How to sharpen a chain on a chainsaw at home

There are a number of factors that will tell you when it’s time to sharpen your chainsaw chain:

  • Reduced productivity. The cutting time increases.
  • Unnecessary strain on the saw is felt.
  • Increased vibrations.
  • Small chips.

It is difficult for beginners to notice the first 3 points, so it is recommended to watch what chips fly out of the cut.

Small chips generated during the sawing process, especially brown ones, are a sure sign of bluntness.

Using special machines

For those who are not just interested in the question of how to properly sharpen the chain of a chainsaw, but also do it regularly, and just tired of working with a file, you should pay attention to the universal sharpening power tools. These are devices with preset settings, properly using which you position the chain at the required angle, with maximum accuracy and accurately bring the sharpening disc to each tooth.

There are also units equipped with automatic vise, which are activated when the blade is close to the cutting edge. Models differ in a variety of additional functions and prices, so you can always choose the acceptable for yourself.

How to see if your chain is blunt?

There are several signs by which you can understand that the chain at this time is not suitable for work:

  • Having to exert more physical effort for the same action.
  • Stretching of the chain.
  • Vibration when working with the tool.
  • Unevenness of the sawdust, which in addition becomes more like dust.

There are also a number of reasons why a chain can become dull:

  • Improper handling.
  • Coming into contact with too hard objects, e. g. stones.
  • Working too hard and for too long.

How to choose the right chain angle for cutting lengthwise and crosscutting depending on the material

The need to sharpen the chainsaw chain is a must for chainsaws with daily use, e.g. in forestry work, as well as for occasional use in gardens and homesteads. Like any process associated with technology, sharpening a chain has a number of nuances, such as the sharpening angle, it is mandatory to take it into account and pick up a certain value for a particular job.

The main file used for sharpening a saw’s working tooth is a round one. The flat one is used for adjusting the height of the tooth of the depth of cut limiter.

A round file

Circular files vary in diameter. The main diameters are:

Depending on the size of the tooth, the optimum diameter must be selected. To make the process easier you can use special file holders or support rollers that indicate the sharpening angle of the tooth.

Flat file

The flat one should not be more than 1 cm wide. It is convenient to sharpen the tooth-limiter with a special bar (file gauge), which is mounted on the chain and shows to what maximum depth you need to grind the tooth, to achieve optimum performance of the chainsaw.

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Holder for a file

A circular file is inserted into a file holder and fixed with special clamps. On the plane of the holder, there are several markings indicating the specific sharpening angle. When dressing a chain with a file and a holder, the markings on the device are parallel to the guide bar of the chain saw, which helps to maintain the required angle precisely enough.

Using a holder all the time is rather inconvenient. You can use this fixture from time to time to check the right angle.

filing gauges

These tools are used to control the angle of sharpening the teeth, as well as the distance to the depth stop in conjunction with a flat file.

Sharpening attachment

Chainsaw equipment manufacturers, make special guiding machines to fit a file and sharpen. The bar-mounted fixture is attached to the chain saw bar and can be adjusted in height and angle to the chain. Such devices are ideal for those who are just learning to sharpen a STIHL chain saw chain with their own hands.

Clamping clamp

This device is used to hold the chain saw bar during sharpening. To use it correctly, the process must take place on the place where the sawing is done. The jig is hammered into the wood or board, then the bar is clamped in it and securely fixed against displacement. The attachment can be used for all types of tires, regardless of size.

in some cases, for example in garage conditions, instead of a clamp it is possible to use an ordinary vice and clamp the guide bar in such a way that the jaws of the vice don’t interfere with free movement of the chain. Next, sharpening is performed according to the usual scenario.

Specifics of chainsaw teeth

Saw teeth have their own specifics, so in order to understand which part of the teeth should be sharpened, it is necessary to know how the process of wood sawing is arranged. In essence, the process can be compared to a planer.

The cutting link of the teeth is arranged as follows:

During the manual sharpening procedure, it is necessary to control such parameters as the sharpening angle and the height of the limiter. These parameters must remain close to those declared by the manufacturer. Correct sharpening ensures that the tool works at the right level.

It is not recommended to mill the links too much or change their order. Correct positioning is essential for proper operation of the tool, otherwise there is a risk of stress on the body and motor of the appliance. There is a chance of tearing the links and a guarantee of a crooked cut.

