How To Make Chainsaw Winch

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Do you own a chainsaw, but you’re looking to make a chainsaw winch but don’t know how to do that? If yes, then you are certainly in the right place.

Making chainsaw winch is pretty easy and involves detaching the chainsaw engine, checking the condition of the chainsaw engine, collecting all parts needed to make the chainsaw winch, assembling the chainsaw winch, and using the winch. The tools that you will need for making a chainsaw winch are a chainsaw, a shaft, a pulley, a flat iron, a channel, and angles. A winch is designed to make light work of heavy pulling on a chainsaw. It is a manual, gas-powered device that is made from steel, and it consists of a rope, chain, or cable wrapped around a barrel that can rotate.

In this article, you will get to learn all about a chainsaw winch, how does a chainsaw winch work, how to make chainsaw winch, how to use a chainsaw winch, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

How Does a Chainsaw Winch Work

A chainsaw is a fairly convenient tool to own, even if you might not always use it. Chainsaws make tasks like felling, pruning, bucking, and limbing trees a breeze. However, this isn’t all that they can do. Once you have done the cutting, you will still have heavy trees that you need to haul and clear away. Maybe there is some other load that you might need to move. This is where a chainsaw can come in handy. Your chainsaw can also help in pulling and lifting objects if you’ve got a winch. 

Chainsaw winches are designed for making light work of heavy pulling. They don’t just make your job easier, but they also make the job much safer. Essentially, winches are manual, gas-powered devices made using steel. The mechanics of a winch is quite simple.

It consists of a chain, rope, or cable wrapped around a horizontal barrel that can rotate. You need to connect the winch to the chainsaw. You must secure the rope or wire around the object that you want to move, and turn on your chainsaw. Before you can do that, you will first want to know how to make chainsaw winch.

What To Do Before You Start Building a Chainsaw Winch

You have the option to either buy a winch with a motor or purchase a chainsaw winch. If you are a believer in the DIY way, you will be glad to know that you can build a winch yourself and attach it to the chainsaw. This will save you a lot of money. Before you start making your DIY chainsaw winch, there are a few things that you’ll need to put in place.

There are a few parts that you’ll need to gather. You can find the parts that you have to use for the winch in one of two places. You can either go to a nearby scrap dealer or to a steel supplier. It’ll cost you less if you go to a scrap yard. 

These parts will be available at a nearby junk dealer too. You might get a better value than if you have purchased them new from a steel supplier. Make sure that you’re getting a shaft, pulley, and other components. If you tinker with things, you can also find them in old appliances and cars. You can purchase a strong winch from your local hardware store, but you shouldn’t order a winch motor as you’ll already have the chainsaw engine. Here are the parts that you’ll need to gather before you start making a chainsaw winch – 

  • A chainsaw
  • A pulley
  • A shaft
  • A channel
  • A flat iron
  • Angles

How To Make a Chainsaw Chain

As the name suggests, you’ll require a chainsaw engine for operating your DIY chainsaw winch. The advantage to this type of winch is that you’ll be able to use a gas-powered chainsaw as opposed to the electric operated winches in the market. Further, it is also portable and quite easy to mount on a stable surface. Here are the steps that you’ll need to follow when making a chainsaw winch –

1. Detach the chainsaw engine

It’ll be impossible to run the chainsaw and the winch from the same engine at the same time. This is why the first thing that you’ll need to do is separate the chainsaw from the engine. You have to start the process by detaching the chainsaw from the engine. You should follow the owner’s manual to properly detach the chainsaw. The process will be similar to when you have to replace the chainsaw. Not everyone keeps the owner’s manual. If you don’t have the manual, you can easily find a guide online to help you.

Make sure that you’re using the manual for the specific brand and model of the chainsaw you own. There might be variations in the designs, so you must be careful. Remember to store the chainsaw properly as it’ll help you avoid rust and damage as you’ll need the chainsaw later for other projects.

2. Check the condition of your chainsaw

If you have had your chainsaw for a while, you would have serviced the engine when you had to. How well your chainsaw winch works will depend on how well you have taken care of your chainsaw engine. Make sure that you are servicing your chainsaw frequently. A faulty chainsaw will result in a faulty winch, which won’t be of any use to you. Further, your efforts to build the winch will also go to waste. The clutch and the throttle must be in good condition, as they are the necessary elements that will support the operation of your chainsaw winch.

3. Use the collected parts to assemble the chainsaw winch

You have already got the chainsaw with you. The other parts that you’ll require are the winch. If you haven’t got a store-bought winch, you can make a winch from a strong, durable, and flexible steel cable to convert it into a capstan. Generally, steel is recommended as it is rust-resistant, and you can be assured that it won’t break when pulling a heavy load.

You will require a channel, flat iron, and angle for preparing the base of the winch. The base here will act as the support for your winch. You can easily get these components from your local scrap dealer. You will be able to get a better deal than having to buy a new one from a steel supply house. Make sure that you have a shaft, pulley, and other automotive parts. You can easily arrange for the parts from old appliances and vehicles.

DIY Chainsaw winch

Take an aircraft steel cable and then wind it on the capstan to create a capstan winch. Assemble the angles, flat iron, and channel for creating the base of the winch. Take the gearbox that you got from the scrap dealer or an old car and then remove the tail shaft housing. You should look for a rubber inner tube. Cut a piece of rubber, and it should be the same size as the rear plate of the box. Make a few holes in the rubber, as it’ll hold the bolts and connect to the main shaft.

