How Does A Chainsaw Work?

The trees are the bones of our world. There is no arguing about that. However, there are some instances where we need to cut them. Sometimes, they can be a hazardous threat to life. When there is a dire necessity to fell a tree, a chainsaw is a right tool. But first, do you know how does a chainsaw work?

A chainsaw is a cutting beast. It has a design that can easily slice down large trees and hardwoods in just minutes. Despite this, a chainsaw has still a lot of purposes. It is an ideal emergency tool in times of disaster and survival. Aside from that, this tool is also useful in clearing and thinning of trees. This process is essential to maintain the sustainable health and growth of woodland areas.

Moreover, a chainsaw is for homeowners also. It is excellent in making firewood and field maintenance.

These benefits make you wonder how this machine can do all of its functions. Therefore, this is the right time for us to explore the anatomy of a chainsaw.

How Does A Chainsaw Work


A chainsaw got its name from its design. Specifically, this tool is made of two parts. The first one is the saw blade that is attached to a chain and wrapped around a metallic bar. The second part is the engine or motor, which powers the entire chainsaw. There are different varieties when it comes to the engine. Some designs have engines fuelled by a battery pack. On the other hand, some use cord and gas.

The chain of a chainsaw has a similar appearance to a bicycle chain. It runs around sprockets which make it spin. Usually, standard chainsaws have 30 sharp teeth on their chain. By the way, the teeth come from a hardened steel alloy, which makes them extremely durable.

Meanwhile, the piston on the engine is thrusting a connecting rod that moves a crankshaft. The crankshaft is the one responsible for spinning the chain. This is because this component uses a centrifugal clutch to attach itself to the sprockets.

Specific Mechanism

As we mentioned, a chainsaw is a beast when it comes to cutting errands. It uses its engine to generate enough mechanical power to cut down trees and turn them into logs and firewood.

  1. A chainsaw has a gas tank in where you store the fuel to operate this tool. Typical designs of chainsaw have a tank capacity of 0.5 liters. This scheme lessens the stress and fatigue a
    person can feel when using this tool. By the way, its capacity is 100 times lesser to the gas tank of a car, which holds up to 55 liters.
  2. The fuel passes through a carburetor. This component mixes the gas with air.
  3. After the carburetor, the air-fuel mixtures is passed down to a cylinder. This cylinder is just like the same as those you can see on the cars but in a much simpler form. Cars have four-stroke cylinder while chainsaws have two-strokes only.
  4. When the air-fuel mixture is already inside the cylinder, a spark plug ignites it. As a result, the mixture burns and unleashes it all energy to the piston, which makes it move and back and forth. Specifically, the piston of a chainsaw has a diameter of around 45 mm and a traveling capacity of about 33 mm. When the piston is already moving, the connecting rod and crank convert its motion into a rotation. Afterward, a drive shaft consumes power from the rotation and gives it to the centrifugal clutch of the chainsaw. This enables the chainsaw to spin with power and precision.
  5. Technically, the engine of a chainsaw can operate always. However, you don’t want to do this unless you are actually cutting woods. Moreover, a spinning chainsaw is very perilous. This is where the clutch comes into play. The centrifugal clutch attaches the chain to the engine when you are pulling the throttle. This same mechanism also stops the chain from spinning if you are not using the chainsaw.
  6. Moreover, a chainsaw has several gears that transport power to the sprocket from the clutch. We mentioned earlier that the sprocket is the one that holds the chain of this tool.
  7. You can attribute the precision of the spin to its metallic guide bar. This component is also responsible for the durability and reliability of a chainsaw in felling trees!


Knowing how does a chainsaw works is a technical knowledge essential for lumberjacks and typical homeowners. Learning about its entire mechanism will enable you to maintain this tool correctly. If you practice this tool a lot often, you can be able to troubleshoot it by yourself.

However, we should always remind you to be careful always when handling this beast. We all know how dangerous a chainsaw can be! So better be cautious all the time! Therefore, you should also know how to use a chainsaw properly!