How to Sharpen a Chainsaw

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How to Sharpen a Chainsaw

Chainsaws are often used to take down trees, carve large areas, and generally cut through almost anything made of wood. Those who abuse their chainsaws, however, are likely to notice that the teeth of the chainsaw dull rather quickly. Individuals who do not take care of their chainsaw on a regular basis find that performance falls fairly quickly. With the right strategies, however, owners of any type of chainsaw can lengthen the quality performance of such a piece of equipment.

Sharpening the teeth of a chainsaw takes patience along with a particular set of equipment. Although this equipment is hard to come by for some, the availability of such items through non-traditional retailers tends to be more dependable. Online marketplaces such as eBay have listings for the files and tools that are needed to keep a chainsaw running adequately. Make sure to do the proper research and gain the right tools before ever delving into chainsaw sharpening.

Determine if the Chainsaw Needs Sharpened

The first step in sharpening any type of chainsaw, is determining whether or not the piece of equipment actually needs to be sharpened. If a chainsaw is performing less than adequately, it might be time for a bit of upkeep. Chainsaws that continually catch on the wood they are cutting are likely to be dull. The teeth on a chainsaw tend to dull, bend, and break consistently, so knowing which has happened is important. A simple glance is all it takes to identify missing teeth, so be sure to purchase a few new chain links if some are missing.

Select a Workspace

Once the issue with the chainsaw has been identified as a dull chain that needs to be sharpened, select a workspace in which to operate. Whatever workspace used should be as clean as possible to avoid losing any tools. A clean workspace prevents the issue of letting dirt and dust ruin the sharpening process. The work space should be a flat surface that is incredibly sturdy to avoid any accidents. Be sure to select a suitable workspace, such as a workbench, before continuing on to further steps.

Clean and Inspect the Chain

Although a quick look may help to identify some topical issues, other chain links that need to be sharpened are likely to be uncovered only by a cleaning. Most individuals use mineral spirits to clean off the chain, but there are other options from which to choose. Commercial degreasing detergents, are a dependable way to remove the gunk and grime that builds up on a chainsaw. Chainsaws can become so dirty that even a simple, thorough cleaning is able to improve performance. Once the chainsaw is cleaned, be sure to inspect the saw again to identify more areas that may need to be sharpened.

Identify Chain Gauge

Due to varied chainsaw teeth sizes and measurements, individuals must identify the measurements of the teeth before selecting a tool. Common measurements of teeth on a chain include 0.48 cm, 0.4 cm, and even 0.56 cm in size. These measurements, however, vary from chainsaw to chainsaw quite frequently. Measure the diameter of the teeth in order to identify which file or rotary grindstone is needed. If taking such a measurement is not an option, simply look for the owner's manual that came with the saw. Matching the chain teeth gauge to the tool is an essential step in sharpening a chainsaw.

Choose a File

Selecting a file to sharpen a chainsaw can be quite difficult without the right knowledge. Although any file of the right size might sharpen the teeth a little, the most adequate option is a round file. Round files are able to easily fit into the rounded opening of blades and is designed to be utilised as a chainsaw file sharpener. Angular guide plates also tend to be quite helpful when sharpening a chainsaw. These guide plates can be attached to a round file in order to make sharpening more efficient. For the most worry free option, individuals should purchase a file that is labelled as a "chainsaw file".

Secure the Chainsaw

When sharpening a dangerous tool such as a chainsaw, safety is of the utmost importance. Before starting in on chainsaw sharpening, make sure the spark plug is taken out and the chainsaw is unable to start. Next, find a vice or a clamp to secure the blade of the chainsaw. Securing the blade of a saw allows it to be positioned with some amount of stability, providing a reasonable amount of safety to the user. As with any project, however, eye protection and a careful approach, are vital in the sharpening process. Be sure that the chainsaw is as secured firmly without damaging the chainsaw itself.

Find the Leading Cutter

In order to sharpen a chainsaw to cut more efficiently, it is important to file each tooth to the same general level. Locate the leading cutter by finding the shortest tooth on the chain. Once this is located, use a bit of paint, whiteout, or tape to mark the filing start. Make sure to file every tooth down to a nearly identical level in order to help cut wood in an even and efficient manner. The more consistently the teeth are filed,  the more smoothly the saw will perform even in tougher situations.

Place File and Slide

Place the file in the notch on the front side of the lead cutter. Once this is placed, make sure that the curved portion of the file fits well against the curve of the cutting tip in order to file more effectively. Making sure the file is pretty much even with the top of the teeth is also necessary. The easiest way to start filing and sharpening is to angle the file to a similar degree that the teeth are already sharpened to. After doing this, make a smooth forward motion that includes a bit of a twist to help release metal chips that have been loosened. Make sure to spin the chain as you go, in order to avoid missing any of the chain's teeth.

Reverse Sides

Since teeth are designed to be oppositely positioned in order to rip through wood more effectively, turn the chainsaw around for maximum safety. Make sure to re-secure the saw to give a little extra stability to the process. Again, begin by placing the file on a lead tooth and sharpen all teeth to the same general level. To avoid missing any teeth, try to mark the tooth you lead off with, and end at the tooth that sits before it. After that, remember to check the rakers, or curved hooks, to see if they need sharpening as well. If they also need sharpening, a specific tool is needed.

Clean and Oil

Once all teeth have been sharpened, check the teeth again to make sure none are still in need of sharpening. After the job is completed, clean the chainsaw off with a rag to release any extra metal shavings that might have clinged to the chain. Next, oil the chain thoroughly in order to assure a smooth cut. Oil the chain slightly more than usual, as most of the oil on the chain was removed by the sharpening. After these steps are finished, be sure to check the tension and tighten it if need be.

Using eBay to Help Sharpen a Chainsaw

The specialised tools and files that it takes to properly sharpen a chainsaw, are not easy to come across by any means. Online marketplaces such as eBay, however, provide a more extensive selection from which to choose. Although used files and chainsaws can be found on eBay, brand new materials from authorised sellers are also available. Authorised sellers are not the only option, however, as local sellers dot the eBay landscape with quality tools that tend to ship quite quickly.

In order to start a search on eBay, simply visit the homepage and enter the term "chainsaw file" into the searchbar. Such a search, however, might end up turning up an overwhelming amount of results. Those who wish to narrow down their search further, should consider using the advanced search function. The advanced option allows shoppers to make a more concise search from the very beginning. Once an item like a chainsaw file has been found, be sure to research the sellers by checking the quality seller ratings posted on eBay.


Keeping a chainsaw in good repair, requires that individuals routinely inspect the chainsaw teeth for dull or broken areas. If dull teeth are discovered, chainsaw owners should find a stable area and secure the piece of equipment. Cleaning the chain properly, and wearing the right eye protection before sharpening, are both crucial factors to consider. Making sure to clamp the saw securely and measure the teeth, aids individuals in sharpening a saw correctly. After selecting a file that matches the blades, individuals must simply slide the file at the angle of the teeth of the chain.

Although preparing and filing the teeth of the chainsaw is important, without the proper tools present,  sharpening could not be accomplished successfully. Finding the right tools for the job at hand, however, is sometimes quite difficult when restricted to traditional stores. With online marketplaces such as eBay, chainsaw owners are able to accurately search for the tools needed to keep their equipment running smoothly and safely.

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