How To Sharpen A Chain Saw How To Sharpen A Chain Saw

Sharpen your chain saw to restore it to that cutting efficiency it had when you first bought the machine. There are several indications that a chain needs sharpening:

  • It no longer self-feeds, so you need to push it through the wood
  • The chain cut dispels dust instead of full wood chips
  • The chain appears shiny, having lost the chrome coating that covers the steel.

For this project, you need a sharpening guide plate as well as several metal files to match the sharpening needs.

Step 1 – Prepare Work Area

If possible, sharpen the chain indoors where you have a workbench. This will eliminate any distractions or elements that could make the sharpening chore unsuccessful or dangerous.

Step 2 – Choose the Correct File

If you hold the chainsaw in the proper way, the correctly selected round file will sharpen the 3 separate angles on the chainsaw cutter. You need to match the right-sized file with the chain size and style. Generally, a 3/8-inch or a ¼-inch pitch calls for round file that is 5/32 of an inch. Use a 3/16-inch file on chains with a .325 pitch. Consult with the owner’s manual for the proper sized file to correctly sharpen the chain on your saw.

Step 3 – Angle Consideration

The angle in which you file the chain cutters is not as important as making sure to remove the damaged metal. Each cutter looks like the number “7.” The 3 angles to file are the top plate which has a 30- to 35-degree angle. Just beneath the top plate is the cutting angle which is set like a chisel at 60 degrees. The third is the side plate that should be typically set at an 85-degree angle.

Step 4 – Secure the4 Chain Saw

Using a secured workbench clamp, place the chain saw so it is secure and can not move.

Step 4 – Place the Guide

Place the sharpening guide on top of the cutter aligning it along the sharpening guide lines.

Step 5 – Use the File

Holding the file in both hands, file from the inside of the cutter to the outside apply a slight bit of pressure letting up on the return stroke. The file will only cut going in the forward motion. The file guide is working properly if no more than 20 percent of the file is above the plate.

File all cutters on one side of the chain first—either all the right- or left-hand cutters. Once one whole  side is filed, file the other. File every cutter until you have removed all of the damage.

Always sharpen both ride- and left-side cutters evenly or the chain will pull to one side when cutting.

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