Can a chainsaw cut metal: A surprising answer

Can a chainsaw cut metal

Using a chainsaw to cut metal is like expecting a butter knife to carve through a boulder!

Can a chainsaw cut metal? This is a commonly asked question among people looking for the right tool to cut through different materials. When cutting metal, a chainsaw may not be the most efficient tool. While some speciality chainsaws designed for industrial use can handle certain types of metal with special blades, typical home-grade chainsaws are not recommended for this purpose as they could easily damage or break their blades when cutting through metals such as iron or steel.

However, if you absolutely must cut a piece of metal with a chainsaw and don’t have any other option, make sure to equip your saw with an appropriate blade specifically meant for metal-cutting purposes and follow all necessary safety precautions to avoid accidents or injuries.

This article will delve deeper into using chainsaws for metal cutting. We’ll explore the limitations of chainsaws when working with metal and discuss the potential risks and hazards involved. 

So let’s get Started!

How Does a Chainsaw Cut Metal?

A chainsaw is a powerful tool that uses a chain with teeth to cut through the material. A motor drives the chainsaw chain, and the teeth grab onto the material and pull it through the saw.

Chainsaws can cut through many materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. 

When cutting metal with a chainsaw, using a saw with carbide-tipped blades is important. These chainsaw blades are designed to withstand high temperatures when cutting through metal.

When a chainsaw cut through metal, the chainsaw will create sparks and heat up quickly. Wearing protective gear, such as gloves and safety glasses, is important when using a regular chainsaw. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using a chainsaw.

What Types of Metals Can a Chainsaw Cut?

When cutting metal with a chainsaw, remember a few things. First, the type of metal will dictate what kind of blade you need. 

For example, aluminum is best to cut with a special blade with carbide teeth designed specifically for cutting aluminum. 

However, you’ll need a different blade type to cut steel pipe or another harder metal. Second, the thickness of the metal will also play a role in what kind of blade you need and how difficult the cut will be. 

Thinner metals will be easier to cut than thicker ones.

Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s take a look at some of the most common types of metals that people try to cut with a chainsaw:


As mentioned before, aluminium is best to cut with a specialized blade. You can find these blades at most hardware stores.


Steel is one of the most popular metals to cut with a chainsaw. However, it’s important to note that there are different types of steel. Softer steels (like 1018) can be cut with a standard wood-cutting blade, but harder steels (like 4140) require a blade with carbide teeth.


Copper is similar to aluminum, requiring a specialty blade for cutting. Again, these blades can be found at most hardware stores.


Brass can be cut with either a standard wood-cutting blade or a carbide-tipped blade.

Stainless Steel:

Stainless steel is similar to steel in that there are different types of stainless steel, and each type requires a different blade type. Thinner stainless steels can be cut with a standard wood-cutting blade, while thicker ones require a carbide-tipped blade.

Safety Considerations When Cutting Metals With a Chainsaw

When it comes to cutting metals with a chainsaw, safety should be your top priority. While chainsaws are not specifically designed for metal cutting, if you decide to proceed, here are some important safety considerations to keep in mind:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Wear appropriate PPE, including safety glasses or a face shield, gloves, hearing protection, and a protective apron or clothing to safeguard against metal chips, shards, sparks, and noise.

Blade Selection

Choose a specialized metal-cutting blade specifically designed for chainsaws. These blades have carbide or diamond-tipped teeth that can withstand the rigors of metal cutting.

Secure the Workpiece

Ensure that the metal piece is firmly secured before cutting. Clamping it down or using a workbench with vise grips can prevent unpredictable movement and potential injuries.

Work Area Safety

Create a clear and well-ventilated work area. Remove flammable materials and ensure there are no bystanders nearby. Metal cutting generates sparks, so take precautions to prevent fires.

Cutting Technique

Adopt a slow and controlled cutting technique. Applying excessive force or attempting to rush the process can cause the blade to bind, kick back, or break, leading to accidents.

Mind the Kickback

Be aware of the chainsaw’s kickback potential when cutting metals. Keep a firm grip on the chainsaw and position yourself to the side, not in line with the cutting path.

