How To Put a Chain Back on a Chainsaw

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Are you a chainsaw user who has to replace the chainsaw chain, but you don’t know how to put the chain back on? If yes, then you are definitely in the right place.

Putting a chain back on a chainsaw is easy as long as you know the right steps. This method involves disconnecting the power source and loosening the bolts holding the guide bar, unscrewing the chain tensioner, and removing the chain. After that, you need to put on the new chain while checking out the direction and ensuring that the teeth are facing the front of the guide bar.

After that, put the cover back while holding the chainsaw chain in one hand and the guide bar in the other hand. Tighten the tension screws using a flat screwdriver and then move it forward or backward to keep up the pace. Remember to wear gloves while you’re doing all this to keep yourself away from injuries while putting the chain back.

In this article, you will get to learn all about putting the chain back on, how to put a chain back on a chainsaw, how to put the chain back in an electric chainsaw, and how to put the chains back on chainsaws of different brands among others. Continue reading to get all the answers that you’re looking for.

Putting the chainsaw chain back on

Imagine you’re working hard and you’re insanely focused. Everything is working well and right in the middle of everything, your chain gets jammed, and your chainsaw stops working. The most disturbing thing would be when you need to pause your work and call a mechanic because you have no idea how to put a chain back on a chainsaw.

But why should you suffer when you can easily resolve this problem on your own? If you’re encountering this problem, then you are definitely in the right place. Chainsaws are of different types, different mechanisms, and different brands. Here, you will find the instructions to put the chain back in chainsaws of different types and different brands.

How to put a chain back on chainsaw easily

An electric chainsaw is an extremely useful piece of equipment, and its popularity has grown over the last few years. These machines offer clean and quiet running when compared to their gas-powered counterparts. 

Just like a gas-powered chainsaw, you will need to replace the chain intermittently. This happens because the chain stretches as it is used because of the load placed on it while cutting.

You need to place the chainsaw on a suitable surface and then assemble the required tools before having a look at the basic steps. Now, get ready to deal with the chainsaw chain that has come off and must be put back. 

1. Loosen the cutting bar

First, you will have to take the old chain off your chainsaw. To do that, you will have to loosen the cutting bar. The way it is done will differ from chainsaw to chainsaw, but there are two main approaches used by the manufacturers. The two approaches are the ones that require tools and the ones that don’t.

For the tool-free method, there will be a large knob that you can turn to release the bar and then de-tension the chain. Normally, it is located on the right-hand side of the chainsaw. Meanwhile, for chainsaws that require tools, you will normally see a pair of nuts or bolts that are located on the side of the chainsaw where the bar meets the body of the saw.

2. De-tension the chainsaw chain

After loosening the cutting bar, you will now have to de-tension the chain. Look for a screw or a knob located near where you loosened the cutting bar. Turning this will cause the chainsaw chain to slacken on the cutting bar.

Now, slacken the chain off all the way, and you will find that you can pull it off the bar entirely. You should keep working it off until it comes free completely.

3. Remove the chain

Once you have removed the cutting bar, the chain would still be connected to the small sprocket inside the saw. You should look up from underneath, and you will be able to see a slot in the chainsaw and see the chain on the sprocket. 

Make use of a screwdriver or your fingers and slide the chainsaw chain off the sprocket. It should come free for removal with ease.

4. Put the chain back on the electric chainsaw

Now you’ll be ready to mount the new chain. The first thing that you should do is make sure that you’ve got the correct chain for your electric chainsaw. You must remember that not every chain will be compatible with every chainsaw. You need to check carefully that you’ve got the correct chain for your chainsaw.

After that, make a note of the direction that the chain is moving in on the saw. Normally, this is mentioned on the chainsaw. In fact, it is the same for all chainsaws – the chain will move along the top of the bar, around the tip, and then along the bottom.

This is important to make sure that you’re fitting the new chain in the correct way around. You should also note the direction that the teeth are sharpened or any notation on the chainsaw chain to ensure that you’ve fitted it correctly.

person putting the chain on a chainsaw

5. Mounting the new chainsaw chain

Put the new chainsaw chain over the sprocket and then pull it out parallel to the cutting bar. Now, locate the inner lugs on the chainsaw chain into the slot present on the cutting bar. You should start nearer the body of the chainsaw and then gradually work your way around the cutting bar until they’re all snug in the bar.

6. Tension the cutting bar

You can now begin to re-tension the cutting bar, ensuring that all the lugs stay correctly aligned in their slots. You should also keep tensioning the bar until you’ve reached the correct tension mentioned by the manufacturer. Normally, this will allow for a little slack. Remember, the chainsaw should not be bar-tight.

Finally, you need to secure the cutting bar once more using the bolts. Alternatively, you can also use the tool-free adjustment knobs for locking the bar back down again. Most chains are supplied pre-oiled, but you should ensure that you have topped off the chainsaw with chain oil.

Move the chainsaw chain forwards and backward manually to check that it moves correctly. Now, you’re ready to plug the chainsaw back in and test it out. You must run the chainsaw carefully to oil your new chainsaw and then perform the test cuts to ensure that the new chain is cutting correctly. In case anything is jammed or doesn’t seem right, you should stop, unplug the chainsaw, and check for potential issues.

