Can Chainsaw Cut Through Bone?

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Are you a chainsaw user, and you’re curious about whether it can cut through bone? If yes, then you are definitely in the right place at the right time.

Can chainsaw cut through bone is a common question chainsaw users have as sometimes accidents happen, and it might fall on your hand. The simple answer is – Yes, a chainsaw can cut through bones. In fact, almost any type of chainsaw is capable of cutting through bones. However, it won’t be smooth, and the blade will become dull quicker compared to cutting firewood. This should come as no surprise, as chainsaws were originally designed for this exact reason. The first chainsaws were actually used as medical tools for removing bones. Eventually, people realized that chainsaws can be used for wood too.

In this article, you will get to learn all about using chainsaws for cutting bones, can chainsaw cut through bone, what to do if you cut yourself with a chainsaw, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

History Of Chainsaws Cutting Through Bones

History agrees that a chainsaw is capable of cutting through bones. Chainsaws were developed in the 18th century, and they were meant for cutting through the pelvic bone to help with childbirth. During those days, when a baby was in a critical position, the pelvis had to be cut to make the delivery easier. This process was known as symphysiotomy. The procedure made use of a small knife, which was quite time-consuming and painfully excruciating.

To make things quicker and less painful, Osteotome was invented in the years that followed. This was essentially a small handheld device the size of a knife and had to be handled mechanically using a hand crank. Later on, its use in childhood was stopped, but it took on many forms in amputation and surgery. In the 20th century, things took a new turn for chainsaws as they started to be used for cutting firewood and taking down trees like the modern chainsaws that are used today.

Chainsaws and Childbirth

Can Chainsaw Cut Through Bone?

The stigma around chainsaws makes it seem like this is a gruesome murder weapon, when it is actually an invaluable tool for your wood-cutting projects, and it is worth every penny.

Movies like the Texas chainsaw massacre and video games like GTA hold truth to an extent. Yes, a chainsaw is capable of cutting through bone, but this doesn’t mean that this is how a chainsaw needs to be used.

Almost any type of chainsaw is capable of cutting through bones. However, it won’t be smooth, and the blade can become dull quicker compared to cutting wood. Further, a bone saw will be best suited for this task. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that chainsaws are capable of cutting through bones, as this is what a chainsaw was originally designed for. Yes, the early chainsaws were used as a medical tool for removing bones. But it didn’t take long before people realized that chainsaws can be used for wood too.

In fact, chainsaws are extremely dangerous tools that are capable of cutting through human meat like butter and bones like wood. These valuable tools have developed tremendously lately. A chainsaw comes with built-in technology that protects users from such accidents. With precautions and proper safety measures, you can easily avoid such situations. 

Precautions and Safety Measures To Take With a Chainsaw

The thought of a chainsaw falling on your hand is horrifying, but it is indeed capable of cutting through bone. A gas-powered chainsaw is a dangerous tool for beginners, homeowners, and professionals alike. It is a tool that poses the same kind of danger to every type of user. If you accidentally end up cutting a finger or injuring your bone, it could damage the whole respective bone. In worst-case scenarios, you could experience an amputation or even death.

Possible threats posed by chainsaws

Modern chainsaws might not be the best possible option for bone cutting, but it is certainly a possibility. Here are some of the scenarios that can be potentially harmful and should be looked at –

  • Kickback
  • Pullback
  • Pushback
  • Possibly loosen nuts
  • Loosen bar and chain

Even though a chainsaw is capable of cutting through bone and meat, it will still experience resistance to clothes. The rotating teeth could get stuck in cloth and stop the chainsaw before it gets to the flesh. Hence, regardless of the situation, you must use the chainsaw with all the necessary safety measures in place. Fortunately, modern mini chainsaws come with built-in technology that protects the users from potential accidents.

