Cutting Guide

Chainsaw Cuts To The Right After Sharpening [Explanation]

So your chainsaw is cutting to the right after sharpening, huh? The culprit is often uneven wear, likely from an angled cut, bad sharpening, incorrect tension, or insufficient lubrication. Fixing it involves checking a few key things, from teeth length to proper filing angle.

You could be dealing with uneven teeth, an incorrectly sharpened chain, or maybe even a worn-out bar. The good news? Most of these issues are fixable. 

Get ready to roll up your sleeves and bring your chainsaw back to its full, straight-cutting glory. Stay tuned!

Why Does a Chainsaw Cut to the Right After Sharpening?


While sharpening is an essential maintenance task, if done incorrectly, it can lead to your chainsaw cutting unevenly. Here are the key reasons:

Uneven Sharpness

You’re about to embark on some serious woodworking, and your trusty chainsaw is by your side. You simply honed that beast with the intention of slicing through the logs like butter. But then you observe that it appears to have developed its own mind, heading to the right.

Who is the most likely culprit here? Sharpness is uneven. If the sharpness of the cutters on the chain varies, the chainsaw will naturally draw to the sharper side.

To combat this, sharpen those cutters with extreme care. Each one requires your whole attention to achieve consistent sharpness and balance.

Incorrect File Size

Filing a chainsaw is an ancient profession that requires precision, the correct equipment, and a little elbow grease. But what if you utilize the incorrect file size?

The solution, unfortunately, is not pretty. You may wind up with incorrect edge geometry, leading your chainsaw to deviate and begin cutting to the right. Choosing the proper file size is critical to preserving the teeth of your chainsaw. Therefore, before you take that file to your chainsaw, be sure it’s a perfect match!

Depth Gauge Settings

Depth gauges, those often disregarded parts of your chainsaw, could be sabotaging your woodworking efforts. If they’re not properly adjusted, your chainsaw may cut more on one side, resulting in that bothersome rightward drift.

The depth gauge determines how far the cutters can go into the wood. If one side is set deeper than the other, your chainsaw will lean in that direction. It’s similar to a hyperactive puppy pulling on a leash, however, the repercussions with a chainsaw can be significantly more severe!

Always check that your depth gauges are properly set for a straight cut and a satisfied chainsaw operator.

Uneven SharpnessIf the cutters on the left are sharper than those on the right, the chainsaw will tend to cut more on the left side, causing it to drift right and vice versa.
Incorrect File SizeA too-large file can over-sharpen the cutters, causing an imbalance. A too small file, conversely, may not sharpen the cutters adequately.
Depth Gauge SettingsThe depth gauges control how deep the cutters dig into the wood. If these settings are incorrect, it can cause the chainsaw to cut more on one side.

Correcting the Rightward Drift: A Step-by-step Guide


Following these steps can help rectify the problem and get your chainsaw cutting straight again:

Checking Cutter Sharpness

The first step in correcting a rightward drift is to thoroughly inspect the cutters on your chainsaw. Each tooth, or cutter, should have the same level of sharpness on both sides. This guarantees an equal cut and reduces the possibility of your chainsaw favoring one side over the other.

Give the cutters a thorough inspection, looking for signs of dullness or corrosion. Remember that uniform sharpness is the goal!

Choosing the Right File Size

When dealing with a chainsaw, you might think that any old file will suffice. Yet, this is not entirely correct. It is critical to utilize the file size recommended particularly for your chainsaw chain for best performance.

This information can be found in the manual for your chainsaw, which should always be kept nearby for reference. Selecting the right file size not only improves cutting efficiency but also extends the life of your chainsaw.

Adjusting the Depth Gauges

The adjustment of the depth gauges is one of the most crucial (and frequently disregarded) components of chainsaw maintenance. The depth gauge is the little projection in front of each cutter that determines how far into the wood the cutter bites.

You can ensure that each cut is accurate and controlled by keeping them correctly adjusted according to the manufacturer’s instructions. No more erratic drifting or off-track cuts!


