How To Cut A Large Log With A Small Chainsaw Easily

Did a storm hit and a tree fell on your property so now you have to get rid of it but don’t want to buy a new chainsaw?

Do you sometimes forget to bring your big chainsaw along, leaving you with your small saw?

Well whatever the reason is, I’ll be showing you how to cut a large log with a small chainsaw.

This is a step by step guide on how to do it…

Step 1 – Sharpen your saw

Stihl chainsaw sharpener

The first thing you need to do is sharpen your saw. You see, when you’re cutting into much larger logs than your chainsaw was designed for, it will dull quickly.

In fact, after one session of cutting logs, I’m willing to bet you won’t be able to cut anymore until your sharpen your saw.

This especially applies to hardwood. I would recommend having a chainsaw sharpener on hand. It’s going to be a lifesaver.

Step 2 – Make sure the oil and gas are topped up

When you’re cutting into these large logs, there’s going to be a lot and I mean A LOT of friction created. This will definitely heat up your chainsaw and it can very easily become damaged.

To help prevent an extreme amount of friction, you need to refill your bar oil.

Also, make sure there’s plenty of gas in the tank. You’re going to be cutting for longer than usual since your saw isn’t designed for this kind of work.

Step 3 – Cut into the log as far as you can

Next, cut into the log as far as you can, but be careful

…when you enter, make sure there’s at least an inch gap between the bottom of the bar and the wood. Also, make sure you don’t enter with the tip of the saw because this will cause kickback.

After that, you’re going to cut as far down as you possibly can. That might be halfway down, a quarter, or less.

When cutting the log, stop forcing the bar into the wood, this will damage your saw, and dull your chain quicker. You’ve sharpened the chain, so let it do its work.


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Step 4 – Turn it around

After you’ve cut as deep as you can into the log, you’re going to roll over the log and re-enter into the cut.

When re-entering the cut, be careful because it may cause kickback. Again, make sure you don’t start cutting with the tip/nose.

And leave a 1 inch gap between the bottom of the bar and the wood. This will help when it comes to pulling out your chainsaw.

By turning around the log, you prevent your chainsaw from hitting the ground and becoming dull.

How do I hold logs while cutting with a chainsaw?

You hold a log while cutting with a chainsaw by placing the log on a flat surface to prevent it from rolling. You can also put logs on either side of the log you want to cut. And you can even put your feet on the log to prevent it from rolling if it’s small enough.

If you still haven’t completely split the log, just follow this step again. Roll the log and re-enter it.

Problems you may encounter

Chainsaw stuck in the log

If your chainsaw gets stuck in the log, you need to create a bigger gap inside of the cut. This can be done by wedging something in the cut and then hammering down on it. You can use an axe and then hammer that axe. This will create a gap that will allow you to free your saw.

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Chainsaw not cutting properly

If your chainsaw isn’t cutting as it used to, you need to sharpen the chain. So make sure you have a sharpener on hand or else you won’t be able to get the job done.

If you’ve sharpened your blade and it still won’t cut, you may have damaged the bar and need a replacement.

Collecting the wood

After you’ve done cutting the logs, you’ll need to carry them away. But of course, you’re not going to directly pick them up.

I would recommend a simple wheelbarrow to help with this. Or if you’re in an open area, you can load them on your truck.


You cut a large log with a small chainsaw by making cuts into the logs as deep as possible and then rolling the log onto the other side. And then you re-enter the first cut and keep cutting through the log until you totally split the wood. When doing this, make sure your chain is sharp and is topped up with bar oil and gas.

So now you know exactly how to cut logs with a smaller chainsaw.

Happy sawing!

– Adam