Safety measures to take

Here are some of the safety measures to follow when you are using a chainsaw –

  • Wear protective gloves and work clothes
  • Wear steel-toe boots
  • Wear protective goggles 
  • Wear a helmet with a face shield 
  • Perform a proper check on everything before you start the chainsaw (i.e. control, chain, bar, tension, and sharpness)
  • Turn on the built-in safety features like chain brake, automatic stop switch, chain catcher, and throttle lock 
  • Wear a hand guard to protect your arms
  • Start the chainsaw on the ground and pick it up 
  • Now, use both hands when you are operating, one hand on each handle 
  • Remember to maintain proper footing 
  • Hold your chainsaw at an angle directly in front of you 

What To Do If You Accidentally Cut Yourself With a Chainsaw?

If you accidentally end up cutting yourself with a chainsaw, it’ll be imperative that you seek medical help immediately. The blades of a chainsaw are quite sharp and can result in serious injuries or even death. In case you experience an injury when using a chainsaw, you should do the following and look for immediate medical care as soon as possible.

  • Apply direct pressure to your injury 
  • Elevate the wound if feasible 
  • Now, cover the wound using a sterile bandage and then try to stem the flow of blood 
  • After that, you should apply ice to the area to reduce the swelling 
  • If possible, you should have someone drive you to the hospital so that you’re able to receive proper medical help

The common health hazards when using chainsaws are related to injuries resulting from pushback, kickback, and pull-in. Normally, kickback occurs when the rotating chain gets stopped suddenly after coming in contact with a more solid area, throwing it towards you quickly. 

Pushbacks are usually caused when the chainsaw chain is driven into something that it cannot readily cut. The chainsaw gets pushed back violently toward you. Pull-ins, on the other hand, happen if the chainsaw snags on something while it is being used. It gets pulled out of the operator’s hands and towards them. All these hazards can be prevented by making use of proper techniques and safety procedures.

Can Chainsaws Be Used for Amputation?

Chainsaws possess enough power that they can be used for performing an amputation With that said, it was used for amputation in the past, but not anymore. While chainsaws are sometimes used for amputations, this is typically done only in extreme cases where other methods aren’t available.

There are some instances where using a chainsaw for amputation might be the only option. If amputation is needed, a medical professional will likely require a surgical saw instead of a chainsaw. This is the case because surgical chainsaws are specifically designed for this purpose and are significantly safer to use.

For instance, if a person has a limb severely mangled or crushed, it might be necessary for amputating the limb to save their life.

Further, chainsaws are also used for animal euthanasia. In such situations, the animal has to be typically sedated before you perform the procedure. This procedure isn’t performed frequently and is usually done only in extreme cases. 

What Chainsaw Will You Need for Cutting Bone?

You don’t actually require a heavy-duty chainsaw for ripping through human bones. Bones are tough, but their rigidity also means that a sharp chainsaw can easily slice them into pieces. As to what specifications you will require, not a lot, actually.

For instance, a 12V electric chainsaw having a 4-inch blade is good enough to cut through meat and bones. Of course, the thicker the bone, the more power you will need in your chainsaw. However, a typical electric chainsaw like the Oregon CS1500 would have no issues cutting through human bone.

Here is another way to look at this situation. A Bosch Nanoblade Electric Chainsaw is rated at 100W and cuts through bone with little to no effort. Having 1 HP will equate to 700W. A 80cc gas-powered chainsaw is capable of generating 5 to 10 HP, so it should show you exactly how powerful chainsaws can be.

Ultimately, it comes down to the type of bone you are cutting and what type of chainsaw you are using. Cutting multiple bones will eventually wear out the blade. The cuts will be rough as well, which is why a bone saw will be more suitable in these situations.

It’ll be a different matter if you have to cut a lot of bone without any precision needed. For instance, you might need to dispose of multiple carcasses. If chopping bones to pieces is the only solution, a powerful chainsaw can easily get the job done. In such cases, you won’t need to worry about many smooth cuts, either.

The power of a chainsaw is also what makes it potentially dangerous. The good news for you is that modern chainsaws come with many safety features, including anti-kickback, throttle locks, safety guards, and more. Learning to use a chainsaw properly will be key to protecting yourself from accidents. Chainsaws can be quite dangerous if they aren’t handled properly. If there is limited space in your shed or garage, storing the chainsaw vertically will help save space. Further, it’ll also reduce the risk of tripping over the blade and causing an accident.

Is a Chainsaw Capable of Cutting Through an Arm?

