Can You Cut Sleepers With A Chainsaw?

By Sam Wood •  Updated: 10/07/21 

If you have a few sleepers to cut then you will be trying to find the easiest method possible. This has obviously led to you considering a chainsaw, but will this work? Can you cut sleepers with a chainsaw? Let’s have a look!

Well, Can You?

Yes, you can cut sleepers with a chainsaw. A chainsaw is often one of the quickest ways to cut a sleeper. It is also one of the easiest ways to cut a sleeper if you aren’t just making straight cuts.

As I talk about in my how to cut sleepers article, there are a few easy ways to cut a sleeper, one being a hand saw and another common choice being a chainsaw.

A word of warning before we move on, chainsaws are incredibly dangerous and can permanently maim or even kill. If you don’t know what you are doing then do not use one. The one I am using is a small, low powered, cordless chainsaw, but even this could lop your arm off in an accident.

Step 1 – Mark Your Cut

Step 1 -Mark The Sleeper
Step 1 -Mark The Sleeper

Like always we start with measuring and marking up our cut. Like all good joiners say, measure twice (or is it thrice?) cut once. And this old adage really does ring true, always take the time to measure and mark your cuts properly and you will save yourself bags of time and headaches down the line.

Step 2 – Line Up And Begin Your Cut

Step 2 -Begin Cutting With A Shallow Angle
Step 2 -Begin Cutting With A Shallow Angle

Make sure you have the wood on a solid surface, a good quality sawhorse works really well. Hold the chainsaw firmly and begin sawing at a shallow angle.

Step 3 – Hold The Cut

Step 3 - Cut All The Way Through
Step 3 – Cut All The Way Through

Keep a firm grip on the chainsaw as it works its way through the wood.

Done!

So that’s that done, the chainsaw has made quick work of the sleeper. It made it all the way through in roughly 30 seconds, compare this to the handsaw at 1 minute 10 seconds.

I don’t think there is enough of a time difference to warrant the use of the chainsaw and I personally will be sticking to the handsaw and would recommend the same for you too.

Below you can see that the final cut is quite rough and is actually quite a bit rougher than what the handsaw achieved. There is also quite a bit of tear-out at the top of the sleeper, which was the bottom of the cut.

Result - A Messier Cut With Quite A Bit of Tearout
Result – A Messy Cut With Quite A Bit of Tearout
The result, a nice clean cut
The handsaw result, a nice clean cut

Sam Wood

Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!