How to cut large logs with a small chainsaw

Before, I start to explain how to cut a large log with a small chainsaw, there’s one thing that I think should go without saying. And that is that you shouldn’t unless you have to. If the width of the log is wider than length of the guide bar, then it’s almost certain that you’re better off using a chainsaw with a longer bar. This will make the log easier to cut, and also safer for you to work with. Don’t have a bigger chainsaw? mean a good chainsaw that does not mean a professional or a big one. One of the best chainsaw under 300 will work.

If not, before you get out your little chainsaw, it might be worth considering methods other than a chainsaw. The benefit of these methods is that because they are manual, they’ll be much safer to use than a chainsaw. The risk of hurting yourself is much lower when you use methods that don’t involve motor engines. However, the one downside of manual tools is that they can be rather time consuming, so not great if you have a tight deadline for cutting that log.

So when is it okay to use a small chainsaw to cut a large log? Well, first of all ask yourself if you have a larger chainsaw! If the answer is yes, use it! If the answer is no, ask yourself if you have the time to cut this log using manual tools such as an axe or a bow saw? If the answer is yes, do it!

However, only when the answer to both questions is no, should you use a small chainsaw to cut a large log.

how to cut large logs with a chainsaw

Here’s how to do it!

1. Before you get started, remember to keep safe! This is a dangerous job, and many things could go wrong. You could cut through the log, and hit your leg, you could get sawdust in your eyes, or the saw could bounce back up at you. In order to keep safe, first of all wear a helmet. Most body parts can be fixed, not your brain! Also wear eye protection, you don’t want saw dust in your peepers. And finally, stand in a position where the saw stands no chance of hitting you if it comes out of the log.

2. Again, before getting started with the cutting, make sure your chainsaw is working properly. If it’s not, and it gets stuck in the log. It might be very difficult to get out. But the most important part of the chainsaw check is making sure it’s sharp enough. A chainsaw which is too blunt will stand a higher chance of bouncing back at you. Whether you want to sharpen it by hand or with a machine is up to you.

3. The first thing you’re going to want to do is cut an incision that goes all the way around the log (excluding the part which is touching the floor). In order to cut this, you will need to put the guide bar in as far as it will go, and then cut downwards. Once you have completed one side, you should move to the other side of the log to complete it on the other side.

4. The next thing to do is to wedge open the cut. Make sure that the wedges you’re using are made either of wood or plastic. This will make it easier for the chainsaw to cut through them. Anything too soft, and the incision will not open very much, or even at all! But too hard, and it could damage your chainsaw! You will almost certainly need to use more than one wedge for this.

Just put it into the incision, and use a hammer to get it in as deep as you possibly can. If you don’t have a hammer, a baseball bat should do the trick!

The larger the wedges, the better this will work!

5. Once the wedges are in there, use your chainsaw to continue cutting the log, following a similar procedure that you did when you cut the incisions. Put the guide bar in as far as it will go, and cut towards yourself. When that’s complete, move to the other side to complete the procedure. At this point, the log should split in half. If it doesn’t keep on reading!

6. You have probably completed at least half of the procedure already. The only thing left to do now is to do the same thing from the other side. If at all possible, roll the log over so that the side which was on the ground is now facing the sky. The best way to do this is almost certainly to roll the log over.

7. Now you will need to, again, put the guide bar into the log as far as it will go, and cut it just as you did in step 5. This is when you need to be incredibly careful as there is a high chance of the chainsaw leaving the log, and that means, a high chance of it hitting you. Be prepared for this. Stand at an angle with your legs apart. And cut it slowly.

Also, in order to make sure your cut is as smooth as possible, try to make sure your new cuts line up up with the cuts you made before you rolled the log over.

8. At this point, if the log still hasn’t come apart, there’s likely to be literally a matter of inches in the centre which is still holding it together. Just keep on cutting until the log comes apart. You may even want to switch to a manual tool (saw or bow saw) for this bit!

And there we have it, your guide to cutting up a log when the log is bigger than your chainsaw!

As said earlier, it’s best to use either a chainsaw that’s bigger or a tool that doesn’t use a motor, but if none of these options are possible, a small chainsaw will have to do. Just make sure you’re careful, and you take safety very seriously!

Best way to cut logs without a chainsaw

If you have got a chainsaw, then there are good chances that you are going to use it sooner or later. Like tree felling, limbing or even pruning trees but if you are not having a chainsaw then what is an alternative?

