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How To Sharpen A Chainsaw

Last Updated on June 13, 2020 by MakeThingsReal

Having your own chainsaw at home, may it be for personal use or professionally, also means that you need to be responsible when it comes to maintaining it. Having a well-maintained chainsaw not only ensures speed and quality when working, but more so, secures safety and helps you prevent any injury or accident in the future. With a dull chain, your work will be slower, harder and even more dangerous than it should be. This is why it is indeed imperative that you always clean and sharpen your chainsaw. If you use this tool on a regular basis, it will help a lot if you personally know how to sharpen a chainsaw. Not only will it save you a lot of money but it can also let you maximize the potential of your tool in an efficient manner.

Knowing When To Sharpen Your Chainsaw

With a dull chain, you are putting more strain and stress on the sprocket, bar, engine, and most especially, on you as the operator. If you are very much familiar with your chain and you use it almost all the time, you will know when it is time to sharpen it. As far as to how long the blades will stay sharp is something you can tell indefinitely, though. If you use your chainsaw on clean wood most of times, then you probably won’t need to sharpen it frequently. However, if you live in a real world where woods are usually muddy and dirty, then you will also need to sharpen more often, too.

If your chain can no longer self-feed then you obviously need to sharpen it soon. If you are already finding yourself pushing and exerting extra effort on the saw just to cut anything, then you should know that it is becoming ineffective to use. Another sign is the dusty discharge of the saw. Wood chips should look nice and square and if it is the other way around already, then it is time to re-sharpen.

There can be different methods that you can use, varying on which one should be easier and faster for you while at the same time also considering the type of chain that you have.

Different Sharpening Tools To Choose From

Round File Sharpener

If you plan to use a round file when sharpening your chain, you will need a vise grip and then tighten it to make sure that your chainsaw will not be able to shake or move. Start filing each blade by stroking away from each blade tooth’s inside, then make your way towards the outside of the body. Remember that you need to keep the file parallel to the tilt angle and the blades – top plate angle. This needs to be really precise as it can cause serious damage or injury if not paid enough attention. Once all blade teeth on one side are finished, you can then release the chainsaw from the grip of the vise and turn it around. When you have finished sharpening both sides you will need a flat file and a raker gauge for filing the right raker height.

Jig Chainsaw Sharpener


If you want your sharpening experience to be more precise, a jig chainsaw should be perfect for you to use. With this tool you will also need to use a vise. Make sure the jig fits over the chain and the guide bar. You might also need to adjust the settings of the jig so that its height will match the blades. After positioning your jig start sharpening the blades by making a sawing motion through the handle. You will also need a flat file and a raker gauge for the last step.

File Guide

Compared to a round file, the file guide will help you achieve a more accurate result when it comes to sharpening your blades. Again, as with any other sharpeners mentioned above on how to sharpen a chainsaw, you will also need to use a vise grip for this one. After placing the blade on the file, you will need to inspect the file visually to make sure that both the guide and the file are properly and tightly aligned with the angles of the blades. After checking you can now proceed to sharpening by making strokes against the body and blade and move from the inside then work your way to the outside of the blades. Do the same for the other side and do not forget to use the flat file and the raker gauge after sharpening.

Using The Right Tools

As with any other process or tool, it is very essential that you use the right tool for the type of job that you want accomplish. If you have chosen over these tools mentioned above, you need to make sure that you use them appropriately, along with the necessary accessories to make the sharpening experience easier and faster. Keep in mind that different chain sizes will also require different cutter styles and file diameters. It is very important that you use the correct file size.

It will help you a lot to check the manual guide or instruction sheet before proceeding with the sharpening method that you prefer. If you are not very sure on how to sharpen a chainsaw, especially if it is your first time, take time to understand all instructions first before initializing anything. It is always better to be sure than sorry in the end. You can also ask your dealer or maybe look online for some tutorials that you can watch so you will get more helpful ideas and suggestions. Doing so will definitely make this job more accurate and most of all, safe for you and your tools.

What To Remember

It should be practically easy to learn how to sharpen a chainsaw now that you have at least a few ideas on what tools to use. Aside from preparing all the necessary tools, do not forget to wear or use protective gears such as the leather gloves. As much as possible, work on a workbench as it is safer. Before you start sharpening, make sure that the area is well-lit so you won’t have a hard time looking at what you are doing.

Following these things should result into a better sharpening experience and soon you will be able to develop and even master this skill. In no time at all you will no longer need to bring your chainsaw to a professional just to have it sharpened. You will be able to save money and at the same time, personally maintain your tools and use it for a longer period of time.

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