Similar to any other tool, the chainsaw demands maintenance – and for this power tool, maintenance is meant for taking care of bar oil that needs proper filling, thorough cleaning of carburetor, and accurate tension in the chain of the chainsaw. Tension in the chainsaw chain is directly associated with its performance, if the chain is too loose or tight, it is not going to work perfectly; instead, it may raise a concern about the safety of the user. Considering the importance of tension in the chain of chainsaws, it is necessary to know that how tight should a chainsaw chain be?
Chainsaw chain tension has always been a point of concern for users – and of course, it should be because it is directly related to the performance and efficiency of this tool along with the safety of the user. If you are new to using this powerful tool to cut firewood, I would recommend you to have a thorough read of this article that will certainly make it clear for you about the tightening of chainsaw chain.
Before I start with my instruction guide about the tightness of chainsaw chain, I will make you recall some important safety precautions that must be followed before you start using this tool;
- Make sure that you aren’t wearing loose cloths
- Always put on all safety gears
- Do not stand on ladder with chainsaw in your hand
- Always cut below the height of your shoulder
Make sure that you comply with these instructions, and then you are ready to use your chainsaw. By the way, testing the tension in the chain is still one of the most important factors that must be considered before using the chainsaw.
Therefore, let us talk about that how tight should a chainsaw chain be in detail.
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Testing the Tension in Chainsaw Chain
Chain of your chainsaw should be “Snap Tight”. Snap Tight is referred to as a phenomenon in which you are able to pull the chain of a chainsaw up until its drive links are partially exposed without being free from the guide bar. If the tension in the chain is right, it will snap back into its original place upon release.
Don’t worry if you didn’t understand it – let me explain the whole process practically with two tests to check the tension in the chain of your chainsaw.
Test 1: The Pull Test
This is one of the most effective and straightforward tests to perform and check the tension in a chainsaw chain.
To perform this test, gently pull the chain of the chainsaw away from the guide bar, and keep taking it away unless it gets stuck. Once you have pulled the chain as much as you can, now check if the drive links have come completely clear of the bar grove – the chain is loose. And if drive links are not completely clear of the bar groove, the tension is appropriate.
While the drive links are not completely clear of the bar groove, their end must be within the grooves.
This test will help you know if the chain is too tight to use or loose to carry out the cutting of firewood.
Test 2: The Snap Test
This is the test most frequently performed to check the tension in the chainsaw chain. The test is simple and very easy to carry out.
To perform Snap Test, pull the chainsaw chain gently away from the guide bar. Keep taking it as much away as you can. Then release the chain at a point from where you cannot take it further away – if the chain snaps back into its original position, it indicates perfect tension in the chain.
On the other hand, if cannot pull the chain from the guide bar, it is too tight. And if the chain gets completely off the guide bar, it indicates loose tension in the chain.
Therefore, this is how you can test if the tension in your chainsaw chain is perfect or not. Once you have got to know about the status of tension in the chainsaw chain, the next step is to eliminate all problems associated with the tightness of the chain.
For this purpose, you are recommended to have a thorough study of our step-by-step guide about Tightening of Chainsaw Chain. Using this method, you can easily bring a reasonable tightness to the chain of your chainsaw.
Why the Tightness in the Chain is Important?
Having discussed details about the tests to check tightness in the chain of your chainsaw, you might have a question in your mind about why does tightness or tension too important in a chainsaw – honestly speaking, your question is genuine, and I will try to explain it the reason in following paragraphs:
1. The inefficiency of the Tool
When the chainsaw is pulled through the woods while cutting, its blades move from side to side. This phenomenon leads chainsaw to inefficient performance with irregular cuts and makes its teeth dull faster than usual. If the chain of the chainsaw remains loose, cutting patterns will be more turbulent, the edges of the blade will be under greater stress, and of course, they will be unable to serve sooner than expected.
2. Possible Safety Hazardous
While using the chainsaw, you cannot overlook the factors that ensure your safety; otherwise, consequences may be dire. If you are using a chainsaw with a loose chain, it might get off the guide bar completely, and may cause a severe injury to the user. Therefore, it is recommended to make sure that the chain has reasonable tension in it.
3. Stalled Operation
A loose chainsaw chain isn’t only the problem; instead, the too-tight chain is also not good for the chainsaw. If the chain on the guide bar is too tight, you will not be able to use it for perfect cutting. If the chain is excessively tight, the drive links of the chain might get broken releasing the chain from the guide bar – and it may also inflict a serious injury to the user.
Therefore, these are the reasons that necessitate the proper check and balance of tension in the chainsaw chain. Following the two tests for checking the tension in the chain, you can easily know if the chain is loose or tight.
Similar to sharpening the blades, and filing the bar of your chainsaw, maintaining reasonable tension in the chainsaw chain is also an integral part of the process.
If you often use a chainsaw to cut firewood, you will be well aware of the fact that shops charge a huge amount in the name of checking and adjusting tension in chainsaw chain – now, following our aforementioned tests to check the tension in chain, and complying with a step-by-step guide required tension in the chain of chainsaw, you can get the task done on your own, and save your time and money as well.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs )
Q1. How tight should a chainsaw chain be while sharpening?
Neither too loose nor too tight chain will work for you – the chain should be tight that it can easily snap back into its original position when released. For this purpose, pull two links of the chain down from the bar, and check if the get back to their initial position upon releasing or not.
Q2. How do I know if my chainsaw is tight enough?
If the chain is not rotating freely on the bar of your chainsaw, it indicates that the tension in the chain is greater than the required. You can also test the tension in the chain taking it away from the bar; in case of tight chain, it will not move away from the bar.