Chainsaw Not Cutting Straight – 5 Reasons and How to Fix It

Chainsaws are the best tool for cutting wood logs but sometimes they’re annoying as well.

By annoying, we don’t mean they tease you. Because obviously, how can they, right? What we mean is, that chainsaws are supposed to cut fast, clean, smooth, and straight. However, sometimes, they don’t. They don’t cut smooth and straight. And that could be for a few reasons we’ll be discussing in this article.

For a chainsaw to make the best cuts, it’s extremely important to have a very good quality chain and a super sharp edge on both sides. People often think that blades would still work great even if they were not too sharp.

A less sharpened blade or a blade that’s dull on one side would cause you many problems and your chainsaw that’s not cutting straight is definitely one of them.

Is your chainsaw pulling to one side? Well, here’s what you need to know. If you’re a chainsaw user, remember one thing your chainsaw must cut straight. It should not pull left or right from its cutting point. And if it’s doing so, you cannot ignore it. There must be a problem that needs to be resolved.

Our article contains a complete guide on what causes a chainsaw to NOT cut straight and what you can do to bring it back to cutting straight. Continue reading to learn how to fix your chainsaw that doesn’t cut straight!

Why My Chainsaw Not Cutting Straight?

When your chainsaw doesn’t cut straight, it couldn’t be necessary because of one reason only. There could be different situations where chainsaws behave like that.

For me, the first time my chainsaw didn’t cut straight, and I looked for the reason, it was because one side of its chain was dull. I sharpened it, and it went cutting smooth and straight like earlier.

Why My Chainsaw Not Cutting Straight

But for the second time that I experienced the same problem, it was because the chain got loose. I tightened it a bit, and all was good again!

So, there could be different reasons that your chainsaw isn’t cutting straight. Let’s discuss them one by one.

  1. The chain has become dull on one side
  2. The Chain isn’t tight enough
  3. The chain doesn’t exactly fix into the bar
  4. The groove of the bar has worn out
  5. Uneven rails of the chainsaw bar

Here are the causes of your chainsaw not cutting straight and their solutions.

1: Chain Has Become Dull on One Side

This one is the most common reason that your chainsaw isn’t cutting straight, and it keeps pulling out on either side. Now that’s because you haven’t properly sharpened your chain in a while or if you did, you sharpened it unevenly.

A dull chain might also be a result of your chainsaw hitting a rock or some other obstacle while you were cutting a tree log. You might have dealt with it at that time, but it did make your chainsaw dull or uneven. And the result is, that your chainsaw isn’t cutting straight.

Solution: Resharpen the Chain

If your chain has become dull, you’ll simply need to resharpen it which you can do on your own as well, using a sharpener. Or you may get it professionally sharpened at a chainsaw store.

However, in some cases, the chains can no longer be sharpened. And how do you know that? There’s a line on each link of your chainsaw chain that indicates the max limit of the metal removed due to sharpening and so, it can’t be sharpened anymore.

In that case, you’ll need to replace the chain.

2: The Chain Isn’t Tight Enough

Another common reason that chainsaws don’t cut straight is a loosened chain. The chain should neither be loose, nor too tight in order for the chainsaw to cut perfectly. It should just be nicely tight enough to cut sharp and straight while staying in place.

Chainsaws that cut at an angle are also the result of a loosened chain on the bar. For the new chainsaws on the market, the tightening on their chain can easily be adjusted because they come with a chain tightening function and so, you don’t have to face this problem.

The Chain Isn’t Tight Enough

Solution: Tighten up the Chain

For a loosened chain, the solution is the simplest. Tighten the chain and it would be good to go with but make sure not to tighten it too much.

3: Chain Doesn’t Exactly Fix into the Bar

Another reason that leads to a chainsaw not cutting straight is that the chain is thin, and it doesn’t exactly fit into the bar. The groove on the bar is basically the part that the chain sits into.

So, if the chain is thin and the groove is a bit thick, the chain won’t fix nicely. It would slightly move while being into the groove and this leads to angled or not-so-straight cuts.

Solution: Find a Thicker Chain

The solution to having a thin chain is simple. Look for a chain that’s a bit thicker. By a thicker chain, we mean that it should be thick enough to perfectly fit into the thickness of the bar’s groove.

