How to Sharpen a Chainsaw with a File Guide

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A chainsaw is a very handy tool that is used to cut through trees and wood in general. A chainsaw’s ability to cut wood depends on the sharp, opposing cutters spaced along its chain. A sharpen chainsaw can make wood cutting tasks very efficient, and the process is very safe if it is done correctly. However, if the teeth of the chainsaw chain become dull, the saw will not cut properly or efficiency and could become dangerous as the chainsaw might kick back towards the operator. So if you notice that you are giving too much pressure when trying to cut through wood with a chainsaw that is when you realize that it’s probably time to sharpen it.

There are quite a few different ways available to sharpen a chainsaw at home; some of them slightly safer than the other. Using file guides is a very easy and safe way to do this. Moreover, it is a cheaper alternative to various other methods. What you need to do is follow a few easy steps to learn how to sharpen a chainsaw with a file guide!

Tools Needed to Sharpen a Chainsaw

Every chainsaw manufacturers company offer exclusive sharpening tools that are specific to their brands, but most chains can be just as easily sharpened using the following generic chainsaw sharpening tools:

  • A round file sized to match the pitch of the chain. For both 1/4 and 3/8 inch. low-profile chains, use a 5/32 inch. file. For a 0.325 inch. chain, use a 3/16 inch. file. For both 3/8 and 0.404 inch. chains, use a 7/32 inch. file.
  • A 6 inch. flat file
  • A file guide
  • A depth-gauge filing guide
  • A pair of heavy gloves

5 Step to Sharpen a Chainsaw with a File Guide

Sharping a chainsaw with a file guide is a very easy process if it is done properly. Here is a step by step guide on how to sharpen a chainsaw with a file guide.

Step 1: Setting Up The File

The first step of sharpening your chainsaw is setting up the file properly. It is recommended that you secure the bar of your chainsaw to the surface where you are working. This will keep the chainsaw firm enough and keep it away from making any unwanted movements when sharpening it. This will make it an easier task when sharpening the chainsaw.

In case you do not have a clamp to lock up your chainsaw on the surface where you will be working from, remove the chain, and firmly fix it on your vise. Depending on your work surface, you may opt for securing your chainsaw upside down or in an upright position. Go for whatever way that works best for you. You can also do it without the clamp if you can’t get one, but you have to make sure that your chainsaw is stable when sharpening it.

Step 2: Adjust the Chain

Secondly, you will need to find the tension adjusting the screw to make the chain close-fitting enough. In most cases, it is generally placed in a perpendicular angle to the chain’s direction. Make sure you tighten the chain using a screwdriver. You can do it by making the tension screw tight enough. While tightening your chain, keep in mind that the chain needs to move around the saw easily. So adjust the chain very carefully.

Tightening the chain ensures that it doesn’t unnecessarily move during the process of sharpening. It is important to note that the tension adjustment screw can be in different positions in different chainsaws. Find the user manual, and it will help you locate the tension adjustment screw.

Step 3: Mark the First Tooth

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The third step of sharpening your chainsaw is identifying the tooth you intend to sharpen. You can mark the tooth with a permanent marker pen. This will make it easy for you to remember where you started sharpening your chainsaw from. Moreover, it will prevent you from sharpening the same tooth twice.

Don’t worry about the mark being too visible later on since with time; it will fade away as you continue to use your chainsaw. Different chainsaws have different methods of marking the tooth that will be sharpened first. Although marking the first tooth can be one difficult task while trying to locate it. However, if you are not putting marks on your chainsaw, you can take note of a unique part of the chainsaw and start sharpening it from there.

Step 4: Set the File in the Notch

Next, you will need to correctly set your file in the notch on the front part of the cutter. There is an angled tooth at the front of the flat surface of the chain link. The tip of the file should be in the notch on the marked tooth so about 20% of the diameter of the file above the upper part of this marked tooth.

Now, you will need to use a file holder to secure your file at the same place that the cutter had been secured. You must place the file holder in an angle that is well suited for your chainsaw and make sure that it is in the same line with the chain when filing.

Step 5: Sharpen the Cutters

When sharpening the cutters, make sure that the file is in a position that it is level and flat on top of the chain. Now move the file towards the cutter lightly enough for you to feel the file grating against the cutter. Once you are done with filling the cutter, you can now lift the file.

Try not to pull the file backward to the cutter since it may destroy both the file and the cutter. Make sure you have filed the cutter about three to ten times until you notice that the chain has acquired a silvery shine. Check and see if the chain has sharpened or not. The best practice is to keep a record of the number of times you sharpened the first cutter. It will help you sharpen the cutters consistently and let you sharpen the rest of the cutters in the same number of times you sharpened the first cutter.

Bottom Line

Sharpening the chainsaw will increase the lifespan of it. Moreover, it will also make your work easier since you will not have to put so much pressure on the chainsaw when using it. Thus it will save both your time and money.

Feel free to share your opinion regarding this article. If you have any query regarding chainsaw, then mention your question in the comment section. We will reply as soon as possible.

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