Sharpening A Chainsaw: Tips And Tricks

James Lawson
Affiliate Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links on this website are affiliate links, which means that we may earn a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase. However, all our recommendations are 100% genuine and unbiased, and we have a strict editorial process to maintain high standards. Thank you for supporting us!

Do you own a chainsaw and want to make sure it’s always in top working condition?

Sharpening your chainsaw is an important part of regular maintenance and can help ensure it runs more efficiently and safely.

In this article, we’ll give you some tips and tricks on how to sharpen your chainsaw. We’ll cover the basics, from selecting the right file for the job, to setting the depth gauge, so you can be sure your chainsaw is always performing at its best.

With a few simple steps, you can keep your chainsaw in top shape and extend its life.

Let’s get started!

Preparing Your Chainsaw for Sharpening

Before starting any kind of maintenance, it’s important to make sure that the equipment is properly prepared – and that’s especially true when it comes to honing a tool for optimal performance.

When it comes to sharpening a chainsaw, it’s important to begin by ensuring that the chainsaw is in a safe storage location. This means that the chainsaw should be away from any flammable materials, as well as any other items that could be damaged by the saw.

Once the chainsaw is in a safe place, you should check the chain for any damage or wear and tear. If the chain is damaged, it should be replaced before sharpening. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the chain is properly oiled. This will keep the chain lubricated and will help to avoid any potential issues during the sharpening process.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your chainsaw is in the best condition possible before sharpening.

With the proper preparation, you can move onto selecting the right file for the job.

Selecting the Right File for the Job

Choosing the right file for the task at hand can be the difference between a smooth cut and a jagged, splintered mess. When selecting the file for sharpening the chain, it’s important to consider the chain selection, the file types, the size of the file, and the file’s cut.

Chain selection is key when selecting the right file for the job. If the chain has a standard cutter, then a standard round file is best. If the chain has a semi-chisel cutter, then a semi-chisel file should be used. For chisel cutters, a flat file should be used.

File types are also important when selecting the right file. There are two main types of files, single and double cut. Single cut files have one set of teeth, and double cut files have two.

The size of the file should be determined by the pitch of the chain. Generally, a file should be one-third the pitch of the chain.

Lastly, the file’s cut should be selected based on the chainsaw’s application. Raker cut files, which are coarse files, are best for chainsaws that are used for cutting larger amounts of wood. Smooth cut files, which are finer, are better for chainsaws used for general cutting.

With the right file selection, sharpening your chain will be much easier. The next step is to sharpen the teeth of the chainsaw.

Sharpening the Teeth

To keep your chainsaw running smoothly and quickly, you’ll need to give its teeth a good honing – much like sharpening a tool to sharpen your wit.

The filing techniques used to sharpen the teeth of your chainsaw should be based on the cutting angles of the chain. Files come in different shapes, sizes, and angles and should be matched to your chain’s cutting angle. For example, if your chain has a cutting angle of 30 degrees, then the file should also have a 30 degree angle. This ensures that you sharpen the teeth evenly and accurately.

When filing the teeth, always start the file at the base of the tooth, where the chain and the tooth meet. Push the file firmly in the direction of the chain, filing at the same angle as the chain. File the same number of times on each side of the tooth, and repeat the process for each tooth.

When you’re done, inspect the teeth to make sure that they are all the same length, and that you have achieved the desired sharpness. With the right filing techniques and the right file, you can keep your chainsaw running smoothly.

Setting the Depth Gauge

Once you’ve sharpened the teeth of your chainsaw, it’s time to set the depth gauge to ensure optimal cutting performance. This is a crucial step in the sharpening process, as it involves checking the angles and adjusting the tension of the cutting chain.

To begin, place your chainsaw on a flat surface and use a depth gauge to measure the distance between the top plate of the cutter and the depth gauge. Adjust the tension of the cutting chain, if necessary, to ensure that it matches the measurements taken with the depth gauge.

Once the tension is set, turn the chainsaw on and check the blade for any wobble or misalignment. If all looks good, you’re ready to move on to the next step of the process.

