How to Cut a Log Lengthwise With a Chainsaw

Are you a homeowner looking for an efficient way to cut a log lengthwise with a chainsaw? Slicing the log in two is a daunting task that can seem impossible if done incorrectly. But don’t worry, below there you will go through each step of the process – from selecting the right saw and chain, safety practices, and how to secure logs during cutting. With some patience, precision, and practice anyone can learn how to not only maintain their own saw but also use it properly to precisely split logs in half every time.

How to Cut a Log Lengthwise With a Chainsaw

If you’ve ever wished that there were an easier way to cut a log lengthwise, then the answer is here: use a chainsaw! Using a chainsaw for cutting logs can make division and slice manageable tasks, especially when precision is needed. This article will provide step-by-step instructions on how to cut a log lengthwise with a chainsaw.

Why May You Need to Cut a Log Lengthwise With a Chainsaw?

There are many reasons why you might need to cut a log lengthwise. Such as:

1. To Split It for Firewood

This is the most common reason why people have to cut logs lengthwise with a chainsaw. A log that is too large, or heavy, to be split with other methods will require being sawed in half. So if you want to use the log for firewood, then you will probably have to cut it lengthwise with a chainsaw.

2. To Create Lumber

You may also need to cut logs lengthwise in to make lumber or boards. This is common if you want to cut a large tree down and mill the lumber yourself. You can then take the boards and cut them into the size you need.

3. To Make Stumps or Deadfalls

Logs that have been cut into stumps or deadfalls may also need to be cut lengthwise with a chainsaw. This will make them easier and safer to remove from the area. So you can try using a chainsaw to cut the log lengthwise if you need to remove it, or are planning to use it for another purpose.

4. To Shape It for Various Projects

You can also use logs for a variety of different projects, such as making furniture or craft items. In order to make these projects, you will likely need to cut logs lengthwise in order to obtain the desired shape.

Use Logs for a Variety of Different Projects

5. To Create Wood Shavings

If you have an interest in woodworking or making things from wood, then it can be useful to have access to wood shavings as well. This is another reason why people might need to cut logs lengthwise, as they can be used as a material for making these shavings.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may need to cut logs lengthwise with a chainsaw. Whether you want to use wood for firewood, lumber, or another purpose, this is often one of the best ways to do so. So if you find yourself in need of a lengthwise cut for one of your logs, consider using a chainsaw to get the job done quickly and effectively.

Required Tools and Materials:


The first and critical piece of equipment you’ll need when cutting logs with a chainsaw is the saw itself. It’s essential to choose a chainsaw that is powerful enough to handle the task at hand, but also one that you are comfortable using.


The chain on your chainsaw plays a crucial role in its performance. When cutting logs lengthwise, you will need to use a chain with a shorter bar length than the width of your log. This ensures that the saw can easily cut through the entire depth of the log.

Personal Protective Gear:

When working with chainsaws, personal protective gear is essential for ensuring safety. This includes:

  • Safety glasses or goggles
  • Earplugs or earmuffs
  • Hard hat
  • Gloves with a good grip
  • Long pants and sleeves to protect from flying debris

Other Necessary Equipment:

Other equipment that may come in handy when cutting logs lengthwise are:


These can be used to help keep the log steady while cutting, and also to guide the saw through the cut.

Chainsaw Mill:

If you plan on using the logs for lumber, a chainsaw mill can help make precise cuts.

Safety Precautions:

Before starting any chainsaw work, it’s essential to take proper safety precautions. This includes:

Select the Right Saw and Chain

Choosing the right saw and chain for the job is crucial for both performance and safety reasons. A powerful chainsaw can make cutting logs easier, but it’s important to choose one that you are comfortable using and can handle.

Wear Personal Protective Gear

As mentioned earlier, wearing personal protective gear is essential when working with a chainsaw. This will help protect you from potential injuries caused by flying debris or the saw itself.

Clear the Work Area

Make sure the area around the log is free from any obstacles or potential hazards. This includes removing any nearby branches, debris, or anything that could cause you to trip while operating the chainsaw.

