These Chainsaw Sharpening Tricks Revealed All Secrets

Why does my chainsaw chain get dull so fast? Like a carbide cutter, the prolonged cutting of wood, sometimes knots or rocks will result in a blunt saw blade/ chain. With a dull saw chain, even the largest, most powerful chainsaw won’t cut. You should sharpen your chainsaw blade regularly. So how will you know that your chainsaw needs to get sharp? A dull chainsaw can bind, kickback, or sling the chain off of the cutting bar.

Chainsaw Sharpening Tricks

Chainsaw maintenance is a good safety practice and it is important to know how to sharpen your chainsaw. How do you get a super sharp chainsaw? Regular sharpening, mostly by filing, keeps your chainsaw sharp.

Ultimate Secret Tips to Sharpen a Chainsaw

I heard a friend who is a wood dealer ask, how do I sharpen my chainsaw like a pro? As the professional was explaining to him how to do it, he was doing it so effortlessly without an electric sharpener and I couldn’t help but ask, how do you sharpen a chainsaw chain by hand? Well below is the procedure to sharpen a chainsaw using a flat file. It is one of the most efficient methods you can use to sharpen the dull blade on your chainsaw. It also allows for the recommended filing angle. So what angle do you sharpen a chainsaw? The common filing angles are 30 and 35 degrees.

Chainsaw Chain Sharpening Position

What You Will Need

Step 1: Prepare the Chainsaw for Sharpening

To ensure that indeed your saw has a dull blade that needs immediate sharpening, you should check the waste coming out from the saw cuts. Having dust waste is an indicator of the saw’s dullness, while chips ensure that the saw is still sharp. Prepare the chainsaw for sharpening by turning it off and then setting the chain brake. With an electrical model, you can unplug it or remove the battery.

Use a piece of cloth to clean grease and oil off the chainsaw bar. Then use a screwdriver to tension the chain to a conventional working chain tension, ensuring the chain is advanced along with your fingers. Place the saw on flat ground and lose the brake.

Tip– To prevent the saw from tipping, you should maintain the bar during a vise. When working outdoors, the best way to support the saw is to gut a groove during a stump vise
and let the bar rest within the groove.

Step 2: Marking the Cutters

Mark the first Cutter using a felt tip marker to color the first cutter you sharpen. This helps to help prevent losing track of the cutters and file a variety of them twice as you advance the chain.

Step-3: File Positioning

How do you sharpen a chainsaw like a pro? Sharpen all of the cutters beveled in a similar direction. Set the flat file into the manual and set the manual guide against the bar. The file expands through the curved portion of the cutter at the perfect angle. Draw the file a pair of times all the way, from one end to the alternative, to hone the sting. Count the number of strokes and use the same number on each cutter as you advance the chain.

Chainsaw Sharpening with File

Step-4: Sharpening Direction

Sharpen the cutters beveled in the opposing direction. Turn the saw approximately or readjust your own posture to face the bar from the opposing aspect. Bevel all the cutters facing in the opposite way.

Step-5: Finishing Up

File down the depth gauges if they protrude above the cutters, using a file and depth gauge filing guide. The guide bar is supposed to straddle the chainsaw chain and permit the fin-shaped gauge to remain through a squeeze in the middle. Use an identical number of strokes (3-5) on each fin. Adjust the chainsaw chain so that a cutter is positioned within the center of the slot, then slide the file into position and rotate the file using the attached handle. After turning a tough and fast number of times, retract the file and advance the chain to file subsequent cutter.

