Proper installation of the chain on the chainsaw

How to change the chain on a STIHL chain saw

A chainsaw chain has teeth that are in one direction if you look closely. Therefore, the correct direction of the saw teeth on the guide bar is very simple to determine: if you place the chainsaw itself in the plane in which it is at work, the row of teeth located on top of the guide bar, the sharp edges should be directed towards the end of the bar. Whereas, the row of teeth that is on the bottom of the chainsaw should point backwards, toward the drive sprocket.

You can’t put the chain with its teeth on the guide bar, it just won’t fit on the bar. That’s why the chain is put on the guide bar in such a way that the guide lugs of the saw blade links are turned to the guide bar.

Step by step installation procedure

Not all modern chainsaws come equipped with a setting wheel, which makes the saw blade installation procedure much easier. Systems with a locating wheel are very uncommon in residential chainsaws. That’s why it’s important to know the chain fitting procedure and the chain sequence on the chain saw.


Here are some basic things to watch out for

  • Prepare a flat surface on which you will assemble the chain and tire. It minimizes the chance of chain saw damage or loss of small parts. On the prepared surface you put the guide bar and the chain next to it in parallel.
  • Remove the sprocket guard, on modern chainsaws enough to unscrew the wing nut, on older models, you may need a socket wrench of the appropriate size.
  • At the base of the guide bar, turn the idler sprocket all the way to the right. This is the only position for installing the chain.
  • Then chain is placed one link at a time on the fixing groove of the guide bar. Install the chain from the top of the guide bar, gradually turning it so that the bar is always at the top and the chain at the bottom, this allows the chain to always be taut and to fit into the guide bar groove without any problems. Be sure to wear thick protective gloves when you do this, because your fingers will be touching the cutting edge. When viewed from above, the cutter is always facing forward toward the end of the guide bar.
  • Put both bar and chain on the drive sprocket.
  • Secure the chain sprocket cover in place. Make sure all mounting pins are in line with the holes. Improper installation with skewed or incomplete installation can be the cause of extraneous noise, rattling.
  • Make sure that the guide rails “fit” into the special mounting groove.
  • After installation, check that the chain is locked in place on the chainsaw and on the bar. Everything should be firmly seated with no backlash.

An important point is the amount of tensioning of the chain after it is installed. Setting the correct tension is very simple and should not take more than three minutes. First you have to loosen the nuts on the cover. Use the freely rotating adjusting screw to catch the correct tension, so that the chain is not pulled away from the edge of the guide bar more than 3 to 5 mm.

Now you only have to tighten the nuts and check the tension. If adjustments are needed, tension again.

Important to know: when the chain is running, the friction forces cause the chain metal to become very hot and expand, and the chain length increases. That’s why it’s important to check the tensioning at regular intervals and correct it in time.

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How to install the guide bar and chain on a chainsaw, see the following video, which provides a clear algorithm for doing so:

How to tension a chainsaw chain correctly

Before we start talking about how to tension the chain correctly, it’s important to outline a few simple rules. First, it should be serviced with the engine off and without risk of accidental starting. Second, all work is only necessary after the tool has cooled. The reason is that a hot saw chain is longer than a cold saw chain. If you start tensioning it, there is a risk of tightening and deforming the bar after it has cooled down.

Keep in mind your safety! Wear protective gloves to prevent cutting your hands with the sharp chain links.

If the saw headset is recently installed and has little wear, there is no point in changing the chain. Just adjust the tensioning of the chain. What are the signs of insufficient tensioning?? The chain slackens at the bottom of the bar and shifts sideways at the top. This leads to misalignment during sawing, which means it affects the service life of the bar it wears unevenly. In addition, insufficient tension in the chain increases the risk of the chain jumping off the guide bar and causes increased wear on the saw blade and drive sprocket. Because tensioning the chain correctly is not the only way to remove slack from the chain, it is also important not to overtighten it. A slack bar in the guide bar increases the stress on the motor and other working parts of the tool. Try to turn the chain around the guide bar by hand. If it is difficult to do this, you should loosen the chain.