Secure the Log

Before starting to cut, it’s important to make sure the log is secure and will not roll or move during cutting. You can use wedges or other equipment such as a log jack to hold the log in place.

Follow Proper Cutting Techniques

When starting a cut, it’s important to follow proper cutting techniques to ensure safety and accuracy. This includes holding the saw firmly with both hands and being aware of your surroundings at all times.

How to Cut a Log Lengthwise With a Chainsaw in 9 Easy Steps

Step 1: Position the Log Properly

Select a good log to cut that is at least 18 inches in diameter. Position the log on an even surface with the opposite end pointing away from you. Also, make sure the log is perpendicular to the ground.

You may also need to secure the log with wedges or other equipment to prevent it from rolling.

Step 2: Place Your Chainsaw on the Log and Prepare to Cut

Next, place your chainsaw blade against the top of the log. Make sure that the saw teeth are facing you while they are resting against the surface of the wood. Position the chainsaw so that it will make your cuts aligned.

 Blade Against the Top of the Log

It’s essential to have a good grip on the saw at this point and ensure that your feet are firm on the ground.

Step 3: Start Cutting Slowly

Before starting to cut, pull back the chainsaw’s trigger and let the saw warm up for 30 seconds or more. Once it is warmed up, start cutting slowly with gentle pressure on the blade against the log. Make sure you are cutting straight down so you don’t end up with a crooked cut.

But, if you need to cut the log at an angle, make sure your chainsaw is angled accordingly before making the cut.

Step 4: Move the Chainsaw Slowly Along the Log

Do not remove your hands from the chainsaw while you are cutting. Continue moving it downwards as you move along the length of the log. You have to be careful to ensure that you are making straight cuts, while also not getting the chainsaw stuck on any particularly large knots or cracks in the wood.

It’s essential to keep your hands and feet away from the moving chainsaw at all times.

Step 5: Keep Cutting in a Straight Line

Make sure to keep your cut as straight and even as possible. If you move the chainsaw too fast or if you’re sawing on an angle, it will be more difficult for you to control the blade and get a nice clean cut.

You can also use wedges to help guide the saw in a straight line if needed.

Step 6: Check Your Work

Once you have finished cutting, take a moment to check your work and make sure that you’ve cut all the way through with a clean straight line. If not, continue cutting until you are satisfied. Also, make sure you’re holding the chainsaw properly during this step.

It can be challenging to hold the saw in the right position when you are checking your work. So, it’s essential to stay alert and focused while holding the chainsaw.

Step 7: Flip the Log Over and Repeat

Once you have cut one side of the log, flip it over to make a second cut on the opposite side. This will ensure that your log is evenly cut lengthwise.

Although it may seem like a simple step, make sure to take proper safety precautions and secure the log before flipping it over.

Step 8: Cut Through Any Remaining Sections

If there are any remaining sections to be cut, such as knots or uneven areas, carefully use the chainsaw to cut through them. Be sure to keep your hands and body in a safe position while cutting.

But, if you encounter a knot that is too difficult to cut through, it’s best to leave it and move on to the next section.

Step 9: Clean Up and Maintenance

Once you have finished cutting, clean up any debris or pieces of wood left behind. Also, make sure to properly maintain your chainsaw by sharpening the chain regularly and keeping it well-oiled for future use.

It’s also a good idea to inspect the chainsaw for any damage after use and make any necessary repairs or replacements before using it again.

Following these steps and safety precautions on how to cut a log lengthwise with a chainsaw will help you successfully cut a log lengthwise with a chainsaw. Remember to always prioritize safety and take your time while cutting for the best results. Happy sawing!

Some Tips And Tricks to Cut a Log Lengthwise With a Chainsaw

1. Do Not Use the Carburetor

The carburetor is designed for making sure that the engine always has enough fuel to reach its peak power. In turn, that means that you won’t be able to cut a log lengthwise with a chainsaw without using it up. Instead, use your saw’s choke.

