Nothing is worse than a chain tangle interrupting your chainsaw work.
It’s incredible how quickly a chain can get into a tangled mess. All your attempts to fix it make it worse, and it seems like the whole thing is busted.
Is there an easy way to untangle a chainsaw chain without having to cut it or needing to buy a new one?
As it turns out, there’s a pretty tried and true method for untangling even the most knotted chainsaw chain. Sometimes known as the double loop method, this way works time and time again.
It’s a method used by both chainsaw owners and bikers alike (a bike chain works much the same way).
How To Untangle A Chainsaw Chain
As always with chainsaws, staying safe is vital.
Remember that all types of chainsaw chains contain a series of small blades. It can be tricky to handle them without getting cut, especially with a new, extra sharp saw. We recommend you wear gloves to prevent cuts or snagging.
No matter how snarled a chainsaw chain is, you can still untangle it using a simple repeated method. While you don’t need any tools for this, a highly tangled chain might need some Allen wrenches or screwdrivers.
Here’s what you need to do.
1. Lay Chain on a Flat Surface
First of all, decide where you’re going to untangle your chain. It’s essential to find a clean and flat surface to prevent any dirt or dust from gunking up the blades while you’re straightening.
It’s also good to find a surface that you don’t mind getting a bit scratched up – a work table works well. Of course, you can’t untangle the chain if it’s still attached to the saw. Remove it safely and lay it on your workspace.
2. Lubricate the Chain
Make sure the chain is clean of any gunk or debris – a dirty chain could have been the reason for the tangle in the first place.
If it’s an older chainsaw, you should add some bar and chain oil to help things move smoothly. Oiling the chain will loosen up the tangle – if it’s a small knot, it might just come undone and make the rest of these steps unnecessary!
A well-lubricated chain will make the untangling process much more manageable. If the chain is stiff or dirty, it’s just going to keep tangling and not be able to move smoothly. Newer chains are generally well lubricated, so this step might not be necessary if your chainsaw is new.
3. Make Two Loops
Find two loops on opposite ends of the chain and hold one in each hand.
This might be a little difficult if it’s knotted, but you should be able to find some space to make loops. As best as you can, keep the loops on opposite ends of the tangled chain.
Hold the loops in each hand, increasing the diameter to about three inches. The rest of the chain should adjust with the loops and form a larger loop beneath. Two smaller loops and a longer one is the shape you’re looking for to help with the next step.
4. Raise Chain
Still holding the loops, raise the chain straight up in the air.
The longer loop should be dangling beneath. Let it hang straight down, and then raise it until it’s equal to the smaller holes. Because of the material of the chain, it will be stiff and stick straight out.
Once the chain is raised and the lower loop is straightened and stiff, it will begin to slip through the smaller loops you made. Let this happen – it’s the chain untangling itself! Once it falls to the bottom, the tangle should be gone (or at least lessened a good deal).
5. Repeat as Needed
If the chain isn’t wholly untangled after the first try, you can repeat the process until it’s back to working order.
Because of the circular shape of the chain, the looping system will eventually restore the chain to its original form.
It might seem a little complicated in writing, but once you get the chain in your hands and start untangling, I promise that it will work for you! If you need a visual representation of this method, the video above is super helpful and takes you step by step through the process.
How to Prevent a Chainsaw Chain Tangle
Of course, the best chainsaw chain tangle is one that never happens!
While it’s not always entirely preventable, there is something you can do to reduce the risk of this chainsaw annoyance. Proper care of a chainsaw and chain will give your chainsaw a longer and more productive life!
The easiest way to care for your chainsaw chain is to make sure it’s clean, well-oiled, and the teeth are sharpened. Clean the debris off after every use, and store your chainsaw in a place where it won’t get rusty or damaged.
If you take care of your chain well, you might prevent a tangle from ever happening!
How To Unkink A Chainsaw Chain
There you have it.
If you repeat this double loop method enough times, your chainsaw chain will become untangled, and you’ll be able to get back to work. This method might not be the most glamorous process, but it will get your chainsaw back up and running.
When putting a chain back onto a chainsaw, don’t forget to put it in the right direction.
Next up, find out how chainsaw engines work!