Why Does My Chainsaw Cut Crooked? Problems & Solutions

The efficiency of your chainsaw depends upon a number of factors – if your chainsaw isn’t cutting wood smoothly, there are many potential reasons to counter. However, most of the reasons do not pose any concern and can be solved easily. Meanwhile, your chainsaw should cut smoothly and straight, and if it does not happen, you must take steps to identify the problem and then solve it.

Smooth and well-patterned cutting indicates the efficiency of the chainsaw; for this purpose, regular maintenance of the chainsaw appears to be inevitable. A long-forgotten chainsaw doesn’t only catch rust, but its mechanical and electrical systems also get affected resulting in the overall dilapidation of this power tool.  

Once you know the potential reasons for irregular cutting from your chainsaw, you can identify the true fault and solve it according to the given solution.

Why Does My Chainsaw Cut Crooked – How to Fix it?

The straightness of the cut is an important thing that cannot be overlooked while using a chainsaw. But there are many reasons that may contribute to the uneven cutting of wood – yes, it occurs when there is something wrong with your chainsaw.

The followings are the reasons that may cause this problem;

  • Bent Bar
  • Improper tension in chain
  • Irregular cutting teeth
  • Uneven top plate
  • Uneven sharpness

As I have told you that your chainsaw can cut crooked due to a number of reasons; here are some of the most considerable reasons along with their solutions;

Why Does My Chainsaw Cut Crooked

1. Bent Bar 

It will not be wrong to say that bar is the most important component of the chainsaw. It is the part of the chainsaw on which the chains stays and spins to cut wood.

In some cases when the chainsaw cuts crooked, the bar may not be straight, or bent. The bending in a bar not only causes crooked cutting, instead but also loosens the tension in the chain which may be dangerous.


Repairing the bent bar isn’t something technical or very complex. You can simply eliminate the bend using a hammer. If the chain is extremely bent, and cannot be retrieved to its original position, it is better to replace it with a new one.

2. Improper Tension in Chain 

The chain is a leading component that is mainly responsible for cutting wood. It stays on the guide bar and spins around it. To cut properly, there must be appropriate tension in the chain. If the chain is loose or over-tight, it will not be able to deliver the required job in both cases.

If the chain is too loose, it can get off the bar, and if the chain is too tight, it may not spin on the bar with the required speed. So, inappropriate tension in the chain is a considerable factor that can cause crooked cutting.


It is very simple to bring appropriate tension back into the chain. For this purpose, you need a flathead screwdriver – insert this screwdriver in the tensioning pin and move it in a clockwise direction to tighten. If the chain is over-tight, turn the tensioning pin in an anti-clockwise direction to reduce the tension in the chain.

3. Irregular Cutting Teeth 

The chainsaw chain has sharp teeth used to cut wood while working with it. These teeth get dull and become uneven with time; especially, when they aren’t sharpened even after a long interval of usage. If the teeth of chainsaw chains aren’t regular or equal in size, it is common for them to deliver a crooked cut on wood.

At the same time, if you keep on using your chainsaw with a chain having irregular teeth, you may need to face some irreparable losses in the form of permanent deformation of the bar or damaged chain.


Uneven teeth cause irregular cutting of wood. However, teeth can be repaired using a file or Dremel. Using these simple techniques, you can make all teeth equal, and sharpen them well to deliver a smooth cut.

4. Uneven Top Plate 

Most of the time, people think that their chainsaw is delivering crooked cutting due to the bent bar, inappropriate chain, or irregular cutting teeth – yes, most of the time they will be right, but sometime their assumption will be wrong. This is because the problem may not be with all these things, but with the top plate.

If you have thoroughly checked the bar for bending, the chain for tension in it, and the teeth for their equal level – the next potential reason is an uneven top plate of your chainsaw chain. The uneven top plate doesn’t only lower the speed of the chain on the bar but delivers crooked cuts as well.


The size of the top plates is very important to ascertain. For a smooth and even cutting pattern, the size of the top plates must be equal. If you notice that one side of the top plate is longer than another side, sharpen it unless the extended side reaches the dimensions of the shorter one.

5. Uneven Sharpness 

The sharpness of teeth holds key importance in getting the job done efficiently. If the teeth of the chainsaw aren’t well-sharp, it will not be able to deliver a smooth cutting. These unequal and unsharpened teeth caused irregular bites on the surface of cutting wood.

Mostly, the sharpness of teeth is affected when you keep on using it without proper maintenance – one other potential reason for damaged teeth is to repair them with the file while having not enough knowledge about the procedure. So, learn how to sharpen the chainsaw chain with file; otherwise, you may damage the teeth of your chainsaw.


The simple solution to this problem is to keep the teeth of your chainsaw sharp and it is only possible when you know how to sharpen the chainsaw chain using tested methods.

Final Verdict

Crooked cutting isn’t a big problem – but if it is left untreated, the problem may get aggravated and the performance of the chainsaw may get more affected.

All aforementioned reasons are potential reasons that can cause your chainsaw to deliver crooked cuts – I have also explained the solution to every problem; apply these solutions, and repair your chainsaw.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q1. How do you fix a chainsaw that wouldn’t cut straight? 

First of all, it is necessary to know about the reason behind the uneven cutting of wood to fix your chainsaw. Once you know the reason, you will apply the solution accordingly. For example, if your chainsaw isn’t cutting well due to insufficient tension in the chain; it can be repaired providing it with enough tension.

Q2. Why does my chainsaw keep cutting on the left? 

If your chainsaw keeps cutting on the left, it means that the teeth on the right side of your chainsaw are longer. To correct this fault, sharpen the longer side of the chainsaw tooth unless it becomes equal to the shorter side.

Q3. How do I stop my chainsaw from cutting crooked?

If your chainsaw is cutting crooked, you should be concerned about it. Usually, insufficient tension in chain, uneven top plate, damaged or bent bar and uneven sharpness are real causes of this problem. Identify the cause of crooked cutting, and you can easily get rid of this problem.

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