4: The Groove of the Bar Has Worn Out

A chainsaw that does not cut straight may also be due to the reason that the groove on the bar has worn out because it has been in continuous use. In this case, the groove slightly becomes wide.

Solution: Flip the Worn-Out Side of the Groove

In case you’ve got just the right chain that fits into the groove, you still experience angled cuts that can be fixed by flipping the groove. Sometimes, because you’ve been cutting for a long time, the lower side wears off. Flipping the side would bring it on top and the other side would now be the cutting bar. So, it won’t wiggle anymore.

5: Uneven Rails of Chainsaw Bar

The last common reason that usually results in a chainsaw that gives angles cuts instead of straight cuts is that the rails of the chainsaw bar have become uneven. Don’t know what are the rails.

The groove on the bar is formed by two edges, professionals call them rails. They can also be simply called edges.

The rails are what hold up the chain from both sides, like two walls, and help the chain stay in its vertical position. Over time, what happens is, that one rail may become uneven compared to the other one. This makes the chain fall angled on the rail that’s lower now.

Uneven Rails of Chainsaw Bar

Solution: Grind/File the Rail that’s higher

To fix the uneven rails, you’ll have to grind the rail that’s higher by using a filing or grinding tool. Wondering how to do it? It’s pretty much simple, hold the tool firmly in place and scrape the bar’s rail. That’s it!

Can You Straighten a Chainsaw Bar?

It depends on how bent is the chainsaw bar. If it is slightly bent, you can straighten it easily. But if the bend is deeper, you’ll have to get it replaced.

In case there’s a slight bent on your chainsaw’s bar, here’s how you can fix it.

  1. To remove the bar, firstly remove the bolts that hold the bar.
  2. Pull off the chain from the bar. Then remove the bar itself and look for the bend.
  3. Place the bar where it would stay in place and won’t move. Now remove the bend from the bar, using pliers.
  4. After that, place it on a flat surface (e.g., a workbench). Work the bend out using a rubber mallet. Keep doing it until you see that the bar is now straight and flat.
  5. Now reassemble the parts back. Pull the chain back on the bar and fix the bolts back to adjust the bar back in place.

Why Does My Chainsaw Want to Cut at an Angle?

When chainsaws cut at an angle rather than cutting straight, that’s because of the reasons we’ve stated above. The most common reason is that one side of your chain would be dull. Sharpening it would solve the problem.

Why Does My Chainsaw Want to Cut at an Angle

Why Does My Chainsaw Cut Crook?

Again, if your chainsaw cuts crooked, it’s because of one of the reasons we’ve discussed above. In any case, if your chainsaw accidentally hit a rock, has a loosened chain, doesn’t fit in the bar’s groove, or has a worn-out groove, it would cut crooked.

Fixing the issue would bring the saw back to its straight cutting position.

Chainsaw Not Cutting Straight – FAQs

How do I stop my chainsaw from cutting crooked?
You’ll need to look for what’s causing this problem. If it’s the dull chain, resharpen it. If it’s a loosened chain, tighten it. If the chain giggles while in the bar groove, find a thicker chain equal to the groove’s thickness so that it fits well. If the groove has worn out, try flipping it. The better side would now be the cutting side. And lastly, if the rails (edges) of the groove have become uneven, try making them even using a filing or grinding tool. All these will stop your chainsaw from cutting crooked.
Why is my chainsaw cutting on a curve?
It’s most probably because it has been sharpened unevenly. Sharpening it evenly on both sides of the chain would fix the problem and your chainsaw would then be cut straight.
Why is my chainsaw bouncing?
Your chainsaw is bouncing because the teeth aren’t sharp enough and so, they aren’t digging into the wood fast. You need to have a sharp chain as it would rip through the wood and cut fast and straight without bouncing.



This was all about finding why your chainsaw isn’t cutting straight and then fixing the issue.

In a nutshell, all you have to do is explore what isn’t right with your chainsaw and have it fixed. This will fix most of the problems with your saw, including the ones that it cuts crooked or angled.

We hope we’ve been helpful in having your saw back, cutting straight!

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