The main thing to pay attention to when performing the process at home and with your own hands is the following: the higher the value of the angle, the stronger the performance of the saw. This is why the saw should be operated at an acute angle of between 25 and 35 degrees. Exceptions include when it is necessary to make a longitudinal cut, then the angle is 10 degrees.

sharpen, chain, chainsaw, home

Characteristics of chain teeth

The chain teeth have several important parameters. These parameters include:

  • The structure of the cutting link (consisting of the base attached to the chain, the blade of the tooth with two cutting edges, the depth limiter, which controls how deep the blade plunges into the wood, the end blade and the upper blade), the cutting action is not the chain itself, but the links, that is, the teeth. They move on the chain, like a base, over the wood, and the link cuts through the wood;
  • the angle of the end blade that allows the chain to cut through the wood (it is because of this angle that wood chips form when sawing).
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To perform a proper chain sharpening, the owner needs to know:

These two parameters determine how to properly sharpen the chain. The softer the chain metal on a chainsaw, the more carefully a file should be handled when sharpening. The top edge of the file during sharpening should be 90° in the vertical plane and 30° or 10° in the horizontal plane.

The following video is from a chainsaw owner on how to sharpen a chainsaw chain with your own hands

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw by hand with a file

Front angles can vary from 60° to 85° on different types of chains. the greater the angle of the upper blade the more it is angled backwards, on average 50° to 60°. For the cutting process, the value (degree) of the back angle of the upper blade is the most important, and the upper blade itself is very important for quality sawing.

The basic condition when sharpening a chainsaw or electric saw chain: the cutting performance is directly proportional to the sharpening angle, that is, the higher it is, the better the chainsaw will cut material. The smaller the angle, the smoother the tool will run and the less the vibration will be during operation.

Avoid a sharpening angle of more than 35° and less than 25°. In chains for longitudinal sawing an exception is permitted for the sharpening angle, in these chains the sharpening angle can be 10°.

Other options

It is also possible to sharpen a saw chain with other tools at hand. If you do it correctly and consistently, you can get good results even without a machine. The main difficulty here is that it is almost impossible to fix the working area, as well as to derive the desired angle when working with an electric tool on the weight.

with an angle grinder (angle grinder)

Despite the fact that this method is quite often mentioned as an alternative to machine chain sharpening, it is difficult to recommend it for use. Even experienced craftsmen do not handle tasks perfectly. What to say about beginners. Difficulty in achieving a defined sharpening angle requires the use of auxiliary tools.

An angle grinder can be clamped in a vise, stationary, and then feed the teeth to the surface of the rotating disc, but this approach can result in serious injury if not handled safely.

The dangers of using an angle grinder also include the high risk of chain breakage. Any careless movement of the cutting element of the angle grinder can damage the pivot joint. If you do this, the chain section will fly off at will, increasing the likelihood of injury to the craftsman doing the work. The sharpening process consists of bringing the chain link up to the saw blade. It is preferable to make contact time similar to that of the machine tool. This reduces the risk of overheating the metal. It is better to leave the chain on the bar, as with manual sharpening. Otherwise, the procedure is as follows.

  • A disc is mounted on the angle grinder. It is better to choose a metal cutting-off wheel that is up to 2 mm thick.
  • A buffer is mounted between the chain and the bar. You can use a piece of wood chip or other material at hand.
  • Grinding is performed. It is important to measure the right angle beforehand.
  • Chain Trimmer. It is needed after sharpening in any way.
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Sharpening chain saw teeth using the angle grinder has some obvious advantages. It is fast, there is no extra cost if the tool is already available. The disadvantage is also quite obvious. too high risks, it is necessary to carefully observe the safety precautions when working with an angle grinder.

Drill or boron drill

Using this type of tools involves carrying out works similar to manual sharpening. Mechanization allows to speed up the process a little. But here too you need to ensure that the working area is accurately positioned. For use in conjunction with a drill and drilling machine are available special sharpening kits, which include the following items of equipment:

The shank of the replaceable emery is fixed in the chuck of the power tool. It is selected by diameter, taking into account the corresponding pitch of the saw chain. After that, the tooling is mounted on the drill or drill, and its adjusting screw is loosened. It is aligned and fixed with a ruler.

tool is brought close to the chain tooth, the tip rotation is activated. As with machining, the nail file will sharpen all sides of the tooth at once. The average processing time for the entire tape is no more than 15 minutes.

The accuracy of the application is very high.

Anyone who has ever worked with a sharp chainsaw quickly knows when a chain needs sharpening. There are several ways to determine this:

  • there is practically dust instead of chips when cutting wood;
  • the time of operations increases;
  • the load on the hands is felt;
  • fuel consumption increases;
  • the saw jams, pulls out of the hands;
  • the saw becomes crooked.

Sharpening should be done as soon as possible, and not only because the tool becomes hard to work with. When using an unsharpened chain, its service life is shortened and the mechanism of the chainsaw itself wears out faster, fails before its intended time.