Important to Know! Most often a new chain requires tensioning, since it tends to stretch at the beginning of operation. Check the tension all the time and adjust if necessary. This will extend its life and reduce the wear on other important parts of the saw.

Installing a new chain on the bar

To change the saw blade you need to loosen the guide bar and remove the old chain. To do this, the saw head cap is loosened, the chain is removed from the chain sprocket, and the cutting attachment is extracted. The new chain must have the same dimensions as the old chain. Install it on the bar in the longitudinal groove with the drive links. The free end of the chain is attached to the sprocket. Be sure to check that the links fit into the groove over the entire length of the bar. Fit the tire onto the stud at the attachment point of the tool. Close this assembly with the cover and secure the bar. This is done using screws or a rotary knob.

Tip: To evenly wear the bar, it is recommended that the top and bottom of the bar are reversed. Look at the inscription on the bar for guidance. For example, if the letters have been positioned correctly, the lettering should be upside down when replacing.

The instruction manual of your chain saw should tell you how to tension the chain correctly. But it is not always possible to use it. So we’ll show you the sequence of steps for tightening a chain with different tensioning methods.

proper, installation, chain, chainsaw

How To Put A Chain On A Chainsaw Properly

  • Traditional chain tensioning with a tool. You’ll need a standard wrench, which is usually included with your chain saw. On one side it has a working part for unscrewing the nuts, and on the other a slotted screwdriver. First loosen the nuts on the cover that covers the mounting area of the bar. Then put a screwdriver in the special groove and turn it to tension the chain. Do not be overzealous, it is better to tighten the chain gradually. Make a few turns to check the tension by hand, pulling the chain at the bottom of the tire. After completing the adjustment, it is necessary to tighten the nuts on the cover.
  • No tools for tightening the chain. This method is easier and faster. There’s a tensioning screw on the side of the cover to tighten the chain. You control the slack in the chain by turning it.
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How to understand that the chainsaw chain is tensioned correctly? It should not slacken at the bottom and when it is pulled back the inner tooth should not protrude more than 4 6 mm out of the bar groove. It’s important to make sure that the chain is not overtightened. To do this, twist it by hand along the bar in the direction of rotation, as when sawing. If it’s easy to move, you’ve done everything right. It is said that it is better to shorten the chain a little than to overtighten it. This is quickly discovered and adjusted as you work. But an out-of-balance saw is not immediately noticeable and can have a detrimental effect on the engine. If you service the tool with your own hands, you know how to tension the chain correctly without risking damage to the chain. Once you have got optimal tension, you can lock all the fasteners and turn the tool on. Let it run freely without load. Then turn off the engine and check the chain is straight and tight. You can start working with this tool.

If you want to buy a chain and other chain saw accessories, order them in a special section of our online store. And remember that correct and regular maintenance increases the life and performance of your machine. Take care of your saw today!

Overall design

As standard, a chainsaw guide bar is a high-quality piece of elongated oval steel.

Holes for threaded fasteners on one end, sprocket at the other end of the long bars. This bar design helps keep the chain running smoothly and relieves stress on the engine.

There is a groove around the bar, into which the saw chain shanks are inserted. A precisely metered amount of chain oil is pumped into the working area of the saw through special holes for cooling and lubrication.

Why the chain slips?

Many chain saw users, even the most experienced ones, have had to deal with a chain jumping off the guide bar as they worked. The most common culprit is insufficient tensioning of the chain or wear.

In 80% of all cases, an overstretched chain link slips through the teeth of the drive sprocket and the chain fly off the guide bar due to the centrifugal force. Sometimes, though, the problem is caused by wrong sprocket positioning in relation to the pivot point or a loose guide bar on the chain saw.

There are basically 3 main reasons for chain looseness: bad quality metal, excessive tensioning and use of bad oil. We also recommend you read about chain oil for chainsaws and STIHL and Husqvarna oils.