Regular Maintenance

Maintain your old chainsaw in good working condition. Sharpen the chain regularly and inspect the saw for any damage or wear before each use.

Cutting metals with a chainsaw is not recommended due to the inherent risks. 

Tips and Techniques for Cutting Metal With a Chainsaw

While cutting metal with a chainsaw is not the ideal method, if you still choose to proceed, here are some tips and techniques to improve your chances of success:

Blade Selection

Use a specialized metal-cutting blade with carbide or diamond-tipped teeth. These blades are specifically designed for cutting through metal and provide better results than standard chainsaw blades.


Apply a suitable cutting lubricant or oil to the blade to reduce friction and heat buildup. This helps to prevent the blade from dulling quickly and ensures smoother cutting.

Marking and Clamping

Mark the cutting line on the metal surface using a marker or chalk. Securely clamp the metal piece to minimize movement during cutting and maintain accuracy.

Start with Low RPM

Begin cutting at a low chainsaw RPM (revolutions per minute) to establish a groove in the metal. Once the groove is formed, gradually increase the RPM for more efficient cutting.

Controlled Cutting Speed

Maintain a steady and controlled cutting speed. Avoid forcing the chainsaw through the metal, which can lead to blade binding or kickback. Let the blade work, and guide it along the marked cutting line.

Cooling Breaks

Take regular breaks during the cutting process to allow the blade to cool down. Metal cutting generates heat, and a hot blade can lose its sharpness quickly. Cooling breaks also prevent overheating of the chainsaw itself.

Clean Cuts

If precision is required, make multiple shallow passes rather than cutting through the metal in one go. This helps achieve cleaner cuts and reduces the chainsaw and blade strain.

Post-Cutting Clean-up

After completing the cut, remove any metal shards or debris from the work area. Inspect the chainsaw blade for any signs of wear or damage and address maintenance needs accordingly.

Alternatives to Cutting Metal With a Chainsaw

There are a few alternatives to cutting metal with a chainsaw. One alternative is to use a plasma cutter. 

Plasma cutters use an electrical arc to cut through metal. They are very precise and can cut through thick metal quickly. 

Another alternative is to use an oxy-acetylene torch. Oxy-acetylene torches use a mixture of oxygen and acetylene gas to create a very hot flame. This hot flame can cut through metal quickly and easily. 

Finally, a band saw can also be used to cut through metal. Band saws use a blade that is made up of many small teeth. 

This blade is wrapped around a wheel and moves back and forth as it cuts through the metal. Band saws are great for making precise cuts in thin sheets of metal.


In conclusion, a chainsaw can cut metal if the correct attachments are used and the operator has the proper knowledge and safety precautions. 

It is important to remember that cutting metal with a chainsaw requires specialized blades and safety equipment, so experienced users should only attempt it. 

If you use your chainsaw for cutting or any metal work, ensure you get all the necessary accessories and take all recommended safety measures.


What Happens When A Chainsaw Hits Metal?

When a chainsaw hits metal, several things can occur. The chainsaw blade may dull or become damaged due to the metal’s hardness. The blade teeth can chip or break, leading to an ineffective cutting edge. The force of hitting metal can cause damage to your chainsaw and also cause the chainsaw to kick back in a sudden and dangerous backward motion. Additionally, sparks may be produced, increasing the risk of fire or injury.

What Can A Chainsaw Not Cut Through?

While chainsaws are designed to cut wood, they have limitations regarding other materials. Chainsaws are generally unsuitable for cutting through metals such as steel, iron, or aluminium. The hardness and density of metals quickly wear down the chain and damage the blade teeth, making it inefficient and potentially dangerous to attempt cutting.

Can A Chainsaw Cut A Sword?

No, a chainsaw cannot cut through a sword. Swords are typically hardened steel, far more durable and dense than the materials chainsaws are designed to cut. Attempting to cut a sword with a chainsaw would likely damage the saw and cause potential injuries. Using appropriate tools and techniques for cutting through swords or other metal objects is best.

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