There are several things to consider before sharpening your chain saw. It’s not as hard as you might think even if you’re a novice chain saw user, but if you don’t pay attention to a few basic tips you’ll end up wasting your time. The following chainsaw sharpening guide should help you sharpen any chainsaw.
First of all, to learn how to sharpen chainsaw chains you need to make sure that you have the right size of chain saw sharpener to match the size of chain and teeth pitch on your saw. The round hand-held sharpening file must be the correct diameter to maximize your sharpening efforts. The gullet or shape of the inner part of the tooth will a have different radius depending on the chain and the saw. Fortunately these hand held files only cost a few dollars so you may as well buy several different sizes and keep them in your sharpening toolkit.
You’ll also notice that every second tooth on the chain saw cuts towards the opposite side of the bar. So you need to sharpen every second tooth from one side of the saw, and then after you go around the entire chain, file the remaining alternate teeth from the other side of the saw.
In both cases you need to stroke the file forward towards the longest point on the tip. Note that you must follow the correct angle to the bar, as well as the upwards ankle (usually 5° to 10°) for many saws. You need to maintain exactly the same direction on every stroke as much as possible or you will round the teeth and end up with a chain that is no sharper than when you started.
Make sure that you file each tooth exactly the same number of strokes or the saw will pull to one side and not cut straight. The easiest way to do this is to count the number of strokes as you file. Usually three to five strokes per tooth will keep your saw nice and sharp. It really doesn’t take much time to do touch up sharpening.
Another issue that many people are not aware of is that the chain guides cannot be higher than the teeth or the saw will not cut properly. After you sharpen your saw a number of times the guides will most likely end up higher than the teeth. You need to take a flat file and remove some of the height from the chain saw guides.
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