How To Cut Firewood With A Chainsaw: Step-By-Step Process To Make Firewood Cutting Easier

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Have you ever made plans to cut firewood but don’t know where to begin? It’s nothing to worry about, we’ve all been there at some point. It is easier to have doubts and find the answers, rather than cutting firewood the wrong way and making a mess.

Cutting firewood with a chainsaw is incredibly easy, especially if you know the right process to do it. In this article, you will get to know the step-by-step process of how to cut firewood with a chainsaw, what type of trees to cut, and a lot more.

How to cut firewood with a chainsaw?

As complex as it may seem in your head. Cutting firewood with a chainsaw is very easy. All you’ll need is a chainsaw, the safety gear, and the right kind of firewood, and you’re good to go. Here are the steps that you should follow to easily cut firewood with a chainsaw within minutes.

Step 1: Select the right size of chainsaw

Before you head out and start slicing up firewood, you should first ensure that you have the right chainsaw. Not only should you consider the type of chainsaw but also the right size of the chainsaw.

For most homeowners, an 18-inch chainsaw will be the ideal length to cut firewood. For indoor fireplaces, you’ll want a 16-inch piece of firewood when everything is said and done. However, if you’re starting out with massive tree trunks, then you might want to use a 20 or 24-inch chainsaw. This will allow you to easily get the job done and cut through the thickness of the wood.

The general rule of thumb is to choose a chainsaw length two inches longer than the wood you’ll be cutting. This way, you can easily prevent the nose from getting pinched and experiencing a sudden kickback.

Step 2: Protect yourself with the necessary safety gear

Whenever you are operating a chainsaw, safety should always come first. Operating a chainsaw comes with a lot of risks, and even a small mistake can prove fatal. In fact, each year there are over 36,000 chainsaw-related injuries in the USA alone.

For staying safe, you’ll need to wear proper safety gear and protective equipment before you even touch the chainsaw. The necessary protective gear includes safety gloves, chainsaw chaps, eye protection or face mask, noise protection, helmet, safety jacket, and more.

Step 3: Cut the tree into usable logs

Once you’ve got the proper size chainsaw and all of the protective gear on, the next step would be to start chunking up the tree into usable logs. For doing that, you’ll need to divide the trunk into equal parts (around 4-foot lengths), which can be easily managed.

You could either eyeball the measurement or be precise by using a forest tape measure and a marker. It is recommended to be precise in your cuts, so measure each 4-foot section using a forest tape measure. Then, mark the sections with marking spray. 

Next up, if the tree trunk is lying on the ground, make use of the chainsaw to cut 3/4 of the way. Remember to make the cuts through the trunk along with the markings. Then, using a felling level, turn the trunk over. This will allow you to cut through the other side to finish the cuts. You wouldn’t want to cut all the way through the trunk lying on the ground.

It would get the chainsaw chain in contact with dirt, dulling the teeth of the chain. This is why you would want to cut through one side before rolling the trunk over. Now, finish the cut from the other side. In case you’re cutting on a sawhorse, you’ll be able to cut all the way through the trunk without issues.

Step 4: Cut the tree logs into 16-inch lengths

Make sure you’ve managed to cut all the tree logs into 4-foot lengths. The next step would be to turn the pieces into correct firewood lengths – 16 inches each. For doing that, place the 4-foot sections of logs on a seahorse, or you can even continue working on the ground. Follow the guidance in the last step about cutting through the logs without actually damaging the chain.

Step 5: Cut the firewood in half

This is the fun part, the part that will turn your logs into firewood pieces.

For splitting your firewood in half, first, you should place the log on a tree stump or on the ground. Remember to place a piece of wood on either side of the tree log as they’ll act as support. The support is important so that the log isn’t rolling left or right.

Next up, take the chainsaw and cut through the full length of the log down the middle. It would be smart to dig the bucking spikes at the base of the chainsaw into the log. Then, simply pivot the blade down into the cut. Similar to when you’re cutting the logs on the ground, you shouldn’t cut all the way through. This way, the wood will not hit the ground and end up dulling the chain. Instead, you should cut until you have around 1-inch of wood left on the logs.

Then, put down the chainsaw and lift the wood with your own hands. Turn it over and then drop it forcefully onto other pieces of wood that you’re using as a supporting wedge. You can also do the same on the tree stump. The sudden force will finish the firewood split and easily snap the log into two pieces. If the log doesn’t split, you can make use of a mallet or a felling wedge and finish off the split.

Step 6: Cut the wooden halves into quarters

This step is very similar to the fifth step. Then, turn the wooden halves of firewood so that the flat end is sitting on the tree stump or ground. Then, you should cut through the full length of the wooden logs with your chainsaw.

Remember to stop around 1-inch length before the end of the cut.

Now, set down your chainsaw and pick up a piece of wood. Then, turn over the wood and drop it on the supporting wedge or the stump for finishing off the split. Once you’re done with the step, you will now have the perfect-sized pieces of firewood. Repeat this step for finishing the other half of the log. 

Next up, go back to step 5 and repeat the entire cycle until you’re done cutting all the firewood.

How to Cut Firewood With a Chainsaw

How to choose the perfect tree for firewood?

Understanding which kind of trees will make for the best firewood is also significant. Ideally, you’ll need to choose a tree that isn’t just dry, but also consists of dense fibers that burn longer. If the firewood burns longer, it reduces the amount of firewood you’ll need to cut for each session. You will also benefit from burning clean, dry hardwood instead of trees with a heavy resin. A wet, sap-heavy tree might produce excess soot when burning, leading to a deeply clogged chimney.

Finding trees that can easily regenerate themselves after they’re cut is an amazing way of ensuring that ecosystems aren’t disrupted.


The best trees that can be used as firewood include Cedar Wattle, Two Veined Hickory, Brown Barrel, Black She-Oak, Bracelet Honey Myrtle, Prickly Paperback, and more.

Money Trees that belong to the eucalyptus family will naturally coppice after they’ve been cut. It means that the trees produce offshoots from the main stump turning into several trunks. While it is true that all kinds of trees will burn, choosing a hardwood variety offers a more intense burn. This is the case thanks to the density of the wood. Once you’ve selected an appropriate tree and have cut it, it’ll be time to cut into the firewood. This will allow it to dry out for a period of 12-24 months.

Prioritize safety and keep yourself safe

Cutting firewood or even operating a chainsaw can be a very risky task. It’ll be an even riskier business if you don’t use the appropriate safety kit. Whether you’re using a pole saw, an electric-powered chainsaw, or a gas-powered chainsaw, face protection is extremely important. It can be done in the form of safety eyewear and a helmet. For people who are using a chainsaw to cut firewood, ear protection will go a long way in preventing loss of hearing. Using long sleeve jackets and trousers made using a thick fabric will prevent any accidental cuts. Lastly, a decent pair of protective saw gloves will help prevent splinters and blisters.

For people using a sawhorse, a pair of protective boots will help prevent any broken toes. You will be surprised at how heavy a freshly cut wooden log is. Further, you can also use a neckerchief over the mouth and nose for preventing wood fibers from being inhaled.


There you have it, now you can enjoy your freshly cut firewood. As long as you choose the right kind of firewood and follow the steps mentioned above, you can easily cut firewood with a chainsaw without any hiccups.

Cutting firewood with a chainsaw can be fast and easy. Remember to use the right size of chainsaw and cut the logs into halves until you have the right-sized logs. Remember to not use a chainsaw that is too long or too short, else you’ll get an inevitable injury.

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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.