How to Cut Firewood With a Chainsaw – From a Tree Trunk to Firewood!

Winters are all about collecting firewood and keeping your home warm and cozy and so, cutting firewood is something we all should know. When it comes to preparing firewood, chainsaws are the best tools you can use.  

You might be wondering why is there a need for cutting firewood with chainsaws when you can buy it from the market? Well, in our opinion, having things prepared with your own hands is always best. And this is the reason we recommend preparing your own firewood. Once you get to know how to do it, you’ll know how easy of a task it is.

In our today’s article, we’ll be guiding you through the cutting process of the firewood from scratch.

Firewood Selection: How to Choose the Right Wood?

Cutting firewood is of course our main concern here but what comes even before that is the selection of firewood. Every tree cannot produce good quality firewood and so, you need to be sure of what tree you would need to cut it down and make firewood.

A dry, dense tree with long-burning fibers is ideal, as it will provide both dryness and a long burn. Choosing hardwoods with low resin or sap content over trees with heavy resin or sap will also benefit you. 

There is no doubt that every type of tree will burn, but hardwood varieties burn more intensely due to their density. You should season your firewood before burning it. It is recommended to season firewood until it has a moisture content of around 20 percent left for optimum burn and heat output. 

When wood has a high moisture content, the heat produced goes to drying the excess moisture, making it difficult to light and keep burning. Moreover, the smoke produced by excess moisture can contain tars and creosote, which can create fires by lining flue pipes and chimneys. 

Firewood Selection How to Choose the Right Wood

In a nutshell, the best choice would be hardwood instead of softwood for the best burning.

Steps for Cutting Firewood from the Tree Trunk

Cutting firewood isn’t a one-step process. It starts from having a tree trunk, follows a few steps, and then gets firewood as a result. Let us guide you through all the steps.

Here’s how it’s done.

  • Take a Tree Trunk on the Ground
  • Cut the Trunk with a Saw
  • Split the Wood Logs
  • Finally, Make the Firewood

Take a Tree Trunk on the Ground

Because we’re starting from scratch, the very first step is having a tree trunk laid down on the ground. Measure one-meter lengths on the trunk and mark them so that it would be easier to cut. Make sure the trunk is placed on a flat surface so it doesn’t roll and stays in place while cutting.

If needed, you can use bricks or small pieces of wood to hold the trunk in place.

Cut the Trunk with a Saw

Now is the time to cut through the trunk using your best chainsaw (for firewood). Put your chainsaw in gear and run the chain slowly over the marked points. At each marked location, cut through the trunk 3/4 of the way. By doing this, you will prevent damaging your chainsaw chain by cutting it into the ground. 

Now, using a felling lever or your hand, turn the trunk over. If necessary, wedge the box to prevent it from rolling away. Now again, using the marked sections as guides, slice through the remaining trunk sections.

Split the Wood Logs

Now that you have the tree trunk divided into smaller wood logs, they’ll be easier to manage and cut. Split those wood logs into smaller pieces and they’ll be perfect for the firewood.

Split the Wood Logs

Here’s how you’ll do it.

  1. Secure your one-meter log to the ground by placing it horizontally. Once again, I urge you not to let it roll away. After that, cut the log’s length down the middle. Avoid cutting through the log completely – this could blunt the chain and cause you to cut into the ground. Approximately 5-10 centimeters of the log should remain intact.
  2. In the next step, you can use a splitting wedge to divide the log into two pieces. The wedge can be fitted into an indentation in the log, making it easier to install.
  3. If the trunk is thick, you may need to split the logs again. In such a case, simply repeat steps 1 – 2.

Finally, Make the Firewood

Now, you’ll have smaller pieces of wood logs and they are to be used for firewood. You can choose to keep the logs thinner or thicker, depending on your need.

How to Cut Firewood With a Chainsaw – FAQs

Can you cut firewood with a chain saw?
Yes. It is possible to split firewood using a chainsaw. Most of your firewood cutting needs can be handled with an 18-inch chainsaw. However, for thicker logs, you’ll need bigger saws.
Is it better to chainsaw wet or dry wood?
For some, it may come as a surprise but, cutting wood when wet is much easier than cutting wood when dry. When a chainsaw chain comes into contact with dry wood without moisture content, more friction is created. Consequently, the chain slows down due to friction.
Should you clean chainsaw after use?
Yes. We suggest cleaning the chainsaw after every use. Scrap any dirt or dust inside the track, and clean up the air intake vent and other parts.
Why won't my chainsaw cut wood?
Your chainsaw won’t cut wood if the chain is dull. This is the most common cause for chainsaws not cutting wood and can be fixed by sharpening or replacing the chain.
Why does a chainsaw smoke when cutting?
Typically, this is caused by a dull chain and excessive pressure exerted on the bar and chain when cutting. Alternatively, the chain may not be properly lubricated because there is a shortage of oil or inferior oil is being used.



If you’ve come here, you’ll definitely know that cutting firewood with a chainsaw isn’t too much work. All you have to do is work with the proper technique and follow the steps. 

Remember that firewood won’t be used immediately after being cut. It has to be seasoned for a few months or a year. The seasoning time would be different for different woods. However, to get the best burning results from your firewood, you must season it properly. The longer the wood is seasoned, the better it burns!

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