How to correctly sharpen a chainsaw chain with a machine tool

Sharpening a chain saw: everything from A to Z

A chainsaw is a cutting tool, so sooner or later it will get blunt. The more actively it is exploited, the earlier this moment comes. And when this has happened, the problem of how to sharpen a chainsaw chain arises? If possible. you can take it to the service, there you will very quickly restore its performance. If you know how to sharpen the chain of a chainsaw with your own hands, it is better to do it with the help of a sharpening machine, in an extreme case with a file or a grinder. It is important to know how to sharpen the chain of a chainsaw correctly: the choice of sharpening angles, what files and tools to use and when you can sharpen it yourself, and when it is better to take to the repair shop.

The sharpening of the chain for a chainsaw should be made only when the teeth are blunt. This is evidenced by the following factors:

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain?

  • The performance of the saw has dropped, the process itself takes longer than usual;
  • It takes more force than usual for the chain to retract into the cut;
  • Sawdust becomes finer and sharper, its color changes to darker, unlike the light sawdust from a sharpened saw.
  • Vibration and a heavy grip on the saw becomes more noticeable;
  • Increased gasoline consumption.

Not sharpening the chainsaw chain and working with a blunted bar will cause the tool to fail quickly. The sprocket and drive are under a higher load, your fuel consumption will increase, and the chain will fail or break quickly.

If you see that your chain saw is not working as it should, you need to have the chain saw sharpened as a matter of urgency. There is no specific timeframe or period for this, as it depends on frequency of use, loads, and a number of other factors. For example, professional woodcutters who work with such equipment on a daily basis use chain saw chain sharpeners 2-4 times per shift, sometimes even more, to keep the chain in good working order. The whole secret is that if you sharpen the chain of a chainsaw when it has just begun to blunt. in this case the sharpening procedure is very simple and fast, and the life of the chain itself is significantly prolonged.

When a chainsaw chain needs sharpening?

In the course of working with a chainsaw in any, even the highest-quality tool, the chain loses its original sharpness over time and needs sharpening. By what signs you can understand that the chain of an electric saw or chainsaw is blunt and it’s time to sharpen it?

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

  • During operation, the saw loses stability, pulls out of your hands and vibrates strongly;
  • chainsaw or electric saw produces only small chips and does not produce large chips;
  • the sawing part gets stuck in the material, it is impossible to make sawing qualitatively and quickly;
  • deepening of the chainsaw into the wood does not happen by itself, in order to perform a longitudinal cut, the tool has to “sink” hands into the material, applying effort and pressing the blade;
  • A crooked cut will form during sawing;
  • The chain saw heats up quickly and badly;
  • the chain is wearing down much faster;
  • increases fuel consumption.

If you have noticed several of these signs on your home tool, it is time to sharpen the chain.

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

A few important tips to keep the chain on your chainsaw from sharpening for longer:

  • do not use a new chain with an old sprocket and vice versa;
  • If you have already worn down two chains while using your chainsaw, replace the sprocket with a new one;
  • the chain should be run-in before using the chainsaw under normal load (run-in just before sawing, 1 minute at low RPM and then 1 minute at medium RPM);
  • After a new chainsaw chain has cooled down, check its tension;
  • Always use chain lubricant for your chainsaw, quality oil;
  • Keep the chainrings in their normal tensioned position, because chain saws are 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 pass.

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Characteristics of a chain’s teeth

Chain teeth have several important parameters. These include:

  • cutting link device (consisting of a base attached to the chain, a tooth blade with two cutting edges, a depth limiter that controls how deep the blade plunges into the wood, an end blade and an upper blade), the cutting action is not performed by the chain itself, but by the links, that is, the teeth. They move on the chain, as on the 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 (this is the angle that causes the wood chips to form when you cut).
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To properly sharpen a chain, the owner needs to know:

How to correctly sharpen your chain depends on these two parameters. 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 at an angle of 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

Rear angles of different chain types may have values from 60° to 85°. the more the angle of the rear corner of the upper blade of the chain, the more it will be tilted back, on average the value of this angle is from 50 ° to 60 °. The rear angle of the top blade is most important for the sawing process, and the top blade itself is very important for quality sawing.

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

Avoid a sharpening angle of over 35° and under 25°. In chains for longitudinal sawing an exception for the sharpening angle is allowed, in these chains the sharpening angle can be 10°.

