Skip to Content

Do Chainsaw Chains Come Sharpened? 9 Things You Should Know

Chainsaws are powered garden equipment that comprises a rotating chain with a set of sharp cutting teeth. The higher RPMs enable the cutting teeth to saw wooden logs of all kinds. However, with prolonged use, the chain sharpness tends to go downhill. This eventually affects the cutting efficiency of your chainsaw. Therefore, chain sharpness is of utmost importance for better cutting results, which shall be discussed in detail in this blog post.

Do chainsaw chains come sharpened?

Yes, the chains of the chainsaw come sharpened from the factory when you buy a new one. There is no need to sharpen it before your first job. But even the sharpest chain for the chainsaws available in the market will lose their sharpness over time and grow very dull.

A brief answer doesn’t help you understand the matter in-depth, scroll on to read the details of the various aspects of the chain in your chainsaw.

Should You Sharpen a New Chainsaw Chain?

A sharp chain is a real muscle of your chainsaw. The sign of the sharpness of the chain in your chainsaw is that it slices through even the hardest wood very easily and smoothly just like a hot knife through butter.

You will realize the sharpness of the chain in your chainsaw when it pulls itself down into the huge log without any effort that you apply. It will spit out wafer-like, long wood chips as it slices the log. In contrast, a dull chain will force you to exert a lot of pressure to push the saw into the wood while it will spit out sawdust not long wood chips.

A dull chain in a chainsaw will cause a lot of friction, you will notice smoke coming out of the cut as too much heat builds up. This will damage your chainsaw beyond repair. The cuts in logs using a really sharp chain are clean and precise.

If you feel that your chainsaw is not digging any deeper down into the wood and blowing away the sawdust, it means that it needs an urgent sharpening. If your chainsaw keeps bouncing upward and shaking a lot, it means that you must replace the chain. Dull chains are also responsible for life-threatening accidents.

Regularly sharpening the chain will extend the lifespan of your chainsaw. A dull chain will tear through the wood which will wear down even the best chainsaw early. Always remember that there are a certain limited number of times that you can sharpen your chain before it loses its temper and needs a replacement.

The logging experts advise you to sharpen your chain only three to five times. This number greatly depends on how you take care of the lubrication of the bar, the time of usage, and your working condition. If you are careless enough to strike the hard, uneven ground or the nearby rocks or snow too frequently or you are cutting very dense wood, then your chain will become dull too early.

If you store the chain in humid conditions, or you work in wet weather, it will cause the number of times you can sharpen it to greatly reduce. Good maintenance will help you to sharpen it 3 to 5 times before you will have to replace it.

Some customers think that a brand new chain is sharper than you can ever sharpen it yourself with your file. The beginners are usually scared of the nasty-looking teeth of the chainsaw. You don’t have to seek the services of the professionals just to sharpen a chain because a couple of inexpensive guides and files will help you do it in about ten minutes.

You must carefully observe the cutters or teeth of your chain. You can sharpen and reshape the semicircular edges within a few minutes using a round file. The depth-gauge fin found on every cutter is responsible for the depth that it bites into the logs that you are cutting.

To sharpen the semicircular cutting edges of the chain in your chainsaw, you must use a round file of the same diameter. At the front of each cutter, you will see a sharp metallic thorn shaped like a shark’s dorsal fin; it is called ‘raker.’ The tip of the depth gauge is a hair shorter than the cutter.

The average diameter of the cutting edges is  5/32 inch, 3/16 inch, or 7/32 inch. Make sure that you use the round file with the same diameter as the cutting edge of the chain. You will see that the teeth are located at altering angles. One is facing left, and the other is facing right.

Shark dorsal fin or the raker which is a flat piece of metal, is located between two teeth. The rakers never need sharpening. You must make sure that you mount your file into a sharpening guide.

The sharpening guide will serve you with two different purposes: i) It will control the depth that your file can cut into and ii) It will provide you with a flat surface to place the file on your chainsaw.

How to Sharpen the Chain of Your Chainsaw?

