If you are a heavy chainsaw user, then it is probably a good idea to take the time and effort into learning how to sharpen Chainsaw, and most importantly, how to do it the right way. Learning how to properly care and maintain it will help you save a ton of money in the future.
How to spot a dull chainsaw?
First and foremost, it is important to know how to tell if your chainsaw is dull, and it can be tricky to figure out. A dull chainsaw is a bigger problem than you might think. The chain may stretch and loosen over time due to its heat generation. You will also notice while cutting with a dull chainsaw, that it is pulling towards one side.
In addition to that, if you find yourself having to apply pressure on the chain while cutting wood, instead of it effortlessly guiding through then it is time for sharpening.
Some tips to help you out
Whether you are sharpening for the very first time or not, these tips from an expert are sure to add some value:
Find a file that you prefer
Naturally, there are endless options to choose from when you are trying to pick out a file. While most might look over this step, it is important to note that finding a proper file makes a world of difference. Our expert prefers this one by the company Oregan: “Oregon 30846 12-Volt Sure Sharp Chain Saw Sharpener”. Unlike any other round file, this sharpener gets the job done faster, using a stone to sharpen your chainsaw and can attach itself to a truck battery via clamps.
This way, even when you are miles away from home you can just hook your chainsaw to the attached sharpener and within minutes you are good to go!
There is another option that will cost you less but requires a bit more effort than the one mentioned above. In the end, you get the same results. Also by the same company, Oregon 7/32” File Guide Kit consists of a round file that fits into the file guide.
Make sure you have the right size
Unfortunately, the phrase ‘one size fits all’ does not relate in this case and it is vital that you use the required to be sized tool to sharpen your chainsaw. If you still have the packaging your chainsaw came in, you will find the necessary details there. However, you can also look up your specific chainsaw model or contact with the manufacturer. They will specify the exact size of the stone, file, and the guide needed. The most common file sizes are either 3/16”, 5/32”, or 7/32”.
Using a smaller size will have the risks of undercutting the teeth while a bigger size will flatten it.
Start from the marked spot
Taking a closer look, you will realize that each chain has a specific spot where it is either marked with a different color or it has no teeth. Line your sharpener with that marked spot and start sharpening from there and keep going until you come back to it. This is an easy hack to ensure that you have covered the whole chain with your sharpening tool.
If by any chance, there isn’t a mark as described on your particular chainsaw, you can mark it on your own to keep track.
Use the right angle when filing
You should be able to easily sharpen your chainsaw in uniform manner if you are using an automated sharpening tool due to their depth gauge and adjustable sharpening guide. On the other hand, if you are filing manually, then use the marked angles on the surface of your filing guide to file at the required angle.
Experts, alongside manufacturers, recommend filing at a 30° angle, that way it shouldn’t be too deep or shallow. However, the angle you should use might vary depending on the chainsaw and is mentioned on the packaging or the company’s website.
Apply pressure consistently
A lot of people mistakenly think that immense pressure is needed while sharpening the teeth. Experts claim that while you need to be firm with the file, the pressure applied should be even throughout.
When you are filing, go from the inside angle towards the outside and lift the file when you are going back, as the file only sharpens one way. Once you see the tooth is consistently bright, you will know that it has been sharpened properly.
Opt for vegetable oil-based lubricant
To be more environment-friendly, alternatives of petroleum-based lubricants are found. You might want to consider using vegetable oil-based lubricants for your chain and bar instead of the traditional ones.
Use a rotary tool for quicker results
Using a rotary tool, such as the one by Dremel, will help you get easy and quick results, and you won’t even have to remove the chain from the chainsaw! To start, insert a sharpening stone inside and run it between the teeth in a back and forth motion while making sure to keep it at a 30° angle. Be consistent with the number of strokes and pressure all throughout. If you are already used to sharpening on your own, then this should come easily to you.
How often should you sharpen your chainsaw?
Using the chainsaw to only cut wood and sharpening it regularly, depending on the workload the machine goes through, should be enough to maintain the longevity. It is nice to have a regular routine that you follow, for instance, sharpening once every few truckloads of wood is cut.
However, from time to time, you might come across dirt, wire, nail, or even ice, regardless of how careful you are. In that case, our expert recommends sharpening it immediately.
Sharpening a Chainsaw by hand
There are two options if you want to sharpen your chainsaw chain by hand. You can either use an electric ‘chainsaw grinder’ or a ‘round chainsaw file’. On the other hand, if you are using a square chain that is meant to cut large trees, then you should opt for the ‘square filing’ method.