How to sharpen a chainsaw chain yourself. Sharpening device

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain at home, correctly and quickly

Although the chainsaw is designed to cut wood, the chain does blunt during operation and requires sharpening. Within the framework of the article we will tell you how to determine when it is necessary to sharpen and how to do it with your own hands, and also we will consider all the possible ways (from file to angle grinder) and which of them are better to use.

There are a number of factors that will tell you when it is time to sharpen the chainsaw chain:

  • Performance is reduced. Increased sawing time.
  • Unnecessary strain on the saw is felt.
  • Increased vibrations.
  • Fine shavings.

For beginners, it’s hard to notice the first 3 points, so it’s advisable to keep an eye on what chips are flying out of the cut.

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

Chainsaw Chain Design

A chainsaw chain consists of three types of links made of high-alloy steel:

  • Cutters are the basic elements of the chain. A distinction is made between right- and left-hand drive shanks, which are arranged alternately; their cutting edges are located above the plane of the bar. Tooth design incorporates kerf limiters.
  • Drives (shanks). serve to transmit torque from the gasoline motor to the chain through the drive sprocket. This feature extends sprocket life and makes the chain more stable on the bar.
  • Connecting. connect the shanks and cutting teeth of the chain.

Chainsaw chain sharpening methods

As mentioned above, there are several different ways to do this. The most popular are:

A file

This type of sharpening is the easiest. This kit includes a round and flat file, special holders, a template-Caliber, a hook to remove chips and others. And while the file sharpening tools may differ slightly, they nevertheless have roughly the same logic and the same functionality.

The diameter of the circular file depends directly on the size of the chain:

The sharpening process is divided into several steps:

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw by hand with a file

  • Make sure that the chain brake is engaged. Afterwards you should clamp the tool firmly in a vice.
  • Take care not to accidentally sharpen the tooth where you have already sharpened it, so as not to unintentionally sharpen the tooth again.
  • Before sharpening, pay attention to the special marking with which the manufacturer indicated the maximum angle of possible sharpening. The sharpening itself should be carried out in the direction of the pointing arrows.
  • Sharpen the tooth stop in addition to the tines. It may be necessary to do this in time, because the height of the teeth decreases as a result of the sharpening process. The limiter is usually sharpened after two to three sharpenings. If this is not done, problems may arise during work with the tool.
  • If you have no experience, it is better not to start with expensive chains.
  • The movements should be made only in one direction “away from yourself“. Each tooth should be moved in the same amount and with about the same amount of force.
  • To sharpen the vertical plane, the file should be placed strictly at a right angle, and to sharpen the horizontal. at an angle of 20-30 degrees.
  • If before sharpening it was found that not all teeth have the same height, the lowest of them becomes the reference point.
  • One of the most striking advantages is the cheapness of this method, because not every owner can afford to give every time the saw for sharpening. In addition, sharpening tools are also relatively inexpensive.
  • When file sharpening saws the first one soon enough comes in an unusable condition, so it is better to buy a more expensive tool, so it will last for a longer time.

with an angle grinder

This method is not very welcomed by professionals, as there is a high risk of damaging both the tool and the person who will be sharpening the saw. At first sight many people like this method, but in practice it is much more complicated than it seems.

Nevertheless, the method is still relevant.

  • The chain must stay on the bar.
  • A disc (preferably not a new one) with a thickness of one and a half to two millimeters is mounted on the angle grinder.
  • There must be a small obstacle in front of the chain and guide bar.
  • Sharpening angle is the same as in the first method.
  • Always retighten the chain after the process.

Professionals especially do not recommend this method for beginners because of the high risk of serious injury.

With a power tool

Such machines are equipped with special functions for sharpening at a certain angle. Thanks to the machine, you can be sure that the blade will be accurately and precisely fitted to the chain. There are also machines with a special vise for clamping the chain. This method is best suited for beginners, because comfort and safety are guaranteed. The cost of such a machine directly depends on its functionality.