I will provide you with a step-by-step guide to sharpen the chain of your chainsaw:

●Step 1: Perform Initial Measures:

First of all, put on your personal protective equipment especially a pair of rubber gloves. Then remove all the mineral oil that is found on the guide bar of your chainsaw using a piece of dry cloth or paper. Make sure that you engage the chain brake and lock the bar in a vice.

●Step 2: Secure the File:

Select a round file with exactly the same diameter as the semicircle edges of the cutting teeth. Now you must loosen the thumbscrews on your sharpening guide and then you can slide your round file beneath its two metal hold-down clamps. Now you have to tighten all of its screws or its wingnuts to secure the round file in your guide.

●Step 3: Position the Chainsaw:

Place your chainsaw on a flat and safe surface. Remove the battery pack if yours is a cordless chainsaw otherwise unplug it from the wall outlet. You must always begin by sharpening the dullest and the shortest cutter. As a reminder and to prevent repeated sharpening, you must use an indelible marker to mark the first tooth that you began sharpening from.

●Step 4: Determine the Sharpening Angle:

Read the user manual of your chainsaw to learn exactly what the best angle to sharpen its chain is. You must also consult the instruction chart that comes with your filing kit. Depending upon the type of the chain, the sharpening angle can vary between 25 degrees to 30 degrees.

You must adjust the angle using the markings on the file guide or the wings of the handle. You must always keep the file guide in contact with the depth guide and the cutter for both the grinding angle and the lateral angle. You must make sure that you sharpen each cutter from the inside to the outside carefully maintaining the same length for each cutter.

●Step 5: Count the Strokes:

Never repeat more than ten slow and steady strokes. You must count the number of strokes that you make across the first tooth and make sure that you make the same number of strokes across all the teeth.

Things to Consider While Filing:

While filing the blades and the depth gauges, please take the following measures into consideration.

  • Sharpen Alternatively: To save your time the best trick is to skip every other tooth and sharpen the next one because they are facing left and right and you will have to keep altering the angle back and forth. After finishing all the left facing teeth turn over your chainsaw and sharpen all the teeth that are facing right.
  • Use a flat file for depth gauges: You must always use a flat mill bastard file for leveling the rakers. While you are holding the depth gauge in its actual place, you must run a flat-file over the top of the rakers until they are leveled with the depth gauge. The depth gauge protects other teeth from being filed, nothing will stop the gauge itself from being filed down properly.
  • File the gauges to the right level: You must be careful not to file away the gauge because it will lead to inconsistencies between the rakers. While you are filing over the rakers, you must slide back the gauge to avoid filing it. While you are filing you must keep checking the height of the rakers to stop when it lines up with the top of the depth gauge. When you have finished filing the rakers you must use a flat file to smooth their edges. You will have to continue the same process of checking the rakers with the depth gauge while filing them all the way around the rest of your chainsaw. In contrast to the cutters, don’t worry about filing down the same raker two times when you are filing down the rakers.
  • Re-fill the gas tank: Finally, you must refill the oil in the fuel tank of your chainsaw for an even and smooth performance.

Final Remarks

To conclude this blog post, I would say that it is essential to sharpen the chain to extend the lifespan of your chainsaw. A dull chain will damage even the most expensive chainsaw beyond repair. You will have to spend just about ten to fifteen minutes on maintaining the sharpness of your chain. Always remember to use proper personal protective equipment for your safety.

  1. Javier Reyes says:

    Can a dull chainsaw chain be dangerous to use?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, a dull chainsaw chain can be dangerous to use. It can cause accidents, overheating, and damage to your chainsaw. Regular sharpening is crucial for safety and efficiency. Stay safe!

  2. Hilda Gregory says:

    Thank you for the detailed explanation on sharpening chainsaw chains!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Hilda! Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions about chainsaw maintenance. Happy cutting!

  3. Evan Walters says:

    I feel more confident about sharpening my chainsaw chain after reading this post.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Evan! I’m glad the post gave you the confidence to sharpen your chainsaw chain. Remember to follow the steps carefully and prioritize safety while doing so. Happy sharpening!

