Can A Chainsaw Cut Through Bone?

Can A Chainsaw Cut Through Bone?

There is something of a stigma attached to the chainsaw in that it’s seen more like a murder weapon than it is a tool. Yes, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, we’re looking at you. But in the real world, these are invaluable tools used by many different types of people.

Of course, there is some truth in the movies. Chainsaws, much like any other type of powered blade, can cause some rather serious injuries. So, if you’re working with them, you’ll need to be careful and you’ve probably wondered what damage your tool can do. But is a chainsaw powerful enough to cut through bone?

The short answer is yes, a chainsaw can cut through bone but that doesn’t mean it’s the best tool for the job. In fact, you’d be highly unlikely to see the local butcher using a chainsaw but if you were to slip when cutting, there’s a good chance you could damage your bones.

What Is A Chainsaw?

A chainsaw is a type of portable powered saw that uses a set of teeth that are attached to a chain. When powered up, the chain rotates, quickly moving the teeth which allow you to cut through your chosen material.

There are different types of chainsaws that are designed for working with different materials but we will look at these in a little more detail later on.

Chainsaws are usually powered by petrol, electricity or some of the more modern models come with a rechargeable battery. As with many other types of tools, a petrol-powered chainsaw is the most efficient and powerful.

Bestselling Chainsaws

What Were Chainsaws Invented For?

Have you heard the rumour that’s doing the rounds on the internet that chainsaws were invented as a way of helping women during childbirth? It sounds ridiculous, right? Well, we hate to be the ones to break it to you, but it’s true!

There are many reports detailing this but according to Business Insider, the first chainsaws were invented to remove parts of the pelvis during birth. This typically happened when a baby was in the breech position and could not be delivered through the birth canal.

In modern hospitals, this would mean the woman being taken for a caesarean section and this procedure was in its infancy back in the early days of the chainsaw. Back in 1780, two innovative, if not slightly crazy, doctors invented the chainsaw to cut through the pelvis and help deliver the baby. Before this, the woman would have had to have undergone the painstaking bone removal using nothing but a small knife. To be honest, I don’t know which is worse!

Anyway, the chainsaw from the late 18th century was nothing like the tools we see today. Instead of being powered, it featured a hand crank but still had teeth on a chain, although one could be forgiven for thinking it more closely resembled a kitchen knife.

As doctors realised the efficiency of these tools, they became more commonplace in surgical procedures across the board. While this original design was much simpler and far more medical, it led the way for the power tools we know and love today.

Will A Chainsaw Cut Through Bone?

Modern powered chainsaws are not designed with the cutting of bones in mind but that doesn’t mean to say that they can’t do it. If you accidentally take a chainsaw to your finger or arm, there’s a significant chance that some bone damage would occur. In the worst cases, you might experience amputation and it wouldn’t be pleasant.

Owing to the design of the blade, a chainsaw would more likely rip through and tear flesh and bone leaving anything but a clean cut. And while it doesn’t happen often, it’s not unheard of. Just look at what happened to this poor fellow back in 2012.

If you’re a butcher, the last tool you’ll probably pick up to cut through bone would be a chainsaw. In this profession, people usually use band saws or rotary saws. It’s even possible to buy a special bone knife and these tools are far more precise and adept at cutting this dense material without shattering it.

What Should I Use A Chainsaw For?

Despite not being the best choice for cutting bone, chainsaws can be used for a variety of other tasks. They’re pretty versatile and super powerful; so what can you cut with a chainsaw?

Primarily, chainsaws are used for cutting rough wood. They’re often the tool of choice for tree felling and so are favoured by people like gardeners and lumber companies. When working in the garden, a chainsaw will work excellently for chopping through brush and is far quicker than other methods.

But that’s not all a chainsaw is good for. Think about the following:

  • Some chainsaws are powerful and robust enough to cut through certain types of metal. However, when doing this you must make sure that the chain and teeth are reinforced with carbide tips. That said, they’re not the best tool for cutting metal so if you have something like a reciprocating saw, that would be the better option.
  • If you attach a ripping chain to your saw or use a pneumatic chain saw then it’s perfectly possible to cut through plastic. The only real issue with this is that, because of the heat generated by the saw, the plastic may begin to melt.
  • There are concrete chain saws that are designed to cut through concrete, brick, walls, tiles and other similar materials. They don’t produce as much kickback thanks to the diamond-tipped blades so are much safer for this type of work than a regular chainsaw.

Chainsaw Safety Information

It goes without saying that a chainsaw is not a tool you should mess around with. Chainsaw safety should never be taken lightly and when you first start using one of these tools, it’s recommended to first familiarise yourself with some basic safety tips.

You should never operate a chainsaw if you are in any way impaired. This includes if you are under the influence of medication, alcohol or drugs or even if you feel fatigued. When using your chainsaw, always make sure to control it with both hands.

Before turning your saw on, you should check the tension of the chain and tighten it as necessary. Working with a loose chain could cause it to come off and this could result in a nasty injury. Moreover, if your chainsaw is malfunctioning in any way, stop using it immediately.

You should only ever cut when you are certain about what and how you need to cut. Before doing anything, make a plan and stick to this. For example, if you are cutting down a tree, consider the direction it might fall and have a plan for every possible eventuality.

Wearing PPE when using a chainsaw is imperative. You’ll need goggles to protect the eyes from flying debris as well as suitable work gloves and safety trousers that are often made from kevlar and will resist being cut. Steel toe cap boots are also a good option as well as ear defenders as these tools can be noisy.


Despite their slightly questionable history both in the movies and in real life, chainsaws are very effective and useful tools. While they can cut through bone, they’re not usually the ideal tool for doing so. However, since they are able to, it’s essential to take the right safety precautions when using these powerful pieces of equipment.

Can A Chainsaw Cut Through Bone?

Related Posts

Scroll to top