How to correctly sharpen a saw chain

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain at home

As you study the information on how to set up your chainsaw, be extremely careful, because improper settings are the first cause of rapid chain failure and abrasion of its teeth. The following are common causes of chain bluntness:

  • the use of oil that is of poor quality or does not meet the parameters specified in the manual;
  • Improper clearance setting between the lip and stop;
  • the lack of lubrication in the system;
  • Poor chain tension.

Also be careful when sawing old boards because there are nails in the boards that also dull the sharpness of the teeth. Unskilled handling, frequent contact with hard objects like stones, bricks, intensive use are also considered to be important factors of element wear.

How do you know when it is time to sharpen a chain?

If you have already studied the information on how to sharpen a chainsaw chain with your own hands, you need to know exactly the characteristics that indicate a gradual failure of the cutting elements. The main ones are:

correctly, sharpen, chain
  • you notice that you began to exert much more force when working;
  • finer sawdust appeared;
  • There appeared a noticeable vibration when working or braking;
  • The saw doesn’t cut cleanly, and has a lot of jaggy, sharp edges.

Information on how to sharpen a chainsaw chain should be known to everyone who does not wish to eliminate more serious device failures in the future. For example, a tight movement of the links puts additional stress on the engine, thereby stimulating rapid wear.

When to sharpen a chainsaw chain?

With any chainsaw, even the best quality tool, the chain loses its initial sharpness over time and needs to be sharpened. What are the signs you can tell when an electric or chainsaw chain is blunt and it’s time to sharpen it?

Here are the main signs that it is time to sharpen the chain:

  • the saw becomes unstable during operation, wrenches out of your hands and vibrates a lot;
  • a chainsaw or electric saw produces only small chips and does not produce coarse chips;
  • the sawing part binds in the material, it is impossible to make sawing qualitatively and quickly;
  • The chainsaw does not deepen into the wood by itself; to make a longitudinal cut, the tool has to be “sunk” into the material by hand, applying force and pressing the blade down;
  • it makes a curved cut while sawing;
  • the chain saw heats up quickly and strongly;
  • wear and tear on the chain is much faster;
  • fuel consumption increases.

If you have noted on your home tool several of the described signs, then it is time to sharpen the chain.

A genuine chainsaw chain can be sharpened several times and will retain all of its performance. sharpness of cut, quality of cut, speed of rotation on the bar.

some important tips to keep the chain on your chain saw from sharpening for longer:

  • do not use a new chain with an old sprocket or vice versa;
  • If you have already cut two chains while using the chainsaw, replace the sprocket with a new one;
  • The chain should be run-in before full operation of the chainsaw with a normal load (run-in immediately before sawing, 1 minute at low rpm and then 1 minute at medium rpm);
  • After a new chainsaw chain has cooled down, you should check the tension of the chain;
  • Always use chain saw chain lubricant, quality oil;
  • Keep the links in their normal tensioned position, because the chainsaw is often tilted in different directions while working, which increases the chance of the chain slipping off the bar;
  • check the position and alignment of the throttle stop and after the 3rd or 4th sharpening check the setting of the throttle stop.

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What are chainsaw chain teeth

One of the key characteristics that makes a chainsaw chain stand out is its complex geometry. Traditional cutters are usually in the shape of a triangle or highly elongated oval. The chainsaw teeth have a more complex configuration.

Each tooth is formed by two cutters, which are at right angles to each other. The first cutter looks like an ordinary tooth. Its main function is to make an incision in the wood.

After that, the other cutter is used, which has the shape of the letter G. It is not by chance that it is shaped like this, because it removes wood shavings and has a wide kerf, which prevents the chain from jamming.

That’s why the chainsaw chain is to a large extent responsible for how good and easy sawing work can be. This is a good reason to take a closer look at its construction.

After all, in the vast majority of cases, the saw tool begins to cut worse because the chain is already in a state where it can’t cope with the task at hand.

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Sharpening methods

If you need to sharpen the chain, you can use three ways:

Manual sharpening

You will need a hand tool. two files (one round, one flat) and a file holder. The size of the flat file does not matter. it is needed to work with the limiter. But the required diameter of a circular file for sharpening is directly proportional to the pitch of the chain. You can see the degree markings on the file holder. This will help you hold the round file and set the correct sharpening angle. To understand what angle is needed, you should use a measuring tool. You need to determine the inclination of the cutting edge in relation to the bar. This value can range from 25-35°. It is best to stay within these limits. The only exception is for longitudinal saws with a sharpening angle of 10° to 15°.