  4. Carmen Barrett says:

    How can I tell if my chainsaw chain is dull?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      To know if your chainsaw chain is dull, check for difficulty cutting through wood and sawdust instead of wood chips. Regularly sharpening the chain will extend its life and ensure safer cutting.

  5. Matthew Morales says:

    How often should you check your chainsaw chain sharpness?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      It is recommended to check the sharpness of your chainsaw chain every few uses to ensure optimal cutting performance and safety. Regular maintenance is key to extending the lifespan of your equipment.

  6. Sally Warren says:

    Is it necessary to clean the chain before sharpening it?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, keeping the chain clean before sharpening is vital to ensure a proper and effective sharpening process. It removes dirt and debris to give you a precise and efficient result.

  7. Jason Fowler says:

    I will definitely be more mindful of sharpening my chainsaw chain regularly.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Jason. Sharpening your chainsaw chain regularly will greatly improve its performance and lifespan. Make sure to follow the steps carefully for better results.

  8. Bertha Hall says:

    What is the ideal sharpening angle for a chainsaw chain?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      The ideal sharpening angle for a chainsaw chain typically ranges from 25 to 30 degrees. This will ensure the best cutting efficiency and performance. Happy sawing!

  9. Alfred Lucas says:

    Is it difficult to sharpen a chainsaw chain at home?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Sharpening a chainsaw chain at home is not difficult with the right tools and guidance. It is essential for better cutting results and to prevent damage to your chainsaw. Find detailed steps in the blog post.

  10. Beth Phillips says:

    The video demonstrations are very helpful for visual learners.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Beth! I’m glad you found the video demonstrations helpful. It’s crucial to maintain the sharpness of your chainsaw chain for efficient cutting results. Make sure to follow the detailed steps for sharpening in the blog post.

  11. Vicki Snyder says:

    Can you sharpen the chain without a guide?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Regularly sharpen your chainsaw chain for optimal performance and safety. Take the time to read through the details to understand the importance of chain sharpness in achieving clean and precise cuts.

  12. Julio Ramos says:

    Great step-by-step guide on sharpening a chainsaw chain at home!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Julio! I’m glad you found the guide helpful. For more details on chainsaw maintenance and sharpening, feel free to check out the full post on the blog.

  13. Jesse Patterson says:

    Does sharpening the chain affect the warranty of the chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, sharpening the chain of your chainsaw does not affect the warranty. Regular sharpening is essential for proper cutting efficiency and extending the lifespan of your chainsaw.

  14. Ellen Duncan says:

    What type of file is best for sharpening chainsaw chains?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, a new chainsaw chain comes sharpened from the factory. But with time, even the sharpest chain will lose its edge. Regular sharpening is key for a precise cut and extending your chainsaw’s lifespan. Stay safe!

  15. Pauline Ford says:

    This post has encouraged me to take better care of my chainsaw chain.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Pauline! Taking care of your chainsaw chain will ensure better performance and extend the lifespan of your chainsaw. Make sure to sharpen it regularly for optimal results.

  16. Eleanor Phillips says:

    Very informative article about maintaining chainsaw chains.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Eleanor! I’m glad you found the article informative. Remember, a sharp chainsaw chain is crucial for effective cutting. Feel free to reach out with any questions. Happy sawing!

  17. Brian Powell says:

    I appreciate the safety tips outlined in this article.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your appreciation, Brian. Regular sharpening of chainsaw chains is crucial for optimal performance and safety. For more details, please refer back to the blog post.

  18. Miriam Sanchez says:

    Do different chainsaws require different sharpening techniques?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, different chainsaws may require different sharpening techniques due to varying angles and types of chains. Check your chainsaw’s manual for specific instructions.

  19. Rita Wagner says:

    Using the correct file diameter for sharpening is key to a successful outcome.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Rita. The correct file diameter is indeed crucial for sharpening chainsaw chains. For more details on this topic, check out the full blog post above.

  20. Lonnie Dean says:

    I never knew how important it was to keep a chainsaw chain sharp until reading this post.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for reading! Keeping your chainsaw chain sharp is crucial for effective cutting. Be sure to follow the steps outlined in the post to maintain the efficiency and lifespan of your chainsaw. Happy sawing!

Comments are closed.