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Learn how to sharpen your chainsaw

Last Updated: 21 May 2021

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How To Sharpen Chainsaw Blade?

Owning a chainsaw makes it easy to handle timber cutting tasks like a pro. However, there is one thing that most people who own this device dread, and that is chain blades dulling.

Among lots of things that you might be doing in your chainsaw maintenance routine, sharpening a blade is crucial. It helps you to cut down laborious hours spent in cutting. A sharper blade is also a safer one for working with. Whether you own a circular saw or horizontal one, there are plenty of ways to sharpen a chainsaw blade.

How to tell when a chainsaw chain is worn out?


Sharpening is important. However, before it comes to the question – how do you know that it is time to sharpen chainsaw blade? How can you tell that your chainsaw blade is worn out?

Learning how to gauge the condition of your saw is a critical step.

Deterioration in cutting performance is a straightforward sign of dulling chainsaw blade. It means that you need more strokes or more time to cut the same type of trunk which you can handle easily.

  • The finish of your cut can also be an indicator of a chain condition. If you suddenly notice that cuts are uneven, it might indicate that you need a saw blade sharpening routine.
  • Those who keep postponing saw the sharpening process might face another significant effect which is the emanation of smoke while working. As long as you stick to the recommended load for a chainsaw, there is no smoke while you are involved in a cutting job. However, even the best circular saw might cause too much smoke due to the extra friction caused by dull blades.
  • An unstable chainsaw or too much noise can also be seen as a red flag that shows your chainsaw blades need sharpening.
  • Trying to make narrow cuts is another easy way that many professionals use to understand if a chainsaw blade is sharp enough. A sharp saw gives spiral strands of wood, while a dull one results in sawdust.

Why does my chainsaw chain dull so quickly?


Even an excellent chainsaw for home use tends to wear out. The mechanism might become dull and less efficient in performing a cutting job. That’s when your knowledge about chain saw sharpening methods comes in handy.

Improper use, poor maintenance and chain type can all determine how fast your instrument dulls.

  • The angle of the cut should be correct each time. If chain blades touch the ground or dirt even for moments, it can hasten the speed at which they become dull and inefficient.
  • Poor maintenance involves improper oiling of the chain. It leads to insufficient friction management, which in turn makes chain saw blades to become dull a bit sooner than usual. Whether you have a tool with an auto lubrication mechanism or one that needs manual oiling, make regular physical examinations and check that all blades are oiled thoroughly.
  • The type of chain also plays a role in ease of maintenance. Full chisel chains tend to become dull a little faster than semi chisel chains.
Sharpening with an electric chainsaw sharpener

Ways to sharpen the saw chain effectively

When you identify that your chain is becoming dull, hone it at an early stage then you won’t have to go through the hassle of chain replacement. Often chain blade sharpening is an easy task when you choose the right chainsaw sharpening tools and proper methods. Here are some of the most common ways in which you can sharpen your instrument.

Sharpening with an electric chainsaw sharpener

When it comes to choosing a chainsaw blade sharpener, there are electric sharpeners and hand variants. Electric ones come with a stable base on which you align blades and turn on a motor. With hand sharpeners, which are relatively less expensive, you may need some strength and flexibility to perform the sharpening process. Electric sharpeners do their job efficiently and they also improve the life of your chain. Therefore, if you are looking for an easy way to whet your instrument, then an electric saw blade sharpener is your best bet.

Sharpening with a file guide

Use a bench-vice to secure equipment in place before you start sharpening a chain. To understand the depth of grinding, you also need a depth gauge. Reduce a play in your chain as much as possible, it is where you use filing gauge to sharpen the blades. It works like manually filing and sharpening a standard circular saw. If you are looking for a cheap method and do not mind spending some extra time to sharpen your chain, then it’s your best choice.

Sharpening with a grinder

Sharpening with a file guide

If you already own an angle grinder, you will be glad to know that you can use it to sharpen your saw chain quickly. A grinder here will work like a file but at a quicker pace. The angle grinder eliminates the blunt part on your blades. When you use this method, cautiously alter the depth at which you allow the grinder blades to dig so that you do not damage links. Another cautious measure is using a thin grinding blade. If you are looking for a fast way to sharpen your chain with a power tool, then a grinder can be a great option.

Sharpening with Dremel

Dremel is a popular name when it comes to picking a saw blade sharpening tool. There are easy chain sharpening kits that can be used to sharpen mower blades and even chainsaw blades. It is also an easy option for those who have never used such a tool before.

Sharpening the blades by hand

Most chainsaw sharpening kits come with circular, flat files and a guide. Therefore, you would be able to sharpen your chain accurately when you do it by hand. Use a file performing even strokes to chip off blunt metal and sharpen chain blades.

Chainsaw use and sharpening tips for beginners

If you have already used a circular saw, using an electric instrument would be an easy task. Keep these safety tips in mind to make the most of your electric chainsaw.

  • Always adjust tension before you start a saw.
  • Pick right-sized chain when you choose a replacement
  • Check chain oil levels frequently
  • Work in a clutter-free area
  • Align a blade away from the ground
  • Stick with all recommended safety precautions based on the saw you choose.

Remember the tips below while sharpening a chain blade.

Chainsaw use and sharpening tips for beginners
  • Whether you need hone a conventional circular saw or a chainsaw, you should choose a reliable work bench-vise to hold the saw in place. It prevents your equipment from slipping off while sharpening the blades.
  • Mark the blade when you begin sharpening process so that you do not repeat and grind off excess parts on a blade.
  • Disconnect a spark plug from a motor to avoid the chain turning on accidentally.
  • Use work gloves and overalls while you’re carrying out sharpening process.
  • Use right angles to whet each blade efficiently.

Learn how to change chainsaw blades when required

If standard screwdrivers cannot be used to replace a chain, then your equipment is likely to come with a compatible replacement tool.

  • Loosen chain tension
  • Detach a side panel on your guide bar
  • Remove the chain off the bar

Once you have removed it from the saw, then put the new one back on.

Way to put a blade on your chainsaw


Place a chain back on the bar carefully.

Before you tighten it, there is one quick detail that you should not miss and it is orientation of the chain blades. Do not put the chain backward. It might end up fitting well even when you place it backward, you can easily spot a mistake when you close look attentively.

After making sure that the chain is placed right, tighten it with adjustment screws on the saw. A side panel nut is a proper place to start when you want to fine-tune chain tension or tightness. When its size is right, and pressure is also adjusted, then the efficiency of cutting improves significantly.

We hope this list of tips will be helpful and you can sharpen chainsaw blade easily.

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10 December, 2019
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