How To Cut Wood Slices With Chainsaw: Different Ways To Cut Wood Slices

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Everyone who owns a chainsaw probably knows how to cut or prune using the chainsaw. For some people, that isn’t what they want. Some people want to know how to cut wood slices with a chainsaw. In this guide, you’ll get to know what you’ll need, the pre-requisites, and multiple ways to cut wood slices with a chainsaw.

What will you require for cutting wood slices with a chainsaw?

You don’t need a lot of things, only a high-quality chainsaw is enough while there are a few option tools like a wood jig, level, tape measure, and orbital sander that might come in handy. Remember, regardless of your choice to use a gas-powered chainsaw or an electric chainsaw, it’ll be important to make sure that the chain is sharp.

chainsaw slicing a wood

Safety should be of utmost priority as well. A chainsaw is among the most powerful tools, and it could easily turn out to be dangerous if you’re not careful.

Here are some important chainsaw safety tips that you must remember when operating a chainsaw –

  • Cutting with the top portion of the bar is the most natural
  • Avoid the chainsaw kickback zone
  • Hold the chainsaw with an encircling grip
  • Do not carry with a hand on the back handle of the saw

It is important to have a proper feel for the chainsaw by practicing simple cuts on a small piece of wood. Further, you must always wear the property safety equipment when you’re about to equip a chainsaw. The safety gear you’ll require consists of sturdy gloves, noise protection, eye protection, chainsaw chaps, steel-toed boots, and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket. You must follow these safety practices and ensure your safety.

Different methods to cut wood slices with a chainsaw

Method 1: Fast and freehand

Using this method, you will be able to cut wooden slices without any extra equipment besides your chainsaw, the tree log, and support. This is the fastest method of cutting wood slices, but it isn’t the most accurate way.

Step 1: Prop up the log

You won’t want to cut wood slices if the tree log is on the ground. That position will make it harder for you to control the cuts, while increasing the chances of the chainsaw getting dull after coming in contact with dirt.

The best position to cut wood slices is to have the tree log at a convenient height above your knees. If you’re looking to get the most even and flat cuts of the wood, you’ll need to prop the tree log up on a sawbuck or a chainsaw horse.  You can either purchase a chainsaw horse or create your own out of 2×4 lumber.

Step 2: Locate the tree knots

Not only will cutting through tree knots greatly hurt your chainsaw chain, but it’ll also be potentially dangerous. Tree knots are the circular spots where wood is fairly condensed. To spot the tree knots, look for the circle shapes that do not run along with the bark and the ones that protrude from the trunk. Tree knots are comparatively harder wood and could end up making your chainsaw act in unpredictable ways when sawing through them. For protecting your tool and reducing the chances of kickback injuries, you should take notes of where the tree knots are and avoid them when you’re cutting the wood slices.

Step 3: Measure the thickness and mark the tree log

When you’re cutting wood slices with a chainsaw, the thickness of the slices will be up to you. You can easily choose to go for 1-inch, 2-inch, or 5-inch slices. Regardless of the thickness you’re choosing for each slice, the same step will apply – you should measure the thickness using a tape measure and put marks all around the tree log.

Measuring the thickness and marking the wood will help you get the most precise cuts and with the lines, you’ll be able to cut level and steady.

Step 4: Start sawing 

The next step would be to turn on your chainsaw and hold it firmly at a height of a few inches above the marks. Squeeze the throttle before lowering the blade to the tree trunk and cutting the wood. Apply light pressure as you’re pushing through the cuts and let your chainsaw do all the work.

If you’re finding it hard to cut, and you’re required to push extra hard to get through the cut, it is a sign that your chainsaw chain is dull. Sharpen the chain and have another go at it. A handy little tool for sharpening would be a manual sharpener.

As you’re slicing through the wood, remember to keep an eye on the markings that you’ve made on the trunk and make sure that the blade is following it as close as possible.

Step 5: Finish 

The final step would be to finish the cut and let the wood slice drop onto the ground. Then, you should use the tape measure for measuring out another slice and marking the trunk before repeating the same cutting process again.

Method 2: Using a Jig

If you’re looking to get the most precise method to cut wood slices with a chainsaw, then you should build and use a jig. A wood slicing jig is simply a few pieces of 2×4 nailed together, and they act as a guide for the chainsaw blade as you’re cutting through the tree.

Before you go through the next steps, the first two steps are the same as the Freehand and Fast method for setting up the tree log in the chainsaw horse and locating the knots.

Step 1: Build the Jig

Measure the diameter of the tree log that you are looking to slice. Transfer those measurements to a 2×4 and cut it into multiple pieces of that length. Cut two more pieces of 2×4 that are 4-inches longer than the initial measurement. It’ll give you extra space for accommodating the formation of the box.

At this point, you will basically need to nail the two 2×4 pieces together for forming a box. The box will easily slide over the tree trunk. Nail the end of the first pieces of 2×4 that you’re cutting to the side of one of the second pieces of 2×4 that you’re cutting. You should start at the end of the longer piece.

Once you have the right angle nailed together, you can slide it along the tree trunk and find out where you need to nail the second (shorter) piece of 2×4. Nail the end into the longer piece. You will now have a U-shaped piece of the box. Finally, you should place the remaining piece of 2×4 on the tip of the U-shaped box and nail it into place. You will now have a 2×4 box formed.

Step 2: Prepare the blade

Find two thin pieces in the scrap wood at least 1-inch in thickness and equal in size to each other. Glue one of the two pieces of wood to the base towards the right side of the blade. Glue the other piece near the tip of the same side of the blade. 

This setup will help raise the chainsaw chain above the jig. Further, it’ll allow you to slide the blade across the 2x4s without having to touch the jig for a perfectly level cut.

Step 3: Set the Jig on the wooden log

Slip the jig over the wooden log and slide it down until the top of the jig is giving you ample room to get the desired thickness of the cut. Then, simply slide the jig down another inch to accommodate the raised level of the chainsaw blade. Attach the jig to the wooden log by fastening it with screws through the opposite sides of the jig. This way, it wouldn’t move when you are cutting the wood.

Step 4: Start to saw

Slowly turn on the chainsaw while holding it firmly in both hands. Squeeze the throttle and slide the right side of the blade across the jig. The attached wooden strips will keep the cut level. 

Use light pressure as you are pushing through the cut. In case you find it difficult to cut, and you’re having to push hard for the blade to get through the cut, it is likely that the chain is dull. Stop and sharpen the chain before you proceed.

pile of sliced wood

Step 5: Finish and repeat

Finish the cut and allow the wood slice to drop to the ground. For cutting more wood slices, repeat the entire cutting process.

Method 3: Cut first and level later

Another method of cutting wood slices is to cut the slices and then level out the slices later. You can simply cut the slices by eyeballing the log or stump using your chainsaw. You must cut them as closely as your preferred thickness. Further, you should try to make the slices as level as possible. The next step would be to use a power sander like an orbital sander to even out the slice and then level the cut area of the wood slice.

DIY Chainsaw Log Cutting Jig


There is nothing difficult about cutting wood slices using a chainsaw. It depends on your needs and the method you wish to use. There are multiple methods about how to cut wood slices with a chainsaw, just choose the one that best suits you. Regardless of the option you’re choosing, keep the chainsaw sharp and maintain the necessary safety standards.

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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.