- 1 How to Know When to Sharpen Your Chainsaw
- 2 Four Basic Chainsaw Sharpening Tools
- 3 A Step-By-Step Process of Sharpening a Chainsaw
- 3.1 Step 1: Clean the chainsaw
- 3.2 Step 2: Inspect it for any damages
- 3.3 Step 3: Put the chainsaw in a stable place
- 3.4 Step 4: Locate your starting point
- 3.5 Step 5: Set the file in a notch, on the front of the cutter
- 3.6 Step 6: Hold the saw file at the cutter¢s original ground or file position
- 3.7 Step 7: Start sliding the file across the chainsaw cutter
- 3.8 Step 8: Ensure every second tooth is worked on identically
- 3.9 Step 9: Reverse and keep filing
- 3.10 Step 10: Check the amount of clearance of the depth gauges or rakers
- 3.11 Step 11: Oil the chainsaw
- 4 Conclusion
Chainsaws often need to be re-sharpened every now and then to maintain their efficacy when it comes to woodcuts. The more it is properly maintained the longer it will last and prevent any chainsaw accidents when being used. Moreover, it can be really frustrating and be tiring to use a blunt chainsaw.
A chainsaw is often made of cutters and depth gauges or rakers, which are designed in a manner that they can solely determine the depth of the cut. Moreover, these cutters are supposed to be well maintained whenever they become, dull, blunt or simply wear out.
For any chainsaw to work properly without any hitches, the height of its depth gauges or rakers is supposed to be a bit less than the height of its cutters. It is very important for it to maintain this difference. This is because if the difference is too small it will leave you with a useless chainsaw that will only slide over the wood without actually making any cut.
On the other hand, a big difference will leave you with one jumpy, unstable chainsaw that is risky and dangerous to your well-being.
Therefore, you should always try to re-sharpen it, whenever possible and keep the rakers out of the cutters way.
How to Know When to Sharpen Your Chainsaw
You can look for some of these signs to determine if your chainsaw really needs to be re-sharpened or not.
- Energy being used– If you happen to be using loads of energy when making woods cuts, then you should re-sharpen your chainsaw immediately. A fine working chainsaw often cuts efficiently without the application of any force. Therefore, this is always a sign of a dull chainsaw.
- It produces fine saw dust– A working chainsaw often produces wood chips as opposed to fine sawdust. So, re-sharpen it immediately if it does so.
- Jumpy and making irregular woodcuts– If you have unsteady, jumpy chainsaw, the fact is that you are making uneven irregular cuts. Therefore, you should re-sharpen it to start making precise and even woodcuts.
Four Basic Chainsaw Sharpening Tools
- A saw wrench– This often combines a flat head screwdriver and two wrenches
- A chainsaw file– This should be the correct gauge size for your chainsaw. You can rely on the chainsaw model when buying it. Besides, it is often round and designed to fit well into the teeth of your chainsaw
- A sturdy work area– This should be steady, dry and solid for you to re-sharpen your chainsaw effortlessly. It should be the right height to minimize body strain
- Gloves– These are essential to protect your hands in case of any injuries that may occur due to the re-sharpening of the chainsaw
However, you can always invest in an electrical chainsaw sharpener for convenience. Moreover, chainsaws that have bar adjustment features will not need any saw wrench.
A Step-By-Step Process of Sharpening a Chainsaw
Here is a systematic analysis of how to, properly sharpen your chainsaw without causing any injuries to yourself or damaging it.
Step 1: Clean the chainsaw
You will need to clean it for any oil or debris. You can use any degreasing detergent or mineral spirits. Just make sure they do not spill anywhere else on the chainsaw, especially its engine.
Step 2: Inspect it for any damages
You should check it for any broken or chipped teeth as well as links as these often make it dangerous even for use. Any worn out area is also a risk to you.
Step 3: Put the chainsaw in a stable place
The whole chainsaw should be steady with its blades firmly supported for easier and efficient filing. You can even clamp the bar and let the chains rotate effortlessly as you file.
Step 4: Locate your starting point
This is usually the smallest cutter in the whole chain. However, if they are the same length you can always start anywhere you want.
You should then start to file each cutter and ensure its top flat edges are almost the same in terms of length. This often ensures that it makes the same wood count as you make the cuts. You can always mark the first cutter you file to avoid repetitiveness.
Step 5: Set the file in a notch, on the front of the cutter
This is usually an angled tooth found on the front flat surface of the chainsaw link. You should aim to fit the curve of your saw file into the face curve of the cutting tip. Moreover, 20% of the saw file diameter should always be above the tooth’s top.
Step 6: Hold the saw file at the cutter¢s original ground or file position
This position is always at 25° or 30°, but you can check your chainsaw specifications for accuracy as some chainsaw often have flatter angles.
The point is that you should always match the file to its original machined angle.
Step 7: Start sliding the file across the chainsaw cutter
The best way to ensure the cutter is well filed is by starting the filing at the short angled side toward the long side. This should leave it with smooth cutting edges.
Step 8: Ensure every second tooth is worked on identically
As you make your way through the chain, always ensure that the tooth your filling is visible on top of the chainsaw bar. You can use your hands to advance its movement and proper placement on the bar.
Step 9: Reverse and keep filing
After you are done with filing one side of the chainsaw teeth, you can reverse to the one angled in the opposite direction. You should keep the length of the flat top edges the same, for equal even woodcuts. You can use calipers or just your eyes to ensure the same length file.
Step 10: Check the amount of clearance of the depth gauges or rakers
Rakers should clear at about 1/10th of an inch lower than the chainsaw cutter. This often dictates the amount of wood any chainsaw cutter can easily remove with every bite or cut.
Moreover, if the clearance is too high, it will have to be filed. Besides, you can always file any raker that is interfering with the cutter for effectiveness.
Step 11: Oil the chainsaw
You can then oil it as you check its tension level and it should be ready for use again.
This whole process might be a bit hard for a newbie chainsaw worker or owner. However, with time you will get the hang of it. Besides, it is a very easy process to follow. It is always important to have this basic knowledge especially if you are one to use chainsaws.
Chainsaw sharpening is not only important but a must as it will prolong the life of your chainsaw as well as minimize any injuries and accidents related to it. Therefore, invest your time in maintaining your chainsaw.