Can I Use a Chainsaw on Wet Wood? Tips for Safe and Efficient Cutting

If you’re planning to cut wood, chances are you’ll come across wet wood at some point. Wet wood can be more challenging to cut than dry wood, and it can also be more dangerous.
So, can I use a chainsaw on wet wood? The short answer is yes, you can, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind to do it safely and efficiently.
In this article, we’ll go over some tips and tricks to help you use a chainsaw on wet wood without damaging your tool, putting yourself at risk, or ruining your wood.
Before we dive into the details, let’s start with the basics. Yes, you can use a chainsaw on wet wood, but it’s not ideal.
Wet wood is harder to cut than dry wood, and it can dull your chainsaw chain faster.
Additionally, wet wood can be more unpredictable, as it may contain hidden knots, nails, or other debris that can damage your chainsaw or cause kickback.
That being said, sometimes you have no choice but to cut wet wood, especially if you’re working in the rain or in a humid environment.
If you need to cut wet wood, follow these tips to do it safely and effectively.

Tips for Cutting Wet Wood with a Chainsaw


Use a sharp chainsaw chain

A sharp chainsaw chain is essential for cutting wet wood. If your chain is dull, it will struggle to cut through the wood, and you’ll have to apply more force, which can be dangerous.
A dull chain can also overheat, causing damage to your chainsaw. Make sure to sharpen your chainsaw chain before you start cutting wet wood, and check it regularly as you work.
Use the right chainsaw chain for wet wood
Not all chainsaw chains are created equal. If you’re planning to cut wet wood, choose a chainsaw chain with deeper gullets and larger teeth.
This type of chain is designed to clear sawdust and debris more efficiently, reducing the risk of kickback.

Adjust your chainsaw’s oil flow

Wet wood generates more sawdust than dry wood, which can clog your chainsaw’s air filter and cause overheating.
To prevent this, adjust your chainsaw’s oil flow to increase lubrication and reduce heat. Consult your chainsaw’s manual for instructions on how to adjust the oil flow.

Use the right technique

When cutting wet wood, use the right technique to avoid kickback and other hazards. Start by cutting the wood at a slower speed than you would with dry wood.
Apply steady pressure and avoid twisting the chainsaw or using excessive force. Be prepared for the wood to bind, and use wedges or a pry bar to free it if necessary.

Wear the right protective gear

As with any chainsaw work, it’s essential to wear the right protective gear when cutting wet wood.
Wear a helmet, eye and ear protection, gloves, and chainsaw chaps to protect yourself from debris, noise, and potential kickback.


Can I use a regular chainsaw chain on wet wood?
You can, but it’s not recommended. Wet wood can dull your chainsaw chain faster, so it’s best to use a chain designed for wet wood.

Can I use a chainsaw on wood that’s submerged in water?

No, you should never use a chainsaw on this wood

How do I know if the wood is too wet to cut with a chainsaw?

The moisture content of the wood should be below 20% for optimal cutting conditions. You can use a moisture meter to test the wood before cutting.

Can I use a gas-powered chainsaw on wet wood?

Yes, gas-powered chainsaws can handle wet wood, but you may need to adjust the oil flow to prevent overheating.

Should I let wet wood dry before cutting it with a chainsaw?

It’s best to let wet wood dry before cutting it with a chainsaw, as it will be easier to cut and will cause less wear on your chainsaw.
If you need to cut wet wood, try to do it on a drier day or use a dehumidifier to dry the wood out beforehand.

How often should I sharpen my chainsaw chain when cutting wet wood?

You should check and sharpen your chainsaw chain more frequently when cutting wet wood, as it will dull faster.
Check the chain after every few cuts, and sharpen it as needed to maintain optimal cutting performance.