In your chainsaw cuts, do you have burn marks? Instead of small chips of wood on the ground, does your chainsaw leave piles of sawdust? Will the dull blade of a chainsaw allow you to force your way through wood? When there is one of those things going on, it’s time to sharpen the chain. But, you wonder, “How can you sharpen the blade of a chainsaw”? It’s a lot better than you would imagine. And you will make your chainsaw chain as sharp or sharper as the day you bought it, with the right instruments. While guiding you every step of the way, I’ll demonstrate how to sharpen a chainsaw chain in detail.
How Often Should You Sharpen a Chainsaw?
This is the most popular question that individuals have about chainsaw chains.
But the answer is simple.
Whenever it gets rough, sharpen the chainsaw chain. When you have to place pressure on the blade to get it across a cut, you know it’s blunt.
When the chain produces fine sawdust and not chips of wood while chopping, you also know it’s blunt. A further sign of a dull chainsaw chain is black and burned wood.
If you experience any of those symptoms, it’s time to sharpen your chainsaw.
When Should You Replace the Chainsaw Chain?
Chainsaw chains, no matter how much you sharpen them, don’t last forever.
When the longest section of the cutting tooth is shorter than 4 millimeters or where you encounter cracks, a reasonable rule of thumb here is to replace the chainsaw chain.
This normally equals around 10 re-sharpenings on the typical chain which has not been seriously affected by rocks or dirt before it’s time for a replacement.
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain
There are three ways to sharpen a chainsaw:
- By hand with a file sharpener
- By hand with a power Dremel
- With a bench-top sharpening tool
You can find the best chainsaw sharpeners here that include all three types.
Using a File Sharpener
It might seem rough to file a chainsaw chain by hand, but it’s one of the most common and cheapest ways to just go.
Plus, file sharpening will actually go shockingly quickly until you get the hang of it.
So, don’t ignore it, at least once, until you try it.
These are the tools you’ll need:
- Round file
- Flat file
- File guide
- Depth gauge
- Protective eyewear
Step 1: Determine the Diameter and Pitch
Two chain dimensions need to be understood before you begin the sharpening process: the diameter of the cutting edges and the pitch of those angles.
This detail can be found in the owner’s manual of your chainsaw or the box that the chain comes in.
With semicircular cutting tips, chainsaw chains have a variety of teeth. There are often referred to as “cutters” as well.
The cutting edges range in diameter from one chain to the next, but usually, they are 5/32 inches, 3/16 inches, or 7/32 inches.
You need to use a round file that has the appropriate diameter to accurately sharpen the bent cutting edges on your chain.
There is a “depth gauge” in addition to each tooth (or cutter), which looks like the outline of a shark fin next to each cutting tip. This depth gauge tip is significantly shorter than the cutter tip and is meant to reduce the depth of the cut.
The gauge of depth would gradually be the same height as the cutters after repeated sharpenings. If it happens, you will use a flat-file to bring down the depth gauge.
You will also note that the cutters’ tops are at opposing angles. The left angle of one tooth and the right angle of the next one. This arrangement is such that when chopping, the chainsaw doesn’t fall to one side.
See also: Best Chainsaw to Buy in 2020
Step 2: Mount the Chain in a File Guide
You need to use a file guide to ensure that the cutting edge is sharpened at the same angle.
On the surface of the row, the file guide rests and controls the angle and depth of the filing process.
It will make it much simpler if you have a vise by clamping the chainsaw blade into the vise. That way, when you are using the file guide, the machine stays in one place.
Take a marker to mark the first tooth that will be sharpened by you. That way, you’ll know when you’re done sharpening all of the chain cutters.
Place on the top of the chain the file guide.
Change the guide’s angle before the lines of the indicator are parallel with the rim.
Step 3: Sharpen the First Cutter
Move the file forward and away from you around the tooth of the chain while holding the angle steady.
By only pressing the file in one direction, restart the filing process and keep count of the number of passes you make. For sharpening the other teeth, you’ll need the amount.
The cutting point can be polished until the knife is fully sharpened.
Skip the next cutter when you’re finished sharpening the first tooth and file the one after that. For every tooth, the cutters switch back and forth with the angled path, so it is safer to sharpen all those that have the same angle first to speed up the filing process.
When sharpening other teeth, use the same number of strokes as the first tooth you have counted. That way, the same quantity is sharpened by any cutter.
Rotate the file guide until you sharpen all the teeth in one direction so that it is the right angle for the other cutters. Then, when you are finished with those teeth, repeat the filing process.
See also: List Of Chainsaw Safety Equipment
Using a Power Dremel
A portable power Dremel makes the hand filing process go much easier.
You may order a chainsaw sharpening kit that contains a cylindrical grinding stone and an alignment guide that clamps onto the instrument, especially for a Dremel.
The procedure is basically the same as hand filing, except that all the sharpening work is performed by Dremel.
The Dremel would rotate and grind the chainsaw chain cutters until they’re sharp, instead of rolling the file back and forth.
Count the seconds it takes to sharpen the first cutter in order to ensure a constant degree of sharpening for each tooth. To sharpen the other teeth on the chain, then use that same amount of time.
Using a Bench-Top Sharpener
The most professional and trusted results are given by this type of chainsaw sharpener. That is also the safest and cheapest way to sharpen the chain of a chainsaw.
It looks similar to a mitre saw, but a bench-top sharpener may have a grinding wheel instead of using a saw blade.
Step 1: Clamp the Tool to Your Workbench
It is important to connect a bench-top sharpener to a surface.
The best position is on a workbench to do this.
Clamp the sharpener onto the surface or screw it.
Step 2: Place the Chain into the Sharpener’s Vice
There is a vice on the benchtop sharpener in which you can protect the chain. This vice holds the chain at a certain angle such that, when sharpening, it can not move on you.
Step 3: Adjust the Angle
Adjust the angle of the vice until it’s correctly positioned for your chainsaw’s chain.
Step 4: Sharpen the Chain
On the power drill, grip the button and then lower the grinder until the chain tooth is in contact.
Two or three seconds or the count.
Pull the grinder back up so that the chain avoids sharpening.
Remove the chain clamp, shift the next cutter in the same direction, which is tilted, and repeat the process. Note, for any tooth, chainsaw teeth alternate back and forth. So, before you get back to the beginning, sharpen every third tooth. Then re-adjust the angle of the vice and sharpen the rest of the teeth to be in the same direction.
So, how can you sharpen the blade of a chainsaw? Ok, you’ve got three choices now The end result is the same regardless of whatever technique you use: a sharp chainsaw chain that can cut deeper, quicker, and more comfortably. Only note that a chainsaw can’t be sharpened permanently. Eventually, so much of the metal would be ground down that the chain is no longer usable.