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Tips for Effortless Sharpening of Your Chainsaw Chain

Last Updated: 01 July 2021

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Even the biggest and powerful chainsaws won’t perform well with dull blades; it causes the chainsaw bar to launch upwards after getting caught in the wood, a phenomenon commonly known as a kickback, which may cause injuries.

A dull chainsaw chain will result in excess damage and increased fuel consumption. Just think about this for a moment, it’s expensive, right? The good news is, with the proper tools, you can quickly sharpen your best electric chainsaw and get it back to its tip-top condition.

We are going to have an in-depth discussion and outline all the crucial steps on how to sharpen a chainsaw chain all by yourself in the comfort of your home. Ready? We’ll walk you through the whole process.

Chainsaw sharpening tricks

Chainsaw sharpening tricks

Here are some of the standard methods for sharpening a chainsaw, no matter what the type of the chainsaw is: the best small chainsaw expensive one or extendable electric chainsaw.

Using the right file size

It’s always vital to choose a round file that’s of the right size that perfectly fits the pitch of the chain. Having the correct size allows the filler to meet the 80 percent/20 percent rule, which essentially means that 80% of the file is inside the cutter while the 20% is directly above the cutter.

Filing the cutters and not depth gauge

The depth gauge usually controls the penetration of the teeth; when sharpening, it’s always recommended to lower the depth gauge allowing the cutter teeth to be filed. It’s vital to sharpen both the cutter and depth gauge to avoid frequent sharpening.

Avoid overfilling the depth gauge

One of the common mistakes that people make is over filing the gauge, which chirps away a more significant portion overworking and bogging down the saw, causing frequent kickbacks.

Proper bracing of the saw

The best way to brace your saw is placing it on a bench vice, remember always to maintain consistent pressure and number of strokes for each tooth when sharpening.

When sharpening out in the field, it’s advisable to use a stump vice or bracing the tip of the chain on the log and lock the brake’s chain.

Filing from the inside

It’s recommended always to begin filing from the inside as you move outwards. Don’t drag it back as it wears out the interior of the file.

Also, remember always to line up the file guide and maintain consistent strokes when working from inside the tooth.

How to use a chain saw sharpener

How to use a chain saw sharpener

Using the best electric chainsaw sharpener is a simple and easy process that requires minimum effort. If you are using an electric chainsaw sharpener, it makes your work even easier.

Before beginning, you’ll need to take some safety precautions. You will require some protective gear such as heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands and pair of protective eyewear. Here are a few simple steps:

  • For those using a manual sharpener, start by finding the guide on the kit, place it down on top of the rivet chain. Ensure the arrows at the guide are pointing upwards towards the chain saw’s nose bar.
  • Following the angle created by the guide, gently move your file around that area. Do it 2-3 times until you see shiny gleam at the silver metal. This signals that the blade is sharp enough
  • Once you have finished filing all the teeth from one side, loosen up the vice and attach the guide bar in the opposite direction and sharpen each tooth using the same direction
Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit – Flat, 5/32, 3/16, 7/32 Inch Round Files, Raker Tooth Depth Gauge, Blade Filing Guide, Wood Handle & Tool Pouch – Used to Sharpen Chain Saw Teeth - 8 Piece Sharpening Set
  • SHARPEN WITH LESS FRUSTRATION - Tighten the file guide with a twist of your fingers. Your file will not slide around like other kits that simply snap closed.
  • STOP FIGHTING A DULL SAW - Never push your saw through wood again. Feel less tired and get more work done in half the time.
  • ALWAYS GET THE JOB DONE - Easy to take with you in a ATV/Truck. Hit a nail/fence, no problem, use your kit to get your saw humming through wood again.
  • NEVER CUT CROOKED AGAIN - The Filing Guide ensures all teeth stay the same size and angle. You will be amazed at how straight your saw cuts.
  • SHARPEN ANY SAW YOU HAVE - Multiple file sizes ensure all brands like Husqvarna, Stihl, Echo, Homelite, Craftsman and more will get a razor sharp edge.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw with a File Guide

There are various ways of sharpening your chainsaw. But how to sharpen a chainsaw chain with a file? Using a file guide is one of the easiest and safest ways to do so by following this easy step.

Adjusting your chain saw

To sharpen your chainsaw, you need to find an excellent place to clamp it down. You can use a tabletop clamp or vice that will hold it down, ensuring it doesn’t shift while you sharpen.

