Can a Chainsaw Chain be Shortened? Shortening Tips [2024]

can a chainsaw chain be shortened

Chainsaws can be a highly practical piece of equipment to have, particularly for people who prefer to perform their own tree and landscaping work rather than employing professionals.

Like all other items and equipment, chainsaws occasionally need to be modified in order to work effectively. More specifically, there are many situations in which it may be right tool necessary to shorten chainsaw chains.

Depending on your motivation, shortening your chain might or might not be safe. So let’s talk about how to shorten your chain life and when right tool buying a new chain altogether would be preferable. 

Can A Chainsaw Chain Be Shortened?

can a chainsaw chain be shortened

Chainsaw chains can, in fact, be cut shorter. Simply take out the necessary number of additional links to make the chain length the right length if it has a master link. To shorten a chain length  without a master link, you’ll need a specialized rivet tool. 

Chainsaw chains can be cut shorter, but the process can be complicated depending on whether your chain life has a master link. It’s also critical to discuss whether or not your chain brake  needs to be shortened because doing so with a worn-out loose chain can be dangerous. 

How to Reduce the Length of a Chain With a Master Link?

A master link is becoming a common feature of chainsaw chains. In case the chain brake needs to be shortened, a master link is specially made to be removed with ease. This can be quite beneficial to have because it takes a little bit more effort to shorten a loose chain without a master link than one with one.

By doing the later procedure as described below, it can be done very simply:

Taking away the Master Link

  • Getting the tools cool

Allowing the tools to cool is the first stage in any repair, whether it be on a chainsaw, a tractor, or an automobile. Of course, you can skip this step if you haven’t recently used your chainsaw. When using a chainsaw that you’ve just chisel chain used, you should, however, wait until it’s cooled enough for you to put your hand gauge on the stihl chain and engine without feeling pain.  

  • Remove the chainsaw’s spark plug
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The following action, which is similarly safety-related, entails removing the chainsaw’s spark plug. In order to keep the stihl chainsaw from starting while you work on it, this is done. Some individuals may choose to skip this step, but even though it is chisel chain admittedly odd for the stihl chainsaw to start up when you’re the only person present, it is always better to be cautious than sorry. 

  • Locate the master link and delete it

The following step is to identify the master link that has to be deleted. The master link must be eliminated in order to allow for the removal of further links from the stihl chain, which would ultimately shorten the chain. Finding the master link should be very simple; simply seek for a link that stands out sharp chain from the others in the chain break. Typically, it is a different color.

Since each master link is built uniquely, it is challenging to provide the precise steps for removing each master link. To unlock the master link, you’ll need to pop open the clip tension screw or snap that is usually used to sharp chain hold things cutting performance closed with your hands or a pair of pliers. 

Making the Chain Shorter

  • Removing links

Removing the necessary number of links will allow you to lengthen your chain break to the desired length after the master link has been released. Links should be rather easy to take out; with a tension screw little pressure, they will pop out of their position. When using tools other than your heavy rebar fingers to grab the links, such as the aforementioned needle-nose vice grip or pliers, you can accomplish this task heavy rebar most quickly. 

  • Reconnect the chain

Once the required number of links have been removed, the chain can be reconnected. The master link is fastened to the chain’s opposite-end link to complete this straightforward safety feature procedure. 

  • Verify the chain’s tension before using it
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Once your chain has been fully reassembled, it is essential that you verify the chain’s tension. You can accomplish this by safety feature carrying out a chainsaw blade snap test. 

  • While your spark plug is still unplugged, perform the following

Grab the chain along the topside of the bar with one hand while holding the chainsaw in the other. Release the chains tension  immediately after removing it from the bar. A chains tension that is appropriately chainsaw blade sized and tensioned will instantly snap back into place and have no droop or slack around the bottom of the bar. 

Without A Master Link, How Can A Chainsaw Chain Be Cut Shorter?

Without a master link, it can be slightly more difficult to shorten a chainsaw chain, although it is still feasible. The general procedure is as follows:

Safety first

To avoid unintentional starting, make sure the saw is off and the spark plug is disconnected before working on the chain.

Measure and mark

Establish the desired length for the shorter chain by measuring and marking it. Using a marker or a piece of chalk, measure the new length of the chain and mark it.

Releasing the chain

In order to release the chain’s tension, loosen the tensioning screw or knob. This will make removing the chain from the guide bar simpler. Remove the chain from the bar and sprocket with caution.

Find a rivet

Look at the chain to locate a rivet that is right across from a drive link. To shorten the chain, one of the rivets holding it together must be removed.

Cut or grind the rivet

Carefully cut or grind the chosen rivet using a hacksaw or rotary tool equipped with a grinding wheel. Be careful not to harm nearby road links when you do this.

Eliminate extra links

After the rivet is gone, the chain will have a gap. To get the length you want, remove as many links as necessary. To do this, the outermost drive link on each side of the gap is normally disconnected.

Reconnect the chain

By re-attaching the shorter chain to the guide bar and checking that the driving links engage the sprocket properly. As directed by your chainsaw’s maker, adjust the chain’s tension.

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Test and adjust

After putting the chain back together, switch on the chainsaw to check the tension. To make sure the chain is correctly aligned and tensioned, make any necessary modifications.

Note that it takes accuracy and caution to reduce a chainsaw chain without a master link. It is advised to seek the help of a qualified chainsaw service specialist if you are unsure or uncomfortable handling this task on your own.

Final Word

Finally, it’s critical to debate whether you should shorten your chain rather than just whether you can. Reducing your chain is a completely acceptable idea and is safe to do if you need to do so since it is just too long because of having too many links.

The chain shouldn’t be reduced, though, if you’re doing so because it has stretched out over time from use and wear. A chain like this should be fully changed instead. This is due to the fact that cutting a worn-out chain shorter won’t address the issues with stretched links and worn components. It needs to be replaced because using it is unsafe as a result.  


How many times can a chainsaw chain be filed?

Before needing to be replaced entirely, a chainsaw chain can be sharpened up to ten times, occasionally even more. The amount of wear your chain experiences and the amount of metal removed each time you sharpen are the two main factors that determine it. The chainsaw chain may be more severely impacted by various materials.

 How much does it cost to make my chain shorter?

This was a section of a lengthy chain that had its links sawed through. The procedure costs between $30 and $35 to shorten a typical chain. Expect a price increase of $20 or more for thick chains in the Cuban, curb, or Figaro styles since the jeweler must expend more time and energy to remove the links.

 Which kind of chainsaw chain cuts most quickly?

Either a full chisel or a chisel skip chainsaw chain will cut wood more quickly. For chainsaw bars 24″ or less, the complete chisel gives the quickest and most vigorous cutting action. Pick a chisel skip chain for bars longer than 24″.

 What chain for a chainsaw lasts the longest?

Carbide-tip chainsaw chain is even more resilient than a regular chain. Heat has no effect on carbide tips, which endure longer than chrome. Because of these features, the carbide chain is excellent for cutting materials like railroad ties that would soon dull regular chains.



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