How to Sharpen a Chainsaw – Things You Should Know!

Do you know the how to sharpen your chainsaw or saw chain?

Well, there are some things that you did not know about sharpening chainsaw. There are only a few who can do it perfectly by hand and only by using a file. Even it took them years of practice to bring perfection.

Sharpen a Chainsaw

With gradual use, the chainsaws tend to get duller and duller and the dull chainsaws should be sharpened as buying a new one would often be costly.

Now, ConsumerHubs is less focused on the professional users and is more concerned with common consumers. That’s why; we will focus more on the easy sharpening process, the one that will be the easiest for you.

Before that, we think you should be properly be introduced with the saw chain of a chainsaw.

What is a Saw Chain?

Okay, if you have a chainsaw then you should probably know what a saw chain is? By definition, the saw chain is a chain that has blades connected outwards the loop. In a chainsaw this saw chain is set on a bar and it is propelled by gas or electric powered motors.

What is a Saw Chain?

Now, we tried to sound simple here but there are a lot of variations on the design of a saw chain. With the advancement of time, these chains have found different designs to maximize performance, durability and speed.

The most common type of chain that you will find in all the modern chainsaws is Semi-Chisel, Low Profile and Chipper. They have been proven to deliver the best performance with minimum kickback. These chains are almost the same with a slight difference in their design of blades.

Why the Chain gets dull?

The chain of a chainsaw gets dull due to its use. The more you will use a chainsaw, the duller it will get.

The thing is that, you will never get the same performance out of a chainsaw after few uses.

Why the Chain gets dull?

The chainsaws work with tremendous force and the saw chain takes most of the force. It’s the most crucial part of a chainsaw.

The blades that are connected with the chain push against the wood and that friction takes away the sharpness of the blades.

This friction also produces heat which is also responsible for the wearing off the blades. The more you will force a saw against the wood, the more it will heat up and decay.

If you use the best professional chainsaw to cut something other than wood. Something that is harder than wood then it would have to struggle against more friction and the result would be more decay.

A layer of wood also gathers on the chain which is also responsible for the wearing off of the blade. They seriously impact on the efficiency of the whole saw chain.

Then, there is rust. If you leave your chainsaw open wide for a long time, whole army of rust will try to take over the blade as there is no coating on the blade. These rusts are as same as the gathered wood and they can make the chain weak.

Altogether, everything makes the blades weak and dull. If you have ever used the chainsaw frequently, you will understand the difference between a new chainsaw and a worn-off one. There are many problems related with a dull chainsaw. Here is a list of few of them.

How does a saw chain affect on the cutting process?

The first noteworthy problem that you will face with a blunt saw chain is the poor performance of your chainsaw. It will deliver an undesirable result and you will feel it. The poor performance will never let you work on your desired way.

Another major problem you will face is with the guidance of the whole thing. An worn off chain of a chainsaw can’t be precisely guided, specially on a straight line and most of our jobs requires it to do so.

The saw will take left or right turns if it gets dull. Generally they tend to go left.

This way, you will never end up with the wood pieces that you desire to cut out off logs. You may be able to use the saw for bringing down thick trees but while fighting with the fat ones, you will not have that much luck.

Carving wood really becomes difficult if you use a blunt chainsaw. For those, who are willing to make wood sculpture can’t do their job with a blunt saw chain as it’s almost impossible to maneuver the saw in the desired path.

So, there are a lot of ways, in which a chainsaw can give you trouble. That’s why they need to be sharpened. Here are some things that you did not know about sharpening a chainsaw.

How to Sharpen Your Saw Chain?

The first thing about sharpening chainsaw is that, this is a pretty easy thing to do from the second time. For the first timers there could be a little problem. Okay, to begin with we should say taht, you can do your chainsaw sharpening in two ways.

1. Automatic Saw Chain Sharpening Tools: Chainsaws have hit the market very long ago. Since then it occurred to people that, manually sharpening a chainsaw is a very tiring thing. That’s why they have been looking for automated ways of doing it.