How to Fix a Slipped Chainsaw Chain

How to put the chain back on chainsaws of different brands

Husqvarna chainsaws

Before everything, you will need to plug off your Husqvarna chainsaw to prevent sudden start-ups. Break the connection between the handle and chain brake using the handguard. Loosen the nuts engaged with the clutch cover using a socket wrench or combination spanner. Follow these steps to put the chain back on your Husqvarna chainsaw – 

  • Remove the clutch cover alongside a transportation ring that is holding the bolt inside 
  • Put the chain out of the groove around the edges of the guide bar and then detach it from the socket 
  • Clean the sprocket if you need to 
  • Additionally, cleaning the oil ports with a 14-gauge wire or a finish nail will work, and put the bar back on the bolt 
  • Begin fitting the new chainsaw chain from the top of the sprocket while you’re passing around the edge of the bar, ending right at the bottom of the sprocket 
  • Remember to keep the rims of the cutting links facing forward 
  • Now, reinstate the clutch cover and then fasten the nuts

Stihl chainsaws

  • Put off your chainsaw and disengage the chain brake
  • Now, the nuts that are holding the sprocket cover should be loosened in an anti-clockwise direction until the guide bar begins wagging 
  • Tighten the tension screw usually placed outside the guide bar on the upper and lower sides of the sprocket cover clockwise
  • Now, keep tensioning the chainsaw chain until it gets secured on the bottom of the guide bar
  • After that, continue moving the slight bar to the upper left while also tightening the nuts on the sprocket cover
  • Lastly, you should test the tension of the chain and ensure that it is moving smoothly 

Ryobi chainsaw

Ryobi chainsaws such as the P456 and 40V models do not require that much hassle. You will simply need to loosen the two nuts that are holding the chain cover.

  • Once it has been loosened, you should fix the chainsaw chain back to the grooves gradually 
  • Remember to use the right direction and position the chainsaw chain accordingly 
  • Use a screwdriver or flat blade nature and then turn the slot present beside the chain’s base
  • While putting the chainsaw chain back on the chainsaw, ensure that it isn’t too tight nor too loose to keep up smoothly with the pace
  • Once the chain has been tightened, you should fasten the nuts and continue on with your work

Homelite chainsaws

Homelite chainsaws also do not make that big of a fuss. Follow these steps to put the chain back on a Homelite chainsaw – 

  • Detach the chainsaw from any power source for preventing any unexpected accidents 
  • Now, flatten the chain and mold it in the form of a loop such that the cutters are facing the direction of the rotation
  • After that, fix the drive links into the grooves that are seated on the bar
  • Make the loop such that it is fitted around the sprocket
  • Once you have placed the bar, you should flush around the mounting surface
  • Now, adjust the bar studs on the long slit of the bar
  • The tension pit needs to be in the pinhole
  • Replace the lock knob of your chainsaw chain’s cover and place it onto the unit
  • Tighten the tension knob clockwise for adjusting the chain, ideally
  • Before you secure the chain cover knob, ensure that there’s no slack left to avoid any other issues

Craftsman chainsaw

Since these are heavy-duty chainsaws, putting the chain back on them could be slightly trickier than others. However, you can easily do that by following the steps mentioned below.

  • Place your chainsaw on a level surface and then disengage the brake by pulling the chain brake lever toward the chainsaw handle 
  • Now, unlatch the nuts holding the brake cover and then make the chainsaw chain turn freely
  • Remove the guide bar plate with the brake cover and detach the chain from the sprocket 
  • Turn the tension nuts counterclockwise using the flat-head screwdriver for loosening the grip
  • Pin the replacement chain around the sprocket and then slide the guide bar over the two nut bolts
  • Now, place the drive links on the respective grooves while also rotating the sprocket clockwise
  • Ensure that the cutting edges present on the drive links are facing the nose
  • After that, place the guide bar and chain cover back in the original position 
  • Now, give clockwise turns to tension for tightening the chain and progress your work 
  • Remember to keep the fuel lines of your saw away from any disturbance 


Why does the chain come off your chainsaw?

As you’re using your chainsaw, it will naturally heat up and get larger. Therefore, a chainsaw chain could start off tight and gradually loosen up. If you’re storing the chainsaw chain in a cool environment and using it, you might find that the chain has to be tightened after running it for a while.

How to fix a loose chainsaw chain?

Insert the screwdriver end of a scrench (screwdriver + wrench) into the flathead tensioning pin, and then turn it clockwise to tighten the chain. The chainsaw chain isn’t actually becoming tighter. Instead, as you are turning the tensioning pin, it will push the chainsaw bar out a bit, which ends up taking the slack on the chain.

Is it possible to put the chain on the chainsaw the wrong way?

As the chainsaw chain has a specific direction in which it needs to travel, putting it backward will directly affect the cutting ability. Since the chain’s cutter blades work in one direction, if your chain is backward, you will not be able to cut much of anything.

How tight do you need to tighten the chainsaw chain?

A properly tensioned chainsaw chain has to be just a little loose on the chainsaw guide bar, but the chain has to be tight enough that you aren’t able to pull the drive links out of the bar nose.

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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.