Advance Chainsaw Sharpening Tips

What is the best angle to sharpen chainsaw chains? Here are a few tips to make you a professional in a short time;

  • Know your saw chain’s features. A raker can kick back anytime causing injuries. It can catch in the material and push the saw bar up towards you.
  • Avoid using a standard rattail file as a chainsaw sharpener. This is because it has rough teeth and a tapered diameter that can damage the cutters of your chain.
  • Sharpen the chain saw at home if it’s dulled only by regular use. You may not be able to sharpen a chain saw that accidentally contacts rocks or other objects and the cutters are badly damaged. You will need the help of a professional.
  • Beware of vibration in the first few strokes when sharpening a dull cutter.
  • Give each cutter five or six steady strokes until the cutter shines. A burr feeling along the outer edge indicates that the cutter is sharp now. Count how many strokes it needed and give the same number of strokes on the next cutters.
  • You must wear gloves for safety when you advance the saw chain.
  • It is okay to sharpen the cutters about ten times but after that, you have to replace the chain. You can check a few signs about when you should change your old chain.

Do’s and Don’ts of Chainsaw Sharpening

What Things You Keep in Mind While Sharpening Chainsaw Chain

Study the Saw Chain

You should understand the different parts of the saw chain by studying the detailed diagrams in your owner’s manual. This also applies to the sharpening process. Each cutter has two sharp areas; on the edge of the top plate and on an outside plate where it intersects the top plate. In the middle of the cutter is a notch, known as a gullet, and on the other end is a hook-like protrusion, called a raker. The raker is a depth gauge that determines how much of a bite the cutters take out of the wood when the saw is operating. Sharpening a chainsaw’s cutters and filing the depth gauges allows for the best cutting results.

Stabilize the Chainsaw

Make sure the chainsaw is steady on a mounted tree stump vice while honing the cutters. You can use a tailgate-mounted vice to stabilize the saw if you will be working all day. It allows you to sharpen on-site with ease.

Use the Correct File Diameter

Not all chainsaws are equal so always use the right type and size of the file to sharpen your chainsaw (for a Stihl chainsaw owner there is a chart of the Stihl chainsaw file). This helps to protect your chainsaw teeth from damage and also ensures your safety. For example, a  round file is commonly used to sharpen saw chain cutters, and the standard diameter of most files used for this purpose range from 4mm to 6mm.

File in One Direction

To get the sharpest cutting edge, file from the inside edge of the cutter, toward the outside edge. Sawchains have both right and left cutters, alternating from one side of the saw chain to the other. To file the individual cutters, position yourself on one side of the saw bar and file the cutters on the opposite side of the saw chain.

Use a Chainsaw Sharpening Guide

If you are not a professional in filing the factory cutter angles, use a sharpening guide. These tools feature a bracket on the bottom that holds a round file. There are handheld models and others that clamp securely on the chain bar. They come with pre-marked lines that allow you to align the file at the correct sharpening angle. We already have mentioned that the best angle to sharpen chainsaw chains is usually around 30 or 35 degrees.

What You shouldn’t do When Sharpening a Chain

Forget Protective Wear

The saw chain has sharp cutters that can scratch or cut your bare skin. It is therefore good to put on heavy-duty work gloves, preferably leather, to prevent this. You should also have Google for eye protection.

Pull the File–Push It

A round file sharpens in one direction only, on the stroke away from you. To sharpen the cutting corner, hold the file horizontally and follow the factory angle of the cutting corner as you lightly but firmly push the file. Lift the file up to return to the starting position and push it again. Use the same number of filing strokes, and the same degree of pressure, to file every cutter. As Sthil chainsaw suits 2 in 1 Chainsaw sharpeners so, different chainsaws require different file sizes and shapes, and we have to be careful about that.

Forget the Depth Gauges

Although not as frequently as the cutter, the depth gauges also require filing. You can file freehand, straight across, with a flat file, or purchase a depth gauge guide that fits between the cutters and features an opening that lets you file the top of the depth gauges.


Having a chainsaw with a blunt cutting tooth is like using a knife with no sharp edge. It is hard to use and will consume more of your time and cutting energy. A blunt cutter tooth could also result in accidents. To avoid all this, it is good to sharpen your saw chain every time it gets blunt.

Leave a Comment