Can Chainsaw Blades Be Sharpened?

As we all know, when a machine is used over a long period, the mechanical advantage and efficiency of such a machine drop, resulting in a drop in its productivity.

If you compare the efficiency of a chainsaw used for 5 years with a newly purchased one, you will notice the difference in effectiveness between the two.

When used over time, chainsaw blades become blunt, and if the chainsaw is used to cut some wood, it will consume a lot of your time and energy. It is possible to sharpen a chainsaw as it will help increase its efficiency, thus enabling you to apply less effort to fell trees and cut wood of even larger sizes.

It is good to note that a blunt chainsaw is not a waste. And so, if you have one, instead of getting a new one to increase your chainsaw collection, we advise that you read through this article to learn more about how to sharpen a blunt chainsaw.

When Should I Sharpen My Chainsaw Blades?

You don’t want to work with a dull chainsaw to cut wood, as it will be very tiresome. A suggestive sign that you need to sharpen your chainsaw is when you begin to notice the drop in efficiency of your chainsaw.

When your chainsaw requires more effort than you used to, you need to sharpen it. However, there is no specific time to sharpen your chainsaw blades, so how do you know when to sharpen them?

Below are some signs that can help you know when your chainsaw blades need some sharpening:

  1. Increased effort: A sharp chainsaw will cut through woods with almost no effort. The moment you discover that you need to apply a large amount of effort to cut woods that you usually would have cut with less effort, the cutting edges of your chainsaw need to be sharpened.
  2. The texture of sawdust: A chainsaw with sharp blades will produce large chunks of sawdust with a coarse texture. When your chainsaw produces rather fine sawdust, it needs to be sharpened.
  3. Chainsaw engine stress: As a result of the drop in efficiency of the chainsaw, much effort will be required to do work, which will stress the chainsaw engine resulting in the release of smoke from the exhaust even after the chainsaw has been oiled. When you notice your chainsaw producing excess smoke, consider sharpening your blades.
  4. Cuts on wood: A dull chainsaw produces uneven cuts on wood. This is because the blades of a dull chainsaw have some sharp parts, which will cut the wood, and some that are blunt and will not cut the wood. This leads to uneven cuttings on wood surfaces.

And so, when you begin to notice such, do well to get your chainsaw blades sharpened. Ensure that you check the condition of your chainsaw before and after use to know if it needs to be sharpened.

How Long Should a Chainsaw Blade Last Before Sharpening?

A chainsaw is one product that does not have an expiry date. If well managed, your chainsaw should last a very long time. The life expectancy of a chainsaw is dependent on its use and maintenance of it.

A chainsaw used almost all the time will last for 4-5 years before it needs to be sharpened. But for one that is used occasionally, it will last for at least ten years.

However, the blades will dull quickly if your chainsaw is poorly maintained. To maintain your chainsaw correctly, keep reading this guide.

How To Lengthen and Extend The Lifespan of Your Chainsaw

The engine of a chainsaw can last for a very long time. However, the blade is the problem as it does all the cutting work and can get dull.

A dull chain can spoil the whole chainsaw if not checked and so to prevent your chainsaw blades from having to get dull early, consider the following information:

1. Do Not Use Your Chainsaw To Cut Hard Materials

Chainsaw blades are made to cut through wood. Although the blades are made of hard metals, they should not be used to cut through hard substances such as ice, rocks, or other metals, as they can damage the blades and make them dull.

2. Storage

The cutting edges of your chainsaw are made of metals. When metals get exposed to moisture over a long period, rust begins to form, which can be very destructive to the chainsaw.

Tip: Store your chainsaw in a cool and dry environment to prevent such occurrences.

3. Prevent Overheating By Lubricating

In a chainsaw, the blades are borne on the chains. When you switch on your chainsaw to cut some wood, friction occurs between the chains, generating heat that will reduce the chainsaw’s efficiency. Lubricate the chains and bars with high-quality oils to prevent overheating in the chains.

If you have not used your chainsaw in a while, and you did not empty it before storage, before your next use, check the oil and change it if it needs to be changed.

4. Check The Air Filters

Check to ensure that the air filters are not dirty. A dirty air filter will restrict the airflow into the chainsaw, thus, affecting the engine and the efficiency of the chainsaw.

How To Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw

Sharpening a chainsaw chain may be very hard because the blades are arranged on a chain and need to be evenly sharpened. You don’t want to be done sharpening only to discover that some parts are sharp and some are blunt.

