How to put a chain back onto a chainsaw

Using a chainsaw can be a great way to cut down a tree. They can go through the hardest of woods in just a really short amount of time. And if it’s sharp enough, the cut should be as flat as smooth as velvet. However, as the chain is a separate part from the bar, it is of course, able to come off. And what goes off, must go on.

In this article, will be looking at how to put a chainsaw chain back onto the chainsaw. It’s not a particularly difficult task, but for some reason many people still struggle with it.

How to put a chain back onto a chainsaw

Why does it happen?

There are two main reasons why your chain would come off. The first one is that you’ve taken it off. This might be because you need to clean it or sharpened it. Both of these tasks will be incredibly difficult to do if the chain is still attached to the saw.

 Or maybe it didn’t come off on purpose. Annoyingly, a lot of the time, the chain is not meant to come off, but it still does! Whatever the reason for your chain coming off, if you want to continue using it, you’ll need to know how to get it back on again.


Before we can start with the tutorial, it’s important, we can understand, how a chain looks. There are two sides of the chain. The top side is where the teeth are, the teeth are what lock themselves into the woods, and cut it when they pull. On the bottom of the chain, we have little notches that lock themselves into the bar. These are what allow the chain to spin at incredible speeds without coming out.

By understating this, you’ll know how to put a chain back onto the bar. Now on with the tutorial.

How to put a chain back onto a chainsaw 2

Step One: Take Cover!

The first thing you’ll need to do is to take the cover off. How to do this will depend on what type of chainsaw you’re using. With the cheaper ones, often there is a screw with you can turn to remove it without having to use any tools. But with the higher quality ones, you’ll often have to use either a screw driver or a wrench, sometimes even both.

Once the cover is off, it’s time to get scrubbing. Making it clean will not only make it easier to put the chain back on, but it will also make the chainsaw run much smoother.

Step Two: Put it back

When that’s all clean, you’ll need to put the chain back on again. Usually, behind where the bar cover would usually be, there will be latches which you can put the chain onto in order to keep it secure. When you put it on, make sure all of the notches on the bottom are locked into the bar. Doing both of these things, will mean that the chain can be as secure as you could possibly  get it. When it’s on, depending on the chainsaw, you might have to put the cover back on. But there are other chainsaws where the tightening needs to be done before you put the cover back on.

Step Three: Make it tight

On most chainsaws that you can buy nowadays, the chain can be tightened using a knob on the side of the bar, most of the time, tightening using this method will not require you to use any tools. However, on on some older models, you may need to use a wench to tighten up the saw. Having a tight saw is vital for ensuring that it’s able to do it’s job properly and stay on. You don’t want to go through all of that effort just to have to do it again just hours later.

Whilst it’s easy to not tighten a chain enough, it can also be just as easy to tighten it too much. So how do you know when it’s been tightened to the ultimate amount?
There are several tests that you can do, but the one I have found to be the most effective is the pull test. To do this one, carefully pinch onto one of the teeth and pull it up. The notches that lock themselves into the bar should be revealed but not completely come out. If they come out, you’ve not tightened it enough, but if they don’t move at all, it’s too tight.

If it keeps happening

If the chain keeps on coming off then, and you’re confident that you’re following the correct procedures, then it’s likely that you’re not the one who’s at fault. But rather the manufacturer is. Even the best chainsaw makers on the planet can sometimes make a faulty saw. Almost all chainsaws will come with at least a 2 year warranty. This means that within the first two years of you buying it, you can get it sent away, either to be repaired, or to get a new one.

Why it matters

The chain being on properly is vital. In the best-case scenario, it won’t come off, but it still won’t be able to cut as efficiently as it would be able to if it was.
When it does come off, the best case would be that it will cause an annoyance when you have to put it back on again. But if you’re not so lucky, then it might end up hitting you or someone else, this can be very dangerous indeed, and might even end up with you being in the hospital.

All chains come of the saw at some point. Be that because it’s fallen off or because you’ve taken it off to be cleaned. When this happens, you’ll need to take the cover off, and give what’s underneath a good clean. Then put the chain back in making sure to lock the notches on the bottom into the bar. After that, tighten it, usually using either wrench or the tightening knob on your saw. To tell if it’s tight enough, when you pull the notches should come out a bit but not all the way. And if it keeps coming off talk to the manufacturer.

Read more:

Electric chainsaw Sharpeners: Tips and Tricks

How to Use an Electric Chainsaw? You Guide Here

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