Maintaining the sharpness of your chainsaw chains is imperative not just for effective cutting but also for your
safety. A sharp chainsaw will also cut easily and help make your chainsaw last longer. You can't sharpen a chainsaw
without the right tools though. We'll talk about this very helpful tool.
You will know that a chainsaw needs sharpening because a chainsaw that needs sharpening
will feel different than a saw with sharp chains. It will take more time to cut through the same amount of wood.
You'll also have to exert more effort. Here the steps to take when you know that your saw needs sharpening and you
are confident enough that you can do it yourself.
First, figure out the gauge of your chainsaw chain. The chainsaw sharpener that
you'll be using will either be a rotary grindstone or a chainsaw file. Remember that these chainsaw sharpeners have
to match the gauge of your chainsaw chain. The most common sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 all measured in
Next, make sure that you thoroughly clean the chain. You may have to use a cleaning compound to remove as much
of the grease as possible. Be careful not to put too much of this cleaning compound. You don't want to put this on
the engine lest it be damaged.
Inspecting The Chain And Setting Up
After the initial preparation and cleaning, the next step would be to inspect the chain. Make sure that the
teeth and links are not damaged or overworn. Check if the top plate is still at least 1/4 inch long and that there
are no damaged, broken or bent teeth. If you find any damage in the chain, replace it. It's better to spend a few
dollars on a new chain than to have a mishap with a chainsaw.
Next, you will have to set up the saw in a stable platform. Using a vice it adviced for more stability. When you
clamp the chainsaw bar to a vice, do it so that the chain can still freely rotate.
Sharpening is usually started on the "leading cutter" - the shortest cutter in the chain. If all the
cutters seem to look the same size to you, you can start anywhere. Just remember that to mark where you start.
Start The Actual Sharpening
Now you can begin with the actual sharpening of the chainsaw chain. You
will find an angled tooth in front of the cutter. The file should fit the angle of the tooth as shown in the
picture. For most saws, the correct angle would be 25 degrees. However, be sure to match the angle that the
cutter is originally machined with.
Start filing. You can twist the file moderately as you go to remove the metal filings. For a smoother
surface, file from the from the short side to the long side. Repeat this process for each of the cutters turning
the chain as you go for a more comfortable set-up. Then you will have to do this again on the reverse side.
Check the rakers. They should be about 1/10 inches beow the cutter. If you find the gauge to be too high, you
can also file the gauge to achieve the desired elevation. Finally, oil the chain and check the tension if it needs
to be tightened a bit. By now, you should be ready to use your sharp chainsaw.