2. Use Safety Gear

If you are going to be cutting a log lengthwise with a chainsaw, it is very important that you use the correct safety gear. This includes protective goggles or glasses, sturdy work gloves, and long pants and sleeves to help protect your skin from any flying wood chips or debris. You should also make sure that your chainsaw is not still running when it is away from your body – use a chain catcher to help catch the chainsaw if it ever breaks free.

Use a Chain Catcher to Help Catch

3. Cut at the End of Each Log

When cutting logs lengthwise with a chainsaw, you should try to cut at the end of each log whenever possible. This will help prevent any damage to the saw and will make it much easier to control. If you start your cut in the middle of a log, there is a greater chance that you will apply too much downward pressure and damage the blade.

4. Use Steady Pressure

It can be tempting when cutting logs lengthwise with a chainsaw to use quick, jerky movements to try and make the job go faster. However, this can actually damage your chainsaw and will not help you get a clean cut. Instead, use steady pressure as you push the chainsaw into the log, gradually pushing it through until it cuts all the way through.

5. Avoid Uneven Pressure

When cutting logs lengthwise with a chainsaw, it is also important to avoid uneven pressure. For example, make sure that you are not applying more pressure on one side of the saw than the other. This can result in an uneven cut and may even cause your chainsaw to malfunction or break down.

6. Cut With Your Free Arm

Another mistake that many people make when cutting logs lengthwise with a chainsaw is forgetting to use their free arm for balance and support. This can result in the saw being knocked out of position or even slipping from your hands altogether.

7. Watch Out For Burrs

Finally, keep an eye out for any burrs or splinters that might be sticking out from the cut. Although these are not usually a danger to you, they can damage your chainsaw and cause it to stop working or even break down. If there is a burr present on either side of the log, simply use the flat end of your saw to knock it off before cutting through completely.

By following these simple tips and tricks, you should be able to easily cut a log lengthwise with your chainsaw without any problems. Happy cutting!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How Much Wood Should I Expect to Cut?

A: This depends on several factors, including the size and density of your logs. Generally, you can expect to cut between five and ten per hour. However, if you are using smaller diameter logs (8-10 inches or less), this figure will be lower. If you’re working with a larger diameter log, you may be able to cut up to 20 per hour.

Using Smaller Diameter Logs

Q: What Precautions Should I Take When Cutting Logs Lengthwise?

A: The most important precaution to take when cutting logs lengthwise is to ensure that you are using the correct chainsaw for this type of task. You will need a powerful, high-speed chainsaw, ideally a gas-powered model with at least an 18-inch bar. If possible, consider hiring a professional or experienced friend to help you get started with this type of work. In addition, always wear thick protective gloves, chaps, and eye and ear protection when cutting logs lengthwise with a chainsaw. Finally, make sure the area you’re working in is clear of any obstructions or hazards.

Q: Can a Chainsaw Cut Through Knots?

A: Yes, a chainsaw can cut through knots. However, this may require more effort and care on your part, as cutting through knots can cause the blade to become dull faster. To avoid damaging your chainsaw, it’s important to approach cutting through knots slowly and steadily, using even pressure and making sure the blade is sharp and well-oiled. If a knot is too difficult to cut through, it’s best to move on and find another section of the log to cut. 

Overall, with proper technique and safety precautions, cutting logs lengthwise with a chainsaw can be a rewarding task that provides you with usable wood for various projects. Remember to always prioritize safety and take your time for the best results. Happy saw


Now that you know how to cut a log lengthwise with a chainsaw, put your new skills to the test. If you find that your cuts are uneven or jagged, don’t be discouraged–with a little practice, you’ll be cutting like a pro in no time. So get out there and start sawing! Guided by these steps, anyone can correctly and safely cut a log lengthwise with a chainsaw. 

After preparing the work area and measuring the board, sawyers should strap on personal protective equipment including gloves, eye protection, hearing protection, and chaps. The chainsaw itself needs to be in good condition with a sharp blade before beginning to cut. With the proper tools and techniques at hand, cutting a log lengthwise is a relatively easy process that results in clean lumber.

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