Why does my chainsaw dull so fast?

A chainsaw is an incredibly powerful tool used to cut through wood as well as other materials. However, you may on occasion be experiencing what’s called a “dull chainsaw”. There are numerous reasons why your chainsaw may dull with the issues ranging from operator error to machinery breakdown.

If your chainsaw dulls fast check you are cutting at the correct angle, the rakers are installed correctly, and your chain is on the right way. If you are cutting wood that’s dirty this can cause the chainsaw to work a lot harder as prematurely dull the chain

What’s The Reason For Your Chainsaw Dulling?

When a chainsaw makes contact with the material it’s cutting through, it should do it with little excessive force from the operator.

If you feel yourself having to push through the material to generate a cut, then that’s a good sign that your chainsaw is becoming dull and isn’t sharp enough to do the job.

Another surefire way to notice dull chainsaw is the sawdust it’s giving off during cutting. When cutting against the grain of the wood (cross-cutting), the sawdust should be minute and weightless. If you’re experiencing chunkier strands then this is a good sign that your chainsaw is dulling.

It’s never a good sign if your chainsaw begins producing smoke, however again, this is another noticeable sign that your chainsaw is dulling.

And finally, if you realise your wood is cut unevenly, this could be another sign of a dull chainsaw. With the teeth uneven, and blunt, the final cut will look poor at best.

Here we look into the possibilities as to why your chainsaw dulls so fast.

Is Your Chainsaw Cutting At The Right Angle?

Cutting your wood at too steep an angle can be one of the primary causes for your chainsaw becoming dull. By cutting from the top of the wood, through to the bottom your chain has more chance of impacting with the floor, thus causing potential damage to your chainsaw.

Overbucking, or overcutting depending on who you talk to, is the most common cutting technique when it comes to operating a chainsaw safely. The operator cuts down from the top through the material laid horizontally, so the chainsaw’s direction of cutting runs from the top to the bottom.

Underbucking is the reverse to overbucking, and again, is one of the most common techniques when it comes to cutting. The chainsaw cuts through the horizontal material from the bottom to the top, using a pull motion as the chainsaw is brought towards you.

By handling the chainsaw correctly, you are less likely to dull your chainsaw chain.

We recommend you make sure your cuts are angled correctly to stop the onset of dulling but to also reduce the chance of personal injury.

Are Your Rakers Too High?

Having the rakers on your chainsaw installed too high can lead to an inadequate performance when using your chainsaw. This is why it’s important to make sure that the rakers are installed correctly.

Alternatively known as depth gauges or riders, when installed too high, rakers will create more dust from your material slowing the cutting process down due to this dusty residue. This means you need to put more physical effort into the cut, thus making the chain hot and potentially causing damage.

When installed at the correct height, the rakers should produce small chips from your material, meaning you will find it easier to cut through your chosen material, as well as ensuring your chainsaw does not damage.

Check Chainsaw Chain Is Not On Backwards

If the chainsaw has been installed backwards, you’ll notice almost immediately that more effort is required to cut through the material.

This could make you think that your chainsaw is dull. If you’re having difficulty cutting, stop and check the chain as by continuing to cut with excessive force, this could lead to personal injury.

When it comes to installing a new chain on your chainsaw, it’s key to make a note on which way the cutting edge is pointing. These should be pointing away from the engine and towards the material you’re going to be cutting.

The chainsaw itself rotates in a clockwise direction which means the cutting edge should be facing in the same direction in order to cut through your material effectively.

Dirt Causes A Chainsaw To Dull

Cutting through wood that’s dirty can sometimes dull a chainsaw and there’s two factors attributed to dirt.

We touched on the first above, the angle of the cut. If you’re cutting through logs and your angle of approach is too steep, a simple cut through could nick dirt or even worse, rocks on the floor causing your chainsaw to jerk, thus dulling.

But, if directly cutting into a tree that’s recently felled, or one you are cutting into, these often hollow bodies can contain leaf litter and dirt which can cause your chainsaw to dull.

In the unlikely event that you feel your chainsaw jerking, or struggling to cut through with ease, dulling may have already begun to take effect.

Is it my technique, or my equipment?

Well, that’s completely up to you to go away and analyse however, it may be possible that there isn’t one single explanation for your chainsaw dulling but more an accumulation of problems.

We must remind you to always be careful and work safely when operating such a powerful machine and to wear the correct protective equipment at all times.

Keeping control and a strong, steady grip at all times with fingers and thumbs completely wrapping around the handles whilst also maintaining balance by keeping it as close to the body as possible.

As you can see, there are a lot of things that you need to think about when you are troubleshooting why your chain is dulling fast. We actually have a detailed guide called Different Types of Chainsaw Chains and it is a great read on all the different things you should consider when choosing a chain! And when you are ready to get yourself a new chain, we have you covered as we have plenty of chainsaw chains for sale.

If you are up for a new chainsaw, check out our Canberra Mowers shop in Mitchell. We stock the latest Husqvarna chainsaws in Canberra for both professional and home users.

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