Can Chainsaws Cut Through Bone?

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Modern chainsaws are designed for woodcutting, but how good is it Can a chainsaw really be used this way or will you need another cutter? This is what this article will answer, and you might be surprised at what you’ll find out.

Almost any type of chainsaw can cut through bone. However it will not be smooth and the blade will dull more quickly compared to cutting wood. A bone saw is more suited for this task.

It should come as no surprise that chainsaws can cut bones because that is what the tool was originally designed for. Yes, the first chainsaws were used as a medical tool to remove bones. But it didn’t take long for people to realize that these saws can be used on wood as well.

What Chainsaw Do You Need to Cut Bone?

You do not need a heavy duty chainsaw to rip through human bones. Bone is tough but its rigidity also mans a sharp saw can slice it into pieces. As to what specs you will need, not a lot actually.

To give you an idea, a 12V electric chainsaw with a 4 inch blade can cut through meat and bones. Obviously the thicker the bone the more chainsaw power is required. But a typical electric chainsaw such as the Oregon CS1500 will have no problems cutting human bone.

Here is another way of looking at it. A Bosch Nanoblade electric chainsaw is rated at 100W and cuts bone with little effort. 1 HP (horsepower) is equal to 700W. An 80cc gas chainsaw generates 5-10 HP so that shows you how powerful chainsaws are.

It comes down to what type of bone you are cutting and the chainsaw. Cutting several of them will wear out the blade eventually. The cuts will be rough too, which is why a bone saw is more suitable in these situations.

It is a different matter if you need to cut a lot of bone with no precision required. For example you may have to dispose of several carcasses. If chopping them to pieces is the only solution, a powerful chainsaw will get the job done. In this case you don’t have to worry about making any smooth cuts either.

Image: Cantons-de-l’Est

The power of these tools is also what makes them potentially dangerous. The good news is modern chainsaws have a lot of safety features including throttle locks, anti-kickback, safety guards and more. Learning how to use a chainsaw properly is key to protecting yourself.

Chainsaws can be dangerous if not handled correctly. If space is limited in your shed, storing your chainsaw vertically can save space. It also reduces the risk of someone tripping over the blade and suffering an accident.

Can a Chainsaw Cut an Arm?

Chainsaws can cut arms, legs and other body parts. Flesh and bone are not a hindrance to it, but clothing could be. This is why in spite of what you see in films and video games, a chainsaw is not an ideal weapon.

If you are asking can a chainsaw cut a bare arm, yes it can. If the arm or body part is clothed, the blade will still cut but not as quickly as you might expect. Especially if the blade is not sharp enough.

The problem with cutting bone through cloth is that the blade can get stuck in the fabric and cease spinning. As you may already know, chainsaw blades consist of fast spinning metal chains. This mechanism allows it to go through wood, bone and other materials.

However, it could get entangled in the cloth. Meat and bone will not be an issue but if the arm is clothed, it might take few passes to fully cut through. At least with a low power or electrical chainsaw. If you have a powerful saw like the Poulan Pro with its 20 inch blade, it will go through the cloth easily.

Cutting through bones will also take time. A small chainsaw might need 30 seconds to cut through well-developed muscles and bones.

It is possible to cut an arm by accident with a chainsaw. However, the blade itself is not as efficient as a surgical or bone saw. If the arm is clothed and the blade is not particularly sharp, the cloth could wrap around the chain.

This does not mean clothing offers any protection. If the cloth is skintight the blade will go through it along with the bone and flesh. Chainsaws are built to cut durable, fibrous materials like wood. Bone cutting is fine but the flesh and cloth are too soft. The cutting process will be messy.

Can a Chainsaw Cut Through a Person?

It is true that a chainsaw will have little trouble going through bones. But what about cutting through a person? In movies and video games see chainsaws being used as a weapon but is this accurate?

You can use a chainsaw to cut through flesh, but one swipe is not going to be enough. If you have ever seen a chainsaw cut a thick tree, you know it is slow and sometimes requires starts and stops.

A chainsaw blade has several teeth, which are made of metal chains. These chains have grooves between them. The groves and the teeth allow chainsaws to cut through various materials.

This video shows how a chainsaw works.

Unlike what you see in movies and video gams, it takes more than just one swipe to cut through flesh and bone. The blade will go through them but it is not as smooth as portrayed in films.

Chainsaws will rip flesh and bone, but it is not going to happen in just a second or two. It cannot be used to perform surgical cuts of any kind. If you have tried cutting a tree down you know how much effort it requires.

Still there is no question that a chainsaw rip through flesh and bone. This is why it is imperative that you wear steel to boots, chaps gloves and other protective. This is also the reason why chainsaw blades have a built-mechanism that stops the chain if it comes near the operator.

The bottom line is it comes down to how sharp and well-maintained the chainsaw is. If it is properly maintained with a sharp blade, it will cut bone, flesh and clothing with ease. If the blade is dull, cutting will take more time and the blade could get entangled in the cloth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I protect myself from getting cut by a chainsaw?

War chaps, gloves, a helmet, eye protection and steel toe boots. Learn how your chainsaw works to minimize mistakes. Make sure the chainsaw you buy has hand guards a throttle lock, chain lock, an auto stop mechanism and protection from kickback.

Are chainsaws used for amputation?

Only in extreme or emergency cases. These days medical personnel use a bone or surgical saw to cut bone and flesh.

What should I do if I cut myself with a chainsaw?

Apply pressure on the wound and bandage it. Call medical help immediately.

What type of chainsaw blade is best for cutting bone?

Any type of blade will be enough for bones and flesh. It really does not make a difference including the motor. Even a small chainsaw has enough power though the cutting process will take more time.

Is cutting wood different from bone?

There are many types of bones and wood so it is difficult to give a precise answer. But because wood and bone have different properties, the way a chainsaw cuts them will feel different.

Is it true that full chisel and semi-chisel teeth are best for bone cutting?

Full and semi-chisel teeth can speed up cutting. How effective it will be depends on the bone and how much power the chainsaw has.

Can a picket chainsaw cut bones?

It depends on the teeth quality. Assuming it is not too coarse then the chainsaw should work.