How to Sharpen a Chainsaw?

Do you think that your chainsaw is no longer performing as well as it did before? Perhaps it takes more time now to cut down the same amount of wood. If you think that the chainsaw has turned dull, you have to sharpen it once again. With our guide, you’ll learn how to sharpen a chainsaw in no time.

Assessment of the Chainsaw Chain

Before you get the sharpening tools ready, it’s advisable to evaluate the power tool first. This is to determine whether the chainsaw requires sharpening — or if it needs replacement. After all, a broken chain won’t benefit much from resharpening.

To keep a gas-powered or electric chainsaw in good shape, we recommend sharpening it whenever you refuel it. One telltale sign that it’s in need of sharpening is found in the debris after a sawing operation. If you spot more fine wood particles than wood chips, the chain is most likely already dull.

Moreover, you shouldn’t have a hard time getting the chainsaw chain to cut through wood. Otherwise, it means that the chain isn’t as sharp as before.

Before Sharpening the Chainsaw

Once you’ve identified sharpening as the best solution, follow the steps indicated below.

Step 1: Gathering Tools and Protective Clothing

Get your protective gear and wear them. These include safety goggles and a pair of heavy-duty gloves — not the thin ones meant for gardening. Likewise, check if you have the complete sharpening package: measuring equipment, guides, and files of different shapes and sizes.

Having the right kind and size of the chainsaw file makes it easier to sharpen the power tool. Thus, you need to know what kind of chain you have. Is it a semi-skip chain, a full skip chain, or another variant? Look at the package label or the product manual — or search for the specifications online.

Step 2: Cutting Off Power and Making Adjustments

One thing you wouldn’t want to happen is for the chainsaw to move around while you’re sharpening it; this could lead to severe injuries. Make sure that you’ve turned off the power. Moreover, you have to apply oil on the chain. This should prevent the accumulation of debris while you’re sharpening the saw.

Inspect the tension of your chainsaw. Continued use stretches it and makes it less tight. If you don’t do anything about this, the chain could break apart from the bar during use — putting the user in danger. A well-tensioned saw means has drive links that won’t easily come off the bar nose if you pull them.

Step 3: Final Inspection Before Sharpening

You have to dedicate time for checking as many sections of the chainsaw as possible. This is both for your safety and to know if you have to do more than sharpen the chains. In other words, you have to look for both damages and the faulty positioning of parts.

The drive links don’t just have to be tight enough. They also should not display cracks or burnt marks — nor should they have severe bends or abrasion. Similarly, observe if the tie straps and the rivets are installed as intended. If there are any depth gauges in need of adjustment, accomplish it now.

You don’t have to guess which parts need an inspection. Look at the maintenance manual for guidance. Plus, the manufacturer will likely have specific suggestions on how to best sharpen your chainsaw model.

Using an Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

The following are general instructions. Thus, you still have to look at the product manual of the specific chainsaw model you have to obtain the best results.

Step 1: Placement and Installation

You want the electric chainsaw sharpener to stay put, so position it on a stable surface. Put it on smooth, even ground or on a durable, flat working table. Don’t place it somewhere it could shake during sharpening. Also, choose an area where you can move around with ease and install the saw blade on the sharpener.

Next, put your chosen sharpening stone. Ensure that it has the right width to fill the gap between the chainsaw teeth. The usual width is about 0.1875 inches, but it differs from one chainsaw to another.

Step 2: Angle and Depth Adjustments

Check the product manual of your chainsaw to know the recommended blade tooth angle. Adjust it using the blade holder — there’s a knob meant for it. Turn it in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction until you get the desired angle.

Similarly, you have to fix the swivel angle. It’s not uncommon to adjust it to a degree ranging from zero degrees up to 80 degrees. It depends on your chainsaw model. Locate the blade holder of the electric chainsaw chain sharpener. Put the saw blade there to change the swivel angle.

Next, check the depth angle. Use the depth gauge to know just how tall the teeth are in relation to the chain. Adjust the angle in such a way that the electric sharpener won’t reach too far down between the teeth. Otherwise, you may damage the blade itself when sharpening.

Step 3: Sharpening the Chainsaw Teeth

Locate the first tooth of the saw and place the grinder wheel just above it — pushing it down in a steady manner. Once the wheel it comes in direct contact with the teeth, sparks will occur. Let the wheel stay there for a while, then take it out. Check if the tooth has improved the shine of its surface.

Focus on one section of the chainsaw teeth relative to the grinder angle. This way, you won’t have to adjust the angle with each new tooth. Don’t rush the sharpening process; take your time with each tooth. Once you’re done with one side, adjust the grinder angle to accommodate the other.

After the Sharpening Process

Once you’re done sharpening the entire set of teeth, look at their depth gauges. Change them appropriately. Likewise, get rid of dirt and other debris that accumulated during the operation.

Once the chainsaw is clean, apply oil to the chain. You can even let the chain stay in a container of oil for half a day to achieve optimal lubrication. And lastly, store the chainsaw in a safe and convenient area. Keep it out of reach from children. Simply lubricate the newly sharpened chainsaw if you want to use it.

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