With a hand-operated machine

Hand-operated machine looks like a compound bow saw. Unless there is a file in the place where a saw blade would be located. Such a machine makes it possible to sharpen and adjust chain saw teeth to the necessary size. The machine has a built-in mechanism, thanks to which you can line up the right size.

Only two or three sharpening strokes are needed during the process, and then you can move on to the next tooth. chain can also be sharpened with this sharpening machine. The only difference is the file itself, or rather its shape. As a round file is needed for sharpening the teeth and a flat file for sharpening the stop.

Advantages of sharpening a chain with a file

For chainsaw sharpening on construction sites, as well as in places where wood sawing work is carried out, it is most convenient to use a file. Thanks to a variety of devices to facilitate the process, the chain can be sharpened even by a person without experience, the main thing to remember about safety when working with a chainsaw and adhere to the recommendations received in the article.

Chainsaw sharpening school.Your saw will cut faster after this video

How to know when it’s time to sharpen your chainsaw?

There are several ways to understand that it is time to sharpen the main element of the chainsaw, namely:

  • You put a lot more effort into your chainsaw;
  • The chain is sagging;
  • There is vibration when you are sawing;
  • The cut is jagged.

If during any activities with the tool you observe any of these reasons, it is necessary to give a chain saw for sharpening, or to sharpen the chain on the chainsaw with your own hands. People who felling or working in heavy lumber need to sharpen their chainsaw more often. In some cases the saw needs to be sharpened several times during the day.

How to sharpen a chain saw with a file

To sharpen a chainsaw chain by hand, you will need a whole set of special tools.

The file is flat. you need it to mill the depth stop.

Round file. used for sharpening the cutting edge, you need the right thickness of the tool for the work.

Holder. has guide lines along which the file slides while sharpening the teeth.

Template. needed for sharpening along lines and correcting jobs.

Hook. needed to remove sawdust from the chain.

Special tools for sharpening the chain can be purchased as a set or individually. Some chain saw models come with a sharpening kit.

Place the template on the chain so that it fits into the kerf below. Position the round file on its rollers below the cutting edge of the tooth. The sharpening tool will move in a straight line parallel to the sides of the template.To grind the limiter to the proper height, apply the template so that the stop fits into the hole.

The limiter is machined based on the type of wood you will be sawing. For soft types of wood set the stop next to the word “SOFT”, for hard wood set the stop to “HARD”. Use a flat file for the job. Move the tool smoothly and evenly, straight away from you.

Tips and recommendations for sharpening at home

“I noticed that the chain boxes show different sharpening angles, for different chains 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 they are not next to the factory sharpening at all! The thickness of the grinding wheel is also adjusted individually and the shape of the edge must be checked at all times.

“My opinion as a craftsman is that file sharpening is the best in the world. Machines are good, of course, but still take the advice of an expert, I’ve been working with chains for ten years, no less. The machine will only give you 30 degrees horizontally and 45 degrees vertically, but 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 attachment will do that! Second: a machine always overheats, which is bad for steel, but a 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 have to practice! Practice and only practice”.

Possible ways and methods for sharpening the chain

Working with a file

The best solution is simple “gadgets” for sharpening. This kit includes a round and a flat file, special holders, a jig-caliber, a hook for removing chips, etc. Structurally, the “attachments” may be different, but the functionality follows the same logic.

The diameter of the round file depends directly on the size of the chain:

  • – Chains with ø 1,3. require a ø 4 mm file (used much more often);
  • – Chains with ø 1,6. require a file of ø 5,2 mm;
  • – To sharpen the depth stop, use a flat file.
  • With the chain brake “engaged,” grip the chain saw bar firmly in a vise (a clamped saw is the key to successful sharpening)
  • Set the template so that the “arrow” is pointing toward the “nose” of the bar. Be sure to mark (maybe with chalk) the tooth where you started sharpening, or you may go a second round;
  • Grind in the direction of the arrows. Remember, each chain tooth has a special factory notch. This indicates the maximum sharpening angle.
  • In addition to the cutting tooth, there are stops on each link. They are sharpened as needed. This is necessary when, as a result of sharpening, the height of the tooth decreases, and there are problems in the work of the chainsaw. As a rule, the limiter is sharpened after 2 to 3 sharpening of the teeth;

“If you are not good at sharpening, it’s better to start with inexpensive chains”.

