Chainsaw Chain and Blade Direction Guide – the RIGHT way to fit a Chain

Published Categorized as Chainsaw Chains & Bars, Chainsaw How To Guides

Without any doubt, chainsaws are very handy tools that require a great deal of care and maintenance. Any little error like chainsaw blade direction could cause a serious accident both to the user and the surrounding. If the chainsaw blade is moving in the wrong direction, not only will it not cut the material as intended, but it may accidentally cut something else in the process.

Therefore, people query, which way does the chain go on a chainsaw? In short, when your Chainsaw bar is on the left of the engine, the chain should rotate counter-clockwise, and the cutting edges should be facing away from the engine.

This, of course, doesn’t happen typically, and it can only occur when your chainsaw blade becomes blunt and you decide to replace the blade, the bar, or the chain of your chainsaw. During this process, you may end up installing the chainsaw chain in the wrong direction by mistake.

And, this little mistake can develop into significant damage. This is likely to result in your chainsaw getting stuck in the middle of a project, and potentially causing damage to the chainsaw.

So, why take the risk? This article will provide you with all the relevant information on chainsaw blade direction, how to install chainsaw chain correctly, and the consequences of putting a chainsaw chain on backwards.

Table of Contents

Understanding the Direction of Your Chainsaw Chain

It is crucial for your chainsaw chain to run in the correct direction. Otherwise, it will be ineffective and potentially dangerous to you. When you are able to completely avoid this by putting chain on chainsaw in the right direction, there’s no reason not to.

Typically, a chainsaw will not cut right with a chain installed backward. In fact, if you think about it from a safety perspective, if the chainsaw chain is set backward, then it technically means that all the cutters are facing towards you rather than away from you, which can be quite dangerous.

Therefore, to understand the direction of your chainsaw chain, you will need to follow the steps on how to make sure that your chainsaw chain direction is right.

How to Make Sure That Your Chainsaw Chain Direction Is Right

If the chainsaw chain is already installed, and you’re simply checking if the chainsaw chain is in the right direction, how do you know?

For someone that is relatively new to the chainsaw operation, it may seem a little bit overwhelming and confusing, especially if it’s your first time changing a chainsaw chain. But not to worry, by the end of this article you will have a clear understanding.

So, which way does a chain go on a chainsaw? Here are tips on how to know if your chainsaw direction is right:

  • Check the view from the top
  • Check the view from the side and front
  • Check the view from the bottom

Check the View From the Top

If you first observe your chainsaw chain from above, you will see that the top of the chain has different blades. These blades will have two edges, one sharp, and the other dull. The important part to remember is that a chainsaw blade always rotates in a clockwise direction.

The direction of the chainsaw blade (clockwise) is always the same regardless of the type or model of the chainsaw. Therefore, the sharp edges of the blade should always face the clockwise direction that the blade will rotate.

If you check from the top view, you should notice that the sharp edges are facing the opposite direction of the chainsaw body or motor.

Check the view From the Side and Front

If you are checking the chainsaw blade from its side view, you will be able to see the chainsaw blade on your right-hand side and the chainsaw engine on your left-hand side. The blade’s direction should therefore be going from left to right, in its clockwise direction. If not, your chainsaw blade direction is wrong.

You can also check your chainsaw from the front view. If the blade is in the correct direction, you will be able to see it coming from the upside to the downside. However, if it is the opposite, then you will know that it has be installed wrong.

Check the View From the Bottom

When checking the view from the bottom, as you can guess, it will be the opposite of the view from the top. If the blade is placed in the correct direction, then you will be able to see that the blade is facing towards the engine or the body.

How to Install Chainsaw Chain in the Right Direction

If you’re about to install your chainsaw chain, or after installing your chainsaw chain you still face problems while cutting with your chainsaw due to it being in the wrong direction, then don’t worry. The following tips will teach you how to install chainsaw chain in the right direction.

All you just need to do is to carefully follow this simple chain replacement procedure, and you will be good to go without any worries. Before you know it, your chainsaw will be working properly again and you can continue with your projects.

How to put a chainsaw blade on can be done in 3 simple steps:

  1. Attach the chainsaw bar & chain
  2. Check the direction of the chainsaw chain
  3. Tighten the blade

Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail!

1. Attach the Chainsaw Bar & Chain

The first step, presuming that you’ve already taking apart the chainsaw, is to replace a chainsaw chain is to attach the chainsaw bar to the chain. You will need to remove the bolt in order to do this, and after removing the bolt, you can attach the bar carefully to the exact position.

When you have the bar attached, make sure you adjust it properly tightening the bolt ever so slightly. The bar you’re installing should have the perfect length according to chain fitting requirements.

