Why is My Chainsaw Not Cutting Straight?

Most chainsaw users are faced with a similar problem with their chainsaws not cutting straight. This often leads to them seeking answers and solution to this issue. In this article, I will show you the main reasons why you have problems like this with your chainsaw and also the possible solutions.

So if you have ever asked the question, why is my chainsaw not cutting straight? There are often two main reasons why your chainsaw is not cutting straight. The first is that your chainsaw chain may be dull on one side, the other reason is that the edges of your bar may be uneven.

There are several reasons why these two things could happen. We'll look at each one in more detail below and then look further at the possible ways to prevent it or avoid it happening. ​

Note: If you were at some point wondering your chainsaw not cutting straight was as a result of dinks or bumps on your chainsaw bar, then that's not the case.

1. Your chain is dull on one side

This is without a doubt the most common reason why your chainsaw is not cutting straight and possibly pulling in one direction. This often happens when the teeth on your chainsaw chain are sharp on one side and dull on the other – making it an uneven chain. When this happens, your chain will not cut straight.

Causes of a dull-sided chain

A. Grinding through a hard surface or dirt

If for instance, you are cutting through a tree, and your chainsaw hits a hard surface or you hit the earth, it can dull your chainsaw chain. It can also take a toll on your chain if you consistently keep doing it and can cause your chainsaw to wear down.

That is because when your chain grinds through a hard surface or dirt, it wears down one side of the chain more than the other side. Inevitably, you will end up with one side of the chain being sharper, while the other will be blunt.

If you are trying to figure out why your chainsaw won't cut straight, then you check back to see if you had previously hit a hard surface or dirt when using your chainsaw recent. If you can remember doing it at some point, then the chances are that is why your chainsaw is not cutting straight. The issue is that you have a chain that is sharp on one end and is dull on the other.

B. Sharpening your chain unevenly

There is also another reason why your chainsaw is not cutting straight and it's there's a chance it is due to lopsided sharpening. If you are a new chainsaw user and have been sharpening your chain with a manual file, then it is logically possible that you've ground one side of the chain more than the other.Sharpening your chainsaw unevenly

This is an easy rookie mistake to make and can lead to your chain not cutting straight.

So, if you have an uneven chain, then it was probably caused by:

  • Hitting a hard surface or rock when in use etc.
  • Sharpening your chain unevenly

How to fix a chain that is dull on one side

When it is just a minor case, sharpening your chain with a chainsaw file (like this chainsaw maintenance kit I found on Amazon) until it's even will solve the problem.

You still should be aware of your chain links and keep an eye on them. Your chain has links on both sides of the chain, a guide link and a cutter link – with a small line on it.

The purpose of this line is to help serve as an indication to know the extent to which the chain has worn out.

If one side is significantly more worn than the other, then you should consider having your chain professionally sharpened at a local saw shop.

If, however, you notice that there are breaks or chips on the chain, then you will need to replace it.

How to prevent an uneven chain

Once you have your chain fixed, it would be a great idea to keep it that way. The best way to do that is to not let it strike hard surfaces when in use and as much as possible do what you can to ensure you sharpen it evenly where possible.

One way you can do this is, if you are cutting wood on the ground, try to stop at least 5 inches above the ground, and roll the log over on the other side to finish the cut. When the log or perhaps timber can't be moved, try to keep your chain saw above the ground to prevent it from getting in contact with the ground or hard surfaces.

2. The Edges of Your Bar is Uneven

As I mentioned earlier, the chain is most likely the root cause of your problem. While chainsaws like the Einhell brand are often good and affordable, you still have to keep an eye on the chain and chainsaw bar when in use.

Reasons for an Uneven Bar

Friction between the chain and the bar is one of the more likely reasons for an uneven bar. The metal-to-metal friction between the chain and the side of the bar can cause it to wear out significantly depending on a number of different factors. Factors which include which is your dominant hand, what direction the tree is leaning, what maintenance regime you follow for your chainsaw and other factors.

What I tend to do and what most experienced chainsaw users do, is flip the bar regularly. This helps make sure that not just one side of the bar wears out more significantly than the other side.

If you have been doing this, then the chances are high that one edge of your bar will wear more than the other (on either side of the chain groove).

All you have to do is to scrape the edges of your bar with a chainsaw file while holding it as evenly as possible. You should ideally do this each time you do some maintenance on your chainsaw.

Avoiding an Uneven Bar

To help you avoid an uneven chainsaw bar, the following steps below will help:

  • First, wear a decent pair of chainsaw gloves
  • Remove the front panel
  • Lift the bar from the chainsaw
  • Next, detach the chain.
  • Inspect chain for any kinks or dents
  • Finally, flip the bar over and put everything back together.

Final Thoughts on Why Your Chainsaw Not Cutting Straight?

The chainsaw bar when in use will usually not come into contact with oil, sawdust or dirt. So it will serve you well to always clean the bar and the chain after each log cutting session. This will not only extend the span of your chainsaw but will also help you get rid of / avoid any minor problems.

The methods mentioned in the article will help you to prevent and keep this problem in check.

Stay safe and thanks for reading.