How to Cut Firewood with a Chainsaw (Split Firewood Fast & Easy)

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Splitting firewood with an axe is time consuming and painful.

But cutting firewood with a chainsaw is fast and easy!

If you’ve ever wanted to know how to split firewood with a chainsaw then you’ve come to the right place.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how to cut firewood with a chainsaw so you can get through this without hurting your back or spending hours out in the field.

So, let’s get started!

How to Split Firewood with a Chainsaw (Step-by-Step Guide)

Step 1: Choose the Right Size Chainsaw

Before you go out and start slicing and dicing up your firewood, you first need to make sure you have the right size chainsaw to get the job done right.

For most people, an 18-inch chainsaw is an ideal length for splitting firewood. For indoor fireplaces, you want a 16-inch pice of firewood when all is said and done.

However, if you’re starting with massive tree trunks, then you may want a 20 or 24-inch chainsaw to get through the thickness of that wood.

The guiding rule of thumb here is to choose a chainsaw length that’s two inches longer than the wood you’re going to cut. That way, you can prevent the nose from getting nicked or pinched and experiencing a kickback.

To find out more about how to choose the best size chainsaw for cutting firewood, check out my other guide with reviews of the best chainsaw for cutting firewood. It includes chainsaws of every type (gas, electric, and battery-powered ) in 18 to 24-inch lengths.

I also have a more general list of highly-rated chainsaws on my top chainsaws page.

Step 2: Protect Yourself

Whenever you’re operating a chainsaw, safety always needs to come first.

Especially when it comes to protecting yourself from injuries.

To stay safe, always wear the proper protective gear before starting the job of splitting firewood with a chainsaw.

Those items include:

  • Chainsaw chaps or thick jeans
  • Cut-resistant gloves
  • Eye protection or face mask
  • Hearing protection
  • Helmet

Step 3: Cut Tree Trunks into Usable Logs

Once you have the proper size chainsaw and all of your protective gear on, the next step is to start chunking up your tree material into usable logs.

To do that, you need to divide the trunk up into equal parts that can be more easily managed—around 4-foot lengths.

You can either eyeball this measurement or be precise by using a forest tape measure and a marking spray.

I prefer to be precise in my cuts so I measure each 4-foot section with the forest tape measure and mark it with marking spray.

Next, if your trunk is lying on the ground, use your chainsaw to cut 3/4 of the way through the trunk along all of the markings. Then, using a felling lever, turn the trunk over so you can cut through the other side to finish off the cuts.

You never want to cut all the way through a trunk that’s lying on the ground because if you hit the dirt with your chainsaw chain, it will immediately dull the teeth. That’s why you want to cut through one side, roll the trunk over, and finish the cut from the other side.

If you’re working on a sawhorse, then you can cut all the way through the trunk without any problems.

Step 4: Cut Logs into 16-inch Lengths

Once you have your trunk split into 4-foot lengths, the next step is to turn those pieces into correct firewood lengths—16 inches.

To do this, place your 4-foot sections of logs on a sawhorse or continue working on the ground. Just follow the same guidance in the last tip about cutting through the logs without damaging the chain.

Video Showcasing Steps 5 and 6

Step 5: Cut the Firewood Size Logs in Half

Now comes the fun part—actually turning your logs into firewood pieces.

To split your firewood in half, first, place the log on the ground or a tree stump. Then, place a piece of wood on either side of the log to act as supports so the log doesn’t roll left or right.

Next, take your chainsaw and cut through the full length of the log right down the middle.

It’s best to dig the bucking spikes at the base of your chainsaw into the log for this process and then pivot the blade down into the cut.

Just like when you cut the logs on the ground, don’t cut all the way through the wood since you may hit the ground and dull the chain. Instead, cut until you have about 1-inch of wood left on the log.

Then, set your chainsaw down and lift the wood up with your hands. Turn it over, and drop it forcefully onto one of the other pieces of wood that you used as a supporting wedge or the tree stump.

That sudden force should finish the split and snap your log into two pieces. If not, use a felling wedge and mallet to finish off the split.

Step 6: Cut the Firewood Halves into Quarters

This step is similar to the last one.

Turn your freshly cut half of firewood over so that the flat end is on the ground or tree stump.

Then, cut through the full length of the wood with your chainsaw.

Stop about 1-inch before the end of the cut.

Set your chainsaw down, pick up the piece of wood, turn it over and drop it on a supporting wedge piece or the stump to finish off the split.

Once this step is complete, you should now have perfect sized pieces of firewood.

Repeat this step to finish off the other half of the log.

Then, go back to step 5 and repeat the cycle until you’ve finished splitting all of your firewood.

Enjoy Your Freshly Split Firewood

Well, there you have it.

The complete steps for how to cut firewood with a chainsaw.

You now know how to split firewood with a chainsaw fast and easy.

Just remember that it’s important to use the right size chainsaw for this task. You don’t want to use a chainsaw that’s too short or too long for the job because an injury is more likely to happen.

If you don’t have the right size chainsaw for this task, take a look at the best chainsaw for cutting firewood to find the right tool for your needs. It includes chainsaws of every type (gas, electric, and battery-powered ) in 18 to 24-inch lengths.

Or if you want to just browse through a more general list of highly-quality chainsaws, see my top chainsaws page.

I hope this step-by-step guide helped.

Happy sawing!

Your pal,
Chainsaw Larry