How to Take a Link Out of a Chainsaw Chain

Backyard Mike is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission. Disclaimer

Do you own a chainsaw, and you’re having issues with the chain, and you want to take a link out of it? If yes, then you are certainly in the right place. 

Taking a link out of a chainsaw chain is quite easy as long as you know the right steps. For taking out a link out of your chainsaw chain, you need to remove the spark plug, find and remove the master link, shorten chain by removing the required number of links, reconnect the chain, check the tension of the chain, and then reconnect the spark plug. When you’re removing the link in your chainsaw, remember to follow the necessary safety precautions or you could be at risk of injuries.

In this article, you will get to know all about removing links from a chain, how to take a link out of a chainsaw chain, how to take out a link from the chainsaw chain without the master link, and more. Stick around to get all the answers that you are looking for.

A Chainsaw Chain is Integral for Proper Cutting

A chainsaw is a rather expensive and portable power tool that you simply cannot throw out or replace if it stops working. However, it can get slightly dangerous to use if its teeth-like chain loosens or if the chain is too long to fit the blade.

Fortunately, adjusting the chainsaw chain to the proper length or tightening the chain is something that you’ll be able to do yourself. All that you will need to know is how to take the links out of the chainsaw. Depending on the usage of your chainsaw, there will come a time when it’ll eventually dull down. The dullness will indicate that your saw needs treatment.

Can you Remove Links from your Chainsaw Chain?

Chainsaw is an extremely versatile and efficient machine that you can use for felling trees, cutting firewood, or pruning branches. It is essential and helpful when you have to do landscaping and tree work in your backyard. The chainsaw gets its cutting power from the teeth that are attached to the rotating chain. 

However, like many other tools, the chainsaw won’t work efficiently all the time. Sometimes, it will require adjustments, especially when you need to shorten the chain for different reasons. If you’re thinking if you can take out links from the chain, then the answer is yes.

Most chainsaw chains come with master links. It is the links that are responsible for joining the two ends of the chain. You will be able to remove the link and the required number of links. Resultantly, you’ll be able to get the chain of the required length. If the chain doesn’t have the master link, you’ll be able to do the same job with a rivet tool and decrease the length of the chain.

With time and after extended usage, the chain can become loose and too long to fit the chainsaw blade. In such scenarios, you’ll be able to remove the link from chains instead of purchasing a new chain. If you don’t know the right way of taking out the links from a chainsaw chain, then don’t worry, as you’ll find the step-by-step guide below.

How to Take a Link Out of a Chainsaw Chain

Most chainsaw chains these days come with a master link that is designed specifically for shortening the chains. The link is quite easy to be removed, and it’ll be extremely helpful to have. Shortening the chainsaw chain without a master link can be done, but it’s a challenging task to perform.

To take a link out of the chainsaw chain, you need to gather a few tools. Gather the following tools – a wrench, pliers, chain breakers, a rivet tool, and necessary safety gear. Once you have the necessary tools, it’ll be time to start the process. Here are the step-by-step instructions for removing the link from the chainsaw chain.

Step 1: Before you start taking out the link from the chain

Before removing the link from the chain, it’ll be important to wear the necessary safety gear and follow safety protocols as you’ll be dealing with the sharp, pointy teeth of the chain. Remember, chainsaw-related injuries can happen at any time, so you need to be careful. Wear gloves to protect your hands, goggles to keep your eyes safe, chaps, noise protection, and more.

Once you’re ready, you should make sure that the chainsaw blade isn’t hot. If you feel that the motor and blade are too hot to handle, you should give it some time and let the motor and handle to let it cool first. Remember, accidents will never inform you before arriving. Therefore, it’ll be important that you take off the switch such that you can work peacefully.

Step 2: Remove the spark plug

Whether you’re working with a chainsaw or a car, you should always make sure that the equipment is cool. Once you feel that your chainsaw is cool and easy to handle, you’ll be ready to start the process.

Now, you’ll need to remove the spark plug and be extremely careful. The basic purpose of removing the spark plug is that it’ll make sure that the chainsaw will not catch the fire while you’re working with the chainsaw. 

Many chainsaw users don’t remove the spark plug, since it only happens once in a blue moon when the chainsaw catches fire. However, it will be better to be on the safer side. This is why experts recommend that you should remove the chainsaw plug.

Step 3: Find and remove the master link

Now, you need to locate the master link and then remove it. The removal of the master link will be important as this way, you’ll be able to remove the other links from the chainsaw chain. Ultimately, you’ll be able to shorten it.

Finding the master link will be quite easy as it differs from the other links. Many manufacturers prefer marking it in different colors. You should keep in mind that different master links come designed differently. This is why you can rest assured that you’re removing the master link the right way.

Most of the master links come with a snap or a clip to keep them secure. You’ll be able to pop this clip with your hand or using a set of pliers and unlock the master link.