Assume you’ve tested the sharpness of your cutters, used the proper file size, and adjusted your depth gauges. Yet, your chainsaw appears to have a mind of its own, consistently moving to the right. This could indicate that the chain needs to be re-sharpened.

Read more: Chainsaw Sharpening Mistakes

Re-sharpening is not for the faint of heart, and if you’re not sure about your chainsaw maintenance abilities, now is the time to call in the pros. A professional can give the necessary expertise to restore your chainsaw’s cutting capacity.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw That Cuts to the Right?


Let’s get that bad boy back on the right track. It’s most likely a problem with the chain’s sharpness – uneven wear can cause a lot of drift, which isn’t good. But don’t worry; with a little time and the correct tools, you can solve the problem. This is how.

Gather Your Tools

First things first, you gotta have the right gear to do the job.

  1. A round file: This is for sharpening the cutter teeth on the chain. Make sure it’s the right size for your chainsaw model.
  2. A flat file: You’ll use this to level out the depth gauges.
  3. A filing guide: This handy little tool ensures your files are at the right angle when you’re sharpening.
  4. A vise or clamp: To hold your chainsaw steady while you work.

Note: Always make sure you’re wearing suitable safety gear when handling your chainsaw, even for maintenance. That means gloves and safety glasses at a minimum.

Find the Problem

Now that we’ve got the tools, let’s diagnose what’s going wrong. If your chainsaw is veering off to the right, it likely means the left-hand cutters are duller than the right ones.

On a well-maintained chainsaw, both sides of the chain should be equally sharp, but with use, one side may become more worn than the other, causing the saw to cut unevenly.

Sharpening the Cutters

The action starts here. You’re gonna want to sharpen those dull left-hand cutters to get your chainsaw back in action.

  1. Fix the chainsaw in a vice or clamp. This is not a job you want to tackle by yourself.
  2. Get your round file and filing guide ready. Place the guide on the chain, aligning it with the cutter to be sharpened. The file should be positioned on the cutter’s semi-circular edge.
  3. Begin sharpening away from you with clean, steady strokes. There’s no need to rush; take your time. To guarantee even sharpness, each cutter should receive the same amount of strokes.
  4. Go to the next cutter. To access each one, rotate the chain as needed.

Remember, you’re aiming to sharpen the left-hand cutters here, so be sure to give them some extra attention!

Checking and Lowering the Depth Gauges

Once all your cutters are sharp, it’s time to check those depth gauges.

  1. Your filing guide should have a flat side or a separate depth gauge guide. This will help you get the right height for the gauges.
  2. Place the guide over a cutter. If the depth gauge protrudes over the top of the guide, it’s too high.
  3. Use your flat file to lower any protruding gauges until they’re flush with the top of the guide.

Note: Depth gauges control how much wood the cutters remove with each pass. If they’re too high, the chainsaw won’t cut efficiently.

Testing the Chainsaw

All right, you’ve done the hard part. Now, it’s time to fire up that chainsaw and see how she runs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Chainsaw cut crooked with a new chain?

A new chain cutting crooked could mean it’s not properly tensioned or aligned. Make sure to adjust tension and alignment according to the user manual.

How do I know if my chainsaw tooth is sharp?

A sharp tooth easily cuts into wood and produces fine chips. If it’s dull, you’ll see sawdust instead of chips.

Why is my chainsaw cutting to the left?

Your chainsaw may cut to the left if the chain teeth on one side are sharper or more worn than the other. Balance the teeth by sharpening them evenly.

What angle should a chainsaw chain be sharpened?

Generally, most chainsaw teeth are sharpened at a 30-degree angle, but it can vary. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines for the correct angle.

Electric chainsaw cuts to the right after sharpening

If your electric chainsaw cuts to the right, it could be due to uneven sharpening. Make sure both sides of the chain are evenly sharpened.

Key Takeaway

  • Check for uneven sharpness in the chain’s teeth.
  • Use the correct file size for sharpening.
  • Adjust depth gauges for balanced cutting.
  • Consider professional help if problems persist.