Tips and tricks for sharpening your chainsaw at home

For sharpening it is acceptable to apply a file, but it should be understood that such operation of the saw will require certain skills and, of course, patience from the master. To sharpen each tooth it is necessary to have at hand a file of flat and round section. To grind a tooth without the use of additional tooling, you must maintain a basic sharpening angle. It is enough to sharpen only 2-3 passes file, then there is no point in inventing some kind of tool to fix the tooth in a certain position. To sharpen the top edge the file has to be held at the right angle during sawing. Restoration of performance begins with preparation, namely, from the working edges, it is necessary to remove all chipping.

If everything is clear with the angles of the teeth with straight parts of the structure, then the edge, located on the side and its working slope cause certain difficulties. A circular file or a file of small dimensions should be used to dress them. Sharpening is performed at the required angle on the workpiece.

What sharpening tools are available?

To start the work, you need to stock up on tools, which are divided into two types.

Hand tools

A set of tools necessary for sharpening the teeth of the saw:

  • A flat file, which you learn how to use in your schoolwork lessons. It is used to mill the depth stop.
  • A round file with a certain diameter is needed for sharpening the cutting tooth. It comes with an extra bit. a holder with lines that tell you the correct way to hold the tool in relation to the chain. The holder is placed on the tooth of the saw, taking into account the guide lines, the file position. under the cutting surface.
  • A template, which is used for dressing and maintaining parameters.
  • A hook is needed to remove sawdust from the chain.

Sets of various equipment can be purchased at specialized stores

Metal sharpening templates help to calculate the depth of sharpening

Manual and electric machines

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain if the cutting edge of the tooth has completely lost its shape due to prolonged use? You can also use files, but the process will be unproductive and time-consuming. The best option. the use of machines, and here you have to choose, because machines can be different. manual and electric.

STIHL manual chain sharpening machine

Parameters are set before work and the machining process is much faster than with files: 2-3 movements are enough for sharpening each tooth. Electric machines are also difficult to set up, but work quickly and accurately.

An electric tool saves a lot of time, but not everyone is ready to pay a lot of money for it

When it is time to sharpen the saw?

The time between two sharpening intervals depends on how often the tool is used. Some use it daily, others use it several times a year.

To understand that the teeth are blunt, it is possible by some signs, which are revealed during operation:

  • The chain is pulled out and sags, so the saw blade does not function precisely and “slows down” the cut. Working with such a chain requires more effort.
  • Sawing slows down, productivity goes down, and you have to spend twice as much time on your work.
  • Change of sawdust appearance: it becomes uneven, sharp, finer. The cuttings from the sharpened saw look different: equal pieces of even rectangular shape.
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If the saw loses precision and gets stuck in the cut, it’s time to get the chain teeth straightened

You should not put off repair work for long periods of time. The earlier you sharpen, the less material needs to be milled, therefore the longer the life. And you won’t have to work with a blunt tool for a long time, increase wear and tear, and waste your own physical strength.

Two samples of chips: the first is the result of a sharpened saw, the second is the result of a blunted saw

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain at home with a file

To correctly sharpen the chain of a chainsaw with a file the tool has an exclusively round cross-section. Parameters of the file are determined by the size of the saw itself. It is important to know the tooth pitch. One circular sharpening stone is not enough. For sharpening and straightening chains, two kinds of tools are used. the first is a file of round section with diameter corresponding to diameter of a rounding of the working edge of a saw tooth. A flat file is needed for machining the sawing depth stop of the guide tooth.

Sharpening can be done manually using a circular file with a working diameter of 45.5 mm. It is extremely important to position the tool correctly vs. the tooth to be sharpened. The top edge of the file is about a fifth higher than the top edge of the workpiece. The tool is held perpendicular to the chain axis at an angle of 25º to 30º to the top edge of the tooth.

For sharpening saw chains of household tools round files 4 and 4,8 mm in diameter are used as they have small tooth. For professional models stronger chains with bigger tooth are used. That’s why you need files that are 5.2 and 5.5 mm in diameter.

A flat file is needed for sharpening the limiter, and a hook is needed for cleaning the place where the work is performed to remove the filings that form. There are also special holders available on which the direction lines of the file are programmed in relation to the chain axis. A holder can be placed on the tooth from above, resting on its top edge. Since its height is adapted to a certain chain pitch, this device should be selected for specific chainsaw models and brands. Minimum necessary kit for getting the chain right angle by hand sharpening, shown in the photo.