Automatic Saw Chain Sharpening Tools

In today’s market there are some automatic chainsaw sharpening tools available. They are generally known as Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners. This device includes a motor that is powered by electricity and the motor drives a changeable stone head that does the job of a file.

The electric saw chain sharpeners can be mounted on the table or on the wall and they are relatively less effort consuming. The funny thing is, after you take them out of their packs, you will never understand their functionality. In a easier way, it’s hard to figure out how to work with them.

Although there has been a recent introduction of a new kind of sharpener that locks on the top of the bar and with that you have to run the saw for three to five seconds by pushing it against the surface. They are the easiest possible way of sharpening a saw chain available.

The Pros:

  • Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners can sharpen a saw chain faster than manual files.
  • With them you just have to guide the head in its proper direction and don’t need to apply any pressure.
  • The end result is better also.

The Cons:

  • You have to have a real sturdy hand to work with this device
  • You can hurt yourself while sharpening the blade
  • Any mistake can cause you the whole chain

2. Manual Sharpening of Saw Chain

If you think that you are not gonna spend a lot behind the sharpening of your saw chain then you should have the manual tools that come in packages. They are cheaper and sharpening a chainsaw is very easy with them.

Manual Sharpening of Saw Chain

To manually sharpen a chainsaw you will be needing things like  …

  • A Flat File with Fine Tooth
  • Filing Guide
  • Round Files With Fine Tooth
  • Depth Gauge
  • Jaws to hold the blade while sharpening it

You will find these tools sold together as kits and you can buy them from the place you have bought your chainsaw.

The rest of the process is really easy. What you have to do is tighten your bar to a jaw and file up the blades in proper angel and height. Click on the link below that shows you the whole process in details.

The Pros:

  • Saw can be precisely sharpened
  • Less chance of running the chain
  • The saw chains can be completely sharpened if you do it manually

The Cons:

  • Time Consuming
  • Takes a lot of effort

How to manually sharpen your saw chain?

In this case, there are some preventive measures and a few other things that we think you should know. Here is a short list of them.

  • It’s wise to sharpen the blades before using the saw and if you have some serious work ahead then you must do the sharpening before the job. This will get perfect performance every time. The trick is not to let your saw chain go completely dull.

Manual Sharpening of Saw Chain

  • Always wear gloves and a protective eye wear while sharpening your chainsaw. Your hands can easily cut while sharpening the blades of a chainsaw. That’s why try to have gloves that has extra grip on them.
  • You should clean the saw before sharpening it. Take a clean piece of cloth and run it in between the blades and the chain. This way unwanted piece of wood will come off and it will be easier for you sharpen the saw chain then.
  • Make sure to jaw up the saw tightly. Have the screw placed on the middle of the bar and not on the sides.
  • If it’s an electric chainsaw, ensure that it will not fire up while being sharpened.
  • There is no fixed number of times you have to run the filing through the blades. People say that all the blades should be filed exactly the same number of times but the thing is about removing metal out of the blades. You should focus on that more.
  • The height is as important as the angel between the teeth.
  • Oil up the chain if you need so. After you are done sharpening make sure that the chain is tight enough and not too tight.
  • It should not be an easy thing to do at the first time. Take your time and from the next time you will become a master of the whole thing.

If you keep in mind these things, you will become an expert for yourself. Now, it’s up to you whether you are going to go with the manual or automatic. But you should be aware of the condition of your saw chain. If it gets weak, you should not probably sharpen it anymore and get a new one.

Chainsaw chains can be hazardous and they have razor sharp blades on them. Beware of the kickbacks and we have heard reports of injury that was caused by a saw chain that broke mid-operation. That’s why, please be careful while using them.

At last, we hope that, this article on chainsaw sharpening has helped you in understanding the chains and their sharpening in a better way.

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