How to Sharpen a Chainsaw – Expert Tips & Guide

Woodworking tools are categorized based on their various kind of functions associated with cut, finish, assemble, measure and clamp wooden parts while converting raw materials into finished products. There are various types of saws for cutting wood. Chainsaw is one of them which is a power-driven cutting tool assembled with two major parts like bar and chain. This tool has a set of teeth attached to a rotating chain that moves round the edge of the blade or along with the guide bar. Chainsaw is mainly used for cutting log, trimming, firebreaks, limbing and reaping of firewood etc. But if the blade of the chainsaw is dull, it cannot produce an expected performance while on operation. The chain can be decayed over time, broken down or nonfunctional. In such situation, the chainsaw won’t be able to perform accurately. All you need to address these issues is to sharpen the blade of the chainsaw without any delay. 

However, today’s article is designed to discuss on how to sharpen the chainsaw blade combining two methods including manual filing and power-driven filing. 

One of the most common characteristics of the blades of the chainsaw is that they get decayed over time. Another characteristic is that they could be broken down due to excessive pressure, mishandling or the use of the defective machines. Chainsaw provides excellent service if its blades are reasonably sharp for cutting the woods. There are few symptoms to understand about the condition of the blades of the chainsaw and decide whether they need to be sharpened. If the chainsaw can’t cut the splinters straight or the chips seem like the dust, then it’s an indication that the blades of the chainsaw are dull and they need to be sharpened or replaced. Besides, if you need to apply too much pressure on the chain to make it able to cut is another sign of dullness. 

Now let’s talk about how to sharpen the blades of the chainsaw following a few steps.  

Chainsaw Blade Sharpening Guide: Step-by-Step Instructions

Sharpening Blade with Hand File

Step 1: A round file is most commonly used to sharpen the blades. The standard size of the file is ranging from 4mm to 6mm diameters to ensemble the chain pitch. Refer to the owner’s manual to get the standard file for the particular chain pitch. 

The first thing you need to know is the specifications of your chainsaw and blades. Read the instruction manual to have all specifications before sharpening your blades. You can find the chain identification code on the drive link.  

Read more: How to Pick Best Arborist Chainsaws

Wear safety equipment like gloves, goggles to be protected from workplace hazards and injuries.

Get a chainsaw filing kit and a chain. Filing kit contains file guide, flat file, round file, and depth gauge measuring tool.

Step 2: Get a round file that matches with the diameter of the semi-circular edges on the cutting teeth. Loosen the thumbscrews on the sharpening guide and slide the round file beneath the two metal hold-down clamps. Tighten the screws to secure the file in the guide. 

Step 3: Place the chainsaw bar on the working bench, lock it loosely with the bench vice. Discharge the chain brake in a way so that the chain can rotate easily on the bar. Take a circular file and hold the file securely with one hand and with the other hand, lightly hold the other end of the file. Hold the file at a 90-degree angle to the guide bar. 

Step 4: Position your file over the cutter which should be in between the cutter and the depth gauge. Use a file guide having two contact points. One should be on the cutter top plate and the other on the depth gauge. 

Step 5: Grip the file in an appropriate position so that 20% of the file’s length remains above the top of the cutter’s plate. Try to get the quality file guide while dealing with your project. 

Step 6: Make sure the upper plate filing position is aligned with the centerline of the chainsaw.  

Step 7: Then the next step is to identify the most damaged portion of the blade. To produce a sharpest edge, one of the best techniques is to file from the inside edge of the blade towards the outside edge. Apply the same number of even strokes along with the same degree of pressure with the file to sharpen the spoiled portion maintaining the same length. It’s important to complete the filing from one side of the chain and repeat the same technique for the other side afterwards. 

Step 8:  After filing, you can assume if the blade is adequately sharpened. If the blade seems to be glossy is meant to be enough sharpened and no more filing is required. 

Step 9: Before wrapping up your work, check the blade once again to make sure all the top plates are equal in length and the depth gauge is perfect. 

Step 10: Once the sharpening of the chain is completed, remove the bar from the bench vice. Clean the chainsaw off and grease the chain and bar adequately. However, soaking the chain into the oil for a day is the best way to grease it. 

See also: Finding the Best Small Gas Powered Chainsaws

Sharpening Blade by Electric Sharpener

Step 1: After obtaining the specification of pitch and gauge, the first thing is to set your electric sharpener tool properly, preferably on the ground to avoid the risks of accidental movement while operating. In case of a sharpener having bench-mount option, place it firmly on the workbench with a vice. Position your sharpener securely and install the chainsaw blade on the sharpener. 

Step 2: Place the blade in the holder of the sharpener and adjust the angle between 0-60 degrees as applicable. However, some angles even can go further up to 80 degrees. You can adjust the tooth angle of the blade by releasing a dial positioned on the blade’s holder and the angle can be adjusted by rotating the dial in the different directions.  

Step 3: Then the next step is the adjustment of the depth for accurate positioning to avoid excessive deep cutting from the grinder and the damaging of the blade.   

Step 4: Now you can start to sharpen the blades with the device. Gently set the grinder wheel on the first tooth of the blade to make contact. Leave the contact for a few seconds. Then lift the grinder and check if the inner side of the tooth seems to be reasonably shiny to be able to cut. Then repeat the same process for each of the teeth on the one side of the blade. Once a set of the teeth is sharpened of one side, reset the grinder from the positive to the negative angle with the same degree like the angle was previously set at (like if the previous angle was 20 degree). Also you have to readjust your grinder aligned with the previous angle’s setting which is now ready to sharpen your next set of teeth. 

Maintenance Tips

Turn off your chain saw before maintenance. 

Grease the chain off for smooth operation and preventing from rusting. 

Blades can be sharpened more than ten times as said by the professional carpenters depending on the chain’s condition. Generally, you can sharpen the chain until there is any little slash mark at the back of the tooth. If the cutters are worn unevenly in spite of multiple sharpening, contact professionals to fix them. 

Remember, the dull blade of the chainsaw increases the risk of occurring kickback leading to an engine damage and severe injuries.   

Wear safety equipment including gloves and goggle while on operation

Concluding Remarks

I hope, by this time you have got general idea about different features of the chainsaw, measurement aspects, sharpening procedures and maintenance of the blades to achieve an outstanding cutting results, There is nothing to be worried about if you follow the procedures to sharpen the chainsaw blades either by a hand file or an electric sharpener. As the measurement issue is directly linked to the sharpening of the chain, always refer to the owner’s manual before going for sharpening task. I hope your chainsaw would give you the best results while dealing with your wood project provided your chainsaw blades are quite sharp for precise cut. It’s recommended to replace your device when necessary to have an effective performance. 

If you have any query and feedback we are there to hear those so as to provide you with a quick consultation as and when necessary. If you find it useful, we would expect you to share it with your friends and the professionals through social media, websites and other networks. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top