How to Sharpen Chainsaw Blade in 2019

If you are an individual who is handy with tools and performs tasks such as sawing wood or building things, chances are that you are a regular user of chainsaws.

Using a tool like a chainsaw considerably makes a task as tedious as cutting trees and wood, easier to do.

These tasks are also risky. If there is any problem with the tool you use, it can lead to an accident, or at the least make it way harder to perform the task.

Any tool used for a long time results in its depreciation and requires proper maintenance.  Therefore, it’s essential to keep the chainsaw you use properly maintained and sharpened.

While you can take the help of a professional to do the same, you can also do it on your own by following a  simple guide.

Read on to know how to sharpen a chainsaw blade to avoid the dulling and slowing of the tool.


Essentials for Sharpening

To start with, you will need a kit for sharpening your chainsaw, that includes all the tools involved in the process.

You’ll need the following items:

  • A round file for the cutter’s edges.
  • A flat file for adjusting the depth gauges.
  • A scrench.
  • A chainsaw sharpener.

Since this is a power tool related task, it is better to be safe and use safety gloves and safety glasses as well.


The Process [In 4 Easy Steps]

Sharpening a chainsaw is mainly about sharpening the cutters and adjusting the height of the depth gauges in accordance with the cutters.

When you start getting dust from your saw cuts, it means that the chainsaw needs sharpening. A sharpened chainsaw results in effortless cutting, without any force on the bar and resulting in cut wood chips instead of dust.

There are three parts of a chainsaw that you’ll need to sharpen when it starts yielding dust:

  • Left cutter.
  • Right cutter.
  • Depth gauge.

The depth gauges are the round metal extensions in front of each cutter tooth that regulates how deep the cutters can bite on the material you are sawing on.

With the wear and tear of the cutters after multiple sharpenings, their height decreases. Hence, the height of depth gauges also needs to be reduced to match with it.

The cutting edges are easy to sharpen using a round file of the diameter same as the diameter of the round cutting edges.

Here are the steps you need to follow to sharpen your chainsaw blade:

1. Fasten the Chainsaw Blade

Secure the chainsaw by using a vice and clamping it on a flat surface, preferably a table top. It is important to fasten it so that it doesn’t move during the sharpening as it could result in an accident.

Even if you don’t have a clamp, be very careful about stabilizing the chainsaw blade so that there is no shifting while using the sharpener.

You also need to secure the chain by using an adjusting screw and tightening it by a screwdriver. This will keep the chain from moving as well and make it easier to sharpen.

2. Choosing and Setting up the File

Post securing the chainsaw blade, you need to choose the file to sharpen. Not all chainsaws have the same diameter of the teeth.

So it’s important to find out the exact measurement and use a round file of the same diameter. Also, the cutters face in alternate directions. Start with one direction first and then move on to the next.

Place the file in front of the cutter tooth you are going to sharpen first. The placement should be such that 20% of the diameter of the file is above the top surface of the tooth.

Before starting, check the angle for filing your chainsaw needs, as it differs for different chainsaws and can be found in the user manual.

3. Sharpen the Cutters

After you have positioned the file over the tooth, run it through the cutter and grind it. Don’t use too much force and don’t remove the file backward as it can cause damage to the tool.

Sharpen the cutter by grinding the file through it multiple times until it is shiny and sharp. It might take 4-5 times of grinding at a specific angle to completely sharpen the cutter.

The same number of times should be used for the rest of the cutters as well.

If there is a small piece of material left on the edge of the cutter after filing, that means that the cutter is sufficiently sharpened.

Once the first tooth is done, release the chain brake to bring the next tooth closer and sharpen it with the file.

Since the cutters on a chainsaw blade are placed in alternate directions, you’ll first finish all the cutters in one direction in a row by rotating the chain and bringing the next tooth forward.

Once you have reached the first tooth you sharpened, change the placement of the chainsaw blade by 180 degrees so that now the cutters in the alternate directions are faced at the previous angle.

The alternate cutters will also need to be sharpened using the same force and grinding the file same number of times.

4. Adjusting the Depth Gauges

Along with sharpening the cutters, you also need to sharpen and adjust the depth gauges since they regulate how deeply the cutters can saw. The depth gauges are filed using a flat file.

Choose the first depth gauge and file it down to the height as mentioned on the chain, which is the height the depth gauge is positioned below the tooth.

Depth gauges are also placed in alternate directions. So, follow the same process as with the cutters and file them using the same grinding pattern and number of strokes.

Once you are filing the ones in the same direction, reposition the chain to face the other side and file the alternate depth gauges.

Check the rakers, the bumps between each cutter in the chain, to see whether they are of the same height. The top of the raker should be below the top of the depth gauge and they should all be of the same height.


The Final Word

Once you are done with filing the cutters and the depth gauges, loosen the adjusting screw to relieve the tension and render the chainsaw in a working position.

A chainsaw needs continuous maintenance for it to work to its full potential and be usable for the long term. Therefore, if you are using your chainsaw regularly to cut wood, make sure you sharpen it every once in a while.

Dull cutters make it harder to saw as well increase the chances of the chainsaw breaking down and causing an accident.

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