For any tool or instrument that cuts or saws you have to expect they will become dull at some point. This is the case with chain saws as well. If you use your chainsaw frequently you will notice it is becoming dull and it will need to be sharpened.
Be especially careful if you do not use your chain saw frequently, it may be more difficult to notice your saw is dull. A dull chainsaw is much more likely to cause incident or accidents.
So how do you sharpen a dull chain saw? With a chainsaw sharpener of course!
What is a Chainsaw Sharpener?
A chainsaw sharpener is an machine that sharpens the individual teeth of your chainsaw. They come in a variety of styles from hand held files, attachments for a dremel, to a self contained unit that attaches to a workbench.
There are two basic parts to this sharpening machine, something that holds on to the chain, and the part that sharpens it. These parts will differ depending on which model or type of chain saw sharpener you own. Some have small grinding bits and others have full grinding wheels.
- Practical tool for quickly sharpening the teeth and depth gauge in a single step.
- Ideal for occasional users.
There are variations of grinding wheels and they are proportionate to the size of the chain teeth on the chain of the chainsaw. When the chain, which is held in place by a securing lever, is ready to be sharpened the grinding wheel is lowered using a lever. If you are using a dremel tip it will not be secured in such a way but a piece is provided to keep the angle you are sharpening correct.
So basically on a little bit larger scale it is the same process you see any good chef go through with a knife. You grind the teeth of the chain back to a point using a grinding wheel. A chain saw being a little larger than a chef’s knife it is mounted and run by electricity, but the idea is the same.
How to Use a Chainsaw Sharpener
You have noticed your chain has become dull and you decided you are going to sharpen your chain yourself, now what do you do?
If you are at all concerned about working through this process, remember you can easily take your chain to a qualified professional to the sharpening done for you. However, if you are going to do it yourself, here are some simple instructions to get your started. Remember to check the instructions for your particular model and make sure you follow them.
The first consideration when sharpening your chainsaw chain is to take all necessary safety precautions. This includes wearing safety glasses during all sharpening. Make sure your sharpener is securely fastened to a stable surface, and all the pieces are firmly connected.
After you have checked all your safety precautions you want to make sure your chain is securely attached to the sharpener. The way this is done will vary depending on sharpener model, but the key is to make sure it is securely attached no matter what model you are using.
Next you will turn on the machine. You will then lower the grinding stone toward the first tooth of your chain. Make sure you sharpen the tooth slowly and steadily. You want to have an even sharpness across the entire tooth. You can also get more refined sharpening on many models by tightening refining screws.
Once the first chain tooth is finished you will return the grinding wheel to it’s “idle” position. You will then loosen the chain and move the next tooth into sharpening position. A guide is provided to make sure you are sharpening your chain on the appropriate angle.
Go through and sharpen all the teeth angled to one direction first. It doesn’t matter whether they are the left or right angled teeth, but do all one direction at the same time.
Once you have finished all of the right or left angeled teeth go back and do all of the opposite angeled teeth. This is a time consuming process, but it is best to be methodical about it. You do not want to miss teeth, or find some are sharper than others. This will make your cutting more difficult and in fact, more dangerous.
You may be able to find attachments that will help to automate the teeth feeding process, making it go a little more quickly. Whether these attachments are available will depend on what model chainsaw sharpener you are using.