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How to Sharpen Your Chainsaw Safely - Step by Step Guide

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Like all other tools in the DIY enthusiast’s arsenal, a chainsaw has to be consistently sharpened so that it can achieve a proper performance. One can easily hire a professional to do this for him, but most people like to handle the sharpening on their own. If you’ve noticed that your machine isn’t performing as well as it once did, read on and find out how to properly sharpen it and keep it in an excellent working order.

The Maintenance


Different models operate in different ways, and each comes with its distinct maintenance requirements. To find out about the maintenance needs of your own model, you will have to study the manual that came with it. That said, we can safely declare that almost every model benefits from proper lubrication. Besides the occasional inspection of the chain and the motor, one also has to regularly confirm that there’s enough oil in the device’s reservoir. The same goes for the guide bar – it’s the thing that holds the chain in place and which can get bent or twisted during use.

The Sharpening


When it comes to sharpening a chainsaw, there are two distinct approaches on how to do it. One can use an electric sharpener or do the whole thing manually by utilizing some sharpening files. Since the electric sharpeners are used mostly by the professionals, we’ll be focusing on the other method – it’s simply the most accessible one for an average DIY enthusiast.

  • #Step 1 – As you already know, every chainsaw comes with a series of the so-called “teeth.” You’ll have to purchase a file that correctly matches the size of the teeth in your model – for example, the most typical sizes are 7/32″, 5/32″, and 3/16″.
  • #Step 2 – Once you’ve purchased the file that matches the size of your saw’s teeth, you’ll have to start the whole process by thoroughly cleaning saw’s chain, carefully removing things like dirt, debris, and oil. If you notice damaged teeth during the cleaning, the chain is probably unsafe to use and will have to be repaired or swapped with a new one.
  • #Step 3 – In order to achieve the best results, one needs to firmly stabilize the machine. This can be done in several ways – put it in the vise and clamp it or get a helper to hold it steady while you’re sharpening it.
  • #Step 4 – The whole sharpening process should be started on the shortest blade on your chain. If all blades have the same height, you can start anywhere – just don’t forget to mark the first one you’ve sharpened with a pencil or a marker.
  • #Step 5 – Finally, don’t forget to inspect the depth gauges. Each of them needs to be shorter than the cutter next to it. If you find one that’s taller than the cutter that’s closest to it, file it down until it’s some 1/10″ below the height of the adjacent cutter.

That’s it – know you know how to properly sharpen your chainsaw. Restore your machine’s sharpness as often as you can in order to achieve the best performance.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Safely – Step by Step Guide

by Tyler Saunders time to read: 3 min
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