How to cut wood slices with chainsaw- learn the simplest technique

Are you planning to cut wood slices with a chainsaw for the first time? Then you must learn the process of how to cut a tree trunk into slices very well before doing this task. You can use the chainsaw for many purposes like trimming, felling, chopping or slicing woods, trees, branches etc.

It completely depends on your skill of using, whether the chainsaw is useful and helpful for you or harmful and dangerous. If you follow all the safety measures and the proper way of using the chainsaw, then it will give 100% service in cutting wood slices. Otherwise, it can be proved dangerous if you fail to handle it. But don’t worry; this article will help you in this purpose. You will learn the easiest way of cutting wood with a chainsaw from this writing.

How to cut wood slices with chainsaw- Two simple methods

There are several methods of how to cut large wood slices which you can follow. For example: Log support on either both ends or one end, over bucking and so on. We will mention here only two popular methods that are the easiest.

Before starting the cutting process, you need to know some important things and follow them. You have to do these things common in both methods.

Smart sizes of Chainsaw

There are two smart sizes of chainsaw that are standard for cutting trees into wood slices. One is 16 inch and another is 18inch chainsaws. Both of them are long enough to complete your task successfully. If you already have any of them, that’s great. If you don’t, we will recommend you to buy one of good quality.

Take enough protective measure

Without wearing protective attire, it’s never a good idea to use a chainsaw for cutting woods. If you are not taking enough precautions, you are surely risking your life. So, it’s better to follow certain rules rather than hurting yourself. We are listing some things that you should do while cutting the wood slices.

  • Wear a long-sleeve t-shirt or if possible woodworking apron to protect the body
  • Wear thick and cut resistant hand gloves
  • Use cut-resistant boots or shoes
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes from dust and splinters.
  • Use dust mask for clean breathe
  • If possible, buy and use a protective helmet with super-protective visor if you are going to use the chainsaw regularly.

Choose a perfect workplace where nobody will come from behind when you work. And there is enough space for you to work freely and comfortably. The environment should be such that you can work with full of concentration.

First Method: Fast Freehand Method

This is the fastest method of cutting wood slices using only the chainsaw, the tree log and support. This method doesn’t require any extra tools to cut the wood slices.

Step1: Prepare the wood

Pop up the tree log ends at least 5-6 inches off the ground so that it becomes clear from the ground. As the chainsaw will not hit the ground directly and there will be no chance for an unwanted kickback. For prop up the log, you can use log jack. If you don’t have it, you can also try any wood scrap solid piece for the same job. Just place this solid wood scrap under the tree log and push it up.

Propping up will save you from kickback incidents as well as it will help you to get smoother and exact cut.

To avoid kickback accidents, you also need to mark the tree knots where the wood is more condensed. The tree-knots are harder woods to cause harm to the chainsaw and also make the cutting unpredictable while you are cutting through them. So mark the tree knots like round spots and avoid them while cutting the wood slices.

Step 2: Mark the wood

Before starting your cutting, you have to take the measure of the woods with a tape measure and mark the woods on cutting points. Generally, people cut out pedestals or platform from large trees or logs. Moreover, you can use large logs to make rustic tabletops. But it’s better not to make too large slices that are hard to dry. Mark the length of slices you want to cut from the logs.

It’s up to you, how much thick the slices will be. You can make 1 inch, 2 inches or 5 inch thick slices as per your need. You have measured the thickness with a tape measure and mark the tree log all around. These markings will make your cuts more exact and precise. You can use a permanent marker to give marks. If the marks are still not visible, use masking tapes for better precisions.

Step 3: Saw the wood

Check the condition of your chainsaw before you start sawing. If the fuel is enough for completing the task, that’s good. It will be irritating to refuel the saw in the middle of your cutting. Now, make a warm-up cut on a small wood piece to test the condition of your saw. You will learn whether it’s working properly and giving smooth cuts.

If the chainsaw is working well, get a firm grip of the saw with both of your hands. Hold it tight with your left hand in the front handle. Keep the saw exactly a few inches above the marking of the wood and turn it on. Now lower the saw blade down slowly onto the tree log and cut it. 

Don’t give too much pressure; let the chainsaw do most of the work. Just guide the saw properly and this will give you cleaner and smoother cuts than forcing it.

The noise of the chainsaw may bother you but ignore it. Complete the cutting with full concentration. When you feel that you need to push the saw more than before, then sharpen the blade with chainsaw sharpener and work again.

Step 4: Repeat the process and Finish cutting

Finish the cut and the wood slice would fall on the ground. Move it from the ground and free space for the next wood slices. Then take the measure of the next slice and give marking on the rest log. Repeat the same process for cutting the next slices.

Second Method 2: Using a Jig

If you are looking for how to make a straight cut with a chainsaw, then this would probably be a good way to get the most precise cuts. But it is the best way when you want to get wood slices of same thickness only.

For this purpose, you can make a jig for slicing wood by yourself. Just attach some 2×4 size pieces that will guide the chainsaw blade when you are cutting.

You have to prepare the wood, take the measurement, give markings and find out the knots in the same way described in the fast freehand method. The only cutting process is different in this method and it’s clearly described here.

Step 1: Making the Jig

First off all take the diameter measurement of the tree log or wood that you want to cut. Convert this measurement into 2×4 and cut this into two slices equal to the length. Cut two 2×4 pieces with minimum 4” bigger length than previous ones. As such previous two pieces will accommodate within these two slices and form a box.

Now nail the ends of these four 2×4 wood slices and form a box that can slide over the tree log. Maintain the right angle when you nail together the boards by sliding it along the tree log. As such you will get an exact measurement of where to nail the shorter boards. After taking measurement nail the first shortboard with the two longer 2×4 boards and you will get a U shaped box. Then put the last short 2×4 piece on the tips of the U and nail it properly in its place. Your jig box is ready now!

Step 2: Prepare the Saw Blade

When the jig is ready, prepare the chainsaw blade and jig. If you use chainsaw blade directly on the jig, the blade will touch it and disturb the level. So you need two equal-sized scrap wood pieces of minimum 1-inch thickness. Now attach one piece at the right side base of the chainsaw blade using glue. On the same side of the blade, attach another piece near the tip.

This simple trick will raise the saw blade and not let touch the jig. You can slide the saw blade to get a perfect cut without touching the 2x4s jig.

Step 3: Jig Setup on the Tree Log

Place the jig over tree log and move it down keeping enough space to get a cut slice of desired thickness. Move it one more inch down so that it adjusts with the level of the chainsaw blade that is raised by you.

Fasten the screw of both sides of the jig to attach it with the tree log so that it doesn’t move while cutting.

Step 4: Cut the slice and Finish

Turn on the chainsaw and hold it tightly with both your hands. Put the blade on the marking so that its right side slides across the jig. Go on sawing with less pressure until the blade becomes dull. Sharpen the blade if required.

After finishing the cut, the wood slice will fall on the ground. Move it to make room for the next piece and repeat the same process by sliding the jig.

wood slices


We hope that our article will help you in learning how to cut wood slices.  We tried to describe the two simplest methods much clearly. We would recommend you to take 100% precautions to avoid accidents.

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