Introduction: How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

Being able to properly use a chainsaw can make wood cutting tasks very efficient, and when done correctly can be very safe. However, if the teeth on the chainsaw chain become dull, the saw will not cut correctly or efficiency, and could become dangerous due to the chainsaw kicking back towards the operator. A sharp chain is often safer than a dull one, nonetheless, every chainsaw and chain must be handled carefully as it can easily hurt you if mishandled.

Step 1: How to Tell When to Sharpen a Chain

A chain needs to be sharpened if the shavings cut from the chainsaw become very fine, and almost dust like, or if the saw does not cut straight. The pile of shavings on the left is from a sharp chain, where as the more dust like pieces on the right are cut from a dull saw.

Step 2: Place the Chainsaw Bar With the Chain Attached in a Vice and Then Tighten the Vice.

Make sure to not press the chain in the vice, as it needs to be able to move freely on the bar.

Step 3: Take a Circular File and Hold It Perpendicular to the Bar

The best way to hold the file is hold firmly with 1 hand on the handle, and the other hand lightly resting on the other end of the file.

Step 4: Align the File Parallel to the Alignment Marks on One of the Chain Links.

On each cutting tooth there is a small line on the top of the tooth that is parallel to the cutting edge. It is crucial that you hold the file parallel to the marks in order to create a sharp cutting edge.

Step 5: Place the Circular File in the Notch and Apply a Slight Amount of Pressure Towards the Cutting Edge and Top of the Tooth

It is important to apply pressure on both the back of the tooth and towards the top of the tooth because that is the part that is in cutting contact with the wood.

Step 6: Slowly Push the File From the Inside of the Tooth to the Outside of the Tooth.

Make sure to maintain a constant pressure and speed on the file and keep it parallel to the line that is on each tooth. Repeat this process 2-3 times per tooth.

Step 7: Once You Have Finished Filing the Tooth, Skip the Tooth Behind It and Go on to the Next.

By sharpening every other tooth, you will sharpen all of the teeth facing one way, then once one side has been sharpened, go back through and sharpen the teeth facing the other direction. This will ensure that the same sharpening orientation was used on each tooth.

Step 8: Check Each Tooth to Make Sure It Is Sharp, and That Every Tooth Has Been Sharpened

It is important to inspect each tooth in order to make sure that each one is sharp, and consistent. By being able to see a shiny part on the cutting edge,and no shine on the top of the tooth will ensure that it has been sharpened.

Step 9: Once the Chain Has Been Sharpened, Remove the Bar From the Vice, and You Are Ready to Go and Work More.