How to Shorten a Chainsaw Chain Without a Tool

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Are you facing a situation where your chainsaw chain is too long and needs to be shortened, but you don’t have the necessary tools? Don’t worry! In this article, we will guide you through the process of shortening a chainsaw chain without a tool. We’ll provide step-by-step instructions and useful tips to help you accomplish this task effectively. So, let’s get started!

1. Assessing the Chain Length

Before starting the chain shortening process, it’s essential to determine the exact length that needs to be removed. This assessment will ensure that you remove the right number of links and maintain the proper functioning of your chainsaw.

2. Preparing the Work Area

Creating a suitable work area is crucial to ensure safety and efficiency during the chain-shortening process. Clear any debris, find a stable surface, and gather the necessary safety gear, such as gloves and protective eyewear.

3. Removing the Excess Links

Using a flathead screwdriver or a small punch, carefully push out the rivets that hold the excess links together. Take your time and apply gentle pressure to avoid damaging the chain or your tools.

4. Resizing the Chain

After removing the excess links, it’s time to resize the chain to the desired length. Align the remaining links and make sure they fit snugly without any gaps. Remember to count the number of links removed for future reference.

5. Ensuring Proper Tension

Once the chain is resized, it’s crucial to check the tension. A properly tensioned chain ensures optimal performance and reduces the risk of accidents. Refer to your chainsaw’s manual for specific instructions on adjusting chain tension.

6. Testing the Chain

Before putting your chainsaw back into operation, it’s vital to test the newly shortened chain. Start the chainsaw and observe its performance. Ensure that the chain moves smoothly along the guide bar and engages properly with the sprocket.

7. Maintaining Safety Measures

Throughout the entire process, prioritize safety. Wear protective gear, work in a well-ventilated area, and handle tools with care. Remember to disconnect the spark plug wire before working on the chain to prevent accidental starts.

8. Alternative Methods for Chain Shortening

If you don’t have the necessary tools for chain shortening, there are alternative methods you can try. These include using a file to manually shorten the chain or seeking assistance from a professional chainsaw service center.

9. Tips and Precautions

  • Always consult your chainsaw’s manual for specific instructions and guidelines.
  • Take your time and work with precision to avoid any mistakes or accidents.
  • If unsure or uncomfortable with the process, seek professional assistance.
  • Regularly maintain and sharpen your chainsaw chain to ensure optimal performance.


Can I use a file to shorten the chainsaw chain?

Yes, using a file to manually remove links is an alternative method for chain shortening. However, it requires precision and may not be as accurate as using a dedicated chain shortening tool.

 Is it necessary to wear protective gear during the chain-shortening process?

Yes, wearing protective gear, such as gloves and protective eyewear, is essential to ensure your safety while working with a chainsaw.

Should I seek professional assistance for chain shortening?

If you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, it is recommended to seek professional assistance from a chainsaw service center to avoid any potential damage or accidents.

How often should I maintain and sharpen my chainsaw chain?

Regular maintenance and sharpening of your chainsaw chain are essential for optimal performance. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding chain maintenance intervals.

5. Can I reuse the removed links in the future?

It is not recommended to reuse the removed links as they may be weakened or damaged during the chain-shortening process. It’s best to replace them with new links if needed.

Remember to always refer to your chainsaw’s manual and exercise caution when working with power tools.


Shortening a chainsaw chain without a tool is possible with careful planning and execution. By following the step-by-step instructions provided in this article, you can effectively resize your chainsaw chain to the desired length. Remember to prioritize safety, maintain proper tension, and test the chain before putting it back into operation.

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