain Correctly

Causes of premature chain failure

The component lengthens more quickly during the running-in phase and in the last quarter of its service life. During these time intervals, the headset needs special attention and careful maintenance.

  • The reason for this can be inadequate material quality, inappropriate crowning and excessive wear on the drive sprocket, a faulty or ineffective lubrication system.
  • The full performance of the chainsaw chain also depends largely on the condition of the bar and drive sprocket, the quality of chain oil and performance of the lubrication system, timely and competent sharpening of the edges of the cutting links.

According to professional sawyers, the durability of the headset is affected by the operator’s working style and the level of usage. The chains of the budget group are exposed to a greater extent to stretching, more expensive branded assortment has no remarks concerning technical and working properties.

How the tensioner works

Today’s petrol saw models have a device for tensioning the chain. In the budget category tools the tensioners are represented by an adjusting bolt. It is located on the side of the machine. You can adjust the tension with a screwdriver or with a special device that consists of two parts. One side is used for unscrewing nuts, and the other side resembles a slotted screwdriver.

Premium class chainsaws (STIHL, Patriot, Husqvarna, Partner, Makita, Champion) are equipped with adjustment discs and levers. The advantage of this type of mechanism is that it allows you to tension the chain without using additional tools. Just twist the disk in the desired direction, and the tension of the chain headset will be adjusted. Although, users who are used to tightening the chain with a screwdriver or wrench, do not find the automated method convenient.

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Breakage of the drive sprocket

The chain headset may also sag if the drive sprocket is not sufficiently secured. To fix the problem, simply tighten the element.

  • Remove the plastic cover that protects the motor.
  • Remove the air filter, unscrew the spark plug. Put a stopper in its place to prevent the piston from moving.
  • Turn the clutch disc clockwise with a slotted wrench until it reaches the top position.

After performing the above actions assemble the tool back: screw in the spark plug, install the filter and the protective cover. Now it remains to check whether the chain is correctly installed on the chainsaw. Tines should fit in grooves. And finally, adjust the tensioning.

How to check proper tensioning?

Figure 1. How to check chain tension

To check the tensioning quality, pull back gently at the middle of the bar.

The permissible level of the cutting link tails should be no more than 2/3 of their length.

You can also tell when tensioning is needed by looking at the following signs:

  • Creaking and rattling noise in the area of the main drive sprocket;
  • loosening of the safety mechanism tightening, tire fasteners;
  • jamming when sawing, increased vibration and noise.

Chainsaw loses efficiency and operating time. Even when cutting soft types of wood, the chain starts to stick in the groove, and the speed and smoothness of movement decrease.

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Tensioning mechanisms

Before you know how to correctly tighten the chain of a chainsaw, you need to understand the mechanisms of this task. Tension adjustment is performed using the classic method represented by a bolted joint.

Professional chainsaws have adjustment devices that make it possible to adjust by moving the lever or turning the dials. If tensioners are used for tensioning, the degree of tightening is fixed with special contra nuts.

This is interesting! Adjustment of the tensioning is carried out in connection with the movement of the bar, because it is this element that determines the degree of tensioning.

tension, chain, chainsaw

The chain should be tightened up to a defined torque. it must not be over tightened, as it would cause a premature tear and must not be left loose. Adjustment procedures should only be carried out on the tool when it has cooled down. When the tool is hot, the chain is stretched, so the adjustment process will not be correct.

Negative consequences of improper adjustment include its excessive overheating. Severe overheating causes faster wear and tear on the links, dulling of the teeth and stretching that ultimately results in the need to buy a new piece.

Step by step installation procedure

Checking the tensioning degree is important because the consequences of a wrong adjustment can be fatal for the sawyer. The quality of the chain tension adjustment can be determined by:

  • When moving the bar by hand, the bar should not jam or show signs of becoming heavy.
  • The cutting element should be checked for weakness of tightening, for which purpose take hold of the link and try to pull it up. the normal value of the tension should correspond to the exit of the shanks from the bar (in the middle of the bar) not more than 2/3.
  • No squeaks or other noise should be heard when the saw is moved.
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In conclusion, it should be noted that you should never adjust the chain while it is hot, as this will definitely lead to a number of negative consequences. This may require replacing not only the bar and chain, but also the drive sprocket.

