This article will cover the soft fixes you can perform if your chain is not tensioning correctly.


It's important to tension your chain correctly so that it cuts through wood properly. The method for tensioning your chain varies depending on your model type. Please refer to your manual for machine-specific detail. Below are some short summaries for each model:

For the Sovereign/Challenge PCS38Z:

This machine tensions by nuts and a screw on the inside of the bar.

  1. Disengage the chain brake.
  2. Loosen the two nuts on the bar.
  3.  Make sure the tensioner pin is located in the assembly hole on the bar.
  4. Use the tension screw on the inside of the saw-chain to tighten the chain: While holding up the tip of the bar, adjust the chain tension by turning the tensioner screw until the chain engages in the bar channel. 
  5. When tensioned correctly it should be possible to pull one full chain link free of the bar channel with ease.
  6. Tighten the nuts securely, finger tight. Then check the chain for smooth rotation and proper tension while moving it by hand. If necessary, loosen the chain cover.
  7. Tighten the nuts.

For the Qualcast PCS46Z:

This machine tensions by knob and tensioning wheel.

  1. Disengage the chain brake.
  2. Pull out the lever on the adjusting knob, and turn anti-clockwise to loosen, clockwise to tighten - this just needs slight loosening to free up the bar and chain.
  3. Use the tensioning wheel next to the knob to adjust the chain tension.
  4. Retighten the knob to secure the side cover.

For the Spear & Jackson CS4100 / S4140PC:

This machine tensions by sliding lever and knob.

  1. Disengage the chain brake.
  2. Slide out the lever on the adjusting knob, turn to slightly loosen the grip on the bar. NOTE: it does not matter if the lever isn't facing directly downwards.
  3. Use the outside of the knob to adjust the tension of the chain (the part which is darkened in the image below right).
  4. Re-secure the bar by rotating the lever clockwise.