How to Cut Logs With a Chainsaw? (7 Easy Steps to Follow)

Have you ever got hurt while splitting the logs with a chainsaw? And you even don’t know the proper precautions to be followed. In this article, I am listing down 7 easy steps on how to cut logs with a chainsaw that will make your life relaxed and secure while cutting the logs.

If you’re already a chainsaw user, you’ll probably know how easy your task gets with the use of a chainsaw. But have you ever wondered what exact way or steps should be followed for the perfect cutting of logs?

Well, you should give this article a read and you’ll end up with how easily and safely you can cut your logs using a chainsaw.

Cutting logs may appear to be no big deal at all because all you need to do is grab a chainsaw and start cutting. But that’s not all about it.

Logging with a chainsaw in an incorrect or unprofessional way would not only take up a lot of time and effort but may also prove to be dangerous for you. So, you need to focus on what your next step and way of handling your chainsaw should be, after every previous step.

Our article includes the steps to be followed for splitting tree logs with a chainsaw and our answers to some of the most common queries related to our topic.

7 Simple Steps on How to Cut Logs with a Chainsaw?

Chainsaws, being the most efficient and useful tool for cutting the logs, may also sometimes result in dangers and hazards if not used properly. Therefore, before you start off with your work, thinking that all you have to do is run a chainsaw, we’ll guide you through the steps you shouldn’t miss out on.

7 Simple Steps on How to Cut Logs with a Chainsaw

You don’t have to just start off by holding a chainsaw and cutting the log. Here we have the most important things you’ll need to do before performing with a chainsaw.

  1. Wearing Safety Equipment is Important
  2. Clear Out the Surrounding Area
  3. Beware of the Kickbacks
  4. Get Rid of the Branches
  5. Take Measurements for Cutting
  6. Put the Chainsaw on Work
  7. Make Sure the Chainsaw Doesn’t Get Pinched


Many of the users might exclude it as the very first step. But that’s going to be a big mistake you’ll make. Do not take the safety equipment for granted. If you follow this step right, you’ll proceed right.

There are a few things that are must wear to ensure your own safety.

  • Clothing – Firstly, whatever you’re wearing should be tight to your body, so it does not obstruct the way of your job. It is best to wear the uniform that professional chainsaw users wear. And in case you’re not wearing the professional uniform, at least wear chaps to protect your legs.
  • Face and Head Protection
  • Wear your safety goggles to ensure no dust or debris get into your eyes.
  • The noise of the chainsaw can be really bad to the ears and if it’s prolonged exposure, it would be worst. So, do not forget to wear ear protection.
  • Also, helmets and hand gloves should also be worn.


The next important step is to ensure that the surrounding area of your log should be clear. There should be nothing around that may cause a hurdle while you’re working. Remove the bushes or branches that you see around.

How to Cut Logs with a Chainsaw - clear out the surrounding area

Just get rid of anything that might get you into an accident. You should only have your log on the ground and whatever cutting equipment you may need.

This is to ensure the safety of the worker as well as the smooth cutting procedure.


Kickbacks usually occur when there’s something around your log and it hits the chainsaw while you’re cutting the log. This very much relates to our previous step that is, cleaning up the surroundings.

Chainsaws have a ‘kickback zone’ located on the tip of your chainsaw bar. This is basically the point, which if comes in contact with a piece of wood or any hurdle, causes a kickback. It can be highly dangerous as it forces the chainsaw back toward its user.

Hence, you must beware of the kickbacks. Be sure of where the tip of your chainsaw is pointing and make sure there’s nothing around that might hit the kickback zone.


Now that you’ve cut a tree log, it will have branches in most cases. Some tree logs might have a few of them, some a lot of them, and some might not have any branches at all.

If there are branches on your tree log, you’ll need to cut them off before you carry on with further cutting. By doing so, you’ll ensure a safer and smoother procedure of cutting the log and producing the firewood would be much easier too.


Do not randomly cut the log because obviously, you’re there to get logs for a purpose that must need proper measurements. For a standard cutting, 16 inches long would be perfect.

take measurements for cutting a Logs with Chainsaw

Whatever you’re cutting the log for, it is best to clearly mark the measurements first so that you don’t end up cutting irregular or random pieces of wood.


Now is the time you put your chainsaw to work. Remember, neither should you work in a very tight and stiff position, nor should you let the chainsaw work loosely. Make sure you’re not moving too much because if it’s requiring you to work very hard, you’re probably doing something incorrectly.

If you’re working just right, your arms and back won’t wear out quickly. So, make sure you’re in the correct position and let the chainsaw do the job without putting a lot of pressure.

