If you’re a chainsaw user, then you know that one of the most important parts of maintaining your saw is keeping the chain sharp. A dull chain not only makes cutting more difficult, but it can also be dangerous.
So how do you keep your chain sharp? The answer is filing. But what kind of file should you use, and how do you file the chain correctly?
The Different Types of Files – Square File vs Round File Chainsaw
There are three different types of files that can be used on chainsaw chains: round, flat, and square chainsaw files.
Round files help to remove any material build-up on the teeth, so they are tapered and sharpened evenly. You will need to use your round file specifically for the top plate and side plates of cutting teeth.
You would use a flat file to sharpen both the top and bottom plateau of the tooth, as well as depth gauges. It is important that you use a flat file to also sharpen depth gauges so they maintain their shape.
To sharpen the depth gauge and other miniature parts of the chain, people most commonly use a square file. Although it might sound like an easy task, square-ground filing is more complicated than round filing and demands special techniques.
So which file is best for maintaining your chainsaw? Ultimately, it depends on what kind of saw you use and how much time and effort you want to put into sharpening your chain.
It’s important to note that you should never use a file that is too large for your particular chain, as this can damage both the chain and the bar.
In the same way, you should never use a rotary tool like a Dremel to sharpen your chain – files are specifically designed for this purpose and will do a better job.
Choosing the Right File Size – How to File Your Chainsaw Chain Correctly
In order to choose the right file size for your chainsaw chain, you need to know what size your chain is. This can be easily determined by reading the size of your chain on the inside of one link.
Chain sizes are usually stamped onto the side of the cutter links and are expressed in inches. The most common sizes are 3/16″, 4/16″, and 5/16″. Once you’ve determined the size of your chain, you’ll need to select a file that matches. For example, a 4/16″ chain would require a 4/16″ file.
When using a round chainsaw file, keep in mind that you should never file the side plates, as this can damage the chain. Instead, you should only use round files to touch up the top plate of your cutting teeth and remove any material build-up on them.
The length of the file is also important to pay attention to. For most chainsaw chains, a file that is 5-1/4 inches long will work well for removing material from cutting teeth and depth gauges.
If you are using a square file, it’s important that you use it correctly so that you don’t damage your chain or your bar. One easy way to do this is by holding the file with a tension wrench and applying pressure against one of the top plates as you draw it across the tooth in a back-and-forth motion.
The key to successfully filing your chainsaw chain is using the right type of file for each different part of the chain, and knowing how to apply the right amount of pressure in order to avoid damaging your tool. Whether you choose a round file, a flat file, or a square one, make sure that you always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to sharpening your chainsaw chain.
How to sharpen a chainsaw chain with a file
If you want to keep your chainsaw in prime condition, then it’s important that you regularly sharpen the chain using a file. Luckily, sharpening a chainsaw chain with a file is fairly simple, as long as you know what you’re doing.
To sharpen your chainsaw chain with a file, you’ll need the following tools;
- Chainsaw file
- Chainsaw bar clamp or vise
- Protective gloves
- Rags or old towels
- Start by putting on your protective gloves. This is important because the files used to sharpen chainsaws are very sharp and can cause serious injury if not handled properly.
- Next, use the chainsaw bar clamp or vise to secure the chainsaw in place. You want the saw to be securely fastened so that it doesn’t move around while you’re working on it.
- Once the saw is secured, take your chainsaw file and insert it into the guide hole on the side of the chainsaw bar. If your saw doesn’t have a guide hole, you can use a flat file instead. Just make sure that the teeth on the file are facing the same direction as the teeth on the saw blade.
- Now it’s time to start filing. Begin by holding the file at a 45-degree angle to the tooth and then push it forward along the length of the tooth. Be sure to apply even pressure throughout the stroke. Repeat this process for all of the teeth on both sides of the blade until they are all sharpened.
- When you’re finished filing, remove the file from the guide hole (or unclamp the saw from the vise) and wipe away any metal filings from both the saw blade and bar with a rag or old towel. And that’s it! Your saw is now ready for action.
A sharp chainsaw is a safe chainsaw, so it’s important to keep your chain in good condition by regularly sharpening it with a file.
It’s important to note that you should never use a file that is larger than the size of your chain as this can damage both the cutter links and the saw itself. Conversely, using a smaller file than what is recommended can make it difficult to achieve a proper edge and will cause premature wear on the file itself.
With just a few simple tools and some elbow grease, you’ll be able to quickly and easily sharpen your chainsaw chain and keep it in top working condition.