Chainsaw Sharpening Tips
Do’s and don’ts for best chainsaw performance
Nothing makes a cleaner cut than a newly and properly sharpened chainsaw.
So whether you’re just starting your felling, limbing, bucking, and brushing or you’re wrapping tasks up for the season, follow these expert tips to preserve your machine’s lifespan and keep you safe in the process.
To avoid an injury during the sharpening process, get your workspace in shape.
Scan the area around your work station, whether that’s in your garage or out in the field. Clear any debris off the surface and floor to eliminate potential tripping hazards.
Do Stabilize Your Chainsaw
- Place your chainsaw in a mounted vice on your benchtop while sharpening the cutters
- If you’re in the woods, consider mounting a vice to your truck’s tailgate
Don’t Forget Protective Gear
- Put on heavy-duty leather work gloves before you start
- Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from metal shavings and debris
Do Use the Correct File
- Use a round file to sharpen cutters (check you owner’s manual for the correct file diameter)
Don’t File in Multiple Directions
- File from the inside edge of the cutter, toward the outside edge
- Stand on the opposite side of the cutters you’re sharpening (i.e., stand on the left side of the chainsaw to sharpen the right cutters)
Do use a Chainsaw Sharpening Guide
- Use the pre-marked lines in the sharpening guide to achieve the right angel (check your owner’s manual for the correct angle)
Don’t Overlook the Cutting Corners
- Sharpen cutting corners (where the sharp top and side plates intersect) by carefully pushing the file along the factory angle
- Use the same number of strokes and equal pressure for each cutter
Do Mind the Gauges
- Depth gauges should be filed as the cutters become worn down
- To file, use a flat file and depth gauge guide and file straight across
Don’t Wait for Dust to Build Up
- Sharped your chainsaw every second or third time you fill it with fuel
Do Bring Your File Along
- Long days of chainsaw use will go faster if you sharpen throughout the day