Next, you’ll want to sharpen your chainsaw by grinding the cutting edges of the saw’s teeth. Before you begin, make sure to check the angles of the cutting edges. If they’re not right, use a depth gauge to ensure the angles are set correctly. This will help you get the most out of your sharpening session and ensure that your chainsaw is properly maintained.

Once the angles have been checked and adjusted, you can move onto the final step of sharpening your chainsaw: maintaining it.

Maintaining Your Chainsaw

Keeping your chainsaw in top condition is key to ensuring it runs smoothly and safely, so don’t forget to maintain it!

It’s important to lubricate the chain with bar and chain oil, as this will help keep it running smoothly and reduce the chance of it jamming. Additionally, it’s essential to store your chainsaw safely when not in use, such as in a garage or shed. Be sure to keep it dry and away from extreme temperatures to prevent corrosion and other damage.

Regularly check your chainsaw for any loose parts, cracks, and other damage to the blades, as this can lead to dangerous situations. If you notice any wear and tear, make sure to replace the parts as soon as possible.

Finally, always clean off any dirt and debris on the chainsaw after each use, to help keep it running efficiently.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of chainsaw should I use?

When selecting a chainsaw blade, it’s important to consider the type of cutting you intend to do.

If you are engaging in heavy-duty cutting, such as felling trees, then a larger, more powerful chainsaw is the best choice.

However, if you are only engaging in light-duty pruning, a smaller, more lightweight chainsaw may be a better option.

In either case, the cutting technique you choose is also important.

A dull blade requires more power to push through the material and can be more dangerous, so it’s important to make sure your blade is sharpened regularly and kept in good condition.

How often should I sharpen my chainsaw?

Sharpening your chainsaw regularly is essential to its longevity and performance. The chain gauge and file angle you use depend on the type of chainsaw you have, so it’s important to read up on the correct specifications.

Most chainsaws should be sharpened every 5-10 hours of use, although more frequent sharpening may be necessary if you use your chainsaw often or if the chain is dulling quickly. If you’re unsure of how often to sharpen your chainsaw, consult the user manual or a professional.

Are there any safety precautions I should take while sharpening my chainsaw?

Sharpening your chainsaw is an important task, but it can also be dangerous. Before you begin, make sure you take all necessary safety precautions to protect your hands and body.

Wear heavy-duty work gloves, safety glasses, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts to help protect your body from flying debris.

In addition, ensure that you are working in a well-ventilated area and that you have a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an emergency.

With the proper safety measures in place, you’ll be ready to sharpen your chainsaw safely and effectively.

How do I know when the chainsaw is sharp enough?

You know your chainsaw is sharp enough when it cuts through wood easily and quickly.

Hand filing and power grinding are two popular sharpening methods.

Hand filing will take more time, but you’ll have more control over the process.

Power grinding is faster, but you must be careful not to overheat the blade.

If you’re unsure, test the sharpness of the blade by cutting a piece of wood.

If it cuts cleanly, your chainsaw is sharp enough.

What is the best way to store my chainsaw after sharpening?

After sharpening your chainsaw, proper storage is essential for keeping the blade in optimal condition. Here’s what you should do:

  • Store the chainsaw with the chain removed.
  • Keep it in a dry, well-ventilated area, such as a tool shed or garage.
  • If the chain needs to remain lubricated, use a light oil or a bar and chain oil to ensure proper lubrication.
  • Always select the right chain for your saw.
  • Make sure that it is properly adjusted and tensioned before storing.

Following these steps will help to keep your chainsaw in peak condition and ensure it is ready to go when needed.


Sharpening your chainsaw may seem intimidating at first, but with the right tools and a little bit of practice, you’ll be a pro in no time. It’s an art form that will sharpen your skills as well as the saw.

Taking the time to do it right and maintain your chainsaw will pay off in the long run – it’ll be like a well-oiled machine, ready to tackle whatever job you have in front of you.

So grab your file and get to work – you’ll be cutting down trees like a hot knife through butter!

Leave a Comment