How to Shorten a Chainsaw Chain? – Quick and Easy

Chainsaw is a necessity in a survival situation, no matter what the reason. Being able to fell a tree to clear a path for a shelter, make firewood, kindle, and fuel for a fire is an invaluable skill to have.

How to Shorten a Chainsaw Chain?
Is shortening the chainsaw chain possible? Of course, and here is how the chainsaw chain can be shortened. First, you need to find the rivet that holds the two ends of the chain together. Next, you have to use a file or grinding wheel to remove the excess metal from the links. Finally, you need to use a hammer to drive the rivet back into place. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a shortened chainsaw chain in no time!

A chainsaw is a tool that needs to be mastered and respected. How to shorten a chainsaw chain is an invaluable skill that can be used to extend the life of your saw.

Tools Needed to Shorten Chainsaw Chain


You will need at least four tools to get the job done. They are:

  1. Rivet gun
  2. Pliers
  3. Wrench
  4. Chain removing tool

Safety Measures


Before starting shortening, familiarize yourself with the basic safety precautions.

  • Use the right safety equipment: helmet, ear protection, eye protection, and appropriate clothing.
  • Make sure the chain brake and clutch are in good working order.
  • Remove the spark plug and keep it nearby in case the engine backfires and starts.

How to Shorten Chainsaw Chain?

The saw chain is one of the most important parts of the chainsaw, and replacing it requires some experience and specific tools. If you’re not sure how to remove it, we recommend you take your tool to a professional.

If you decide to do it on your own, we recommend you follow the steps below.

Step 1. Removing the chain

The first thing to do before shortening the chainsaw chain length removes the saw chain from the bar and loosen the tensioner. If you have a spring-type tensioner, you will need to first loosen the spring by rotating tensioning screw. Once the spring is loose, you can release tension by rotating tensioning screw.

If you have a hydraulic-type tensioner, you will need to loosen the jam nut and turn the tension release screw counter-clockwise to release pressure.

Connect the saw to an electric source and turn it on. Let the saw run for a few minutes, so that the chain becomes warm and easier to remove. Use a wrench to turn the tensioner counterclockwise, and then turn it all the way to the right. Now you can remove the chain.

Take off the chain guide with the chain, chain tensioner, and cover.

Step 2. How to remove chain links

The next step is to remove the links. Using a chain tool is the easiest way to remove a chainsaw link. It has a hardened anvil and a hollowed hammer. The anvil will be placed on the pin and a hammer will be used to hit the anvil. Hitting the anvil will cause the pin to jump out of the hole.

For best results, you need to make sure that the pin is slightly loose, otherwise, it will be broken by the force of the blow. The point of the pin should be pushed out of the hole with a screwdriver.

Another easy way to do this is to use a pair of pliers to gently squeeze the chainsaw chain rivet’s head to loosen it. If you have a grinder, you can also do it that way, but be careful not to damage the bar.

Step 3. Reassembling

Now you can reassemble the chain. First, place it on the tensioner, and then place the chain guide on it. Now you can place the tensioner on the saw bar.

The final step is to place the chain cover and tighten it. You can use a wrench to tighten the chain cover.

Step 4. Testing the chain

After you have finished shortening the length, you need to check the results. If you are able to pull the chain away slightly from the bar, then it’s too loose. It should be tight enough so that it stays on the bar when you pull it. If it can’t be pulled off, then it’s too tight. The chain should have some play, but not too much.

How to Remove Master Link Without Tool?

If you don’t have the appropriate tool to remove a master link, you can use this method. Just use a pair of pliers and apply pressure with one hand and use the other hand to twist the link out of place.

For this method to work, the master link needs to be the correct length and the chainsaw needs to have a guide bar.


Chainsaw chains must be properly maintained to ensure they will not break while you are cutting wood. This is the only way you will be able to use your saw without any problems.

The last thing you want to happen is to have your chainsaw break while you are cutting wood and not have a backup. For this reason, you must know how to shorten the chain of your saw.
Hope the above information will help you to do the job. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Ronnie Collins

Ronnie Collins

I’m Ronnie Collins. I’ve been passionate about gardening and woodworking all my life and even earned an MS degree in Botany from the University of Maryland. I’ve been working at a gardening company for a while, so I know the ropes about a whole lot of dedicated equipment such as the table saw, track saw, lawnmowers, chainsaws, garden hoses, and much more.

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