Once you have removed the master link, you’ll need to disconnect it from other links to which it is attached. For that purpose, you’ll be able to use a pair of pliers, channel locks, or a needle-nose vice grip.

Regardless of the tool you have selected, you’ll need to do it gently. You should apply a bit of pressure on the link and it’ll get free. After disconnecting the master link from the chainsaw chain completely, you will be able to shorten the chain.

chainsaw chain link

Step 4: Take off the required number of links

Once you have removed the master link, you’ll be able to remove the adequate number of links from the chain to get the required length of the chainsaw chain. The links are quite simple and easier to remove. Meanwhile, they’ll pop up improper with a bit of pressure.

If you’ve got anything aside from your fingers to apply the pressure, you can do this. You can make use of a needle-nose vice grip or a pair of pliers to do this job.

Step 5: Reconnect the chain

Once you have removed the ample number of links from the chain, you’ll be able to reconnect the chain. You need to attach the master link to the link on the other side of the chain. You simply have to snap it back at its place, and you’ll be done. Here, you only have to ensure that the chain links are secured.

Step 6: Check the tension of the chain

Once you have reassembled the chainsaw chain, you’ll have to think about how tight the chainsaw chain should be and how you can check the chainsaw chain’s tension. For this purpose, you’ll need to perform the snap test. You can easily perform this test while the spark plug of the chainsaw is disconnected.

By holding the chainsaw chain in one hand, you need to grasp the chainsaw chain along the topside of the bar using your second hand. Now, you should take out the chain from the bar and release it suddenly. The chainsaw chain with the correct size and tension can snap back to its place quickly. Moreover, the chain will not have any sag or slack along the bottom of the chainsaw bar.

If your chainsaw passes this test, you have done this task correctly and your tool will be ready to be used. If you feel that the chain tension hasn’t passed the snap test, you’ll need to adjust the length of the chain and check its tension again.

Step 7: Reconnect the spark plug

Since you have the right chain length and the chainsaw chain has passed the snap test, you can reconnect the spark plug. That’s it, your tool is ready, and you can return to work.

How to Take a Link Out of a Chainsaw Blade

How to Remove a Link from a Chain Without a Master Link

Not every chainsaw comes with a master link. If your chainsaw doesn’t have one, you’ll need to think about how to shorten the chain without a master link. You shouldn’t worry, though, as you’ll be able to find a way to remove the link from the chain that doesn’t have a master link. This process is slightly difficult, and you’ll require a special rivet for removing the link.

A rivet is an amazing tool that will allow you to release one of the links so that you’re able to access the other links and free them. Using this tool is not that difficult. You can simply punch out the rivets in the chain links using this tool and follow the reverse process for connecting them.

You must know the correct way of putting on a chainsaw chain, and otherwise, you might not be able to get the job done successfully. Moreover, make sure that all the links are safe and secured. Before using the chainsaw, you should not forget to check the chainsaw’s tension. This is it, your chainsaw is all set and ready to be used.


How to find the master link on my chainsaw?

Finding the master link on your chainsaw isn’t that difficult. In fact, it is easily distinguishable as it is visually different from other links present on the chainsaw chain. You need to go through both sides of the chain and see which link is different from other links in some way or the other.

How to replace the link on my chainsaw chain?

Similar to removing the links, replacing the links will also require the chain breaker. All you need to do is place the links on the chain breaker and then rotate it clockwise or push the link in using the tool. You’ll have to repeat this with other links too. Doing so will keep the chainsaw away from bogging for sure.

How to know if it is time to fix or replace the chainsaw chain links?

There can be multiple ways you can find if it’s time to fix or replace the chainsaw chain links – if the gas chainsaw is making weird sounds, if it starts breaking during use, or if you feel it has loosened or tightened when using.

How to tell if the chain is out of shape?

You can tell it by examining its teeth. If they’re worn out or do not look like before, this means that the chain requires maintenance. You can tell this by comparing it with the new chain.

Is it possible to remove just one link from a chainsaw chain?

While a chainsaw is a handy tool to take down a dead tree, remove heavy fallen branches, or cut up firewood, it can be dangerous to use when the chain is too loose or too long. Fortunately, it is possible to remove a link yourself for adjusting the chain to its proper length and tension.

How to sharpen the chain without using any elaborate tools?

You can easily sharpen the chain with a nail, a hammer, and two small blocks of wood. Pop the chain on the blocks of wood where you’ll have to split it, and then ensure that you’re going to split the chain on an inside link. Pop the pin on the rivet on the inside of the link before tapping it with the hammer until it pops out.

How to untangle a large chain?

Using a non-scented shampoo or a dishwashing soap, you should soak your necklace in warm water for loosening the chain. For a tight knot, you can run the knotted area gently between your fingertips for aiding in loosening the tangle.

Photo of author
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.