Chain Saw Sharpener | Knowing When to Use Your Chain Saw Sharpener

Knowing When to Use Your Chain Saw Sharpener

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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3 Responses to “Knowing When to Use Your Chain Saw Sharpener”

  1. Wes Wilkinson on March 3rd, 2010 4:14 am

    I have a Mac-130, and it hasn’t been ran in at least 10 years. Today I mixed some gas 20:1 and set the sparkplug gap at .025, like some guys said to do on this other site. It fired right up and ran like a champ…for about a half hour. Then it started overheating.I’m not an expert on chainsaws, but I’m pretty sure you want the chain to spit out flakes, right? It was doing that for awhile, then it started spitting out fine dust. Anyway, like a ding-dong, I kept pushing it.

    I guess my question is: Would cutting with a dull chain cause the thing to overheat so bad that the fuel would boil in the tank? I mean, the saw became so hot I could barely hold onto it any longer.


  2. Joe on May 18th, 2010 1:54 am

    I no expert by any means but your fuel/oil mixture should probably be more towards 40:1 I have an older Mac-610 and i run 40:1 to 50:1 better to have more oil than not enough and seize your motor.
    Good Luck

  3. Jason on July 3rd, 2010 5:23 pm

    20:1 is more oil than 40 or 50:1, since the first number is fuel, and second the oil. It would make sense imo that working the saw real hard by having a dull chain could cause overheating, especially if the cooling fins are covered with oil.

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