Turn the tension of the screw till its tight enough; if you’re a first-timer, mark the first tooth to avoid confusion.

Set the file

One of the most important steps is setting the file angle, remember to always get a file with the same diameter as your chainsaw.

The file holder will assist you in setting the file angle of each cutter as every tooth has different angles. Choose one cutter to begin with before proceeding to the next.

Begin sharpening

Once everything is in the right position, place the file in an appropriate position, and push it down through the cutter. Always maintain consistent pressure and remember still to move forward.

After you’re done, turn the chainsaw in 180 degrees and begin sharpening the next set to cutters.

File the rakers

For this step, you’ll need a depth gauge and flat file. Begin filing all the rakers in the chain until they are of the same level height. Always be careful so as not to file the gauge, loosen the chain, and just like that, it’s as good as brand new.

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain with a Dremel

Using a Dremel produces superior results to your chainsaw. It’s a simple process that can be done in 20-30 minutes.

The Dremel is designed with three grinding wheels and a guide that can be easily screwed onto the rotary that automatically controls the depth and cutting angle.

  • Position the grinding wheel parallel to the cutter and ensure the metal guide edge corresponds to the cutter’s ground angle.
  • Switch on Dremel and gently grind on the cutter using a sideway pressure of up to a count of four
  • Mark the first tooth and begin sharpening each cutter just as it’s done with hand using the round file.
  • After finishing with one side, switch to the opposite section and repeat the entire process.

After a few sharpening sessions, you’ll get used to it, and you can leave the tool as it sharpens from teeth to teeth, making the entire process fast and efficient.

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How to sharpen a chainsaw blade with an electric sharpener

Want to know how to sharpen the chainsaw chain with an electric sharpener? It may seem challenging! However, with a little bit of knowledge and the right tools, it’s an easy process.


The first thing you need to do is know the specifications of the gauge and pitch. Lucky, for you, these specifications are usually on the chain saw box.

The positioning of your sharpener

Clamping down your electric sharpener in a firm position is essential to prevent it from moving or slipping. Other sharpeners come with a bench-mount which can be easily secured on a work-bench or tabletop.

Having the right position will make the entire process smooth and easy as it allows easier installation of the chain saw blade.

Installation of the sharpening stone

This is an essential step as you’ll be required to install the sharpening stone. Ensure the sharpening stone fits your blades specifications as there are different sizes of these stones.

On most occasions, the width of the sharpening stone is usually 3/16 inch

Swivel and angle position

At the swiveling stage, you’ll need to position onto the blade holder and adjust its angle. The most commonly used angles are between 0-60 degrees.

For accuracy, the knob should freely move from the positive to negative directions.

Adjusting of the depth

Adjusting the depth is vital to prevent the grinder from cutting too deep. Failure in adjusting will cut the metal located in between the teeth; it could also cause overheating tampering with the blade’s integrity.

Begin sharpening

Gently lower the grinder onto the first tooth, maintain contact for a few seconds. Lift the grinder and check whether there is a shiny surface.

Proceed to sharpen the tooth on either side of the chainsaw blade. Once you are done, readjust the grinder and continue sharpening the next set.

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain with a grinder

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain with a grinder

Here are some of the easy steps to follow:

Selecting the right grinder

Go to proper hardware or online store and choose the right grinder. If you are working from home, the angle grinder is the best fit as it handheld.

There is also a grinder that can be easily fitted on the table, which provides more excellent stability and fewer risks.

Choose a safer spot

As skilled or experienced as you are, a grinder is a dangerous machine. Choose a place far away from kids, maybe in the garage or outside. Be careful when using it as its extremely sharp.

Prepare to sharpen

Position the chainsaw on a table, ensure the width and height is lower than your height. Make sure you have a firmer grip on the grinder, locate the grinder chain.

Place the grinder with the right height making it easy to access all the right places of the chainsaw blade

Begin grinding

Start up the grinder and begin grinding each set of teeth as you continually increase the speeds. For every spike, they have an alternating angle position, sharpen them properly till they shine

To avoid shoddy sharpening, always maintain a steady angle when sharpening both sets of teeth.

Is it worth sharpening a chainsaw?

Yes, absolutely, a dull chain is one of the leading causes of chainsaw injuries. Sharpening your chainsaw makes work faster, easy, and efficient. It also reduces the time spent on cutting a tree or log and its fuel-efficient in the long run.