A chainsaw is capable of cutting legs, arms, and other body parts. Bone and flesh won’t be a hindrance to it, but clothing can be. This is why, despite what you see in movies and video games, a chainsaw isn’t an ideal weapon. If you’re wondering if a chainsaw can cut a bare arm, then you should know yes it can. If your arm or body part is fully clothed, the blade might still cut, but not as quickly as you may expect. This is especially true if the blade isn’t sharp enough.

The problem with the chainsaw cutting the bone through cloth is that the blade will get stuck in the fabric and stop spinning. As you might already know, chainsaw blades come with fast-spinning metal chains. This mechanism will allow it to go through bone, wood, and other materials.

However, it might get entangled in the cloth. Bone and meat will not be an issue, but if your arm is clothed, it could take a few passes to cut through bone fully when using a low-power or electric chainsaw. Meanwhile, if you have a powerful chainsaw, it will easily go through the cloth.

Cutting through bones takes a bit of time. A small chainsaw may require around 30 seconds to cut through well-developed muscles and bones. It is possible that you could actually cut your arm by accident with a chainsaw. However, the blade itself isn’t as efficient as a bone saw or a surgical saw. If your arm is clothed and the blade isn’t particularly sharp, the cloth can get wrapped around the chainsaw.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that cleaning offers a lot of protection. If the cloth is skintight, then the blade won’t go through it, along with the flesh and bone. Chainsaws are built for cutting durable, fibrous materials like wood, while the cutting process can get quite messy.

Can a Sharp Chainsaw Rip Through a Person?

Yes, it is indeed true that chainsaws don’t have a lot of trouble going through bones. But can a chainsaw cut through a person? Many movies and video games show chainsaws being used as a weapon, but it isn’t that accurate.

Yes, it is possible to use a chainsaw to cut through flesh, but one swipe won’t be enough. If you have used a chainsaw for cutting a thick tree, you will know that it is slow and often requires multiple starts and stops.

A chainsaw blade features several teeth, which are made from metal chains. These chains have got grooves between them. The grooves and teeth will allow the chainsaws to cut through different materials. Unlike what is seen in movies and video games, it’ll take more than one sweep for cutting through flesh and bone. The blade could go through them, but it will not be as smooth as portrayed in movies and video games.

chainsaw and logs

Chainsaws are capable of ripping through bones and flesh, but it cannot happen in a second or two. Further, it cannot be used for performing surgical cuts of any kind. Still, there is no question that a chainsaw is capable of ripping through flesh and bone. This is why it is important that you wear steel-toed boots, chaps, protective gloves, a jacket, and other protective gear. This is also the reason why chainsaw blades come with a built mechanism that stops the chain in case it comes in contact with the operator.

Ultimately, it will come down to how sharp and well-maintained your chainsaw is. If it is maintained properly with a sharp blade, it can cut through bone and flesh with relative ease. If the blade is dull, cutting would take more time and the blade might get entangled in the cloth.


What can my chainsaw not cut through?

There are different types of chainsaws depending on the chain, bar, power, and performance. If you are a professional lumber or a homeowner, you can say that your chainsaw cannot cut through rock, heavy metal, dirt, and concrete. To have a more detailed answer, you can consult the owner’s manual for your specific chainsaw brand and metal to see what things you can cut using it.

What type of tools can cut through bone?

Orthopedic surgeons make use of rotary drills or oscillating for cutting through bones during surgery. Interestingly, they happen to be the direct descendants of the chainsaw tool known as Osteotome and the entire reason why a chainsaw was invented in the first place.

Is a chainsaw capable of cutting through a person?

Yes, a chainsaw is capable of cutting through a person slowly yet gruesomely, but it isn’t like in games or TV shows where this can be done with a swift strike.

Can a chainsaw cut off an arm if I’m not careful?

When using a chainsaw, it is important that you wear proper safety gear. If you aren’t careful, a chainsaw could cut off an arm during an accident.

Is cutting bone the same as cutting wood?

No, it isn’t. Bone and wood are two very different things, and it isn’t possible to compare them when cutting with a chainsaw.

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Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.