How to Sharpen a Chainsaw

Have you ever wondered how to sharpen a chainsaw? If you own one, you certainly have to know how to sharpen it effectively. For some, this seems like a daunting task, especially the first time they do it. Fortunately, it is also one that gets progressively easier each time it is performed. In reality, it is not actually all that difficult. It merely requires that you slowly and methodically sharpen the chain in a systematic fashion so that you are sure to get all of the cutters without skipping any. You also have to make sure that you file each one of the cutters down until they are all the same height. Otherwise, you won’t get a solid, even cut the next time you use your chainsaw.

Inspecting the Chain

Typically, you can effectively sharpen a chainsaw in fewer than ten steps. The first thing you have to do is make sure that you know what the gauge the chain is. This will help you know what size tool you should be using. For example, do you have a chain with a 3/16 inch gauge or one that is 7/32 inches? Some fall somewhere in the middle. This information can easily be found in the owner’s manual that accompanies the chainsaw.

Next, carefully clean and inspect the chain. This is where you have the opportunity to notice whether or not you’re dealing with normal wear and tear or if you have some type of problem that would be better dealt with by simply replacing the chain in its entirety.

Sharpening your Chainsaw

If you haven’t found any problems that can’t be handled by simply sharpening the chain, you can now begin. Find the lead cutter on the chain, which will usually be the shortest one out of the entire length of the chain. If you have a well-worn chain where all of the cutters are about the same size, simply pick one and mark where you started.

However, if you have one that is noticeably shorter than all the rest, make sure you start there and then work your way around.

Place your file in the notch that is directly in front of the lead cutter and begin filing carefully, incorporating a slight twisting motion as you file. This will help clear away dirt and debris and it will also make your filing process faster and more effective. Work independently on each cutter, going all the way around the length of the chain until you come back to where you started. Take your time and whatever you do, don’t rush things. When you have finished, be sure to double-check your work in order to make sure that all of the cutters are indeed now the same size.

The last couple of steps involve oiling the chain and then checking its tension to make sure that the chainsaw will operate properly. If you really want to be thorough, it certainly doesn’t hurt to fire up the chainsaw and do a couple of sample cuts in order to make sure that everything is working properly. It doesn’t have to be anything serious, but it is definitely better to know now that the job has been done correctly than it is to wait until you need it and then find out that it is not operational for one reason or another.

In addition, you should always be sure to double-check the owner’s manual in order to see if there are any special instructions that are associated with the particular saw that you are using. Rest assured that once you become familiar with this process, it will take less and less time to complete. It will also help you keep your chainsaw in good condition for a long time.

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