How to Sharpen A Chainsaw? [Beginners Guide]

Sharpening the chainsaw involves a few steps.

  • First of all, you need to clean the chain as it eliminates the risk of unnecessary accidents.
  • After cleaning the chain, use a clamp to fix the saw, after which you will file the lead cutter on the chain. 
  • File the cutter inside the saw. Try not to put too much force into it. When you have finished filing the lead cutter, you need to move the chain around and start on the other side of the cutter.
  • Continue this process until you complete sharpening the whole chain.
  • Repeat the same action for the cutter face in the opposite direction.
  • This is a vital role that makes sure all hooks in the chain are sharpened in the same way.

In the end, before using the chain, you need to oil it properly. 

Also Read: Best Miter Saw Stand

Step by Step Process for Sharpening the Chainsaw:

There are five basic steps to sharpen the chainsaw. These steps include:

Step 1. Clean the Chain

 You should clean the chain before you are doing anything. That way, you’ll prevent any unnecessary accidents from happening.

Step 2. Steady the Saw

Next, you would have to use a clamp to steady the saw.

Make sure that the clamp is as tight as possible so that there’s no movement within the saw itself. The cutters are integral to the chainsaw.

It means you have to pay them a lot of attention. You’ll have to find the ‘lead cutter’ on the chain. This cutter is going to be a little smaller than the others.

Step 3. File the Cutter’s Inside

In the next step, you have to start filing in the cutter (i.e., the curved edge) with the file.

You don’t need to use much force when performing this action, but you have to be firm.

Next, you’ll have to move towards the top of the cutter. Hold the file at a 25-30-degree angle, based on the particular saw you have, and repeat the filing motion until sharp.

Step 4. File the Cutter’s Inside

Next, use a twisting motion to file the face of the saw.

You need to aim to form the face of the cutter as smoothly as possible. Once you have finished filing the lead cutter, you would have to turn the chain around and work on the other side of the cutter.

Continue until you’ve completed the whole chain. This job should take about ten minutes approximately. Turn the saw around and repeat the same action for the cutters that face the other direction.

Step 5. Check It Over

Finally, before you can use your chain, you’ll have to check it over one more time. You have to oil the chain to make sure that it’s ready for you to use. 

how to sharpen a chainsaw infographic

Step to Sharpen A Chainsaw with An Electrical Sharpener:

You can follow these simple steps for sharpening your chainsaw (Miter Chainsaw or Stihl chainsaw) with an electrical sharpener.

Step 1. Measure

Before sharpening the chainsaw blade, it’s important to understand the specifications of the chain. This information can generally be found on the packaging of the chain. here’s the complete guide on measuring the chainsaw bar.

Now that you have the right measurements, you’ll obtain the right size stone for sharpening your blade. This is often usually 3/16 inches.

Step 2. Prepare

In preparation for sharpening, the blade must be positioned firmly on firm ground to ensure there’s no movement, and therefore the chain stays still when you start sharpening.

Step 3. Positioning

Using the measurements of the blade, place the stone between the teeth of the chain to set the gap.

Step 4. Swivel

Next, you’ll have to place the chainsaw blade within the holder of the sharpener before adjusting the pivot angle. Typically, the pivot angle will be 0-60 degrees; however, in some cases, it can increase up to 80 degrees.

Step 5. Angle

In step 5, you’ll again have to refer back to the blade specification, which you can find on the packaging, and find the blade tooth angle.

Then, by simply loosening a knob within the blade holder, the blade tooth angle is turned within the electric chainsaw sharpener. The knob can then move either to a positive or negative direction and set appropriately.

Step 6. Adjust

This step requires the depth to be the same to make sure that the grinder of the sharpener doesn’t cut too deep. Cutting the metal between the blade teeth will cause damage to the chain, like overheating.

Step 7. Sharpen

Now that the pivot is placed, the angle set, and therefore the depth, has been adjusted. You will be able to start!

Beginning at a slow pace, lower the grinder wheel on the primary tooth. When the grinder comes into contact with the tooth, it’ll spark.

You then got to maintain this contact before removing it to watch the inner surface of the blade tooth. When done correctly, you’ll notice the inner surface is left with a shiny metallic appearance.

Step 8. Continue

Now you can slowly repeat the method on each tooth and the other side of the blade.

Once you have completed one side of the chain, you would have to re-adjust the grinder.

For instance, if it had been originally set at 20 degrees on the positive side, it’ll now get to be changed to twenty degrees on the negative side. Then, repeat the method on the opposite side of the blade. Here’s how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw.

You might like: How to Start a Stihl Chainsaw?

Essentials Tools for Sharpening A Chainsaw:

 Before sharpening the chainsaw, you have to collect and prepare essential tools. The main tools are:  

  • Dremel tool blade sharpening kit No. A679-02
  • File for sharpening chain saw blades
  • Depth gauge guide for sharpening chain saw blades
  • Dremel tool
  • Flat file
  • Round file
  • Rag Screwdriver
  • Felt tip marker
  • Cutter filing guide

Keep in mind that the tools and round files are different for different chain types.

When Is the Time to Sharpen the Chainsaw?

You can consider sharpening your chainsaw when the longest part of the cutting tooth is smaller than 4 millimeters or if you see the cracks on-chain.

Cutters are often sharpened up to 10 times or more before the chain needs replacing.

If your cutters are worn unevenly after a few sharpening, an expert can regrind them to a consistent shape. If you used a chain for a couple of years, then buy a new one. 

Advantages of Keeping Your Chainsaw Sharp

Of course, the most common advantage of keeping your chainsaw sharp is that it’ll work well.

The sharper the chain is, the smoother the cut you’ll get. If you use your chainsaw all the time, you have to make sure that it’s as sharp as possible.

Another advantage is that if you get into a routine of sharpening your saw, you’ll not need to replace the chain as often as you generally would.

Final Thoughts:

By following these chainsaws sharpening steps clearly, you can get your chainsaw superbly sharp teeth to tackle cutting tasks quickly.

Besides sharpening your chainsaw, there are many other maintenance steps that you must perform to let your chainsaw always work at its best.

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