Chain tensioning on a chainsaw, step by step. how the chain should be tensioned

As you use your chainsaw, it is normal for the chain tension to become loose. It is absolutely forbidden to use the tool if the saw chain is loose, because it can lead not only to the engine’s increased wear, but also to a decreased safety of work. If you work with a machine with a loose cutting attachment, the power of the tool is significantly lost, but most importantly, the chain can jump off the bar in the process, which will cause injury to humans (in the absence of a catcher). That’s why it’s important to check the tensioning degree regularly when using the machine. In this material you will learn how to tighten the chain on the chainsaw and how often this procedure should be done.

Equipping the chainsaw with a special crawler part

Often it is only necessary to take care that all parts of the mechanism are in good working order in order to operate the saw safely. A correctly assembled saw chain prevents the possibility of injury, and installing it is not too much trouble.

When it comes to installing the chain, you should prepare the tool for the work in advance:

The chain must be well sharpened so you can work in total safety.

Work is safer if the chain is sharpened and well tensioned. It is not enough, however, to install the chain correctly on the chainsaw; the operating condition of the chain must be checked regularly.

Before starting work check the guide bar: It is secured with the cover on the clutch.

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When replacing the chain, use a wrench to loosen the nuts that secure the chain sprocket cover. Do not remove the chain brake tension at the same time.

To dismount, move the brake stop to the side. Pay attention to the holes through which the chain is tensioned.

On the left side, you move the guide bar by touching the drive sprocket. The operator must pay close attention: Make sure the top chain teeth are turned toward the sprocket. one part of the chain is fastened to the driving part, and the shanks are fastened in the bar grooves.

the chain is tensioned by adjusting a screw which is fastened to the surface of the clutch mechanism. After installing the cover, the nuts are slightly screwed in. The saw bar is in its upper position and the nuts are finally fastened. Check clearance of the chainsaw to the guide bar. The drum should rotate very lightly when the chain slides on the bar.

Installing the chain involves checking its tension after each session of refueling the tool. A loose fit slips off the guide bar and injures the operator.

proper, installation, chain, chainsaw

Check the tensioning by hand, wearing gloves to protect the hands. In addition, new chains change length when in use, so it should be checked very often.

Sometimes in the process of work there is an important detail: it is not possible to install the chain without additional heating and the corresponding deformation of the chain on the underside of the bar.

How to choose a chain for your chain saw?

To choose a chain for a chainsaw for the beginner, consider several important factors.

  • headset material. the most reliable products will be the ones that use high-alloy steel, made with nickel and chromium. To be able to saw very hard types of wood it is better to choose a set with beaten tips. it is important to take into account that toothless chainsaw chain is heavy, so it must be installed only on high-powered tools. The marking on the cutting teeth will tell you the material of which the part is made;
  • the number of links. the efficiency of the product depends on this parameter. To determine the number of elements, it is necessary to count the teeth of the saw set;
  • cutting depth. this parameter depends on the height of chain tooth profile. Today customers can choose from two options. parts with a tooth height of 0,635 mm or products with a tooth height of 0,762 mm. Products of the first type are used to complete household saws. Elements of the second type are installed on powerful semi-professional and industrial tools;
  • chain length. depends directly on the size of the saw used. Suitable headset dimensions are usually given in the instruction manual for the tool;
  • cutting direction. the user has to determine beforehand whether he/she wants to cut wood lengthwise or crosswise. Different types of headsets are used in each of these cases.

How to untangle a chainsaw chain

When you remove the old chain or put the new chain on the chain saw guide bar it can get tangled. It can also get tangled if transported carelessly. When the chain is entangled, it is twisted into rings.

How-To Properly Adjust The Chain Tension On Your Chainsaw. Video

Because of its lack of transverse flexibility, it is very difficult to untangle with your bare hands, because if you try to untangle one ring, a new ring will form in the other place.

put the chainsaw chain on a horizontal surface and untwist the rings in different directions, at the same time pulling the blade in such a direction that the diameter of the rings increases. Sooner or later the chain will unravel into its natural position.

There is another way. You can rivet one link in the chain and straighten it, then put it back together into a ring and rivet the riveted links back together.

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