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How to Sharpen a Chainsaw?

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How to Sharpen a Chainsaw

It is important to know how to sharpen a chainsaw because this not only saves your saw from exerting too much effort, it also keeps you from harming yourself.

Have you ever used a dull chainsaw blade that it almost put you at risk and jeopardized the outcome of your project? According to DIY expert Bob Tacke of The Family Handyman Magazine, “a dull chainsaw blade can cause burning and buckling while sawing through wood and it is a slow and dangerous way to cut.”

When is it Time to Sharpen Your Chainsaw?

There are two ways to know if your blade is already dull and needs to be sharpened. Using a sharp chainsaw is easy and requires minimal force while using a dull blade loses your energy but not cutting through the wood effectively.

Also, you can check your saw cuts and see if they are looking like pieces of wood chips or if they are more like a dirty pile of dust.  When the waste looks like dust, then it’s time to take your round file out and get your chainsaw sharpened.

What are the Tools of the Trade?

To sharpen the blades of your chainsaw, you need to know the parts and right tools for the job. The blade on a chain loop is semicircular, therefore you need a round file to get it sharpened and reshaped. A round file is a sharpening tool used to shave off

A round file is a sharpening tool used to shave off a fine amount of material from the piece you are working on. You will also need a round file guide to precisely sharpen and shape all the blades on your chain loop in the same angle. Otherwise, you’ll end up with blades chipping on wood differently.

The depth gauge is part of the chain that determines how deep you want to cut through the wood.  It is placed in front of every blade to guide it through the cutting line. It also gets worn out the same as the blade.

You’ll also need a flat-file and depth gauge guide. The depth gauge guide sets how deep your blades could go. The flat file is used to shave off the excess.

Ready to sharpen Away?

Step One

Begin by making sure to over-tighten the chain to get rid of the pesky slack while filing.  It will be a little bit tight to go around the bar, but it’s okay, because this is better than not having any tension at all.  This will also save you time and effort in going through the filing process.

READ: Best Hacksaw Reviews

Now, look for the slot-head screw that tightens saw tension between the bar and the body of the saw, and loosen the nuts that hold the bar by turning the screw clockwise.

Step Two

Now, it’s time for you to spend just a little bit of your time stroking your favorite tool. First, make sure that you are using the right size of the round file and set it up in the file guide.  The file guide features several angle adjustments so that you can move the file in the 30-35 degree angle.

Start filing and make sure to do the same number of strokes on each of the cutters – this ensures that you will have an effective chain as a result.  Also, sharpen each cutter with file strokes away from your body.

Step Three

Next, you will now have to file the depth gauges. This is the part where you can slack off a little bit because this is way easier than the first step. You will only need to check the height of the depth gauge using the filing guide and set the gauge on the chain so that it rests on top of the cutters.

If you notice a part of the depth gauge jutting over the guide, you will need to remove it by using a flat-file.  This step will only take a few strokes but remember not to push too hard to avoid losing the ledge on the guide.

Step Four

Lastly, loosen your chain to get it ready for your next project. Remember the slot-head screw that you tightened earlier?  Unscrew them so that the chain falls loosely.

Hold the tip of the bar and tighten the tension screw to get rid of the slack on the bottom edge. When you feel that it’s almost gone, tighten the bar nuts and carefully and slowly rotate the chain.  You will notice that it will rotate easily with the right tension.


With these steps and using simple tools, how to sharpen a chainsaw will not be as tedious as you thought it would be. Keeping your chainsaws sharpened helps you in cutting wood efficiently and safely.  Also, it prevents you from losing too much of your time because you’re not using a dull blade anymore.

Here is a link where you can watch a step-by-step video on how to do it. This link will show you how to sharpen a chainsaw as well as the right tools that you will use in doing the job.

READ: Makita 4350FCT Top Handle Jig Saw with L.E.D.Light Review

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