When you’re cutting through the log, lodge the bucking spikes into the wood (which are just next to the bar of the chainsaw), and make no effort then. Let the chainsaw dig into the wood.

Once you’re successful in doing it right, just focus on the stability of the chainsaw.


There’s another thing you might experience while cutting the log with a chainsaw. What happens is, that the chainsaw sometimes gets pinched into the log. And this is something you must prevent from happening.

This pinching thing usually occurs when the terrain where the tree log is lying, causes the cut to have an inward angle. And to prevent this here’s what you can do.

make sure the chainsaw doesn’t get pinched

  • Elevate one side of the log by putting something underneath it. It will prevent your chainsaw from getting pinched as the gravity would take care of the angle.
  • Another thing you may opt for is cutting one side of the log as much deep as you can (without pinching), and then rolling over the log to do the same from the other side. However, this is pretty much difficult when logs are huge and heavy.
  • By cutting through the log, you should be able to reach the bar beneath the surface of the tree. When your chainsaw has created an opening, you will insert a feeling wedge. Using the wedge prevents the chainsaw from getting engulfed in the space, keeping its top propped up.

You may also try adding a wedge or careful shifting of the log’s weight may help as well.

Once you’ve successfully reached here, you’ve successfully learned the proper steps of cutting a log. You may now further divide the log into pieces if you intend to use it for firewood.

How to Cut a Large Log with a Small Chainsaw?

If your chainsaw is smaller than the diameter of the log that you intend to cut, it might be challenging but isn’t entirely impossible. So, the first thing to remember is, do not to panic and not put extreme pressure on the chainsaw.

Here are a few different ways that we tried, to cut large logs with small chainsaws efficiently. You may opt for the one that sounds more effective to you and your working environment.

How to Cut a Large Log with a Small Chainsaw

  1. A good approach in such a case would be, to begin with, the smaller end of the log. Afterward, you will proceed up the log to its other end. Rotate the cutting bar to 90 degrees when the log diameter equals the cutting blade at the section where you will be cutting. However, the depth of the cut must be sufficient to cover 75% of the blade. Once that point has been reached, there will be enough friction and pinch that kickback would no longer be a risk and you’ll be able to cut the log.
  2. Another method you may try is to cut the log as deep as you can. And then roll it over to continue it from the other side in the exact same way. Now when you roll over the log and re-enter the cut you made from the other side, beware of the kickback. Never make the mistake of starting cutting with the tip of the chainsaw. When you do so, you definitely risk a kickback.
  3. Combining plunge cuts with fan cuts also helps. Cutaway slowly at the trunk, taking your time.
  4. In case the tree is very large, here’s what we’d recommend. Point in the middle of the directional bar and then make a bore into it. Next, use a pulling chain to reduce kickback risks from the chainsaws. And then, slide the guide bar slowly along the stump. This will allow you to cut the center out.

After the dual bore has been completed, use the safe corner or turn around the method to fall the tree.

How to Hold Logs While Cutting with Chainsaw?

To hold a log while cutting it with a chainsaw, make sure you lay it on a flat surface so that it doesn’t roll or get imbalanced in the mid-way of your cutting process.

You may also put a log underneath one end of the cutting log, so it gains that elevated position. This also helps in holding the log in place.

Also, you may grip the log with one of your feet. But this only helps if the log isn’t too big in diameter.

Can You Split Logs with a Chainsaw?

No. because of the safety concerns, professionals and experienced loggers do not recommend splitting logs with chainsaws. You can cut down the wood to suitable sizes using a chainsaw but splitting it with a chainsaw isn’t considered safe.

How to Cut Logs with a Chainsaw – FAQs

How do you cut a log without pinching it?
The first step to prevent injury while crosscutting is to stand off to the side. Whenever you cut a log with support at one end, to prevent pinching, you will be applying pressure to the underside of the log. Start by cutting a shallow cut on the log’s underside, and then follow this cut, starting from the top and proceeding towards the underside where you had a shallow cut.
What is the best tool to cut logs?
A chainsaw of course is the best and most suitable tool for cutting the logs. If you intend to cut or chop branches or split the logs, you’d use the ax. But for logging, chainsaws must be used.
Can you cut wet logs with a chainsaw?
Yes. You can cut wet as well as dried logs with a chainsaw.



If you’re a beginner, you probably wouldn’t have known these steps that are recommended to follow for efficient and smooth cutting of logs with a chainsaw. But now that you know, we hope you’ll have the best experience.

Make sure you do not take any problem that you’re facing for granted since chainsaws can be extremely dangerous when used inappropriately or incorrectly. Try to resolve the problem and then continue with your job.

Join The Discussion