Can a Chainsaw Chain be Shortened? Shortening Tips [2024]

Patrick McMann

Knowledge Based

how to shorten a chainsaw chainChainsaw users often come across size problems, among which, the most important is having the same chain size as that of the bar.

If you are facing the issue of size mismatch because of a larger bar size than the chainsaw chain, then do not worry.

I have a solution and that is you can shorten your chainsaw chain as per the size of the bar.

Yes, it is possible to shorten the chainsaw chain up to your desired length.

I am here to guide you in detail regarding how you can shorten a chainsaw chain. Be with me and learn in a demonstrated way to get your all queries sorted out regarding the topic.

Can a Chainsaw Chain be Shortened?

Yes, chainsaw chains can be shortened and the process is not much difficult. There could be multiple reasons why you need to shorten your chainsaw chain. In this case, you need to find the master link and then remove chain links as much as you want. When you get the desired chain length, put back the master link and here you go.

But wait! The process is easy but not that much simple. You need to find the master link and then remove it. You should be having required tools to do so. Let me tell you in detail starting from the required tools to how to use them. We will cover each and every aspect of the topic in detail. Let’s get started.

How to Shorten a Chainsaw Chain?

Now that you know a chainsaw chain can be shortened, the question then arises of how to shorten it. For shortening a chainsaw chain, you need to look if your chainsaw chain is having a master link or not. If you found the master link, just open the chain from that point and remove the links from the chain until you get the desired chain length.

In another case, it is possible that your chainsaw chain might not be having a master link. In this situation, you will need to have a rivet tool that will help you to open the chain links. Then, remove the links as many as you want and get the required chain size and join the master link again to get the chain in shape.

Read More: Why They Invented the Chainsaws in the First Place?

Follow the steps below to learn in detail how to shorten a chainsaw chain:

Step 1: Cool Down

If you have recently finished working with your chainsaw and the engine is hot, then cool it first. Otherwise, you can skip this step. Cool down the chainsaw to the point that you can easily place your hand there without getting burned.

Step 2: Removing Spark Plugs

You need to remove the spark plugs to prevent sudden starts while you are still working on the chainsaw. This is related to safety so should follow it. However, people avoid it because they feel being too cautious. Yet I will suggest you follow this step as safety is necessary.

Step 3: Locating the Master Link:

Do not know how to locate the master link?  It is not difficult to find the master link as it is visibly unique to the other links. Usually, it is of a different color. Once you locate it, remove it. This will give you access to remove other links and that is how you will shorten your chainsaw chain.

Step 4: Shortening the Chain:

After removing the master link, now remove the other links. They are easy to be removed, you just need to push them with some pressure and they will come out. Remove the desired number of links to get the required chain length. If you use pliers, it will be easier to take out the links.

Step 5: Reconnect the Chain:

Put the master link back to join the chain. Then, attach the chain with the chainsaw bar. Do not forget to properly tension the chain on the bar. Follow the snap test to test if the chain is properly tensioned.

How to Shorten a Chainsaw Chain Without a  Master Link?

If you are having a chainsaw chain that does not have a master link then you have to follow a slightly different procedure for shortening the chainsaw. You need to have a special rivet installation tool that will help you with opening the chain. Then, remove the links as many as you need to.

Just In: How to Choose a Chainsaw Chain?

Only this one step will be changed you have to follow the same steps as mentioned above.

How to Shorten Stihl Chainsaw Chain?

For shortening your Stihl chainsaw chain, first, measure the bar size for which you are shortening the chain. Then, place the chain at a suitable place and locate the master link. Remove the master link and then take out chain links until you get the desired chain length. Attach the master link back with your Stihl chain and put the chain over the chainsaw bar.

How to Shorten an Oregon Chainsaw Chain?

Take out the Oregon chain that you need to shorten and place it in a suitable place. If your chain is having a master link, open it with a chain break. You will do so by placing the chain break over the master link and rotating it. Then, remove the links and get your Oregon chain shortened according to the demand.

In case, your Oregon chain does not have the master link, follow the other method by using the rivet tool. I have already mentioned the procedure above. You can use that method for your Oregon chain.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How do I make my chainsaw chain shorter?

Making a chainsaw chain shorter is not much difficult. All you need to do is to find the master link which is usually of a different color than others. If, your chainsaw chain does not have a master link then use the rivet tool to open chain links.

Use chain break to take out the links easily. Then, remove as many links as you need until you reach the required chain length. Rejoin the chain by attaching the master link. Here you go with your desired short chain.

2. Can you change the blade length on the chainsaw?

Yes, it is possible to change the blade length on the chainsaw. However, you cannot do this with every model of chainsaw. Some chainsaws offer this flexibility while others are rigid. Thus, you need to read carefully the user manual of your chainsaw to know if your model is flexible or not in this case.

Moreover, many chainsaws can fit three sizes of blade on them. For instance, Husqvarna 460 Rancher, Husqvarna 435 and 455 can go with a blade size of up to 18 inches. Similarly, Husqvarna  120, 130, and 135 with 40cc to 45cc engines can go with 12 to 20-inch bar sizes.

3. Can you adjust the chainsaw chain?

Yes, can adjust chainsaw chain tensioning by loosening and tightening the tensioning screw on your chainsaw. You need to adjust the tension when you feel like it is too tight or too loose. Using a chainsaw causes the chain to lose s you need to Tighten the chain after some uses. Having the perfect chain tension is of keen importance so adjust it accordingly.

4. What determines chainsaw chain length?

To determine the length of the chainsaw chain, you need to count the number of pitch and gauge on the chain. Start measuring from the front tip to the back till the closest cutter to the chainsaw body. If you are getting an odd number in measurement, round it off to the closest possible even number. For instance, if you are getting number 13 then round it off to 14, this is how you can find out chainsaw chain length.

5. Is there a way to make a close chain shorter?

Yes, you can shorten even a close chain. To do so, you have to remove the clasp and remove the links as per your required length. You can do this by using a pair of cutters. In the end, you have to replace the clasp and you are done with the process.

6. Is a shorter chainsaw bar better?

The goodness of chainsaw bar length depends upon the type of work you have to do. No doubt a smaller size bar is easier to handle but a bigger size bar can help you with reaching hard-to-reach branches. While short-size bars limit the reach of wood. Moreover, the force required to work with a chainsaw is almost similar for all bar sizes.

Last Words: Can a Chainsaw Chain be Shortened?

For many reasons, you might need to shorten your chainsaw chain. Thus you would have been looking for the answer to the question “can a chainsaw chain be shortened?”. The answer is Yes, you can shorten a chainsaw chain. For that, I have already told you the process.

Some chains have the master links and others are without them. I have told you the process of shortening for both types of chains. Moreover, there is one piece of advice for you that does not try to shorten a worn-out chain. This is dangerous and can cause you a big penalty rather than being a good hack for tightening your worn-out chain.

Patrick McMann