Cutting Guide

Chainsaw Stops Cutting Halfway Through and How to Fix It

Imagine you’re out there, ready to tackle that huge log or trim that bothersome branch. You rev up your chainsaw, and just as you think you’re making progress, it stops cutting halfway through. 

The culprit could be a ridge or burr on the bar, or perhaps the bar groove is unevenly worn. And if it’s not the bar, it could be the chain’s tension, sharpness, or even the oil supply.

We’ll delve into the common reasons your chainsaw might halt its cutting task prematurely and how you can fix it.

Common Causes of Chainsaw stop cutting halfway through

If your chainsaw stops cutting halfway through a piece of wood, there could be several reasons behind it. Here are the most common issues and their potential solutions:

1. Dull Chainsaw Chain Issues

A primary reason chainsaws cease cutting effectively is due to a dull chain. Signs of a dull chain include needing extra pressure for cutting, producing fine sawdust, and the saw pulling to one side. Regular sharpening and timely replacement of the chain are essential.

2. Inadequate Chainsaw Chain Tension

Improper chain tension also disrupts cutting. Excessive tension causes wear on the bar and motor, while insufficient tension risks the chain slipping off. Correct tension is when the chain pulls slightly away from the bar but returns easily. Regular tension adjustments are crucial.

3. Lack of Chainsaw Lubrication

Proper lubrication is vital for chainsaw efficiency. Low lubrication increases friction, leading to the chainsaw stopping. Overheating and excessive wear on chain links indicate this issue. Ensuring a full oil reservoir and checking for oil system blockages is important.

4. Chainsaw Overheating Problems

Chainsaws may stop cutting due to overheating, caused by extended use, clogged air filters, or engine complications. Symptoms include smoke emission and excessive heat. Preventative measures include regular cooling breaks and keeping air filters clean.

5. Fuel-Related Chainsaw Issues

In gas-powered chainsaws, incorrect fuel mix, stale fuel, or a clogged fuel filter can hinder performance. Common signs are stalling, starting difficulties, or stopping mid-cut. Using fresh, correctly mixed fuel and replacing the fuel filter regularly is advised.

6. Electric Chainsaw Electrical Issues

For electric chainsaws, problems such as damaged power cords, tripped circuit breakers or motor issues can cause sudden stopping. Regular cord inspections and ensuring a stable power supply are recommended preventive steps.

Step-by-Step Troubleshooting Guide


If your chainsaw stops working halfway through a job, here is a complete guide on what you should do:

Turn Off the Chainsaw – The first step is to turn off the chainsaw to prevent accidents. Ensure that the chainsaw is turned off before proceeding with any further troubleshooting steps. Read more about Troubleshooting Chainsaw Cutting Problems.

Check the Fuel Tank – If your chainsaw is running on low fuel, it may not reach the carburetor correctly, causing the engine to stall. Check the fuel tank and ensure that there is enough fuel. If the fuel tank is empty, fill it up with fresh energy.

Check the Fuel Filter – If the fuel filter is clogged, it may prevent the fuel from reaching the carburetor, causing the engine to stall. Remove the fuel filter and clean or replace it if necessary.

Clean or Rebuild the Carburetor – If the carburetor is not functioning correctly, the engine may not get enough fuel or air, causing the chainsaw to stall. Clean or rebuild the carburetor or replace it entirely in severe cases.

Check the Spark Plug – If the spark plug is dirty or worn out, it may not generate a spark, causing the engine to stall. Remove the spark plug and clean it or replace it if necessary.

Check the Air Filter – If the air filter is clogged, it may not allow enough air to enter the engine, causing it to stall. Remove the air filter and clean or replace it if necessary.

Disengage the Chain Brake – If the chainsaw’s chain brake is engaged, it may prevent the chain from turning, causing the engine to stall. Disengage the chain brake and restart the engine.

Check the Ignition System – If the ignition system is faulty, the engine may not start or stall halfway through a job. Check the ignition coil, spark plug, and other ignition system components and replace them if necessary.

Clean the Fuel Lines – If the fuel lines are dirty or clogged, they may not allow fuel to reach the carburetor, causing the engine to stall. Clean the fuel lines thoroughly and replace them if necessary.

Seek Professional Help – If you need to become more familiar with the chainsaw’s engine or help troubleshoot the problem, seek professional help. A professional can diagnose and fix the problem, ensuring that your chainsaw is working correctly and safely.

How to Fix the Issue When a Chainsaw Stops Cutting Halfway Through

The problem often lies in the chainsaw’s bar or chain. A common symptom is the saw initially cutting well but then ceasing to cut deeper, leading to the chain spinning without progress.

This issue can be attributed to an imbalance in the chainsaw’s cutting mechanism, specifically in the bar and chain alignment or the chain’s depth gauge setting.

To resolve this, start by examining the chainsaw bar. Look for signs of wear or damage, particularly in the groove where the chain runs. Overheating, indicated by blue discoloration, suggests that the bar has been stressed, often due to operating with a dull chain or incorrect raker height.

In such cases, replacing the bar is crucial to prevent further damage to the chainsaw, including the chain, drive, and clutch. When installing a new bar, ensure the chain is correctly tensioned, allowing a slight lift but maintaining firm contact with the bar.

Next, consider the chainsaw’s carburetor, especially if it’s been exposed to carbon dust, which can impede its function. A thorough cleaning of the carburetor is necessary in this situation. However, if cleaning doesn’t resolve the issue, inspect the carburetor for any defects, and replace it if you find any malfunction.

Furthermore, the chain’s depth gauge setting is critical for efficient cutting. An incorrectly set depth gauge—either too high or too low—can hinder the chainsaw’s ability to cut effectively.

A depth gauge set too high, as your situation suggests, results in the chain failing to penetrate the wood adequately, leaving only fine sawdust and no substantial cutting debris. Adjusting the depth gauge to the appropriate height is imperative for the chain to engage the wood correctly and ensure a smooth cutting process.

Frequently Asked Question

Why does my chainsaw start cutting then stops?

This can be because of a fuel mixture issue or carburetor problems. Ensure you’re using fresh fuel and consider tuning the carburetor.

Why does my chainsaw stall when I cut?

A dirty air filter, bad spark plug, or improper carburetor adjustment can cause this. Check and clean or replace as needed.

Why is my chainsaw chain not going round?

The drive sprocket may be worn out, or the chain tension is too tight. Inspect and adjust or replace as necessary.

Why is my chainsaw not cutting and smoking?

A dull chain or too much oil in the fuel mix might be the culprit. Sharpen the chain and ensure the correct fuel-oil ratio.

Gas chainsaw stops cutting halfway through.

Fuel flow obstruction or a clogged air filter might be causing this. Check the fuel system and clean the air filter.

Why does my chainsaw stop cutting halfway through the log?

It might be due to chain binding or fuel supply problems. Check the chain’s sharpness and the fuel system.

Why does my chainsaw not cut wood?

The chain could be dull or installed backward. Check the chain orientation and sharpen if necessary.

Key Takeaway

  • Chainsaws may stall due to issues like fuel problems, spark plug faults, or clogged filters.
  • Regular maintenance prevents many common chainsaw challenges.
  • Prompt troubleshooting ensures consistent chainsaw performance.
  • When uncertain, professional assistance ensures safety and effective solutions.
  • Proper care extends the chainsaw’s lifespan and smooth operation.