Sharpening Chainsaw Chain And Why It Is Important

Keeping your chainsaw chains sharp should always be part of your chainsaw maintenance routine. While most beginners would rather use the chain until it’s time to buy a new one, I’d prefer to learn how to sharpen chainsaw chain from time to time. This helps me save a lot of money.

I’ve noticed that if I use my chainsaw when the blades are even slightly dull, my cuts don’t look as good as they normally are. Other than that, the chainsaw makes all kinds of noises and vibrations. This is most likely due to the pressure it’s putting on my chainsaw’s engine. That’s why I always keep my chainsaw sharpened like a sword, and you should too.


If you don’t about sharpening a chainsaw chain, then you’ve come to the right place because I’ve got a few easy chainsaw sharpening tips that you can use. I’ll be giving a guide on what happens when the chainsaw is worn out and how to keep it sharpened in the fastest and simplest ways possible, so you won’t have such a hard time.

When using a chainsaw, I always look for four signs of wear. If more than two of these signs are present, then I begin sharpening the teeth. Here are the four signs to look out for:


There’s usually friction when you cut wood using a chainsaw. However, if the chain’s tension is adjusted well and the blades are sharp, the chainsaw will be able to cope with the friction. So what happens when the chainsaw chain is dull.

Dull teeth put extra pressure on the engine of the chainsaw as they put resistance when you make a cut. Friction will be too much to handle; the engine will overheat, and you’ll notice smoke seeping out from the cut you’re making. 

Poor Cutting Performance

If you can’t seem to slice through wood quickly as you usually can, then it may be a sign of chain dullness. A sharp chainsaw will be able to pull itself down into the wood without the need of too much pressure. So if your chainsaw just gets stuck in one position even if you’re pushing it down with all your strength, then you definitely have a blade problem.

Uneven Cuts

A sharp chainsaw can cut cleanly and precisely, spitting wood chips as you pull it through the wood. A dull chainsaw, on the other hand, creates a cut that isn’t smooth. If the cut is deeper on a side than the other, then the teeth may be uneven or dull.

Shaky Performance

Lastly, observe the performance of your chainsaw while you’re using it. If you notice that your chainsaw rattles and makes a lot of weird noises, then you know there’s something wrong with it.

Based on my experience, you won’t be able to tell if a chainsaw is worn out just by seeing one of the signs of worn out chainsaw chain. For example, seeing smoke come out from the cut is not enough indicator of a dull chain. It may mean other things.

Smoke coming from the chainsaw can also mean that the chains aren’t properly lubricated or that the air filter isn’t clean. Thus, it’s important that you mark more than two of the signs listed above. 

Tips to Keep Your Chainsaw Sharp

Now that you know how to diagnose a dull blade, the next thing to do is to start sharpening a chainsaw chain. Learn about the best way to sharpen a chainsaw:

One: Know the Most Basic Technique

Perhaps, the oldest of all chainsaw sharpening tricks is using a file. While there are other tools you can use to sharpen a chainsaw chain, a file and a file guide are the most accessible. So how do you sharpen the chainsaw using these?

First, use a vice to hold the saw in place. Then, use your file guide to clamp down each cutter. Once the chainsaw is secured, sharpen the teeth following an upward motion. The best chainsaw sharpening angle is 5 degrees pointing upward. 

Two: File Each Cutter In the Same Number of Strokes

The key to an even chain is to sharpen each tooth with the SAME number of strokes. Doing so will increase the chainsaw’s efficiency. This also ensures that when your chains wear out, they wear out at the same time.

How many strokes do you do? Just count the number of strokes you make in one tooth until it is sharpened. Then, repeat it on the next one. 

Three: Use an Electric Sharpener

Learning how to sharpen a chainsaw with a grinder saves you a lot of time and effort. If you don’t want to manually file the chainsaw cutters, look for the best chainsaw sharpeners or chainsaw file and buy yourself a good tool.

If you already have one, then you just need to learn how to use it. Basically, all you need to do is set it up on a flat surface, then clamp the saw to hold it in place. Check your instruction manual to know how to set up the tool. After that, place the grinding stone in the gap of each cutter and turn on the machine.

The tip here is not to let the stone grind the chain for too long. Otherwise, the metal will get damaged. Just wait for it to become shiny, then move on to the next one.

Four: Prolong the Chain’s Life

I’m sure you don’t want to sharpen your chainsaw all the time. So my last tip will be how to prolong its life. One of the things that I have been doing for my many years is this: After you buy a new chain, soak it in oil overnight. Then, install it on your chainsaw and run it on full throttle for two minutes before using. Always do this before you use the chainsaw.


If you want to keep your chain sharp and in the best working condition, you’ll need to put some effort into maintaining it. All the tips that I’ve given have been tried and tested. If they can work for us, they’ll work for you too.

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