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How Often Do You Need To Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

When you own a chainsaw and see that it does not cut as well anymore you will have to decide whether to replace it or sharpen the chain. A chainsaw chain could serve you for more than five years if it is occasionally used, and still help you accomplish most of your tasks. A well-maintained chainsaw is a reliable companion.

How Often Do You Need To Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?

There is not a fixed interval at which you have to sharpen your chain. When you have to sharpen your chainsaw chain dependent on the quality of the chain and how often you use it. When you notice that the saw does not cut as well as before, or you have hit something it is time to sharpen the chain. Always after you have used your chainsaw check the condition of the chain, is it dull, or if any teeth are missing.

Since your goal is to make sure the saw functions well and stays in excellent condition, this article will give you detailed information on how regularly you should sharpen your chainsaw chain!

Look At the Life Expectancy of the Chainsaw

It is good to note the life expectancy of a chainsaw as that determines how often you need to sharpen it. Pay attention to the frequency of your tasks and, most importantly, how the chainsaw chain operates every time you cut logs or trees.

In many cases, the manufacturers will give you a guideline on the number of times you need to sharpen your chainsaw chain. However, the sharpening rate is mainly dependent on two major factors, namely; how much your chainsaw wears and tears and the amount of metal you remove every single time after sharpening.

When Should You Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain?

A general rule of thumb is to sharpen your chain when you notice it is not cutting as well as before. Another way is to look at the sawdust if you see small chunks it is an indication that the chains are getting dull. Large chunks indicate a sharp chain.

To extend the life of your chain you should try to avoid actions that can make your chainsaw chain dull or even damage it. So, when should you sharpen the chain?

● If You Hit Something

When cutting logs or trees, you could hit a hard object like ice, a rock, or a metal. These are some of the top things that can damage your chainsaw chain and reduce its effectiveness. It could also be nails embedded in the wood, which cause damage to your chainsaw chain. Therefore, if possible, avoid such items, and if you happen to hit any of these objects while cutting with your chainsaw, you should sharpen your chainsaw chain immediately.

● Poor Storage

Poor storage of your chainsaw especially in a wet or moist place can affect how your chainsaw looks and operates. That is because your chainsaw will rust, making it hard to cut anything. Lubricate and oil your chainsaw chain quite often to avoid such problems.

● If It Is Dull

If you use your chainsaw and realize that it does not operate as expected, especially if you have to apply force while cutting a tree or log, then it is the right time to sharpen it. Applying force or having difficulty while cutting is a sign that the chain is dull and needs to be sharpened.

How Should You Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain?

There are several methods how to sharpen a chainsaw chain. We will briefly discuss some of them here and include a video for more information. For all methods you need the following:

  • Gloves
  • Chainsaw chain filing kit
  • Protective eyeglasses

● Using a File

A file guide lets you file or sharpen your chainsaw chain easily and it helps to ensure that this power tool is sharp enough for the tasks ahead. Before using the file, mount it on the sharpening guide as it helps you to get accurate and consistent results. That is because the sharpening guide offers a flat surface where you can rest the file and also controls how deep the file can go while sharpening your chainsaw chain. Go for a file whose diameter matches your chainsaw chain’s teeth for the file to sharpen your tool well.

● Electric Sharpeners

These gadgets are powered by electricity and you have to keep them plugged into an electric source or use batteries. While you can have the sharpeners attached to the wall, bench, or table, there are others that are portable. If you are looking for something that keeps you in control and still helps you finish sharpening the chainsaw chain fast, then handheld sharpeners might do the job perfectly.

● Use a Grinder

Using a grinder is more complicated than using a file guide. These tools remove a lot of the metal, and if you’re not careful, you will end up replacing your chainsaw chain. The sharpener reduces the longevity of your chainsaw as it takes more metal than a file. It is best to use this only after using the file guide for at least 40 sharpening sessions. The professionals use grinders to remove the imperfections from the chainsaw so, ensure a grinder is not used regularly to sharpen your chainsaw chain.

Features of a Great Sharpener

Whether you choose a grinder, electric sharpener or a file guide, these are the important things to think about when shopping:

● Mounting choices:

The right way to use chainsaw chain sharpeners is if they are mounted on the wall or a bench. In case you have a working bench, find a sharpener that you can easily mount to make the work easy.

● Ease of Use:

Files and grinders should be ready to use if you want to sharpen your chainsaw chain quickly. Before you take the sharpening tool home, find out how complicated it is to use and if you can operate these sharpening gadgets without contacting professionals. If the tool is easy to operate, it gives you the confidence needed, especially if it is the first time you are sharpening your chain.

FAQs about Chainsaw Sharpening

● Is It Recommended To Buy A Chainsaw Sharpener?

Yes, because having a dull chainsaw is dangerous and could cause serious complications and also delay the number of projects you can do in a day. With a dull chainsaw, it is also almost impossible to complete different tasks, so keep it sharp. If your chainsaw is well-maintained, it will take little effort to sharpen your device when necessary.

● How Do I Know My Chainsaw Requires Sharpening?

You can quickly tell if your chainsaw requires sharpening from how easy or difficult it is to cut trees and logs. In case you find yourself struggling or having to press the chainsaw on the trees and logs, that is proof enough that you must have this tool sharpened.

● How Many Strokes Does Each Tooth Need?

That is dependent on how frequently your chainsaw is used and how dull the chain is. With time, it is easy to know and tell how many strokes is needed. The general rule, however, is anything between three to ten strokes but, look at the dullness of the chain then determine the number of strokes to apply.

● How Often Should You Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain?

The answer varies from one user to the next, considering that every person has different tasks and might be using the tool too often. Be on the lookout for dull chainsaw chains, as it is the first indication that you need to sharpen the gadget. Also, make sure to invest in the right sharpening tools. You can mount your sharpener if you use your chainsaw throughout the year as it makes it easy to sharpen the tool and also helps to avoid accidents.

In most cases, sharpening the chain should happen after ten times of being in use, while in other situations, you have to sharpen it after every session. However, if you notice that even after sharpening, you are still experiencing dullness and unable to complete tasks on time, then it is time to go shopping and replace it.


A well-maintained chainsaw could last for over five years or more as long as you learn the proper ways to take good care of it. You have a chance to carry around portable sharpening tools as a perfect backup tool if you use your chainsaw a lot. Regardless of the tools used to keep your chainsaw functioning as required, estimate to know the right number of times to sharpen it without removing too much metal from the chainsaw, which can happen if it is sharpened too many times.

Look at the activities done and how fast your chainsaw chain becomes dull. It helps you to come up with an exact number of times in a day, week, or month. If a chainsaw is in excellent condition, you can sharpen it about five times a day, which means that it will be effective each time you are doing different tasks. When you use the guide above, it should not be complicated figuring out when the best time to sharpen your chainsaw chain is. That way, you will find yourself being able to carry out more tasks each day.

What to Take Home about Chainsaw Sharpening

The most excellent way to make sure that your chainsaw is not overly sharpened is by having a couple of chains. Again, it can be hard to sharpen your chainsaw with your less dominant hand, so flip your chainsaw over to sharpen all the teeth. Be sure to search for the right sharpeners that you can easily use at home without needing help from an expert.