It is advisable to allow a professional to handle your chainsaw sharpening process. However, if you are a part of the do-it-yourself gang and intend to learn how to sharpen a chainsaw blade, then here are some steps you must go through to sharpen your chainsaw.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Safely

When your chainsaw blade becomes blunt, you may sharpen them manually with a hand file, a Dremel, or a grinder. Or better still, automatically, using a chainsaw sharpener.

However, the purpose of this article is to show you the steps on how to sharpen a chainsaw manually. So we will not be talking about how to sharpen a chainsaw with a chainsaw sharpener in this article.

It is essential to know that using a hand file is the best way to sharpen a chainsaw manually. The problem with using a grinder or a Dremel is that they will remove too much material from the blades, overheat the blades and wear out the chains faster. And so we will show you the steps to sharpen a chainsaw blade with a hand file.

How to sharpen chainsaw blades with a hand file.

Sharpening a chainsaw blade involves sharpening both the cutter and the rakers. To do this, follow the steps given below:

Step 1: Clean the chainsaw with a dry towel. This removes debris, oil stains, and dirt that may have hidden between the blades.

Tip: You can also use a screwdriver to aid the cleaning process.

Step 2: Use a Vice or a Tabletop clamp to hold stabilized chainsaw. This is done to prevent the movement of the chainsaw while the sharpening process is on.

Tip: If you don’t have a vice, remove the chain from the chainsaw and stabilize it while sharpening the blades.

Step 3: Tighten the chain adjustment screw: Locate the tension-adjusting screw on your chainsaw and tighten it, although not too tight.

Tip: The adjustment screw is perpendicular to the chain’s direction in most chainsaws. If it is not found in this position in your chainsaw, consult the manual’s guide.

Step 4: Use a bright-colored marker to point out the first tooth. This is to help you keep track of where you started to avoid repetition.

Step 5: Get a round file whose diameter corresponds with the teeth.

This is because the sizes of chainsaw teethe differ according to the model of chainsaws, so a particular file cannot be used to sharpen all kinds of chainsaws.

Note: Sizes for the chain are [3/4 inch 4.8mm, 5/32 inch 4mm, 7/32 inch 5.6mm diameter.]

Step 6: Correctly angle your file over the first tooth. Check the manual’s guide to get the right angle for your chain. However, the ideal angle ranges from 25-30 degrees.

Step 7: Slide the file over the first cutter. You should ensure that the pressure applied is enough to feel the grinding against the cutter.

While filing, it is careful not to pull the file backward throughout the cutter, as this will spoil both your file and the cutter. Instead, file it softly, pushing the file forward, away from you. Depending on how dull your cutter is, file them about 3-10 times until it is sharp.

Step 8: Repeat what has been done to the first cutter for each cutter.

To ensure consistency across the sharpness of the cutters, count the number of times you filed the first cutter, and use the numbering for subsequent cutters.

In a chainsaw, there are two groups of cutters, each alternate facing directions in a chain. Choose one of the cutters first and then repeat the same process for the other.

How To Sharpen a Chainsaw Depth Gauge [Rakers]

  • Step 1: Clamp the chainsaw to the vice for the stability of the chainsaw.
  • Step 2: Tighten the adjustment screw for the stability of the chain while sharpening the depth gauge.
  • Step 3: Mark the first tooth to know when you are done with the sharpening of the depth gauge.
  • Step 4: Use a depth gauge guide to find any overtly elongated depth gauge. The depth gauge guide slides along the chain, stopping at any raker that is too long.

Tip: You should be able to see or feel any raker that is too long.

  • Step 5: Use a flat file to level the depth gauge.

Note: Any raker that is too long should be leveled to the level of the depth gauge guide. Be careful not to file away the guide in the process.

  • Step 6: Repeat this process throughout the whole chain.

How much will it cost me to sharpen my chainsaw blade?

What is the best way to sharpen a chainsaw blade

Depending on the store you go to and the type of chainsaw you want to work on, the price a professional will charge you to sharpen your chainsaw ranges from $12 -$25 per chain.


A dull chainsaw is not a waste and should not be discarded. You can sharpen a chainsaw that is not cutting well with either a chainsaw sharpener or manually with a hand file, and it will work effectively.

All you need to do is follow the steps above to sharpen your chainsaw blades, and you will get your formerly dull chainsaw cut as though it is a new one.

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