Chain Saw Blade Direction – How to Install a Chain Saw Blade Correctly


Chain Saw Blade Direction, To achieve optimal, efficient, and secure operation from your chainsaw, you must understand how to set up the blade correctly. 

One of the users’ most frequent errors is mounting chainsaw blades inappropriately. 

Chain saw chain installation errors can result in poor cutting performance, premature chain wear, and tear, or even dangerous kickback.

 This article will discuss the appropriate chain saw blade direction and installation procedure.

With this knowledge, you will know how to maintain your saw’s optimal performance and safety.

Table of Contents

Which way does the chain go on a chainsaw?

A chainsaw’s chain should wrap around the guide bar clockwise. This mechanism implies that the teeth should be pointing forward on the top of the bar.

They should point toward the engine when on the bottom of the bar.

Always adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for a safe and correct setup for your particular chainsaw model.

However, inspecting it from the side, front, and bottom perspectives is essential to ensure proper installation. 

Check From the Side and Front View

There are two aspects to consider when viewing from the side and front. The first is the triangular-shaped drive links used to propel the chain around the bar.

The other is the depth gauge (raker) which shows the correct height of the teeth above the bar. The depth gauge is in front of each cutting tooth.

From a front viewpoint, position the chain so the drive links face the engine and the cutting teeth point forward. It would be best if you also positioned the cutting teeth correctly above the bar.

Additionally, ensure you set up the depth gauge to sit slightly below the apex of the cutting tooth.

From the front view, the chain should form a tight, even loop around the bar with no slack or open spaces.

Ensure the drive links align with the groove in the bar while the cutting teeth are at the same height above the bar.

Check from the Bottom View

When viewed from the bottom, the chain should create a straight line with no twists or kinks.

The teeth should face the front, and the drive links should align with the sprocket at the engine’s base.

Problems Caused by Placing the Chainsaw Chain in the Wrong Direction

Before using a chainsaw, always take the time to confirm that the chain is properly installed.

It lessens the possibility of accidents, prevents chainsaw malfunctions, and increases the chain and bar’s lifespan.

Incorrectly placing the chainsaw chain can result in several issues, including:

Chain saw

Chain saw

Waste of Good Bar Oil

The teeth face the wrong direction in an incorrect chain saw chain installation. Consequently, the bar oil fails to reach and lubricate the cutting teeth effectively.

Instead, the oil gets thrown off the chain as it spins, causing wastage. Additionally, inadequate lubrication causes excessive friction and heat, leading to chain wear and tear.

This wear can dulls the chain quickly, thus requiring more lubrication.

It may also damage the oiling system leading to oil leakage. In the long run, this may lead to extra expenses in repairs and bar oil purchases.

The chain link is vital because it connects the cutting teeth continuously.

Wrong installation means the teeth face the opposite direction, thus cutting against the chain motion’s direction. This scenario results in uneven wear and overheating, leading to weak links prone to cracking and breaking.

Over time this can cause chain link breakage leading to dangerous situations where the chain can come off while in operation.

Also, improper installation leads to tensioning problems (too tight or loose in some areas), which can damage chain links.

Chain saw link

Chain saw link

Causes Unnecessary Stress On The Guide Bar

The guide bar refers to the metallic bar that protrudes from the chain saw’s front and supports the chain. It has a groove that serves as a guide for the chain as it revolves around the bar.

Additionally, its surface facilitates chain lubrication to minimize friction. Improper chain installation increases the friction between the chain and the guide bar, stressing it too much.

This stress causes premature or uneven wear and tear. Consequently, this can lead to kickbacks or reduced cutting efficiency.

Motor deterioration

Inefficient teeth performance can overload the motor, making it work harder than normal. This increased motor load causes overheating, damaging and shortening its lifespan.

Over time, the motor deteriorates, reducing its performance, and sometimes it may lead to failure. Additionally, over-stressed motors may increase fuel and power consumption and decrease efficiency.

Burnout Clutch

The clutch is an essential component of the chain saw’s engine, which engages the chain to facilitate cutting.

An improper installation can overload the clutch, meaning you have to overpress for it to engage the chain.

This scenario causes overheating, wear, and consequently inefficient performance.

Chainsaw Clutch

Chainsaw Clutch

How to Make a Chainsaw Blade Run in the Right Direction?

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your chainsaw chain can prevent damage and prolong its life.

However, if you have any difficulties, it is advisable to consult the manufacturer’s manual or a professional.

Generally, here are steps to ensure your chainsaw blade runs in the proper direction:

Step1: Detach the Chainsaw Casing

Before commencing, please turn off the chainsaw and allow it to cool to avoid burns. Then use the proper tools to remove the chainsaw casing. Ensure you use safety gloves and eye protection while performing the activity.

Step2: Remove the Chain

The next step is to remove the chain by releasing the chainsaw blade’s tension. Consider carefully examining the chain’s cutters and teeth to determine the correct orientation.

Step3: Identify the Direction of the Chainsaw Chain

The teeth of the chainsaw chain are directional, and they must always face forward. Check for an indicator indicating the rotational direction to ensure you fit the chain appropriately.

Confirm that the drive link, cutter, and guide are properly positioned before replacing the chain. The chainsaw’s cutter should be pointing forward, while the drive link should slide into the chainsaw’s guide bar groove.

Step5: Put the Chainsaw Back Together and Tighten the Blade

The final step involves reinstalling the chainsaw chain onto the guide bar.

Then tension the chain to a snug but not overly tight, as recommended. Reassemble the chainsaw housing and tighten the blade firmly.

How to Find the Accurate Replacement Chain for your Chainsaw?

Finding a chainsaw chain replacement that fits your individual saw’s needs in terms of size and specifications is crucial. The incorrect chain can be hazardous in addition to affecting performance.

When searching for an exact replacement chain, keep the following three considerations in mind:

Chainsaw chain

Chainsaw chain

Chain Saw Blade Direction: Pitch

Pitch refers to the spacing between the chain’s drive links. In most cases, the pitch measurement is in inches or millimeters.

To determine the pitch of your chain, find the distance between any three rivets, then divide the value by two.

It’s crucial to remember that chainsaw bars use a specific pitch, so make sure the chain you choose matches that pitch. Some popular pitches are 1/4″, .325″, 3/8″, and .404″.

You also locate your chainsaw’s pitch details imprinted on the guide bar or in the owner’s manual.

Chain Saw Blade Direction: Gauge

The gauge describes the drive link’s thickness and determines the chain’s ability to fit snugly into the chainsaw’s guide bar.

To determine the chain’s gauge measure the drive link’s thickness.

Use a chain with a suitable gauge because the incorrect gauge can result in improper fitment or breaking.

A few popular gauges are .043, .050, .058, and .063 inches.

Once again, the manufacturer’s instructions or the chainsaw guide bar features this information.

It represents the number of drive links there are in the chain. You can count the drive links on your chain to determine the count.

Drive link count is essential to ensure the replacement chain fits correctly on your chainsaw’s guide bar.


Installing the chain properly is crucial to guarantee the chainsaw operates safely and effectively.

The incorrect placement of the chainsaw chain can result in several issues, some of which can be dangerous and expensive.

It’s, therefore, essential to ensure the chainsaw blade moves in the right direction to prevent these problems.

Also, regular maintenance and inspections can increase the lifespan of your chainsaw and prevent potentially hazardous conditions when using it.

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