How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Blade For Optimal Performance

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Blade

A chainsaw makes your cutting work faster and easier. However, it is time to sharpen its blade when you feel you can’t cut as quickly as before. A dull or rough chainsaw can make work tiresome and lengthy. Sharpening a chainsaw blade can be a mystery for uninitiated amateurs, but it is not unjustly hard.

If you know how a chainsaw works and cuts, then you know how to sharpen it and can make an old, ragged chain cut smoothly. You can sharpen the chainsaw with a file, electric sharpener, or hand. All methods work well if you know how to do them.

The Truth Behind Chainsaws Invention

Before proceeding, it is interesting to know the fact: why were chainsaws invented? It could be scary and interesting for someone who doesn’t know about this. The first chainsaw was invented for use in childbirth. It was tiny in size and operated manually. With time, it has modernized and is now used widely for cutting wood.

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How Would You Know Your Chainsaw Needs to Sharpen

How Would You Know Your Chainsaw Needs to Sharpen

With regular use, the chainsaw needs sharpening. Some of the signs indicating that your chainsaw needs to be sharpened are:

  • When your saw produces dust while cutting.
  • When you see smoke coming out on cutting anything instead of chain tensioning and lubrication.
  • It bounces and chatters while cutting, making it too hard to hold and maintain the chainsaw position.
  • When a chainsaw cut becomes crooked instead of straight, the chainsaw is pulled in one direction because the teeth on one side are uneven or ragged.

Things to do Before Sharpening Chainsaw Blade

Things to do Before Sharpening Chainsaw Blade

Before starting the chainsaw sharpening, do these things for your convenience and safety:

  • Before starting working on your chainsaw, make sure the power is off. Remove the battery or disconnect the power if it’s an electrical saw.
  • Now, figure out which file size is suitable for your chainsaw. Files come in three sizes. To check out file size, check out the instruction manual.
  • To prevent injury, wear heavy-duty gloves on your hands before sharpening the chainsaw.
  • When you are sharpening the chain, it won’t be so loose. So, tighten it before sharpening.
  • The next step is to secure the saw bar in vice.
  • Clean the saw and remove dust before sharpening with a wire brush.
  • Now, before starting, mark your starting point with a marker or crayon. This will prevent the blades from oversharpening.

How to Sharpen Chainsaw With a File Guide?

Sharpen Chainsaw With a File

Things you need: A file handle, and a guide to sharpening a chainsaw.

Set the chainsaw on a vice or clamp fitted on a log or your work table. A chainsaw has two types of teeth in opposite directions. Start sharpening the chainsaw with one-direction teeth, for starting the sharpening of the chainsaw with the advanced tool file guide. Hold the file guide 90 degrees to the flat side of the bar. The teeth are filed from inside to outside at a 30-degree angle.

You will hit every other tooth in this direction. After sharpening a couple of teeth, rotate the chain forward. Continue sharpening the teeth and turning the chain until you reach the beginning point. After filing the one side, it’s time to switch to the other. Now, file the opposite side teeth with the inside-out direction with the file guide.

The file only cuts in one direction, the push stroke. Do not apply pressure on the push stroke. In the last, sharpen the depth gauge. The depth gauge determines the depth of the cut that the chainsaw makes on cutting wood.

Set the depth gauge tool on the chain, revealing one of the depth gauges. If the depth gauge shows above the tool, it must be flattened with the provided flat file. Depth gauges should also be filed from the inside-out direction. File all the depth gauges by turning around the chainsaw.

How to File a Chainsaw Blade With an Electric Sharpener?

How to File a Chainsaw Blade With an Electric Sharpener

Things you need: You need just an electric sharpener for this method.

An electric sharpener also works quickly and easily to sharpen a chainsaw blade. First, mount the sharpener on a surface to perform smoothly. Hold the chain in the electric sharpener’s chain holder for sharpening. You need to sharpen one direction of teeth and start the process by marking your beginning point.

Let’s talk about how the electric sharpener works. The grinding wheel above spins around and gives the shape we want to the teeth by sharpening. It chops down and grinds the edge of the tooth with a 30-degree position. So, set the chain holder at a 30-degree to point the upper teeth in this direction.

You can adjust the chain according to the grinding wheel with the chain adjustment nob. When you have set the chain in the chain holder, mark the tooth where you start sharpening a chainsaw. Pull down the grinding wheel and place it on the blade’s edge that needs to be sharpened. Now, one by one, sharpen the blades.

After sharpening the teeth in one direction, loosen the tightening nob and set the opposite direction at 30 degrees. Now, sharpen the teeth one by one in this direction. It will take almost 2-3 minutes, and you will be all done.

How to Sharpen Chainsaw Blade by Hand?

Sharpen Chainsaw Blade by Hand

You just need a file for this type of sharpening. The best and oldest way to sharpen a chainsaw blade is with a hand file. It is easy, and if you are a professional, you may need to sharpen a chainsaw often.

Most chainsaws have a mark on the tooth showing the angle at which you will hold your file for sharpening the chainsaw.

Hold the file at that angle and start sharpening the teeth one by one at this angle. Then, follow this method on the other angle teeth one by one. If you have a mark on the chainsaw, you just follow the mark and need 4 to 5 strokes on the teeth.

Now loosen the vise and take the chainsaw out. Your chainsaw is sharpened and ready to use.


A chainsaw is a handy tool for home owners. But sometimes it could not work like before because it needs to be sharpened. In this guide, we have provided you with the best and most convenient ways to sharpen a chainsaw. Now it is up to you which method you like and which suits you best.

FAQs About Sharpening the Chainsaw Blade

Q1: How many Strokes Does it Take to Sharpen the Chainsaw Blade?

Usually, it will take 4-5 strokes to sharpen the blade of the chainsaw. But if your chainsaw is too old and ragged, it will take 12-13 strokes to sharpen.

Q2: Why Does My Chainsaw Dull so Fast?

The chainsaw gets dull quickly if it comes into contact with rocks, sand, dirt, and nails while cutting. So, if you want to keep your chainsaw for a long time, try avoiding all these things in contact with the blade while cutting.

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Talha is a well-versed writer and an automotive aficionado. He has a passion for anthropology and you can find him traveling far and wide observing life as it happens.


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