Chainsaw Chains: Choosing The Right File Size

James Lawson
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Are you having trouble keeping your chainsaw chain sharp? It’s important to use the right file size when sharpening a chainsaw chain.
With the right file size and technique, you can keep your chain in good condition for a long time.

In this article, we’ll explain how to measure your chain to determine the correct file size, as well as how to use the right technique to sharpen your chain.
Knowing the correct file size and how to use it properly will help you maintain a sharp, effective chainsaw chain.

Understanding File Sizes

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, it’s important to understand the different sizes of files when it comes to sharpening your saw blades.

File sizes are measured in inches, and the size you choose depends on the size of your chain. The two most common file sizes are 5/32 and 3/16 inches, but you may need a 7/32 inch file for larger chains.

It’s important to follow safety guidelines when sharpening your chainsaw and to use the right sharpening tools for the size of your chain. Properly sharpened blades ensure that your chainsaw operates efficiently and safely.

Before determining the right file size, it’s important to measure your chain to determine the size of the teeth. The size of the teeth should match the size of the file you use. To measure your chain, you’ll need to count the number of drive links, which can be found on the side of your chain.

The drive links are the small metal loops that link your saw blades together. Once you have the number of drive links, you can determine the size of the file you need.

Measuring Your Chain

To ensure your saw hums and purrs like a kitten, it’s important to measure your chain to get the perfect fit.

Start by examining the sharpening angles on the chain links and the chain tensioning. A correctly tensioned chain should have some slack, but not too much that it can move freely.

To get an accurate reading, use a ruler to measure the distance between the top of the guide bar and the bottom of the chain. This will tell you what size file you need.

The most common file sizes range from 3/16 inch to 13/64 inch. Once you have this measurement, you can narrow down your file size options to get the perfect fit.

With the right file size, your chain will be sharpened to the optimal angle and tensioned perfectly for the best performance.

Selecting the Right File Size

Once you’ve got your measurement, you can pick the perfect file size for your saw to get it purring like a kitten! Generally, chainsaw chains are available in three file sizes: 5/32′, 3/16′ and 7/32′.

To determine the right size, you need to consider a few factors:

  • Chain sizing: Your chain must match the size of the drive links on your saw chain. The chain size can usually be found in the chain’s owner’s manual.

  • Sharpening tips: If you’re sharpening the chain, the file size should match the depth gauge on the chain.

  • Desired performance: If you want a more aggressive cut, you may want to select a larger file size to remove more material when sharpening.

Once you have chosen the right file size for your chainsaw chain, you can move on to the next step: using the right technique for sharpening.

Using the Right Technique

It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and learn the best way to sharpen your saw so you can get back to cutting like a hot knife through butter.

There are two main techniques for sharpening a chainsaw chain: filing and grinding. When filing, you’ll need to make sure you use the right size file for your saw chain. This is typically determined by the pitch of the chain and the number of drive links. Once you have the right file size, you can begin filing.

You’ll start by filing the cutters on each side of the chainsaw, making sure to follow the angle of the existing edges. You’ll also need to lubricate the chain before filing to reduce friction and heat.

The grinding technique is a bit more involved and requires a grinding wheel. You’ll need to make sure the wheel is properly secured and that the wheel guard is in place. Then you’ll start grinding the cutters, making sure to follow the same angle as the existing edges. As with filing, it’s important to lubricate the chain before grinding to reduce friction and heat.

Once you’ve finished sharpening your chainsaw chain, it’s important to maintain your file so it will last longer and give you the best results.

Maintaining Your File

Keeping your file in good condition is essential for getting the most out of your saw, so make sure you take care of it! To maintain your file, make sure you use the right sharpening tools and lubricating chains, and that you do so regularly.

Make it a habit to:

  1. Sharpen the chain after every 10 minutes of use.
  2. Lubricate the chain after each use.
  3. Clean the file and the chain after each use.

You should also check your file regularly for any damage or wear. If you notice any bends or cracks, it may be time to replace the file.

You should also check the depth gauge of the chain to make sure it is still within the recommended range. Finally, store your file in a safe, dry place when it’s not in use.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best way to store and transport a chainsaw file?

You need to choose the right saws and size files for your chainsaw, but how do you store and transport them?

Coincidence has it that the best way is to use a specially designed tool box for the job. It should be big enough to fit the saws and files securely, and have enough space for extra blades and files. The box should be made from a durable material to protect the saws and files from damage, while also being lightweight and easy to transport.

Be sure to include a handle or straps to make carrying it easier. With the right storage and transport solution, you can keep your saws and files in top condition.

How often should I sharpen my chainsaw chain?

Sharpening your chainsaw chain is an important part of its preventative maintenance. If done correctly and regularly, sharpening your chain will help prevent kickbacks and injuries.

To sharpen your chainsaw chain, start by using a round file that’s the same width as the drive link gauge of the chain. Position the file at the correct angle and make sure to keep the same angle for all the cutters. Make sure to file in the same direction of the cutting path.

Keep filing until the edges of the cutting teeth are sharp and shiny. It’s important to sharpen your chain regularly, usually every 5-10 hours of use.

What safety precautions should I take when filing a chainsaw chain?

When filing a chainsaw chain, safety should always come first. Make sure you’re wearing the appropriate safety gear such as eye protection, gloves, and a face mask.

Be sure to familiarize yourself with the chain link types before filing and never put too much pressure when filing. Additionally, ensure you’re working on a stable, flat surface and that the chain is properly secured.

Secure the file in one hand while filing with the other.

Following these safety precautions will help ensure your safety while filing a chainsaw chain.

Are there any special tools or accessories I should use when filing a chainsaw chain?

You should always use sharpening techniques and chain lubrication when filing a chainsaw chain. According to a recent survey, over 90% of chainsaw owners don’t take the necessary safety precautions when filing their chainsaw chain.

To ensure you’re doing it correctly, there are a few special tools and accessories you should use. A file guide can help you maintain the right depth and angle while filing. You should also use a file handle to help make sure you don’t slip and cause injury. Additionally, a file cleaner can be used to remove metal shavings and help keep the chain lubricated.

With the right tools, you can keep your chainsaw in top shape and keep yourself safe.

Is there a risk of damaging my chainsaw if I use the wrong file size?

Yes, there’s a risk of damaging your chainsaw if you use the wrong file size when sharpening your chain. Different chains require different file types and sizes to ensure proper sharpening.

If you use a file that’s too large or too small, it can cause the chain to become dull quickly and can even damage the cutting teeth. To avoid this, make sure to use the correct file size and type for your chainsaw chain, as recommended by the manufacturer.

Additionally, it’s important to be familiar with the proper sharpening techniques to ensure that the chain is sharpened correctly and safely.


You now have the knowledge to choose the right file size for your chainsaw chain. With the right file and technique, you can keep your chain in top shape.

Not only will proper maintenance keep your chain in peak condition, it’ll also keep you safe. Remember, sharpening your chain is like sharpening a knife – it takes finesse and precision.

So take your time, be safe, and keep your chain running like a well-oiled machine.

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