Fortunately, as knew, there are many other cutting tools which can be used instead of a chainsaw.

Best way to cut logs without a chainsaw

Read also:

How to cut large logs with a small chainsaw

How to cut a tree on the ground with a chainsaw

An electric powered chainsaw without a doubt is a preferable option but people have been performing these tasks much better without these tools long before it’s invention. In this article you are going to learn chainsaw alternatives. Read on to learn more details!

Best way to cut logs without a chainsaw

1. Crosscut


The crosscut saw looks like a standard hand saw, it has got a sturdy handle and a blade attached on it.

Crosscut saw has got different varieties and it can be used for many purposes, for example, stiff bladed and heavy saws are designed to cut felled trees in logs for firewood while flexible and lighter ones can be used for cutting actual trees down.  

The crosscut saws have got different kinds of teeth.

Pattern types: 

– Plain Teeth

– Champion teeth

– Great American teeth

These teeth are made for specific kind of cutting that is why it’s important that you read the packaging or talk with the seller to choose which saw is right for you!

The crosscut saws are come in two different forms – for single and two person use.

This is the best alternative to a chainsaw for cutting the firewood!

2. Hand Saw

Hand Saw

The standard hand saw is just like a crosscut saw but it’s appropriate to use with one hand. There are different sizes and shapes of hand saw, different teeth patterns are designed for specific tasks. 

3. Bow Saw

Bow Saw

The bow saw has got a bow-shape frame. It’s a good tool to cut firewood but you cannot use it for felling trees. The frame of the bow saw is in curved shape and it holds the blade straight and in correct tension. The tension of the blade can be easily adjusted with a turnbuckle or twisted cord! The bow saw is the best option for woodworking!

4. Folding Saw

Folding Saw

The folding saw is a great option to carry around with you on a hiking or camping trip. It’s a saw version of a pocket knife. The fact is that it folds keeping the blade out of the way safe and it makes it compact and a useful item which you can carry around for any situation where you will need it to build a fire. 

5. Wire Saw

Wire Saw

It’s an extremely portable tool which can be used for cutting firewood. You can easily put it in your pocket and it’s a great alternative not only to the chainsaw but even to a folding saw or hand saw.

If you wish you can even turn the wire saw into a bow saw just by finding a flexible branch, all you need to do is hook the wire on both ends and once you bend it on a bow shape, duplicate the look of a bow saw.

6. Axe


An axe is a primitive tool, it’s a good alternative for a chainsaw. Axes have been used for tree feeling for years, but as the time passed people found out that saws, crosscut saws are not just better in cutting already felled trees into logs but you can also use them to cut the actual trees down.

7. Breaking by hand

If you have been dealing with a rotten, dry or old wood then you can just break it up by hand. While you might want to break it over your knee, don’t. You might hurt yourself by performing this act. Just hold it on a firmly flat surface and then break it against the edge of the surface. Alternately, you need to place the branch on the ground, stand on it and just pull it up. it is a good way to make kindling.

8. Small electric saws

reciprocating saw

If you have got electricity then you might want to cut the scrap wood like old pallets, odds and ends of the boards, for kindling, use a reciprocating saw or a circular saw for this process. You are unable to fell a tree or even cut up the large logs with these saws but you can definitely create kindling from scrap.

The reciprocating saw come in corded or cordless forms. They also support different kinds of blades which can be either used for cutting wood, nails or plain metal.

9. Circular Saw

Circular Saw

To use the circular saw on the trees is a very difficult task other than those that are already cut down but you can still use it if you have got something like pallets that you just want to cut and then burn them.

10. Cutting and Splitting Firewood 

You need to cut the logs having 8-12 inch long length, depending on the size of your stove or fireplace. Make sure that your blade is vertical when you are cutting it. Most of the time the blade in bush saw twists easily so you can go through a long course of cutting through a log. Try to use as much length of blade as possible  while cutting without over bending your arm.

You need to put it downwards and forwards at the angle of 30-45 degrees. Make sure that you don’t put too much pressure downwards, if you have got a sharp blade then there is no need to put so much force on it.

Try to keep the blade sharp as it’s a tedious job due to the number of teeth that are normally double edged. You can use a small diameter mounted points which can be easily fitted into a dremel tool.