Skip to Content

Electric chainsaw sharpener. Tips from a professional

If you’re a woodworker, forest worker, logger, or simply a regular chainsaw user, you’re probably aware that chainsaw chains wear out and have to be sharpened regularly. While many owners use a file for sharpening, electric chainsaw sharpeners are getting more and more popular.

Sharpening a chainsaw chain with a file is fine, but using an electric chainsaw sharpener makes the job easier and faster. They are more expensive but can be an excellent choice if you regularly need to sharpen your chain. If you are a less experienced user, some models help easily get an evenly sharpened chainsaw chain.

This article will show how to mount and use an electric chainsaw sharpener and whether they’re worth getting one. I will try to answer the question of what the chainsaw sharpener is on the market and how often you should sharpen your chainsaw.

How do you sharpen a chainsaw with an electric chainsaw sharpener?

There are many kinds of electric chainsaw sharpening systems, and they vary in many different ways. The exact procedure will differ from system to system and will take some time to get used to.

But there are some essentials steps that you need to follow with each electric chainsaw sharpener:

  • Step 1. Check the chain: Examine your saw chain and make sure that it is in need of sharpening.
  • Step 2. Mount: Mount the sharpener appropriately
  • Step 3. Angle: Adjust the sharpening angle
  • Step 4. Depth: Adjust how far the sharpener goes down into each teeth
  • Step 5. Sharpen: Sharpen the teeth 
  • Step 6. Rotate: Rotate to sharpen the teeth facing the other side
  • Step 7, File: File the depth gauges

Let’s get into the details:

● Step 1: Check the chain

First, you’ll need to examine your saw chain. You want to make sure that it’s not too damaged or overused. In particular, you should keep an eye for the most worn-out tooth of the chain and mark it. You’ll use this as a benchmark for the degree you sharpen to, as you want the entire saw chain to be even and balanced.

If you notice that the chain is damaged, I recommend replacing it. Damage can occur when the chain has hit a rock or other sharp object.

● Step 2: Mount the electric sharpener on the chain

Some electric chainsaw sharpeners don’t need you to remove the chain from the chainsaw bar. You can sharpen the saw chain while it is on the chainsaw directly. However, most sharpeners will. Remove the chain and put the chain into the sharpener with the marked tooth directly under the blade.

● Step 3: Adjust the sharpening angle

There are a few adjustments you’ll need to make before you can begin sharpening. First, adjust the sharpening angle. The saw chain holder can be adjusted in terms of its orientation. Usually, saw chains are meant to be filed at a 30-degree angle to the spinning blade. This angle may differ for certain chains, so check the appropriate angle for your particular model. 

● Step 4: Adjust the depth

Next, adjust the blade stop so that the spinning blade is just grazing the edge of each tooth. Adjust how far down the blade will go. You want the blade to go as far down the tooth as possible without coming into contact with the chain itself. This will sharpen the teeth of your saw chain optimally.

● Step 5: Start with sharpening the chainsaw chain

You can begin the sharpening process now. Keep in mind that saw chains have teeth facing different directions in alternating order. This means that you need to sharpen every other tooth in your first round of sharpening. 

I recommend marking the starting tooth. So you know when you have done one full side.

● Step 6: Rotate when one side has been sharpened

Once you’re back at the marked tooth, rotate the chain holder so that you can start sharpening the teeth facing the other direction. Once you’re done with those, all the teeth of your saw chain are sharpened.

● Step 7: File the depth gauge if needed

Lastly, saw chains have a designated ‘depth gauge.’ Depth gauges are the round pieces of metal in front of each tooth, and their purpose is to control how much material each tooth can remove in a single rotation. The depth gauge shows the required height difference between the edge of the teeth and their respective depth gauges. 

Their size decreases when you sharpen the teeth, so the depth gauges need to be adjusted to maintain the correct height difference. Otherwise, the saw chain loses efficiency. You can use a file for this. You only need to file the depth gauges once every few times you sharpen the chain

What is the best electric chainsaw sharpener?