To sharpen the chain manually, follow these steps:

  • Clamp the tire in a vice.
  • Place the holder on the chain. The file must already be set in the file holder. Find the arrows on the tool bar and place them parallel to the bar.
  • Check the angle at which the chain is to be sharpened. The optimum range is 25 to 35 degrees. Some experts suggest reducing this corridor to 28-32°. If possible, try to work within these limits.
  • When sharpening, move in a forward direction. Take note of how many times you go over the surface of the first tooth, and sharpen each tooth the same amount.
  • The top edge of the file should protrude 1/5 of its diameter beyond the tooth boundary. Vertically, the angle of the file should be 90° to the chain. Horizontally, choose an angle depending on the chain.

It’s a good idea to sharpen the teeth that face one direction first, and then go to the second side. This will speed up the sharpening process and help bring the file movements to automatism. It is best to immediately determine the most worn tooth and use it as a guide when adjusting the others.

Using a file is a good method, but lack of experience can lead to sideways tendency. It will negatively affect the tool and the quality of work. To avoid this problem, special templates can be used.

Using the templates

Templates are devices, which are adjusted to certain parameters of a chain. They allow you to work with a specific degree of sharpening and inclination, ensuring a high degree of accuracy. A template is used for each tooth. It is moved along it with the help of rollers. The only thing to keep in mind is that each pattern is geared to a specific type of chain. If you use several different chains, you need a different fixture for each chain.

Patterns are very popular among people who work professionally with a chainsaw. They greatly reduce sharpening time and provide a good quality of sharpening. The templates are great for people without much chain sharpening experience and help keep the chain from getting damaged.

Sharpening on a machine

Using special equipment, the chain can be sharpened quickly and easily for maximum precision. Each chain sharpening machine is equipped with accurate measuring tools and scales. The downside of this method is that it is expensive. Not everyone can afford a sharpening machine at home. As a rule, the purchase of the machine for sharpening chainsaw chains can pay off only with frequent use or in the workshop.

Types and differences of chains

Among the characteristics by which chains for saw chains are distinguished, it is possible to distinguish two main characteristics:

chain pitch

If you look at the outside of the depth stop, you can see the pitch value there. It indicates the distance between the adjacent links. This value is always given in inches. The chain pitch will determine the choice of file for sharpening:

  • 3/8″. common size found on many gasoline and electric saws. To sharpen such a chain you need a file with a diameter of 4 mm. Chains with this pitch are mainly used for working with soft wood.
  • 0.325″. used in saws of domestic and professional class. An engine with at least 3.5 horsepower can handle such a saw. The diameter of the file for sharpening should be 4.8 mm.
  • 0,375″. Capable of handling thick logs. Such a chain must be sharpened with a file of 5.2 mm in diameter.
  • 0.404″. mounted only on high-powered professional grade gasoline or electric tools. A file diameter of at least 5.5 mm is recommended.

Tooth pitch

  • Low Profile. The teeth of such saws reach a height of 0.025″. Such chains are installed on low-powered saws or semi-professional class tools.
  • High Profile. The tooth height on such saws is 0.03″. Most of the time, it is a powerful tool for professional use.

Basic sharpening rules and procedures

Design and shape of the teeth

First of all, it is necessary to understand the structure of the chain tooth, which is to be sharpened. Tooth slices the wood like a planer. It has a complex configuration and an unusual cutting surface. two edges: one is lateral and the other is upper, slightly beveled. the toothing stop, the height of which varies, regulates the thickness of the chip. Of course, it is much more difficult to sharpen such teeth than, for example, a kitchen knife.

The chain saw tooth has a more complex shape than other sharp objects that must be sharpened

The correct chain saw chain sharpening angle should be set. It is clear that it is difficult to act with one file, so there are various auxiliary devices that help to adhere to the exact parameters of sharpening. Such kits are sold as part of chain saws as well as separately.

correctly, sharpen, chain

The diagram shows the angles of inclination that must be observed during sharpening

When sharpening, the tool must be positioned correctly. The round file is not selected by chance. it is the rounded shape of the inner tooth contour. The edge of the file must be 20% of its diameter above the cutting surface, and the choice of diameter is influenced by the pitch length of the chain (usually 4 mm to 5.5 mm). Observe the cutting sequence: first sharpen the cutting teeth and then the tooth stop.

Sharpening of cutting teeth

The question arises: how to sharpen the chain so that all the teeth are even and sharp? The work is facilitated by the use of a metal template that is placed on the chain. It must be set in a precise position. following the arrows with their ends pointing in the direction of the chain movement. The main pressure is applied to the leading edge, respecting the angle of inclination, which corresponds to the length of the chain pitch.

