How to Sharpen a Chainsaw? – A Step by Step Guide

A chainsaw is an invaluable tool in the hands of an amateur, professional or commercial use. It allows you to cut through a wide variety of materials quickly and efficiently. The problem is that chainsaws require regular maintenance and sharpening in order to ensure they are working at their best and to avoid accidents.

Sharpening a chainsaw is not a simple task, and can be time-consuming, but with the right knowledge, you can sharpen your chainsaw in no time at all. In this article, I’ll tell you how to sharpen a chainsaw, which tools do you need to hand sharpen a chainsaw and give you some useful tips.

Chain Sharpening Tools You Will Need

The following is a list of the most common sharpening tools you will need if you are going to be sharpening a chainsaw chain.

  • Chainsaw file. This will need to be replaced several times as it becomes worn. Below I’ve prepared a chainsaw file guide.
  • Oil to oil the chainsaw. This is used to ensure the blade remains lubricated.
  • Flattening stone to flatten the chainsaw chain. This ensures that the blade remains flat and has the desired depth.
  • Cleaning brush to brush off excess oil off the chainsaw after use. This is to ensure that there is no excess oil on the chainsaw.
  • Sharpening guide to ensure the chain remains in the same position at all times.

Chainsaw Sharpening Instructions

Sharpening teeth

Learning how to sharpen a chainsaw blade is an invaluable skill that every logger should know. A chainsaw that is sharpened correctly, cuts faster, more efficiently, and with less strain on the person operating it, preventing kickback. So, there you have it, the steps to sharpening a chainsaw!

Step 1 – Prepare the chainsaw for sharpening

The first thing you need to do is prepare the chainsaw for sharpening. Firstly, ensure that the chainsaw is off. Then, apply a generous amount of the oil onto the chainsaw blade. You should apply this oil evenly and ensure that you cover the whole blade.
Before you begin sharpening the chain, first inspect the chain for damage. You should check for:

  • Bent, loose, or broken links.
  • Bent or broken guide bars.
  • A loose chain. If the chain is too loose, it will not cut wood properly.
  • A damaged bar. If the bar is bent or cracked, the chain will not cut wood properly.

Step 2 – Clean the chain

The chain and guide bars should be cleaned with a wire brush and/or a stick to remove as much dirt as possible.

Step 3 – Set the guide bar

Once the chain is clean, you can adjust the guide bar. You want to tighten the guide bar to the correct tension. If the guide bar is too loose, it will not cut the wood properly. If the guide bar is too tight, the chain will not move smoothly. You should be able to set the guide bar between these two extremes.

Step 4 – Sharpen the chain

The chain should not be sharpened until the guide bar is set. While you sharpen the chain, you should hold the guide bar with your hand. You should apply pressure to the guide bar with your hand to keep it taut.
The chainsaw sharpening angle is dependent on the type of wood that you are cutting. When cutting softwoods such as pine, you will want to sharpen at a 22.5-degree angle. When cutting harder woods such as oak, you will want to sharpen at a 35-degree angle.

The reason for the difference in angles is that harder woods have a harder time cutting through wood, so more force is needed. This is accomplished by sharpening at a steeper angle.

Step 5 – Cool the chain

After you sharpen the chain, you should allow it to cool. If you continue to cut wood with a hot chain, the chain will become too hard. Check the tool manufacturer’s recommendations. Most tools will tell you to allow the chain to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Step 6 – Test the chain

Once the chain has cooled, you should test it. You should cut a piece of wood and check to see if the chain is sharp. If the chain is not sharp, you should sharpen it again. You should also clean the chain with a wire brush and/or a stick.

Step 7 – Store

Once you are finished using the chainsaw, you should store it. You should keep the chain and guide bar on the chain saw while you are storing it. Keep the chain saw in a dry place.

How to File Chainsaw? – Easy Steps to Follow

Sharpen a Chainsaw

This is a guide on how to file chainsaw teeth. Chainsaw filing guides are pretty simple. The method described here is a universal method that works for all chainsaws.

  1. Get your chainsaw file and safety glasses.
  2. Turn your chainsaw on and make sure it’s running smoothly and that the chain is running true (not wobbling on the sprocket).
  3. Get a piece of wood and stick it in your vice. Clamp your saw in the vice. The wood will keep your tool from tipping over as you file it.
  4. Put on your safety glasses. Your chainsaw will kick out lots of small pieces of metal. You don’t want these pieces to hit your eyes.
  5. Now start filing. File the front of the tooth first. Make sure to hold your file at a 45-degree angle.
  6. After you’ve filed the front of the tooth, flip your file around and file the back of the tooth. Check to see if it’s sharp. If it feels dull, then repeat previous steps.
  7. After you’ve finished filling all of your teeth, clean them off with a piece of sandpaper.

Chain Sharpening Tips

This is a guide to help understand and sharpen the chain saw chain.

  1. You want the chain to have a correct cutting angle that is straight across the face of the chain. This means the teeth are all the same height. The correct chainsaw tooth angle is about 20 degrees.
  2. For sharpening, make a series of cuts with the file, sharpening the outside edge of the chain first, then the inside edge. As you get into the middle, you’ll notice that the file cuts slower and more carefully.
  3. Do not allow the file to dig into the chain. It should glide over the teeth and the chain should be held with light pressure. This will prevent the chain from becoming too thin in the center.
  4. If you keep your chainsaw in a plastic bag to keep it from rusting, be sure to keep the air holes open.
  5. If your saw pulls, that is, if it has a sideways movement as you cut, the tooth behind the cutting edge is too blunt. If you are sharpening your saw, you will want to sharpen the tooth behind the cutting edge last.
  6. While sharpening a chainsaw chain, you should never stroke towards your body. Always stroke away from your body.

The Bottom Line

Sharpening a chainsaw is a very meticulous job but can be done by anyone. However, a lot of people are not sure how to sharpen a chainsaw, so they look for professional help, and they end up paying a lot of money. In this article, I have explained the steps clearly, and you can follow them without any problem.
If you have any questions related to this article or any query regarding the chainsaw then you can write in the comment section. Thanks for reading!

I’m Ronnie Collins. I’ve been passionate about gardening and woodworking all my life and even earned an MS degree in Botany from the University of Maryland. I’ve been working at a gardening company for a while, so I know the ropes about a whole lot of dedicated equipment such as the table saw, track saw, lawnmowers, chainsaws, garden hoses, and much more.

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