Sharpening tool and fixture set

Hand sharpening saves money, allows work in the field. First place the tool on a flat surface. If the work is done in the woods, a cut of a log with a large diameter will work well for this. Then it is necessary to examine the saw chain for any defects, it can be cracks, completely broken off teeth. After the inspection, you must set the brake to work, thereby blocking the movement of the chain bar, which must be tensioned during the sharpening of the file.

A file for sharpening chainsaw chains: types and tips for choosing

Pick the diameter of your circular saw file according to the pitch of the saw chain. Files with a 4 and 5.2 mm diameter correspond to 1.3 and 1.6 mm pitch. A flat tool is needed to reduce the height of the stops of the cutting links.

How to properly sharpen a chainsaw chain with a file

On the area to be sharpened, templates and templates must be fixed. They will give the file the right direction, making the process easier. When all preparations are made, the chain can be sharpened.

According to the rules, it is necessary to sharpen the teeth of one direction, then. the other. Work begins with a light push with the file in the direction from yourself, the pressure gradually increases. Reverse the file. without pushing. It is necessary to rotate the circular tool continuously along its axis. Sharpening is performed from inside to outside of the tooth. 1. In doing so, the file must be set parallel to the special marking on the chain by the manufacturer to show the standard sharpening angle.

The sharpened tooth should be located approximately in the middle of the bar, it is necessary for convenience of work. While sharpening, it is necessary to move the chain along the bar, not forgetting to put the brake in working position every time.

Angle of inclination of the tool must be straight and the chain sharpening angle of the chainsaw chain horizontally must be sharp, in this case, it is allowed to change it within the range of 10º to 30º. Use the smallest tooth in the row as the base. Turn the bar over and do the same job for the teeth that go in the opposite direction. The disadvantage of this sharpening method is the high time consumption.

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Sharpening the chain with a file

You can put a round file with a broken off handle in the chuck of an electric drill or screwdriver. The result is a very convenient mechanized sharpening device.

Sharpening a chain with a drill and file

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain

Chainsaw chain sharpening is a procedure regularly encountered by gardeners and professional woodcutters. 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 properly sharpen a chain you need to understand the basic principles of chain construction and operation. You can’t just sharpen a chain by eye, you need to know the basic characteristics of the chain and its components.

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

  • Cutters. main chain elements. A distinction is made between right-handed and left-handed, which are arranged alternately, with their cutting edges above the plane of the bar. The design of the teeth includes the cutting depth limiters.
  • Drives (shanks). are used to transmit torque from gasoline engine to chain through the drive sprocket. This feature extends sprocket life and gives the chain a more stable hold on the bar.
  • Connecting pieces. connects the shanks and cutters of the chain.

One of the most important parts of a chain is the cutting tooth that plunges 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″ (0.65mm) or 0.030″ (0.75mm).

A long 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 the productivity parameters. Untimely sharpening can cause some problems with the saw itself. The most common ones are:

  • Curved cuts;
  • High loads on the saw, resulting in increased wear of the device parts, and thus a reduction in the life of the entire device;
  • Increased fuel consumption.

If the cut produces a fine dusty cut and the saw plunges into the cut with great force, it is a blunted target.

There are other signs of a dull chain:

  • The speed of the tool is reduced;
  • Uneven and sharp sawdust is formed;
  • A great deal of force must be applied to cut the wood;
  • The chain is loose or has become slack.

A chainsaw chain can get blunt very quickly for the following reasons:

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

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

  • First, protective cotton gloves should be worn to avoid cuts from the cutting teeth.
  • Remove the protective cover from the chain saw and place it on its side on a flat surface.
  • Using a socket wrench of the right diameter, unscrew the fixing nuts that hold the body and the bar, remove the upper cover of the body.
  • Now slide the bar all the way down to the sprocket, loosen the chain, and remove the working elements from the mounting bolts.
  • Disconnect the chain from the bar.

What mistakes do beginners make?

There are a few common mistakes made by beginning sharpeners.

To avoid them, a few rules should be followed:

  • make the same number of reciprocating motions with the tool for each tooth to be sharpened
  • always apply as much force as possible to avoid uneven sharpening;
  • If the chain is too dull, there is no point in using a file;
  • For severely worn tools, the only option is an electric tool;
  • Angle of sharpening should be chosen according to the direction in which the chainsaw will cut material.

This knowledge helps you to avoid unnecessary mistakes and to keep your chainsaw in top working order all by yourself.

Have you ever sharpened your chainsaw yourself?? What was used for it? How good the quality of the result?

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