Why Does a Chainsaw Not Cut Straight? Causes and Fixes [2024]

Richard McMann

Knowledge Based

chainsaw not cutting straight reasons and solutionsCutting wood with a chainsaw is surely not rocket science, but this is not always the case when it comes to cutting it straight.

What’s on your mind right now is “why does a chainsaw not cut straight?” – Yeah? Well, I’ve got you all sorted out, then.

“The most common cause is that your chainsaw chain is not sharpened evenly on both sides, leading the chainsaw to cut unevenly.”

But hey, there’s a chance the issue might not be with your chainsaw chain.

So, whether you want to know about other causes of your chainsaw not cutting straight or how to fix it, this article is a one-stop guide for you!

Steel yourself, because after reading this article, you’ll be getting back to work and cutting the wood straight this time.

Let’s get straight to it.

Why Does a Chainsaw Not Cut Straight? Problems and Solutions [2024]

Although there could be other causes, the two that are most likely to be at play are either unevenly sharpened chains or uneven bar edges.

Let’s go over them all.

Unevenly Sharpened Chain

When both sides of your chainsaw chain aren’t evenly sharpened, your chainsaw won’t cut straight.

There are two possible reasons why your chain isn’t sharpened evenly.

  •   You didn’t evenly file the cutting teeth.

You may narrow down the issue by examining the cutter teeth, which are part of the chainsaw chain. If one side of the chain has longer teeth than the other, you’ve spotted the issue!

Since the blade pulls to the side that has been better sharpened, one side of the chain will cut through the wood more efficiently than the other as a result, leaving an uneven finish.

  •   You hit the chainsaw into a rock, damaging the blade.

When using a chainsaw, it is common to knock it accidentally on a rock or any other thing besides wood, which causes damage to the chain.

As the chain wears down, so do the blade and cutter teeth, and as stated above, damaged or unleveled cutter teeth do not cut the wood straight.

Uneven Bar Edges

There are bar rails on your gas chainsaw that help to support the chain on either side.

When using the chainsaw, the rail is subjected to metal-on-metal friction, which causes the metal to gradually wear off and cause the bar rail’s edges to become uneven.

As a result of the uneven edges, one side of the rail is higher compared to the other, which causes the chain to rest on the lower rail and make a crooked cut.

If your chain and bar are both even and you’re still wondering why does a chainsaw not cut straight, look into the following possibilities:

Loose Chain

One possibility is that your chainsaw’s chain is loosely attached to the bar or it’s stretched.

When cutting, this will force the chain to flip to the side, and you will end up with crooked wood.

Thin Width of the Chain

The chain has tooth-shaped drivers that fit into the bar groove. If the driver’s thickness is less than that of the groove, the chain will squirm and shift sideways when cutting.

For both of these reasons, you’ll need to invest in a new chain that fits correctly and doesn’t slip sideways when you’re cutting the wood.

How to Cut Straight With a Chainsaw in Simple and Easy Steps?

Fixing an Unevenly Sharpened Chain

It should go without saying that you must sharpen the chain to make it even, but how do you do so?

To put it simply, you must file down the cutter teeth and make them even.

The chain has a cutter link and a guide link on both sides. These links have small lines on them that indicate the point past which the link can no longer be sharpened.

So, using the small lines, you can compare how far you should file the links down and make sure they are all equal! That’s it, done and dusted!

Well, what if you notice a great difference in the links and are unable to manually file them down?

If that’s the case, you should contact a professional chain sharpener that will do the job for you.

Is your chainsaw not cutting straight after sharpening?

Look carefully for cracks and breaks in the chain; if you find them, there is no other option but to get a new chain.

Fixing the Uneven Bar Edges

When one side of your bar’s edges is different from the other, you must file and scratch it off to level it out.

While doing so, make sure to maintain an even grip on the chainsaw to avoid further damage.

That’s all there is to it!

If you’re still unsure that you can tackle the task, it’s best to visit a saw workshop so that a skilled worker can assist you to scrape the edges off.

Adjust the Chain’s Tension

New chain but chainsaw won’t cut straight? Not to worry, though; it might just be a problem with the chain’s adjustment.

Chainsaws have tension adjustment screws that you must set appropriately in order to tighten the chain around the bar.

Make sure it’s properly tensioned, and you’ll be able to cut your wood straight!


How do you fix a chainsaw that won’t cut straight?

All you have to do is evenly sharpen the chain on both sides, and you’re done!

Keep an eye out for the edges of the bar as well, and be sure to scrape them off to make it even.

What causes a chainsaw to cut an angle?

The angled cut is due to the unevenly sharpened chain. Perhaps the uneven bar rail could also be the cause.

Why does my chainsaw cut on a curve to the right?

Your chainsaw’s cutter teeth are longer on the right side, which makes the chain pull in that way and cut the wood in that direction.

How do you sharpen a chainsaw to cut it straight?

Making a straight chainsaw cut only requires evenly filing the cutter teeth on both sides.

That’s quite simple, huh?

Final Takeaways: Why Does a Chainsaw Not Cut Straight?

I’m sure you must be pumped for your next woodworking project since now you’ll finally be able to cut it straight.

The best part is that getting your chainsaw fixed so that it can make straight cuts isn’t particularly difficult.

Now that you’re on it, be sure to gently sharpen your chainsaw.

Richard McMann
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