Using a Chainsaw on Different Wood Types

A chainsaw

While a chainsaw is most commonly associated with cutting wood, it can be used to cut many other materials including meat (bone), metal, plastic, and even concrete. There are different types of chain bars and chains that are specialized to cut a variety of materials. A chainsaw can be used for different functions from felling tall timber to cutting down small-diameter trees and sprucing up larger ones by removing broken limbs.

Carving Wood

Chainsaws were first created in the 1930s and soon became the tool of choice for almost any wood-cutting activity. Wood carving has been an art form since before recorded history and the advent of the chainsaw added another tool to a long line of handsaws, knives, razors, and chisels that have been employed to create wood artifacts. The type of wood used is determined by geography.

Almost any large wood is suitable for chainsaw wood carving. Softer woods like pines and firs are favored for carving, but hardwoods like mahogany and oak make beautiful carvings as well. Chainsaw wood carving has become an increasingly popular hobby with demonstrations conducted throughout the country at local county and state fairs.


The choice of wood used for fires is also dependent upon geography and function. You may be cutting wood just for heating or you may use it for cooking as well. There are many different types of wood that can be used in a home fireplace or an outdoor pit. Many people who live in northern climates where fireplaces are used to augment home heating use seasoned wood. This is wood that has been cut and left out to dry for some time before burning. Green wood, or freshly cut wood, is quite difficult to burn and gets smokey. Always use seasoned wood when burning a fire.

Hardwood Burns Best

If you use your chaisaw to cut firewood, remember that hardwoods produce the best heat. Woods like rock elm, oak, and sugar maple produce the most intense heat while softwoods like pine, spruce, and ash burn quickly providing much less heat. Softwood, however, is much easier to ignite than hardwoods, making them an excellent source of kindling or start wood for getting a fire started.

Starter Woods

Depending on your geography, there are many different softwoods that will make great starter woods to get your fire going. Look for Southern yellow pine and any spruce or fir because these wood are easy to ignite and produce a medium amount of heat. The drawback is that they burn quickly and heavy smoke. Restrict your use of these wood to getting a fire started quickly and burning it for a short period of time. Otherwise, good kindling woods include cedars and cypress.

Best Hardwoods

Once you have your fire started with either some starter wood or kindling, add some slower burning hardwoods that produce good heat such as apple or almond for a good scenting wood or dogwood, hard maple, hickory, birch, beech, oak, and ash. All of these woods burn easily producing little smoke.

Always wear protective safety goggles when using a chainsaw for either carving or cutting wood.