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Installation and tensioning

In the standard case in order to put the chain on the saw correctly, it is required to observe the following sequence of actions:

  • A flat, spacious surface is prepared on which the bar and chain can be positioned freely during assembly.
  • Remove chain guard from sprocket by unscrewing wing nut. On older models, a simple nut is used for fixation, which can be tightened with a ring spanner.
  • The idler sprocket located at the base of the guide bar is turned to the right as far as it will go.
  • The chain links are slipped over the fixing groove in sequence. Installation from above guide with slow twist.
  • The bar with the chain fitted is mounted on the drive sprocket.
  • The protective cover is fixed with the obligatory exact fit of all mounting pins in their seats.

When installation is complete, make sure the guide rails are in the guide groove, and the chain is firmly seated on the bar and saw without play.

Chain tensioning

For successful and fast cutting of lumber it is important to know not only how the chain is put on the chainsaw, but also how it is brought to the required degree of tension. The procedure is as follows:

  • When the chain and guide bar are placed on the saw, the cover nuts are loosened.
  • After that by turning the adjusting screw the correct position of the chain is set.
  • Finally the nuts on the cover plate are tightened.

When correctly adjusted, the chain should not be pulled away from the bar edge by more than 3-4 mm. Thus as required. after work, after replacement on the new, after a long pause. the chain tension can be corrected, by means of the above described algorithm of actions.

When properly tensioned, the chain should only be 3 to 4 mm from the base Source ytimg.com

over, it is necessary to remember that during intensive work, the construction is strongly heated due to friction. As a result, the metal links expand, the total length increases, and the chain relaxes and requires readjustment for tensioning.

Note! When mounting the chain on the chainsaw, it is important to choose the right direction. the teeth should be placed so that the tip of their upper row (over the bar) faces away from the engine block, and the lower ones. vice versa, i.e. towards the drive sprocket.

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How to shorten chains on chain saws by yourself

Initially the rivet has to be removed in order to separate the cutting piece. There are several ways to do this:

  • Using an emery machine, which is used to grind the rivets. With the help of an emery one can perform this procedure quickly, but it is important to control not to damage the neighboring links
  • Angle grinder with a sharpening wheel, with which the tool links are also promptly disengaged
  • Chisel and hammer. This method is used mainly in the field, when there is no possibility to use a power tool

Once the rivet is ground down or knocked out, the links can be disconnected. This is done by using the beater. It is placed between the plates, after which the hammer is made jerk blows on the device. The disconnection is considered complete when the plates fall off the rivet. Similarly, remove the necessary number of links to reduce the length of the chain.

The process of riveting a chain is the most critical, because the safety of the tool depends on the quality of these actions. To connect the adjacent links, it is necessary to use a connector. Such devices are sold in specialty stores. When buying, it is important to consider things like chain type, pitch and profile.

CORRECT WAY To Adjust The Chain Tension On Your Chainsaw

tension, chain, chainsaw
  • The connecting link is slid over the adjacent chain elements
  • It is placed on the anvil so that the open part is on top
  • The top plate is put on the rivet and lightly struck with a hammer
  • After the plates are firmly in contact, one must increase the hammering force to flatten the rivet
  • The same actions are done with the second rivet

This is important! To check the quality of the work done, a visual indication of any thickening in the projection is helpful.

After this work, the chain can be put on the shorter bar and further sawing work can be carried out. Proceed in a similar manner if the chain on the tool breaks. Be sure to adjust the tension, and check the oil flow. After this work, the cutting tool can be used for some time until a new one is bought. After having shortened the chain, it is advisable to check the depth of the groove in the bar and, if necessary, to adjust it or replace it, depending on its condition.

As you can see, the shortening process is straightforward. Even if the work is performed in the wood, it is necessary to treat the procedure responsibly, and perform it as well as possible.

tension, chain, chainsaw

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