Try to have an equal number of strokes per tooth. The teeth are sharpened one at a time, one on the left side, the next one on the right side, and so on. For ease of operation, the bar is clamped in a vise, and then processed through the tooth on one side, then the same on the other.

When sharpening, you need to hold the device at a certain angle

Grinding the stopper

The work is regulated by the template, to the level of which the limiter tooth should be sharpened with a flat file instead of a round one. The jig position “S” is for soft wood, “H” for hard wood. Failure to use the template can result in an irregular, low cut, which can severely limit the effectiveness of the saw.

When machining the stop, the protruding part shown in the photo is ground

You can learn something useful here

Proper care of the saw. timely sharpening of teeth, cleaning, lubrication. prolongs the life of the tool and increases productivity.

Additional recommendations on how to sharpen a chainsaw chain with your own hands

Strictly observe all safety requirements while working. It is necessary to wear gloves of coarse material, so as not to injure hands, because the working surface of the teeth is very sharp.

If you have to dismantle the chain to sharpen it, do not use excessive force on the threaded fastener when reinstalling it. It is better to use an electric screwdriver calibrated to the dial to tighten the tire fastening screws.

Experts recommend a method of increasing the strength and wear resistance of chains, which is known as “stabilization of the internal structure of the metal”. To do that a new tire is heated in an oil bath for a week and a half or two weeks at 55-65ºC. Operation confirms the effectiveness of such a technology.

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain

Chainsaw chain sharpening is a procedure that gardeners and professional woodcutters regularly encounter. In this article, the master plumber will tell you how to restore the damaged teeth of the saw headset, and quickly return it to its previous working condition.

To understand how to sharpen a chain correctly, you need to understand the basic principles of chain design and operation. You can’t just sharpen a chain by eye, you need to know the basic characteristics of the chain and its components.

correctly, sharpen, chain

The chainsaw chain is made up of three kinds of links made of high-alloyed steel:

  • Cutting edges are the main chain elements. A distinction is made between right-hand and left-hand cutting, which are arranged alternately, with their cutting edges above the plane of the bar. Tooth design includes saw blade depth limiter.
  • Driven (shanks). are used for transmission of torque from gasoline motor to chain through the drive sprocket. This feature extends sprocket life and makes the chain more stable on the bar.
  • Connectors. connect the shanks and cutters of the chain.

One of the most important chain elements is the cutting tooth that cuts into the wood and removes chips. The tooth depth limiter determines the thickness of the wood chip and limits the depth of penetration into the wood.

Depending on the type of chain, the recommended settings relative to the limiter are 0.025″ (0.65 mm) or 0.030″ (0.75 mm).

A long service life of any chainsaw depends on proper care and use, including the chainsaw. Good performance of the latter affects the performance of the device and performance parameters. Improper sharpening can cause some problems with the saw itself. The most common ones are:

  • Curve cuts;
  • Heavy loads on the saw, resulting in increased wear and tear on the parts of the unit, and thus a reduction in the life of the entire unit;
  • Increased fuel consumption.

If the cut produces a fine, dusty chip and the saw plunges into the kerf with great force, you have a blunt target.

There are other signs of a dull chain:

  • The speed of the tool is reduced;
  • Uneven and sharp sawdust is produced;
  • It is necessary to put a lot of effort to cut wood;
  • The chain is loose or has become slack.

A chainsaw chain can quickly become dull for the following reasons:

  • If you work with the saw too often;
  • When the operator puts a lot of pressure on the saw while sawing;
  • If the chain is made of low-quality metal, or the steel has undergone an improper heat treatment;
  • When frequently sawing raw or resinous wood;
  • When sawing hardwood trees such as: oak, birch, cherry, acacia, elm, ash and others;
  • When the chain meets obstacles like sand or rocks in its path;
  • If the chain is not properly sharpened or has insufficient tension during operation.

The design of all chain saws is similar, so the algorithm for removing the chain will be the same:

  • You should first wear cotton gloves to prevent cuts by the cutting teeth.
  • To remove the protective cover from the working part of the chainsaw and put it on the side on a flat surface.
  • Use a socket wrench of the correct diameter to unscrew the fixing nuts that hold the housing and the tire, remove the upper cover of the housing.
  • Now you need to slide the bar all the way down to the sprocket, thereby relaxing the chain, and remove the working elements from the fastening bolts.
  • Detach chain from guide bar.

Design of the chainsaw

To better understand what a chainsaw is and how it works, it is desirable to know how it is designed.

By the way, it would be more correct to call the cutting tool of a chainsaw a saw chain.

