How to Sharpen a Chainsaw

Learning how to sharpen a chainsaw will help keep this useful tool safe to use and can extend its lifespan. Sharper blades are safer to use, as they require less pressure to cut with. Your chainsaw should be sharpened after every hour or two of use. After 10 hours of use, consider having the blade professionally sharpened.

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw Like A Pro

  • The right file. You'll need a round or chainsaw file that matches the size of your chain saw blades (called cutters). You owner's or user's manual can tell you the proper diameter of file to use.
  • Guide me. Although some newer chainsaw cutters have sharpening guides etched into them, you'll do a better, more consistent job if you purchase a sharpening guide. A chainsaw sharpening guide locks into place on the bar and helps guide the sharpening file to make consistent strokes as you sharp each cutter.
  • Tighten the chain. Before you start, increase the tension of the chain until it is moderately difficult to move by hand. You don't want to cut with this tension, but it will help keep the cutters in the chain firmly positioned, making them easier to sharpen.
  • Get a grip. In order to sharpen your chainsaw, the bar needs to be firmly anchored. Lay the chainsaw on a workbench, place the bar into a vise and tighten the vise until it firmly grips the chainsaw bar.
  • Mark your blade. You'll be working all the way around the chain. Mark your starting point on the chain with chalk or a permanent marker so you'll know when you've reached the beginning.
  • Now that's sharp! Basically, you'll want to run the file three to five times across the edge of each cutter at the same angle. The angle of the cutter edge is typically between 25 and 35 degrees. Use the scribed guide on the cutter, a sharpening guide or the cutting edge of the blade itself to maintain a consistent angle. Work on one side of the chain, sharpening all the cutters that face the same way, until you've gone all the way around the chain. Flip the file to the other side and sharpen all of the cutters that face in the opposite direction.
  • Got depth? The depth gauge-the hooked portion at the front of each cutter-should be about 0.1 of an inch shorter than the cutting edge. Use a depth gauge tool the make sure the gauge is at a proper height. If not, file it down with a flat file until the tool show the depth gauge at the proper height.
  • Get ready to cut. After you've finished sharpening all of the cutters, reset the tension of your chainsaw to its operating tension and oil the chain.
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