You have a chainsaw and you have been using for a period of time, now it’s dull. The performance of a dull chainsaw is not something that you appreciate. It will consume more power and create more wear. That is why you need to sharpen the chainsaw regularly to get the best performance. Sharpening a chainsaw is an important part of maintenance that will keep your chainsaw great for a long time; also it increases the longevity of that power tool.
Sharpening a chainsaw is not something very complicated. If you want, you can easily learn it and do that at home. Here I will share a simple guide on how to sharpen a chainsaw. Before diving deeper I will try to answer a very common question when it’s time to sharpening a chainsaw. How often should I sharpen my chainsaw? Also, I will talk a little about how the saw chain actually works?
This is an important part to know if you are going to sharpen a chainsaw that will show you which parts of the chain need to be sharpened, therefore the sharpening task will be easier and the concept will be much clear. And then we will discuss in details about the procedures of sharpening a chainsaw. Let’s start.
How a Saw Chain Works?
It is important to know the chainsaw’s chain properly. Otherwise, you will get confused with the jargon like gauge, pitch, round-tooth, square-tooth, chisel etc. Here in this segment, we will talk a little bit about the anatomy of the saw chain. I insist not to skip this portion, if you are a newbie who has started using a chainsaw, this is going to help you in great extent.
When there is a chain, there are chain links. Every chain is made of links. There are mainly three types of items in a chainsaw chain, cutting-teeth, drive-links, and tie-straps. Cutting tooth is the part that actually works of cutting. There are different types of cutting teeth. Most consumer chainsaw comes with round teeth. They are more versatile and resistant to kickback. On the other hand, most of the professionals use square-teeth or chisel cutting teeth. These tend to have longer guide bar and are made for doing a particular type of projects with more effectively and efficiently.
The drive-link propels the saw chain around the guide bar. The gauge of the drive-link must be compatible with the groove’s width of the guide bar. To describe the size of the chains two measurements are used, pitch and gauge. Pitch is measured by dividing the distance of each first and the third rivet by 2. Gauge refers to the width of the chain’s drive link.
Cutting teeth spacing is another important fact. The cutting teeth density varies from saw to saw. Here for a chainsaw, there are three types, full complement, half-skip, and full-skip. When we talk about full-complement we mean the highest density possible. More density assures smoother cuts and predictable response to user input. That is why most consumer chainsaws are full-complement. Slower and smoother cuts come in a tradeoff of more engine strain.
The half-skip means a single spacer in between two cutting teeth and full-skip means double spacer. In longer guide bars half-skip mechanism is used. They cut quickly and rougher. Full-skip chains are preferred by the professionals. When you will need to replace the chainsaw, you will have to remember the configurations of the original chain and then purchase something compatible with the saw.
How Often Should I Sharpen a Chainsaw?
Well, there is no specific answer for this question. If you ask people, there will be different answers. There is no time duration for that like once a month or once in each three months. But there are some indicators that will show you that it’s time for a touch-up. So ignore the term “how often”, better use “when” to sharpen a chainsaw. If you don’t use the chainsaw at all, you may not need to sharpen the chainsaw. If you cut through hardwoods, you may sharpen the chainsaw more often. There are others variables as well that will arise confusions.
But there is a basic rule of thumb, which is when you need to force the chainsaw to cut through; you need to sharpen the chainsaw. Normally when the chainsaw it sharp, it should cut on its own, you just need to guide it. But when it’s not sharp, you have to apply the force on it. And that shows the chainsaw is dull and needs to be sharpened. There are few other indicators. While doing a cross cut or spilt cut a dull chainsaw will produce fine sawdust instead of coarse wood chips. A dull chainsaw will rattle or bounce and that will create problems in precise positioning.
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw?
Choosing the right tool for sharpening a chainsaw is crucial. There are different types of tools. You can sue power sharpener to quick sharpening. Manual sharpening takes more time but it gives you more control. Before sharpening the chain, make sure that the chain has been cleaned properly. Use a workbench or something that can hold the guide bar properly. Mark the chain with anything to make sure not to forget where you have started. You should file each tooth evenly. Uneven filing will result in worse performance.
Make sure that the file you have chosen is of the right size for your chainsaw. You will find the readings on the packaging or on the manual. Check for the right angle to file. You may find files with guides that will assure that you are filing in right angle. I repeat, count the number of strokes and always use the same number of stroke for each tooth if you do not want to mess up with the chain. Always stroke away from your body. There are two faces of cutting teeth, file accordingly. Here I am adding a video that will guide you the whole process.
Make sure that you sharpen your chainsaw regularly when needed. A dull chainsaw never gives you the expected result. Follow the safety measures. If you want to replace your current chainsaw or maybe you will like to buy a new one you may like to look at our best chainsaw review.