How To Stop a Chainsaw From Pinching

Knowing how to prevent your chainsaw from pinching is crucial. Everyone can get pinched, but with a bit of caution and strategic operation, you can prevent kickback and serious injury.

So what exactly can you do to prevent your chainsaw from pinching in the first place? Here’s everything you need to know to keep safe at all times.

Everyone Gets Pinched

Getting a chainsaw stuck in a tree or log is not as uncommon as you may think. It happens to everyone, which is exactly why you should know what to do when it happens to you.

But when does a bar get pinched? Well, blades can easily get stuck when you’re cutting downwards and the log or tree is not perfectly level with the ground. 

If a log is not sitting firmly on the ground when you cut, the downward force can cause the log to close up on your chain. Pinching of the blade is more likely to occur when you’re cutting from the top down.

What can you do to stop your chainsaw from pinching? You could avoid cutting on uneven surfaces, but that’s not always a choice. 
Husqvarna chainsaw cross cutting

Technique #1

If the tree is already on the ground and you’re getting ready to cut it up, you need to find a way to make sure the tree or log is lying flat and is level with the ground.

One way to do that is to use other smaller logs and firewood pieces to fill the gaps. Take a step back and look for areas where the tree is not perfectly straight.

Take a limb or a small piece of firewood that you’ve already cut and place them into the bigger gaps. The tighter they hold the tree in place, the better.

These artificial wood fillings take some tension off the tree. If you tried to make a downward cut in an area that’s not flat beneath the tree, the downward force of the tree would most likely cause the cut to pinch the blade of your saw, freezing it in place.

You’re basically creating a DIY sawhorse that will keep the tree stable as you cut. Of course, this technique is not foolproof and only works well if you already have several pieces of wood lying about. 

If you don’t have anything to fill the gaps with, you may want to use a wedge.
Husqvarna 572XP Chainsaw

Technique #2

You can’t always rely on cut firewood to keep your larger logs from pinching your chainsaw. You can use high-quality felling wedges to buck logs and cut firewood that’s already on the ground.

With that in mind, you can’t just use any wedge. Husqvarna’s range of high-quality polystyrene and aluminium wedges guarantee optimal results.

If you’re cutting downwards and are using an aluminium wedge, make sure you remove it in time before it hits the blade. Contact with metal could easily damage the teeth of your chain.
Husqvarna pro chainsaw resting on fallen tree

Removing a Stuck Chainsaw

Despite careful operation, your blade might still get pinched. That’s never good news, but you don’t need to panic. Turn off the engine and assess the situation. If the blade is stuck while cutting vertically (e.g., logs lying on the ground):

  • Try to relieve some pressure off the saw by fitting smaller logs or wedges underneath the tree,
  • Lift the tree up close to where you made the cut. The closer the spot is to the chainsaw, the easier it will be to pull it out. 
  • Wedges, crowbars, and other similar tools can help you force the tree open right at the cut. By applying enough pressure, you may be able to pry open the cut.

If the blade gets stuck while cutting horizontally (i.e. the tree is still standing):

  • And the blade is buried deep into the tree, you can try to push or pull the tree in the opposite direction. Be careful: The weight of the tree may press down on the saw, potentially damaging the blade.
  • You can attempt to fit a wedge into the cut. The applied pressure may be enough to help you quickly yank the saw out.
  • You can use another saw to cut the tree higher up. Make sure you’re aware of your surroundings before attempting to cut in the opposite direction.

You can prevent your chainsaw from pinching by using a powerful, professional chainsaw designed for forest work. The Husqvarna 572 XP can easily cut through dense wood, excelling where other chainsaws falter.
Husqvarna chainsaw felling

The Cross-cutting Technique

You can prevent your chainsaw from pinching by utilising the cross-cutting technique. To be successful with this technique, you need to know where the pressure falls on the tree or log.

For example, if you’re cutting a log that is supported on both ends (i.e., there is a gap underneath the middle part of the tree), the pressure will be on the top side. 

To stop your chainsaw from getting stuck, make a cut on top of the log or tree that’s preferably one-third of the log’s diameter. Use your chainsaw to cut from the underside until you meet the initial top cut. Always stand on the side when cross-cutting to prevent injury.

If you’re cutting a log that is supported on one end, the pressure will be at the underside of the log. Make a shallow cut on the underside of the log and use it as a guide to cut your way through from the top until you meet the initial underside cut. Stand diagonally to prevent injury.
Husqvarna chainsaw with PPE

Stay Safe

Remember that safety always comes first. Accidents do happen, and protective equipment could mean the difference between a minor cut and a major injury. 

For maximum security, use certified protective equipment. Husqvarna’s range of protective clothing and equipment is designed to keep you safe and comfortable, even under the most challenging working environments. Don’t leave your safety to chance. Learn more about protective clothing here.


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