How To Cut Logs With A Chainsaw: 4 Simple Methods

how to cut logs with a chainsawThe whole purpose of having a chainsaw is to cut logs, right? If you are new to the whole chainsaw business, cutting logs, cutting firewood, and doing other similar work, this is the right guide for you. Today we are going to talk about how to cut logs with a chainsaw.

This may seem like an exceptionally easy task. You might be thinking to yourself that you can easily swing the chainsaw at a log and chop it into pieces. But the truth is that it can be a rather dangerous and difficult job. You must learn how to cut logs with the chainsaw the right way, otherwise, you could hurt yourself or hurt someone else.

What Do You Need to Cut Logs?

If you are cutting logs larger than 16 inches in diameter, you definitely want to use a gas chainsaw. If you are doing heavy cutting, a gas chainsaw is really the only way to go. Electric chainsaws will lose their battery power far too quickly to be effective.

Assuming that you have your saw already fueled and ready to cut and that you have logs that need to be cut sitting in your yard waiting for you, it is time to get to work. Make sure you have your fuel, make sure you have your claw bar handy, a big sledgehammer, and even a splitting maul. These are all critical woodcutter tools, and you need them along for a day of splitting logs.

The claw bar is needed for cutting extra-large logs that your chainsaw can’t handle on its own. The sledgehammer is for pounding a wedge into big logs to keep them from snagging your chainsaw. The splitting maul is like an axe, only bigger and tougher; you will use it to help chop logs when your chainsaw isn’t enough.

You also need safety gear. Never forget to wear safety goggles, ear protection, well-fitting clothing, heavy gloves, steel-toed boots, and your hard hat.

You always want to protect your head, you want to protect your eyes from all the dust and debris that flies around while you’re operating the chainsaw, and you want to protect the rest of your body as well. Don’t forget the ear protection, because it is going to get loud out there.

Read More: How To Split Firewood With A Chainsaw – 3 Simple Steps

Before Cutting

Before you start cutting, check that your chainsaw is in proper working condition. Make sure it is filled with fresh fuel, make sure the chainsaw is running smoothly and even cut a small branch or piece of timber just to make sure it is working the way it should.

Next, clear your immediate area. Make sure you have lots of space to work, that there are no rogue dogs that will come running out of nowhere, and that nobody is standing close to you.

Now check your posture. You should always have your upper body supporting the chainsaw without feeling strained. For this, you need to be standing straight with your feet wider than your shoulder length, keeping them apart so that you feel stable and confident with the chainsaw.

Read More: How To Cut Down A Tree With A Chainsaw – A Thorough Guide


Overcutting is the safest and most effective way to cut a log. This refers to when the log is lying completely flat on the ground and you are cutting from above. You will want to start your cut at the very top of the log and apply the lightest pressure with the saw. Always allow the saw to do the work for you, as the chain teeth pull the bar deeper into the log.

Always make sure the guide bar nose does not touch the ground or anything else. If the guide bar becomes pinched or caught in the log, never try to force the chainsaw out, as this could cause horribly dangerous kickback.

Instead, if you get stuck, drive a wedge inside the cut with a hammer so that you can remove the saw without spinning the chain. Then you can restart the saw and continue cutting downwards until you complete the cut.

Cutting with Support

This refers to when the log is supported on either end but not in the middle. This happens if you have a small station set up outside, and you are lifting the logs onto a pair of braces. This situation includes any time a log is held, whether it is a small log or a big log – so long as the middle is unsupported.

Start your cut from the top and go about 1/3 of the way through the wood. Then you want to complete the cut from underneath, exerting just a small amount of pressure upwards until the first cut and the second cut meet, and the log is cut in half. This will avoid any pinching of the chainsaw bar.

Read More: Chainsaw Carving For Beginners – 4 Important Items You Need

One End Supported

Is your log is supported on one end, and the other end is in the air, you need to follow these strict instructions. The first thing you need is to cut the log from the bottom upwards about 1/3 of the way through. Then you will cut from the top side the rest of the way until the log is cut fully through. Doing it like this will prevent the saw from being pinched.

On a Hill

When cutting a log on a hill, you always want to stand up-hill of the log. This is the golden rule. When you finish your cut, if the log happens to roll, it will not hit you. One of the biggest things to remember when cutting on a hill is to not let the tip of your chainsaw hit the ground. Many people forget this, but it is a very important rule.

How To Cut Logs With A Chainsaw: Final Thoughts

You have to remember that when cutting big chunks of timber, the most dangerous thing that can happen is kickback. If your saw gets pinched, it has the potential of kicking out and doing some violent damage to you. All these methods of cutting employ gravity and physics to keep you safe.

Randy Peterson Cutter Life

Randy Peterson

Randy is a chainsaw enthusiast and an experienced lumberjack. He'll most likely be found cutting, chopping, and trimming trees, usually working with a wide variety of tools. Randy likes the outdoors and socializing with friends.