How To Sharpen A Chainsaw

Knowing how to sharpen a chainsaw is essential in preserving the integrity of this tool. After all, the job that a chainsaw does is not easy. Even if they are sharp and sturdy, encountering large and robust trees can test their quality. If you use this tool constantly, you will realize that the sharpness of its chain will subside.

As an owner of this tool, it is your responsibility to sharpen it from time to time. Aside from preventing the chainsaw from being dull, you are also making it safe to use. Apparently, dull chainsaws are susceptible to kickback!

Moreover, you don’t want to spend a hefty amount of cash just to buy another unit, right? Therefore, a regular maintenance will always be useful!

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw

  1. Start by determining the size of the chain of your saw. The reason for this is because the grindstone or chainsaw file that you will buy should complement the size of your chain tooth. We all know that there each brand of chainsaws have different teeth sizes. Therefore, you need to measure it carefully. Typically, the sizes are 3/16 inch, 5/32 inch, and 7/32 inch (in diameter).
  2. Before doing anything, you should clean the chain first. The cleaning should be done thoroughly. In this process, you may need the help of commercial degreasing detergent to expel dirt, debris, and oil. As a reminder, never get flood the cleaner on the other parts of the chainsaw. They might damage these parts.
  3. You will also need to inspect the chain to see if it has damages. Moreover, try to look if there worn links and teeth. You see, when you use your chainsaw too much, there is a good chance that the teeth may be bent and broken. When this happens, using your chainsaw becomes dangerous.There is a particular rule for this. The top plate of your teeth should have a length of 1/4 inch. If it is lower than this, then your teeth might get broken when you use it. You should remove any of those damage parts to preserve the quality of your chain.
  4. Put your saw on a solid surface. Ideally, you can clamp the bar on a bench vise. There is a need for the saw to be stable. There should also be a firm support to the blade so that filling it would be accurate and safe. This is the reason why a vise is the best choice. You can be able to rotate the chain freely while the jaws are holding the bar!
  5. You need to determine where the leading cutter is. This is where you will start your job. The leading cutter is the shortest cutter in the chain. If you can hardly notice any difference, then you can anywhere. We advise that you put a marker on the tooth in where you started.
  6. Place the file in the notch of the cutter. Specifically, this area is the angled tooth that is located in front of the leveled surface of a chain link. Moreover, you should remember that the curve of the cutting tip should fit the curve of the file. Specifically, the top 20 percent of the file’s diameter should be over the tooth.
  7. You will need to hold the file in the same angle in where the cutter was filled. Typically, the angle should range from 25 degrees to 30 degrees. You may need to check the manual of your chainsaw for this measurement.
  8. Use a gentle twisting motion to slide the file across the face the cutter. This process is effective in discharging metal chips. There are different opinions on where you should start pushing the file. However, you may want to do it from the short side to the long point of the angle.
  9. You should start filling every second tooth that is identical to your starting point around the chain. As you are progressing, you should also advance it as well. In this way, the tooth that you are working will always be at the top of the bar.
  10. After this, you need to reverse the sides of the saw. Then, you should start filling those unfilled teeth on the opposite direction. Moreover, you should always be cautious about the length of each top of the cutter. You may need the use of calipers in measuring. This tool will guarantee that each tooth will do an even bite when the chainsaw is cutting.
  11. Moreover, you should inspect the clearance of the rakers (the depth gauge). This is the hook-shaped links that you can see in between the cutters.
  12. Start filling those rakers that seem to disrupt with the cutters. Specifically, these are those rakers that sit higher than the cutters. You will need a flat mill bastard file to accomplish this task.
  13. Lastly, saturate your chain with oil. Assess its tension as well. At this point, your chain is ready to cut once again!


Every owner of this tool should know how to sharpen a chainsaw. In this way, they can extend the lifespan of this machine, without always buying for replacements. Of course, this is not a wise move, considering that chains can be costly, too. Moreover, this skill is essential so that you can do quick remedies to accomplish important projects!