Having a good chainsaw sharpener is essential if you plan on cutting your own firewood. Even the best chain in the world is going to get dull eventually and need to be sharpened. Using a good sharpener will make using your gas chainsaw a lot easier. Using wood heat is great, but it is a lot of work; find out more…
Tips for using a chainsaw sharpener
You can easily tell when your chain needs sharpening because it takes longer to cut and the chips look more like sawdust than chips. Most people tend to keep on sawing anyway, hoping somehow that it will just go away and cut like before.
Once the chainsaw chain reaches a certain point, you really need to have it sharpened mechanically by a grinding machine made just for this purpose. It is well worth the money to have this done, but you can certainly do it yourself, using a file, before the chain becomes that dull and worn.
Sharpening a chainsaw with a file guide
The simplest, but not necessarily the best, way for sharpening a chainsaw is to simply use a round file. If you are skilled enough to do this without a guide, it certainly works. Most people, however, just don’t do it often enough to get that good at it, and need to at least use a file guide.
Even with a good file guide, you must understand the basic geometry of the cutting edge. If the angle is too steep, the saw will cut too fast and be hard to control. If the angle is too shallow, the saw will have a hard time cutting and you will quickly tire.
The guide helps to keep each tooth approximately equal, which is very important. If the teeth vary greatly, the saw will be hard to manage and tend to vibrate and grab into the wood. Not only is this a bother, but it is dangerous as well.
One simple method is to take the same number of strokes on each tooth. This works OK, assuming that each stroke removes the same amount of metal. Rotating the file occasionally helps to keep the file cutting. Sharpening a chainsaw is not hard, but it takes practice.
Kits for sharpening chainsaw
A good file guide is the Granberg Bar Mount Chain Saw Sharpener, which sells for about $30.00. It is somewhat of an industry standard and has been in use for over 35 years.
Another simpler tool is the Oregon Sure Sharp Chain Saw Manual Filing/Sharpening Guide. This tool is easy to use and quite common.
For the professional, there are several very good grinders that do an excellent job, very quickly and accurately. The Oregon Bench Mount Chainsaw Chain Sharpener is a portable tool that is precise and very compact. It sells for around $200.00.
Another professional grade sharpener is the Oregon Bench Mount Chain Sharpener- Model 511A. It cuts up to a 12 in. pitch chain size, is 110 volt and costs around $300.00.
Sharpening a chainsaw or having it sharpened
It is always a good idea to have at least one extra chain on hand when cutting firewood. You can have a sharpened one on hand in order to keep things moving along. If you have a helper, he can be sharpening the dull one and getting it ready for the next go around.