  • The file should not go over the top of the cutting edge by more than 1/5 of the working part of the file. Pressure is applied with the same amount of force;
  • The movement of the sharpening tool should be in one direction, “from yourself“, and the number of movements for each tooth should be equal;
  • For sharpening the vertical plane, the file position must be at right angles;
  • For sharpening the horizontal plane, file position, at an angle of 20-30 °
  • If there are teeth of different heights, the smallest one should be the guideline.

Strengths: Ability to “sharpen the saw” in the field. It is inexpensive.

Disadvantages: Takes time and force. It “kills” the file quickly. Speaking of files: it is better to pay a little more and get a quality product. than buying one for 40-50 and throwing it away after the first sharpening (tested in practice). And another thing, if the chain is so “well plowed” the soil that its cutting edge has changed its original shape, it is difficult and not fast at all to sharpen it with a file.

Grinding with an angle grinder

Professionals consider this work, primitive. There is a risk of damaging the tire, and not only.

The process (easy on the face of it, but tricky in reality)

  • The chain also stays on the tire;
  • Let’s mount a 1,5-2 mm cutting wheel on the angle grinder. It is desirable to take not new, that is, with filed edge;
  • We put a barrier in front of the chain and tire (a chip will do);
  • Sharpening at the right angle;
  • When the work is finished, the chain must be tightened properly.

With professional approach and a “steady hand”, the number of sharpenings in this case may be more than 7.

“For a beginner, it is better not to “experiment” with the saw, the chain and. With its parts of the body!”

Advantages of the method: Fast, cheap and does not take away your strength;

Disadvantages: Requires special skills, a steady hand and the ability to observe safety.

Electric sharpening machines

They are equipped with special adjustment functions that help position the chain at a certain angle. It is possible to move the disk to the teeth of the chain accurately and precisely. Machines are also available that are equipped with an automatic vice. They are switched on when the disk is brought to the edge to be sharpened. Convenient and functional, of course high. You can also find models at “good” prices.

Machines with “manual drive”

This machine is designed similarly to a compound bow saw. Only, where the saw blade is located, there is a round file. With this machine it is possible to grind and dress the teeth by adjusting the proportionality of the top edges to the smallest (reference) size. The mechanism allows you to set the parameters precisely. After adjusting to a “reference” tooth, sharpening is done in two or three strokes. And then the transition to the next tooth.

When it is necessary to grind the limiter, change the round file for a flat one.

sharpen, chainsaw, chain, yourself

Advantages of the method: Allows you to qualitatively, conveniently and without much physical effort sharpen the teeth, including those that have lost their original shape.

disadvantages: the price of the tool and the distance to the possible site of the saw.

“After finishing “sharpening procedures”, blow the chain with compressed air (from a compressor or pump) and put it in clean motor oil for a while. Of course, almost no one does such measures, but for the chain, they will only benefit.”

What to choose for sharpening, you decide. This depends on how often you work with a chainsaw. From the neatness of its handling. On the quality of the chain purchased. And, of course, the ability to spend a fair amount of money. You can’t compare methods, for as the German saying goes, “apples must be compared to apples.”.

sharpen, chainsaw, chain, yourself

What to sharpen with

Chainsaw chain sharpening. not an easy process. There are three variants that are used today:

Similar methods are used when sharpening knives, scissors and other cutting tools, so nothing extraordinary is invented here. However, there are also special files for sharpening the PowerSharp system. They allow you to quickly sharpen saws at home, on which there is a special mark indicating the features of the design.


Using a file set is the most common way you can do it at home. But it is not as simple as it first appears. Two types of files are needed for sharpening: a round file and a flat file. Each has its own purpose.

