[How to sharpen a blunt chainsaw chain]

Despite the fact that chainsaws have a deserved reputation for being extremely destructive tools, they are actually precision instruments.  As such, they must be kept in tiptop condition in order to be productive and to ensure the safety of the operator.

It is imperative that a chainsaw chain is kept in tiptop condition.  The chain only really has two states - useless or perfect.  A chain which is in perfect condition should cut through timber like a knife through butter.[ Normally it will require barely any downward pressure to cut through wood, but once it is in need of maintenance it will either require extra pressure or simply try and burn through the wood].You must keep the chain on your chainsaw in absolutely perfect condition.[ The condition of a chainsaw chain has no middle ground it is either absolutely perfect for the job at hand, or completely useless].[ Once the chain starts requiring more than a tiny amount of downward pressure to get through the wood it obviously needs sharpening].  In perfect condition, the chainsaw should cut through timber just like a knife cuts through butter.

When in perfect condition the chainsaw will produce large chips of wood whereas when the chain is in need of maintenance it will produce sawdust instead.[ Another sign that the chain is in need of maintenance is when the chainsaw tries to veer off to the left or the right while cutting vertically downwards].

[A new chain comes with a fine plating of chrome on the cutting tips].  It is this chrome plate which does most of the work, and as the chain wears the chrome becomes removed.  To maintain and restore a chain to good condition it needs to be filed.[ You must ensure that you use the right sized file for the chain that you have]. Chainsaws are expensive pieces of equipment and will give long and productive service if maintained diligently.

[To maintain the chainsaw chain and get it back to its ideal condition one should use a roller guide].[ You can file a chain freehand, but in most scenarios this will not be as good as using the roller guide unless one is extremely experienced in filing by hand].  If the chain has become worn through typical problems such as hitting the ground or coming into contact with the solid object it must be filed down in order to produce a new chrome plated edge.  You can file away a good part of the chainsaw chain but there must be approximately 1 mm left on the heel of the cutter.

[Rather then shelling out for a brand new chain unnecessarily, it is wise to keep re-sharpening your chainsaw chain as much as you can in order to get the most use out of it as possible - not least because once the chain is sharpened it is as good as new].  You can pick up a chain sharpening kit for around $30 which will contain the rounded file, a file gauge, and also a flat file.[ It's not a bad idea to also have a small brush].[ For this you can just use an old toothbrush].

[The rounded file is used to sharpen the chain].[The flat file is for filing the depth gauge for each tooth].  Hand the file gauge is used for setting the top plate cutting angles of each tough on the cutting side of the chain.  The brush is simply for cleaning up the chain before sharpening and removing any debris.

If you end up accidentally stretching your chainsaw chain it may be the case that you need to replace it rather than sharpening it.  If this is the case you should make sure to note down the make and model of your chainsaw before heading to the shop (if you don't take the chainsaw there itself) and you should consider taking the old chain as well to ensure a good match.[ With these tips you should be well set to get the most life out of your chainsaw chain].

Chainsaws are very useful, but are also extremely dangerous. [Please take advice from a qualified professional before using a chainsaw yourself].

Filed Under: Tools and Equipment


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