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.
Everyone that owns a chain saw knows that you need to sharpen the chain from time to time with a chain saw sharpener. Good maintenance is required for almost every power tool, including hydraulic presses, but especially a chain saw which is quite often used in rugged conditions.
You need to make sure that you keep the teeth on your chain saw sharp at all times to maintain cutting performance, reduce wear and tear on the bar, as well as yourself. Most people don’t carry a chain saw sharpener with them, but even the backyard handyman should keep one handy whenever they’re cutting wood.
It’s not as hard as you might think to sharpen your saw – as long as you have a good chain saw sharpener. Besides, a dull chain saw is a dangerous chain saw.
If you use your chain saw a lot obviously you will have to sharpen it more often. It’s surprising how much easier the work will be if you keep your saw sharpened. Many home users think that just because they use their saw occasionally they don’t need to worry about sharpening. On the contrary, many home users are rougher on their chainsaws than professional operators, because they’re more likely to hit the occasional rock or nail, or even the ground.
If you’re cutting wood that has been sitting on the ground for a period of time there will be a lot of dirt, sand, and possibly rocks embedded in the wood and bark. This will dull your saw very quickly. Quite often you will be cutting wood that has been laying on the ground, whereas the professional logger will usually be cutting clean, standing wood.
If you’re not comfortable sharpening your own saw, then you can always take it in to a sharpening shop that uses a professional chain sharpener. It usually costs between $5 and $10 to get your chain saw sharpened at a shop that has professional jigs which will ensure consistent sharpening of all of the teeth. And if they’re good at what they do, they will also recommend greasing the bar and front sprocket every time you get your chain sharpened.« go back