The first chainsaw was born at the beginning of the twentieth century. The designers didn’t rack their brains, they just assembled cogs on the chain which quickly lost their operational capability. Their appearance resembled that of a hand held wood hacksaw. Sharpening a chainsaw this way was very difficult. But repeated attempts to develop the perfect saw chain did not succeed until 1947.

This chainsaw features g-shaped links. Modern chains are, in fact, the direct ancestors of this development.

If during work the cutting speed began to decrease, the chain saw in the hands of the master begins to “walk”, then most likely the saw chain has lost its operational properties, that is blunted, and it is necessary to take measures to restore them.

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Popular manufacturers of inexpensive chain sharpening machines: Dnipro, Einhell, Sadko, Vitals, Forte, Intertool, Eltos, Zenit, Grand, Stern, Temp.

Among the variety of models, every chainsaw or electric saw owner can choose the right tool for him. Below is the rating of the best inexpensive chain sharpening machines for chainsaws, these machines have received a lot of praise from owners. How much will this device cost? Machines in this category are priced in the low to medium range. There are many models in this price range that are excellent for sharpening chains for electric and gasoline-powered saws.

We offer you a short rating of chainsaw chain sharpening machines from the category of inexpensive:

  • Professional chain sharpening machine Scheppach Woodster CS 03, manufacturer Germany, 220 Volt, 180 W power, the maximum diameter of the grinding wheel 100 mm, the thickness of the wheel 3,2 mm, planting disc size of 10 mm, the weight of the machine 3 kg, 1 year warranty, price 1125 UAH.
  • household machine for sharpening the chain Dnipro-M NCM-550 (electric sharpener budget type), the manufacturer Ukraine, power of 550 W, the diameter of the grinding of 108 mm, the thickness of the circle 3,2 mm, the planting size of the circle of 23 mm, weight 2 kg, 3-year warranty, price of 740 UAH.
  • Professional sharpening machine Vitals Professional ZKA8511s, manufacturer Latvia, power 85 W, the diameter of the grinding of 104 mm, the thickness of the circle 3.2 mm, seating size grinding circle 22.2 mm, weight 2.6 kg, a guarantee of 1.5 years, price 1093 USD.
  • Machine for sharpening chains chains chains saw Oregon 106550, the power of the device 85W, made in the USA, the grinding disc diameter of 105 mm, planting disc size 22.3 mm, disc thickness 3-4,5 mm, weight 2 kg, the price of the unit 7100 USD. The most expensive of these machines, has received many good reviews, a popular model in Russia and Ukraine.
correctly, sharpen, chain

All models described are suitable for sharpening chains on electric saws and chainsaws. A small work space is required to accommodate the machine: a stable table and a power supply to connect the unit to the mains.

Machine for sharpening chainsaw chains Oregon. video with a review of the unit. The Oregon machine is suitable for sharpening chains such as 91VX; 91VPX with pitch.325″ and 3/8″; LPX with pitch.325″ and 3/8″; BPX with pitch 3/8″, LGX.

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Grinding as a business service. what it takes

To provide mass sharpening services, that is, the creation of a business in this area, requires a lot of equipment and conditions. Below are the basic materials, equipment and supplies that will be needed to create a mini-workshop:

  • A room, heated, with electricity, a place for the machine, a chair, shelving (minimum area of 2 sq. km.meter, mains voltage 220 volts);
  • machines with washers for different discs (electric grinder);
  • sharpening discs, including diamond discs;
  • grinding wheel;
  • mounts for tools such as skates, scissors, chain saws;
  • burr-head for hand sharpening;
  • hammers;
  • small tools (hacksaws, screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.).д);
  • vise;
  • spindle oil;
  • fixtures;
  • puncher;
  • Storage boxes, baskets, furniture.

Tips and tricks for sharpening at home

“Noticed that the chain boxes have different sharpening angles on them, for different chains have different. The factory angle, for example, more than 25 degrees, all write that not less than 35, but in order to saw well pine, I put the angle of 40 or 45 degrees. Some machines do not move the chain forward and backward, so next to the factory sharpening at all! The thickness of the grinding wheel is also selected individually, and the shape of its edge has to be checked constantly”.

“My opinion, as a craftsman, is that file sharpening is the best in the world. Machines are certainly a good thing, but take the expert advice, I’ve been working with chains for ten years at least. The machine will give you only 30 degrees horizontally and 45 degrees vertically, and the file up to 10 degrees horizontally. The file has the same verticality in degrees, but the shape of the cutting edge does not change, and the working blade becomes wider. No other file will do this! Second: the machine always overheats, which is bad for steel, but the file does not. Third: a file is gentle on teeth, if you use it, the chain will last about six sharpenings, two longer than after the machine.

The main disadvantage of working with a file, you need to practice! Practice and only practice”.