In this tutorial, you will find out how to sharpen your chain, either with chainsaw files or an electric chainsaw sharpener, when your chain is still in your saw. By sharpening your chainsaws chain, you will be able to get more use out of one chain before you have to change it. If you are using the chainsaw frequently, the general rule is to sharpen your chain every three hours of use. If the chainsaw blade has some slack, tighten the chain before starting the sharpening.
Sharpen each tooth of the chainsaw blade until you are back to the black marks that you made on the first tooth. Work your way down the chain, sharpening each tooth until you are back to the first with the mark. Make sure to sharpen each tooth in your chainsaws chain the same amount of time (to the number 10, for instance) so that teeth are uniformly sharpened.
Use a Dremel Sharpening Guide to make sure your Dremel is at an even height, and the right angle, for the teeth you are sharpening. The File Guide is designed to specifically hold the 1/5th file over the tooth when you are sharpening your teeth. The file works only in a pushed-cut, and in most cases, you only have to do a couple passes to sharpen the teeth.
As you would do when file-cutting, you will sharpen each other tooth, and then adjust your grinding angle again, sharpening any remaining teeth at an alternative angle. Sharpen all of the alternate teeth running in the same direction in the chain until you are back to the marks you made in the beginning. Once you have all of the teeth running in one direction sharpened, turn over the chain or saw as a whole to reach for and sharpen a collection of teeth running in the opposite direction. Be sure to note the tooth direction while you are sharpening.
It is impossible to know for certain if your teeth are maintained at an appropriate tooth angle and depth while filing, and as a result, you may do more harm than good to your chainsaws chain.
If you just file the teeth you are cutting and you are not simultaneously filing down your depth indicator, then your chain is going to take out less and less wood every time, and your saw is not going to work nearly as effectively. Both every cut tooth on your chain and depth gauge need to be filed each and every time you re-sharpen.
Use a round file to sharpen each cutter on your chain, and a flat file to reduce your depth gauge. Using hand-held metal files, you can sharpen each cutter on your chain, as well as reduce the depth gauges, the parts on the chain that dictate how deep your chain will cut. Information about the proper sharpening file sizes for your chain is available from your chain maker. A chainsaw blade can be sharpened manually using a properly sized circular file.
Regardless of how you use your chainsaw sharpener, it makes sense to have one or two extra chains at hand, sharpened and ready for action when working in the woods. If you are using your chainsaw all year long, or you have more than one, you can save yourself significant time and energy by grinding your own chainsaws own chains. Sharpening your chainsaw is not difficult, and will go a long way towards maintaining your machine and making sure that you get clean, smooth cuts each and every time you use it. Sharpening a chain is a cost-effective way to save money compared to buying a new one, and there are a few ways you can do this, either with or without the help of a dedicated chainsaw sharpener.
Instead of setting yourself up to only use the chainsaw sharpener on one chain at a time, wait until you have several that are dingy, and have a bit of downtime to fill up productively, and then shave.
Using a file to hand-sharpen your dulled chainsaw may sound like a really slow route. When you gain the ability to resharpen your dead sawchain three or four times as fast as with a file (and much more precisely and with sharpeners), doing the job yourself makes a lot of sense, instead of outsourcing the job to a sharpening shop, or springing for a $30 new chain before you need it. Hand-files are totally fine for saw chain resharpening, but a power sharpener is quicker and much more enjoyable. To make sure you get consistent, precise results while hand-fileding your saw chains, it is essential that you set your files in the sharpening stand.
Set the sharpening guide over the top of your sawchain, and the file should be placed on top of its marked, semi-circular cut-off edges. Adjust the sharpening guide so that the angled lines stamped onto the top of the guide are parallel to the chainsaws steel bars. You will have to take the chain off of your saw in order to use an Oregon sharpener for the sharpening.
Use a Sharpie pen to mark which part of the chain you plan to sharpen first. Since saw chains have slits alternating in orientation across the chain (one on the right, one on the left, one on the next, and so on), you will want to use your chainsaw sharpener on all slits on one side, and then rotate your chain stand to work those spots on the other side. The chainsaw can either be turned over in the bench vise, or the sharpener can go around the saw on the other side.
An electric chainsaw sharpener is perfect for this type of regular maintenance to the chain, although you will have to switch out the abrasive wheels to the wider versions made for this job. If working with a battery-operated or electric chainsaw, be sure to remove the battery or disconnect it prior to the sharpening to prevent accidental startup, and release the chain brake to allow free movement of the chain.
A sharpened chain cuts better, and is less likely to kick in as you are cutting. In addition to being at least 3x faster than using a file, a machine-sharpened chain just cuts better. To correctly sharpen chainsaw chains using a circular file, the file should be held exactly parallel to the tooth tilts, as well as to the top-plate angle, during file-cutting.