Besides knowing how to sharpen your chain saw, you also need to know when your chain saw needs sharpening.
By the time you’ve bucked up several trees into blocks, the chain will probably be at the point of requiring sharpening. Your chain saw should cut just as well as when it was brand new. If it’s not, then this can be a good indicator that the saw is dull and requires sharpening.
Another indicator that tells you your chain saw requires sharpening is if you have to exert too much pressure on the saw to get it to cut through the log. A chain saw should virtually cut through the wood on its own with minimal pressure from the operator. If your saw isn’t doing this you should stop and sharpen your chain immediately. Continuing to operate the saw in this condition is unsafe and can lead to serious injuries.
If you notice very small chips or sawdust being spit out from the chain saw instead of nice size wood chips this is also a good indicator that you should dig out your chain saw sharpener.
Your chain saw chain can also become shiny when the chrome plating wears excessively. This could also be an indication of improper chain lubrication, but the first thing you should check is the sharpness of your chain. While you’re at it you can also ensure that the bar oil reservoir has enough oil, and that it is being fed to the bar as you cut.
Knowing when to sharpen your chain saw can be as important as the actual sharpening, because if you cut too long with a dull saw you run the risk of over-heating the teeth on the chain. If you heat the teeth up too much the steel will lose its temper and they will no longer hold their sharpness when sharpened.
If you see black spots on the teeth on the chain it means you have been cutting with a dull saw and over-heating the chain and bar. Stop and take your saw to a professional sharpener immediately. If a lot of the teeth have black marks on the tips you may have run the chain to the point of no return. This is a physical property of steel that none of us can avoid – once steel is heated to a certain point it loses certain properties that allow things like chainsaw teeth to maintain their sharp edge. Unfortunately, if your chain is in this condition you may have to purchase a new one.
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