Use a gas torch for welding the main support brackets. You need to cut the pieces from a thick u-shaped channel. The measurements of the channels shouldn’t be less than 3” x 10” x 3”. In case you don’t have a gas torch, you can easily ask your local welder for welding it at a certain fee.

Once you have finished layering the base of the winch, you must fix the transmission against the main shaft of the gearbox. You need to drill holes through the metal plates where you’ll be fixing the drum bracket and the crank.

After that, you should fix the winch handle on the framework. Make sure that the handle is long and comfortable. Using a long handle will ensure that the winch is stable and easy to use. You must thread the crank before welding the crank joints.

4. Try out your new chainsaw winch

At this point, your chainsaw winch should be ready to be used. You should feel free to attach it to the chainsaw and give it a test run to make sure that it is working well. Pull the load, but make sure that you do not exceed the load that your chainsaw is capable of pulling.

Once you have made sure that it is working, you should attach the winch to the load that you want to haul. Under normal conditions, a DIY chainsaw winch can carry loads not exceeding 5000 pounds. However, you should check the horsepower of the chainsaw and run it against the numbers, just to be sure that you aren’t wrong. If you are in any doubt, you should feel free to contact the chainsaw manufacturer for help.

professional logger holding a chainsaw winch

Pros, Cons, and Uses of Chainsaw Winches

Portable DIY chainsaw winches are quite easy to carry around. If your chainsaw is manual and makes use of gas, you won’t have to worry about your work being affected if there is no electricity. A chainsaw winch has a wide range of applications such as logging trees, carrying lumber, moving around logs, and more.



The portable of a DIY chainsaw winch is immense. You will be able to use a chainsaw winch with your bare hands, and you won’t require a truck. This means that you’ll be able to winch in tighter spots, which will give you a lot more versatility.

Looks impressive

A chainsaw winch looks impressive. The look and feel of a winch are pretty awesome. You will definitely be able to impress your friends and neighbors with this device, as there is nothing else quite like it.

Reuse abandoned tools

With a chainsaw winch, you’ll be able to use abandoned tools. If you have got an unused chainsaw lying around, you’ll be able to recycle it into something useful. By making a chainsaw winch, you will become a more efficient wincher, with respect to both time and money.


Limited use

A chainsaw winch can only be used for pulling trees and other forestry-related tasks. If you don’t do any of this, your chainsaw winch might not be used regularly.

Complicated to make

Sometimes, a chainsaw can be quite complicated to build and use. The hugely complex build and DIY nature of a chainsaw winch will mean that if something goes wrong, it will go horribly wrong. Your chainsaw winch can be more effort than it is worth if you do not build it the proper way.

Limitations of Chainsaw Winches

Making your own DIY chainsaw winch will save you a fair bit of money and make your jobs much easier and safer. However, there are a few limitations to the use of chainsaw winches that you need to be aware of. Whether your chainsaw winch is a factory-made version like Lewis Winch or a DIY version, these limitations will still apply.

Chainsaw winches can only pull loads over a slight include. For pulling loads over a slope at an angle greater than 45 degrees, you will require a hoist. A winch might not work the best. 

There is a certain threshold of the weight that your chainsaw winch is able to pull. However, the limit will depend on how powerful the chainsaw motor is. Before you attach your chainsaw winch to any load, you should consider the horsepower of your chainsaw. The type of towline that you’re using will also affect how much weight your chainsaw winch can pull.

You need to consider the power-to-weight ratio when you are pulling heavy loads – 

  • Pulling a 2000 to 2500 lbs weight will require a chainsaw with 3 HP
  • Pulling a 3000 to 3500 lbs weight will require a chainsaw with 5-6 HP
  • Pulling a 4000 lbs weight will require a chainsaw with 7 HP

How To Use a Winch

When you have completed assembling your chainsaw, you should attach it to the chainsaw engine for using it. Take your DIY winch and then place it before the chainsaw. Attach the winch as you’d attach a chainsaw blade. Make sure that you have tightened all the bolts for avoiding the winch from getting detached when in use.

You will be able to use the chainsaw winch as a portable logging winch. Carry it into the woods and then hoist it on a tree uphill and pull the logs uphill. Further, a homemade portable winch is also quite useful for hunters. They will be able to hook their prey and drag it to their vehicles and carry it home.

Sometimes, you might be traveling, and your car might break down. You can easily hoist the chainsaw winch on another truck and then pull your vehicle to a nearby service center. You will be able to save the breakdown charges with ease.

Using a chainsaw winch on a chainsaw is pretty straightforward. The chainsaw winch is manually operated and makes use of gas. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry about power outages or having to operate in the woods where you don’t have access to electricity.


How does a chainsaw winch work?

The oil-filled gearbox on a chainsaw winch transforms the high RPM of the chainsaw into low RPM torque. This drives the winch cable spool, which will roll up the cable and pull the load.

Should I go for a DIY or factory-made winch?

A factory-made chainsaw winch is quite expensive. It is also fairly bulky when you purchase it with its motor. Meanwhile, a DIY winch can be complex to make, but it will save you a lot of money.

It is important that you should have a chainsaw winch at your home. Even though it isn’t equipment that you will use every day, it will still be useful when you have to lift heavy objects and carry them from one place to the other. You will require it most when you have to go logging, as you’ll be able to drag logs uphill with ease.

How much weight can a winch lift?

Generally, a winch is capable of lifting around 10% more than the listed weight that it has on it. This means that if you have a 2500-inch-pound winch, it can lift around 2750 pounds. When you are using pulleys and different cables, the total weight that your winch can lift will depend on the strength of the motor and the weight of the vehicle.

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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.