How to Sharpen a Chainsaw
If you use a chainsaw for work or home, you understand the importance of keeping it sharp at all times. Do you still remember when you first used your electric chainsaw? Sharpness, efficiency, and energy are qualities that all chainsaw owners would like to work with on a consistent basis.
A chainsaw should work like the first time you held it in your hand. With proper use and maintenance, a chainsaw even can cut better as time goes by.
There are many problems associated with a dull chainsaw. Improper maintenance or under maintenance can result in damage to equipment, waste of money, and high risk for injury and accident.
Manufacturers highly advised regular sharpening of chainsaw to ensure its efficiency and longevity. The good news is that you don’t need to go to a professional or service center to sharpen your back into its best shape. You can sharpen a chainsaw just by following the guidelines enumerated below.
When should you sharpen your chainsaw?
Quality-made chainsaws are coated with industrial-grade chrome enabling them to retain their sharp quality for many years. We use chainsaw to cut through clean and dirty pieces of wood. With constant contact to rock, dirt, moisture, and other debris, the sharpness of chainsaws is compromised altogether. If you regularly use chainsaw at high speeds, it’s only a matter of time that it results in dull cutter chains.
- When the chain fails to pull itself through the cut or can no longer self feed. If it takes a lot of effort on your part to cut through objects or if you’re starting to use the buck spikes more for heavy leverage then you need to re-sharpen the chain.
- A nicely sharpened chain typically expels square wood chips. A dull chainsaw on the other hand will start expelling wood chips and should be sharpened soon.
- A shiny chainsaw is clear sign that the chrome plating has already worn off, thus revealing the steel underneath. In order to restore the cutting power of our chainsaw, make sure to sharpen again until a thin sheath of chrome plating appears.
Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide to sharpen a chainsaw
- You need to identify the gauge or size of the chain in use. There are two options for chainsaw namely the chainsaw file and rotary grindstone. Pick a file that will perfectly fit the chain tooth.
Bear in mind that different-sized chains mean different file diameters:
- ¼-inch low-profile chains call for 5/32 inch file
- 325-inch-pitch chains call for 3/16-inch file
- 3/8-inch and 0.404-inch-pitch standard chains calls for 7/32-inch file
Make sure to check your user’s manual before purchasing the chain file featuring the right diameter.
- Do not forget to clean the chain prior to use. There are cleansing agents that are made especially for power tools. They will efficiently remove debris, dirt, and dust that accumulated as a result of frequent use. Never pour the detergents or chemicals directly onto the engine and components other than the saw as this can result in damage.
- Get the angles right. When sharpening, you need to hold the file at the right level and orientation within each cutter. For best results, make sure to use a file guide. Obtain plates that drop over the chain. With the right type of file guide, you will be able to file at the correct height and orientation. This will give you witness marks that will reveal proper plate angle alignment.
- Make sure that you sharpen on a solid base or surface. It is also recommended to set the bar in a vise or clamp to secure. You need a firm and stable support for the blade to facilitate accurate and safe filling.
- Inspect the chain for damage or overly worn teeth and links. Chipped, bent, or broken teeth are not ideal for cutting. As reference, the top plat should measure at least 0.6cm in length. If the cutting teeth are shorter, the risk of breakage, weakness, and damage is higher.
- File from the inside portion of the cutter to the outside using full strokes. Do not place heavy pressure on the chain saw and make sure to let up on the return stroke only. Bear in mind that a fine can only cut in one direction. It is also important to not forget that cutters should only be filed on one side and then on the other side. File each of the cutter until all signs of damaged are removed.
- File all the cutters in one row to the same length. Turn the chainsaw 180 to file cutters in the other row. Make sure that all cutters are of the same length as that of the master cutter. Make sure to slide the file across the surface of the cutter. Use moderate twisting motions to remove metal fillings. In addition, you also need to file every second tooth from your beginning point and around the loop.
- Lastly, you need to lubricate the chain with oil. Make sure to check the tension before starting up your chainsaw mill again.