How to sharpen a Stihl chainsaw chain?

Stihl electric chainsaw is regarded as one of the best cordless chainsaws for home use. With time they may get dull and here are a few simple procedures to regain its sharpness

  • Place the chainsaw in a vise, using table clamps; tighten them all on a bar. Make sure the blade isn’t held by the fastener allowing free movement with complete access of the teeth.
  • Pull the chain break down ensuring it doesn’t move while sharpening
  • Locate the teeth with the shortest edge; this will be your master cutter. Begin sharpening your master cutter moving onto the next teeth while ensuring they are of the same height.
  • Place the sharpening guide onto the chain and begin sharpening the other sets of teeth maintaining the correct depth and angle

Stihl chainsaws are fitted with rivets to maintain its integrity. So, no need to worry about the guide damaging them.

How to sharpen a Husqvarna chainsaw chain?

How to sharpen a Husqvarna chainsaw chain

It’s recommended using Husqvarna file gauge for the best results as it files away small material. Husqvarna electric chainsaw is amongst the best cheap chainsaws that are relatively easy to maintain.

  • Begin by finding the shortest cutter; all the teeth are supposed to be filed with the same length as the master cutter.
  • Position the filing gauge onto the chain, the gauge’s arrow should point towards the direction of the chain and ensure the gauge touches the wheel
  • Using a round file, place it at a 90 degrees angle on the roller and commence filing with both hands. Make sure the file rests on rollers
  • Continue by filling each tooth until they are sharp and ensure they are all of the same length and angle.
  • Once you are done filling all the teeth on one side, loosen the bar and attach the opposite end. Sharpen the same way.
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How to sharpen a Poulan chainsaw chain?

Cutting with dull blades always requires extra work and can be dangerous at the time. It’s always good to sharpen the Poulan electric chainsaw’ chain now and again.

  • Position the Poulan chainsaw on a level surface, stand in a position parallel to the guide bar, hold the bar firmly in place. Wrap the chain blade around the bar and look for the teeth with the most damage.
  • Insert the file onto the heel of the first tooth, position the file to an angle of 60 degrees. In case the chain has file guides proceed to file with that angle.
  • Hold the file steadily and continue filing with the same force, angle and depth till al the teeth of one set are shiny and sharp
  • Completely turn the saw at an angle of 180 degrees and repeat the entire process with the next set of cutters using the same number of strokes, force, depth, and angle

How to sharpen a Mcculloch chainsaw chain?

  • Start by engaging the chain brake, clamp down the chain saw blade on a vice or tabletop, release the chain brake so that you can easily rotate it with your hand
  • For those using a file guide, position your file over the cutter and make sure the guide has two points of contact
  • Ensure the angle of your top plate is parallel to the centerline of the chainsaw
  • Point out the most damaged cutter and sharpen it with steady and even strokes. Complete filing one side of the cutter then proceed to the next.

How to sharpen a Ryobi chainsaw chain?

Ryobi electric chainsaw is among the leading chain saw on the market. Regular sharpening will maintain it in a tip-top condition. Here are a few steps of sharpening it

  • Wear hand gloves to protect your hand, start by adjusting the tension of the chain before sharpening ensuring it doesn’t slide or slip off
  • It’s essential always to use a holder and round file of 32 in. diameter round
  • Place the file level with the top of the plate tooth. Never let the file rock or dip
  • Gently stroke with firm pressure and file at the tip of the cutter
  • File every cutter on one side, maintaining the pressure and force. Proceed to the cutter in the opposite direction.

Remember to remove the fillings with a wire brush occasionally.

What You Should Do After Sharpening a Chainsaw Chain

Step 1
Check and adjust all the depth gauges to ensure they all have the same height and angle

Step 2
Begin cleaning all the debris left, thoroughly lubricate the chain with chain oil. To get the best results, soak the chain overnight

Step 3

Store your newly sharpened chainsaw in a container filled with lubricant till it’s ready for use.


Sharpening your chainsaw chain or the best chainsaw chaps is inevitable. Our experts from HandyHomeMaster.com insist that proper care and maintenance, sharpening must be done regularly, enabling you to get the most out of it. With this guide, everything has been made simpler and straightforward.

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10 December, 2019
Would love to incessantly get updated great weblog!