It’s very important that when you want to adjust the bar, you do it in such a way that you can easily place the chain on it for a perfect fit. Now you can place the chain on the bar and hopefully the fitting of your chainsaw chain should not be too tight. If it is, try to loosen the chain fitting slightly, and you will then hopefully have the perfect result.

2. Check the Direction of the Chainsaw Chain

Now, this is definitely the most crucial part. When placing the chain on the chainsaw bar, please pay close attention to the details, and make sure you are mounting the chain in the correct direction.

If you have successfully done this, your chainsaw work as it should without any disruption. Refer to the previous steps on how to check the right direction of the chain in order to make sure you get this right.

3. Tighten the Blade

Finally, now that you have mounted in the correct direction of the blade, it is time for the final procedure. The next step is to tighten the chain so that you can run your chainsaw freely without any form of obstruction.

However, you should take great care when tightening up the chainsaw chain size. It is important that you don’t make it either too loose or too tight, it must be perfect. Too loose of a chain will cause the chain to slip off, and this can also be very dangerous for whomever is using it. Tightening the chain too tight may also hamper the working condition of the chainsaw, which will ultimately lead to ineffectiveness.

The Importance of Chainsaw Chain Direction

If you are a regular chainsaw user, then you should already be aware of the problems that come with installing the chainsaw chain in the incorrect direction. However, for those who are new to using a chainsaw, this section will be of particular help to you.

Seeming as the cutting teeth on the chainsaw blade are designed to cut in one direction, if installed in the incorrect direction, the tool will not only not cut properly but may also result in a number of problems. These consequences you may experience include:

  • Waste of bar oil
  • Damage to the chain link
  • Unnecessary stress on the guide bar
  • Deteriotation of the motor
  • Clutch burnout
  • Doubting your skill

1. Waste of Bar Oil

When the chain is installed in the wrong direction on the chainsaw, it will cause a lot of the bar oil to be wasted. Though, this isn’t going to cause instant damage to the chainsaw, it will be costing you money in bar oil without being able to successfully complete any projects.

The chain link is a very important component of the chainsaw, and the saw may not be able to operate effectively the moment it gets damaged. You must always make sure that the drive link has been fixed in order to avoid any unnecessary damages to you or your project.

3. Unnecessary Stress on the Guide Bar

When it comes to cutting wood, the guide bar is the most important part of the chain saw, therefore, if the direction of the chainsaw blade is wrong, you will undoubtedly experience problems. A considerable amount of stress will be brought upon the guide bar as the chain is being forced into the wood as the cut will not be possible. This stress will lead to damage occuring on the guide bar.

4. Deterioration of the Motor

Due to having to apply additional pressure to cut the wood because you’re using dull edges with the chain in the opposite direction, this will cause the gradual deterioration of the motor, resulting in chainsaw bogging down.

5. Clutch Burnout

When you start your chainsaw up, pressing down the clutch is normal as it is responsible for facilitating the proper functioning of the chainsaw. However, if your chainsaw isn’t cutting because the chain is in the wrong direction, it will cause the clutch to burn, which can lead to your chainsaw not working at all. In a lot of cases, the clutch will be the only part of the chainsaw which burns out and potentially the chainsaw smoking when cutting.

6. Doubting Your Skills

Finally, if you’re struggling to cut wood with your chains, you’re likely to start losing confidence in your skills. To be able to place the chainsaw chain in the correct direction is one of the necessary skills which chainsaw users need to demonstrate in order to prove their abilities.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What direction does a chainsaw blade go?

The correct direction for a blade to face is with the sharp edges of the blade teeth facing toward the way the blade rotates. The direction of the chainsaw blade (clockwise) is always the same regardless of the type or model of the chainsaw. Therefore, these sharp edges of the blade teeth should always face the clockwise direction that the blade will rotate. You want the pointy edges of the blades rotating on top of the chain bar, moving toward the tip of the bar, and away from the body of the machine.

Is it possible to put a chainsaw blade on backwards?

Yes, this is possible which is exactly what the problem is. A chainsaw will not cut right with a chain installed backward. In fact, if you think about it from a safety perspective, if the chainsaw chain is set backward, then it technically means that all the cutters are facing towards you rather than away from you, which can be quite dangerous. Not only this, but placing the chainsaw blade in the wrong direction can result in a waste of bar oil, damage to the chain link, unnecessary stress on the guide bar, deterioration of the motor, and even clutch burnout.

By Dave Cross

Hi, I'm Dave. I’ve been sawing for more than 40 years. I feel most at home when I’m surrounded by nature and my saws, but occasionally, I’ll share some of my know-how and experience on Cross Saw Mill.

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