Parts of Chainsaw: Everything You Need To Know (Full Guide)

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By Jake Hill


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Chainsaws are commonly used among professionals and homeowners. This powerful cutting equipment is built to cut all types of wood. In industries like forestry, logging, and yard maintenance, various models of chainsaws are always present.

You might think a chain saw is a powerful cutting chain rotating around a bar. However, a chainsaw consists of many parts covered by the body.

It is of the utmost importance to know all these parts so that you can have a better understanding of this machine. This can help you make the most of the saw and protect yourself against cuts and injuries.

In this article, we will shed more light on the significant components of chainsaws. So, read on for more insight.

The Chain

A chain is a vital part of any chainsaw. You will find it in gas-powered, battery-powered, and electric chainsaws. The cutting components of the chain are responsible for cutting, while the chain is mainly responsible for removing the chopped wood. The chain has drive links and cutting teeth.

When the chain is tightened correctly, you will disengage its brake. It should smoothly revolve around the guide bar. This way, each cutter will cut a piece of wood while the chain will keep the chopped slices away.

Chains are available in three different types. These categories are determined by the chisel design. This is why you might come across full and semi-chisel chains and low-profile ones. The chisel is how cutting teeth are attached to the chain.

1. Full-chisel chain 

These are made to fulfill the needs of professional chainsaw operators. A chainsaw model equipped with a full-chisel chain will have square-cornered cutting teeth. This type of cutter can cut through thick and challenging hardwood and trees. This includes firewood and oak trees.

2. Semi-chisel chain

As the name suggests, this type is less potent than a full-chisel chain. However, it can efficiently cut softwood and less dense trees. This includes chopping and felling pine and cedar trees. This category mainly addresses the needs of mid-size cutting projects. Despite being less powerful, these chains are safer. They pose fewer risks of kicking back.

3. Low profile chain

The name reveals the correct type of user for these chains. These are the most suitable categories for beginners and homeowners. These chains are designed to produce the least amount of noise. Also, they are equipped with anti-kickback features.

Tips for Maintaining and Sharpening Your Chain

A chain should always be inspected before operating the machine. This step aims at ensuring it is adequately sharpened and tensioned. If you want your chain to live longer and provide top performance, you should keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Use the right chain for the wood: Using a semi-chisel chain to cut hardwood is neither safe nor productive.
  2. Keep it adequately lubricated: Use the recommended chain oil to let the chain spin smoothly. It is also vital in avoiding engine overheating and excessive smoky emissions.
  3. Sharpen before teeth get too dull: Leaving the chain dull will not only give poor cuts but will also prolong the chain’s lifespan. So, it is essential to shape the teeth at the slightest sign of dullness.

The Bar 

The bar, or guide bar, guides the chain in its rotating movement. Sometimes, you might hear the bar called the chainsaw blade. A chainsaw bar is not demanding in terms of care, but a lack of proper lubrication can make it wear out.

You can usually find bars in two categories: Solid and Rollomatic. Solid bars are also known as Duromatic bars. The latter is used for heavy-duty cutting jobs involving thick tree barks, logs, and trunks. The Duromatic type powerfully cuts hardwood, timber, or firewood. These are often coated to increase protection against rust.

Rollomatic bars, on the other hand, are more suitable for domestic uses. They are less versatile but can cut softwood and less thick trees like pines or similar trees in home yards.

Bars also come in different sizes, which is vital to fit various chainsaws. Generally, if you use a heavy-duty professional saw, you might need a very long bar. In this case, you can get a bar over 180 cm long. However, most domestic chopping projects require a bar between 20 and 50 cm long. 

Bar size

Your projects’ engine capacity and nature have a say in the bar size matter. For instance, a chainsaw with an engine capacity of 50 cc won’t need a large bar. A larger bar will require more power from the engine, and a 50 cc can’t easily produce such power. As a result, a 20-cm bar will be enough for a basic 50-cc chainsaw.

The Sprocket

As for the sprocket, it is a primary contributor to the cutting process. This part is connected to the chainsaw engine. The cutting quality will be negatively affected whenever there is something wrong with the sprocket

This part affects all its neighbors, including the bar and chain. It is mainly responsible for guiding the chain while it revolves around the bar.

The Engine 

In all chainsaws, the engine is the heart of the machine. It mainly provides sufficient power for the chain to rotate and cut. The type of energy used to operate a chainsaw is divided into three categories:

1. Gas-powered chainsaws

These are the best types for professionals. However, occasional and domestic users admire this type too. The engines of these chainsaws use only gasoline. Despite having a small 2-stroke engine, gas chainsaws are more powerful than their peers.

Gas chainsaws are efficient and fast at cutting different types of trees. However, they are the most expensive among all the other varieties. Moreover, they are demanding in terms of maintenance. 

You will need a thorough inspection and regular cleaning of the engine’s internal components, such as the carburetor, pistons, combustion chamber, etc. Neglecting proper and routine maintenance might force you to get an entire replacement carburetor or the whole engine.

2. Electric chainsaws

Electric chainsaws also go by this name: corded chainsawsAs the name suggests, these machines need electricity to operate. These are connected to a power source through their cords. These are not considered very functional, especially for large fields or yards. 

It is not possible to find a power outlet everywhere you go. However, electric chainsaw users overcome this issue by bringing a compact generator.

This type of saw is less potent than fuel-powered ones. However, they can help cut small trees and remove branches and old tree limbs. This category can fit the needs of newbie beginners, as they are easier to use and do not require much maintenance.

Also, they do not produce much noise or vibrations like the fuel chainsaws. This makes them easier to hold and control. Additionally, they are considered cost-efficient, especially when compared to gas ones.

3. Battery chainsaws

This type is the least powerful of all the available categories. Cordless chainsaws depend on their charged batteries to operate. So, there is no need for fuel or electricity to power this machine. So, once the battery is empty, you will stop cutting. However, you can solve this issue by bringing more charged batteries into the field.

There are better matches than this type of chainsaw for large-scale cutting projects. They can fill in for corded saws, but they will cost more. Still, they are the least demanding when it comes to maintenance.

Other Important Parts 

In addition to the engine, chain, and bar, any chainsaw will have various other critical components. These include:

1. Throttle plate

The throttle is part of the carburetor. It is found across the carb and is critical in mixing air and fuel. The position of the throttle controls the amount of air flowing into the carburetor.

2. Trigger

This part is always associated with the throttle. It is responsible for controlling the throttle position. You will usually find it below the handle.

3. Safety switch 

It is more commonly known as the on/off switch. You can push this switch to shut off the engine immediately. Switching off this equipment is not ideal, but necessary for an emergency.

4. Air filter

This component is vital in protecting the engine from sawdust and debris. It blocks anything but air from reaching the engine. This is why it needs frequent cleaning and replacement when clogged.

5. Air and fuel mixing

Each model of these gas chainsaws has its own recommended fuel type. They also use specific fuel mixtures. For instance, some models use a 40:1 ratio, while others need a 50:1 ratio. So, checking the manufacturer’s recommendations for suitable types and mixtures is always better.


It is essential to understand the parts your chainsaw is made of deeply. You do not need to disassemble and reassemble the machine to know them. But you should at least know their names, appearances, and functions. This allows you to understand your saw better and cut more efficiently.

In addition to understanding the parts of your saw, you must follow all the recommended safety precautions. After all, a chainsaw remains a powerful chopping and felling machine. So, there is always a cutting risk if you are not cautious.

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