With a round tool, you need to sharpen the working edge of the saw tooth, because its configuration is rounded. For household chain saws a file with a diameter of 4-5 mm is used, because the teeth of the saw have a small size. Professional saws are sharpened using files with a diameter of 5.2 to 5.5 mm.

A flat file is used to sharpen the depth stop. If this edge is not corrected, the chain will not cut into the wood to the required depth, which reduces the sawing speed. And this will have a direct impact on both the fuel consumption and the overheating of the saw’s engine.

How to properly sharpen files

First of all, the power tool should be prepared. It is set on a flat surface, it may be a table or workbench. The chain is tensioned to the maximum, set in the brake mode, for which the locking lever is turned. Then they should inspect saw teeth for defects: spalls, cracks, complete breakage, etc.

sharpen, chainsaw, chain, yourself

As for the process of sharpening chains for chainsaws with their own hands, there are several recommendations:

  • to sharpen the teeth with a file from the inside out;
  • There is a mark on the chain, which the manufacturer applies specifically to indicate the degree of sharpening;
  • sharpened tooth should be located in the middle of the chain for the convenience of the work;
  • sharpened, removed the chain from the lock, advanced the next tooth to the middle, put on the brake.

It is necessary to work with the saw carefully, wearing protective gloves on hands, because the teeth of the chain are sharp enough. Number of movements along the edge plane varies depending on the damage to the teeth.

Auxiliary aids

In construction stores, special holders are sold, with which it is easy to sharpen the chain of an electric or chain saw, because they clearly indicate the sharpening angle and depth of the limiter. After installing the device on the chain, you just need to stick to the configuration of the carrier and stay within the limits of the stops. In principle, this will not work, so the teeth are sharpened according to the holder with the required angle and depth.

Another device that makes sharpening easier is the socalled saw chain tooth straightener. The device is secured to the chain rail with special clamps included in the design of the device. The guide is set at an angle that defines the degree of sharpening. It can be adjusted by changing the parameter.

The tooth to be sharpened is fixed with a special stop, on which the file is also placed. The machine of this type is produced by a large number of different manufacturers. Purely externally the tools may differ, but structurally they are all the same.

Note the teeth are ground by hand first, and only then is the depth stop trimmed. In this case it is necessary to observe strictly the difference in height of the tooth edge and the upper plane of the limiter.

PowerSharp system

It should be noted that not all types of chains can be sharpened with this tool. Their chains and guide bars are marked PowerSharp and are compatible with each other. This bar is easy to fit on any saw, and has one difference from a standard bar. an extra hole in the front.

The sharpening system comes with a plastic block in which the sharpening stone is inserted. That is, a bar is inserted inside the block, on which the chain is preloaded. It is secured there with a pin that fits through just an extra hole in the bar. The unit is closed with a lid. There is a key at the front of the unit that acts as a lever. it must be bent, thus the abrasive stone is pressed against the teeth of the chain.

After that you need to bend the saw to the ground with the button and turn it to maximum speed. A few seconds and the saw is sharpened.

Sharpening machines

No one uses files in the service center any more. Because a chain needs to be sharpened properly if the right angle and height of the tooth stop are set accurately.

It’s difficult to do it manually and the service center guarantees a quality operation with long-lasting use of the electric or gasoline-powered saw.

The variety of sharpening machines is amazing. Here are both the usual unpretentious mechanical devices and the electric ones. Yet manufacturers offer smaller machines that fit directly on the bar and table mounted machines in which the chain is set up without the bar.

The easy production of the sharpening procedure is due to the fact that the sharpening machine has in its design a clamp, in which the chain is fixed. It is mounted so that the chain is fixed vertically in it.

It is possible to adjust the place of installation of the device. And it’s easy enough, because the clamp can be moved horizontally. The angle is determined by the abrasive disc (wheel), which is mounted on the shaft of the electric motor. In this way, the sharpener is positioned at the required angle, set at the factory. But it can also be changed depending on the desired degree of inclination.

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