Sharpening Your Chainsaw Chain – Is It Worth It?

A chainsaw is only as good as its chain. A sharp chain cuts quickly and cleanly, while a dull one gets bogged down, produces messy cuts, and is more likely to kick back (which can be dangerous).

You need to keep your chainsaw’s chain sharp if you want it to work properly.

Not only is it safer to use a sharpened chainsaw chain, but it’s also more efficient. Plus, less wear and tear on your chainsaw means that it will last longer. It’s also important to know how to properly sharpen your chainsaw chain and when to replace it.

Why You Should Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain

There are a few good reasons to keep your chainsaw chain sharp.

First, a dull chain can be dangerous. If the saw isn’t cutting well, you may be tempted to apply more force, which can cause the saw to kick back and injure you.

Sharpening Your Chainsaw Chain - Is It Worth It?

Second, a sharp chain is more efficient and will make cutting through wood much easier. Dull chains make chainsaws work harder, in turn using more fuel and wearing out faster.

Third, sharpening your own saw will save you money in the long run. Getting your chainsaw professionally sharpened can be expensive, so it’s worth taking the time to learn how to do it yourself safely.

How often should you sharpen your chainsaw chain?

The general rule of thumb is that you should sharpen your chainsaw chain after every 5-10 hours of use. This can vary depending on the type of wood you’re cutting and how often you’re using the saw.

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If you’re a professional logger who cuts hardwood all day, then you’ll need to sharpen your chain more often than someone who only uses their saw for occasional weekend projects.

If you’re cutting softwood, you can probably get away with sharpening less frequently. The best way to tell if your chain needs to be sharpened is to look at the width of the kerf (the cut made by the saw). If the kerf is wider than usual, it’s time to sharpen the chain.

Alternatively, you’ll also know it’s time to sharpen the chain when it starts taking longer to make cuts or the cuts themselves become less precise and clean. Another thing to look out for is if your chainsaw produces a lot of dust instead of chips when cutting, that’s another sign that the chain is dull and needs to be sharpened.

One final thing to consider is the condition of your chainsaw’s bar, which can also affect the sharpness of the chain. A worn bar can cause a chain to dull faster, so it’s important to check for any wear and tear on the bar regularly.

Pros of sharpening your chainsaw chain

Some of the benefits of sharpening your chainsaw chain regularly include;

  • You can buy a set of files for a few dollars rather than spending money on an entirely new chain.
  • A few minutes of filing can make a big difference in how your chainsaw performs.
  • Sharpening your chain helps extend the life of your chain.
  • Chainsaw sharpeners are typically easier to use than other sharpening tools.
  • It takes less time to sharpen your chainsaw chain than it does to replace them.
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Cons of sharpening your chainsaw chain

Despite the benefits of sharpening your chainsaw chain regularly, there are also some potential downsides to consider.

  • It can take time to safely learn the technique and get good at sharpening your chainsaw chain.
  • Depending on the condition of your chain, you may need to spend more time sharpening it than you would if you bought a new chain.
  • If you are not careful when sharpening your chainsaw chain, it can be easy to damage the edges and make the chain less effective.
  • Some chainsaw sharpeners may not be appropriate for your type of chainsaw, so it is important to do your research before investing in one.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

Sharpening a chainsaw chain is not difficult, but it does require some special equipment. You’ll need a file guide, a flat file, and a round file. You can buy all of these items at your local hardware store.

Once you have them, follow these steps:

  1. Inspect the chain for damage. If any of the teeth are bent or broken, replace them before you continue.
  2. Place the file guide on the side of the bar with the tooth facing up. The guide should be positioned so that the file lines up with the bottom part of the tooth.
  3. Gently stroke the file over each tooth, using long strokes and light pressure until the tooth is lined up with the guide.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until all of the teeth have been sharpened.
  5. Turn over the guide, and repeat this step for the other side of the bar.
  6. Finally, check the depth of each tooth with a ruler to make sure it is even and aligned with the guide.
  7. Put the saw back together and test it on some spare wood before using it for your main project.
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Final Thoughts

It is definitely worth sharpening a chainsaw chain regularly. Not only is it safer, but it will also save time and money in the long run.

Checking and sharpening your chainsaw regularly will help it last longer by reducing vibration and wear and tear, while also improving its performance and making it easier to use.

Your chainsaw manual will likely provide detailed instructions for sharpening the chain, and there are also many online tutorials that can help you get started.