What is the best electric chainsaw sharpener is, is debatable. I see some blog posts that only show sharpeners from Amazon with a link or a brand that pays the most commission.

Many factors come into play to choosing one that is best for your situation, such as how often you need to sharpen your chainsaws, your budget, and whether you prefer a smaller, handheld version, or a desk/wall-mounted, heavy-duty version.

The best electric chainsaw sharpener for you would offer you efficiency, ease of use, and great control over the amount of sharpening you want.

The Oregon 120V Bench Mounted Saw Chain Grinder is a great electric chainsaw sharpener if I need to name one. It can be mounted on your workbench, spins at around 3400 RPM, and can be adjusted to sharpen most cutting link pitches. It comes with three grinding wheels and has a built-in light, as often, the light in a workplace is not optimal.

While there are also other great options out there, this is one I think is a good choice.

Is it worth sharpening a chainsaw chain?

It is essential and well worth regularly checking and sharpening your chainsaw chain. A sharper chainsaw cuts through material faster and with less effort. You need to apply much more force on the chainsaw with a dull chain, making the work more dangerous and increasing the likelihood of injury.

On a surface level, it may seem like the sharpness of your chainsaw chain is only tied to how well it performs in terms of cutting the wood, but there’s more than that. Using a dull chainsaw chain forces you to apply more force to be able to cut.

This is a problem because of several reasons:

  • Reason 1. More wear: Applying more force causes more friction to be generated, and the components in your chainsaw wear out faster.
  • Reason 2. Rough cut: Dull chainsaws produce a rough cut and much more fine dust when cutting wood. This dust may not only get into your eyes, but it can also clog the air filter and even damage the internal parts of your chainsaw over time.
  • Reason 3. Fatigue: Applying more force causes fatigue much sooner. It is never a good idea to use a chainsaw when tired. Chainsaws demand strength and control and handling them while tired could result in an injury.
  • Reason 4. Kickback: Using a dull blade increases the chance of a kickback, which is one of the most common causes of injury while using a chainsaw.

I recommend checking your chainsaw chain each time before starting with your job. Check that it Keeping your chainsaw sharpened is always advisable. While you could have someone else do it, doing it yourself is relatively inexpensive and does not take long, especially with the help of an electric chainsaw sharpener.

When should you sharpen your chainsaw?

It would be best to sharpen your chainsaw whenever it starts to become dull. Signs of a dull chainsaw include a longer time to cut, producing more fine sawdust than usual, rough cuts, and the need to apply excessive force.

The most obvious sign is a reduction in the cutting ability of your chainsaw and an increase in the time it takes you to cut through the same objects.

I recommend checking the chain before or after your chainsaw job. Check if the chain needs sharpening and if it is not damaged. If you work for several hours, it is a good idea to check during the job as well. Sharpening does not take long, and a sharp chain can make the cutting much more efficient. If the chain is damaged, replace it.

How do you mount an electric chainsaw sharpener?

Mounting an electric chainsaw sharpener is a simple process that can be completed in a few minutes. All you need is a sturdy workbench or table to place the sharpener on and space to maneuver. Remove the chainsaw chain from the saw and loosen the chain tensioner screw.

Feed the chain through the sharpener’s guide slots, making sure that the teeth are facing forward. Tighten the chain tensioner screw and make any necessary adjustments to the sharpener’s guide slots to hold the chain securely in place.

Plugin the sharpener and turn it on. Gently guide the chainsaw blade against the rotating grinding wheel until all of the teeth are sharpened.

How many times can you sharpen the chainsaw chain?

Generally, most chains can be sharpened up to 10 times, and sometimes even more. But, there is no hard number on how many times you can do this before it needs to be replaced. It largely depends upon the type of material you cut with your chainsaw. Always replace a damaged chainsaw chain.

Materials such as iron and rock are much tougher to cut than wood and will undoubtedly cause your chain to wear out faster. In the event that a tooth chips off or breaks, the chain cannot be used and has to be repaired or replaced.