Chain Saw Sharpening Guide, How to sharpen a chainsaw, Chainsaw sharpening for beginners

Chain saw sharpening guide speaks to how to sharpen a chainsaw and chainsaw sharpening for beginners.

This guide describes chain saw components, sharpening techniques and most importantly safe operating procedures.

It is suggested that for average use a gas or electric powered chain saw with a 12 to 16 inch bar or blade would be a good choice. A typical saw can cut through a 6 inch hardwood log in seconds.

It is suggested that gasoline powered saws have a special clutch which prevents the chain from moving while the motor is idling. When the throttle is opened, the clutch engages and drives the chain.


shroud lock

carburetor adjusting screws

fuel pump

chain brake

chain sprocket

chain sprocket cover

chain catcher

chain tensioner

bumper spike

guide bar

saw chain

chain tensioner

adjusting wheel

handle of wingnut

oil filler cap


front hand guard

front handlebar

spark plug boot

starter grip

fuel filler cap

master control lever

throttle trigger interlock

rear handle

rear hand guard

Chain saw sharpening guide

You must first determine the size or gauge of your saw's chain and you will need to buy either a rotary grindstone or chainsaw file/rattail file that matches your blade. Since there are several sizes of chainsaw teeth, the grindstone or file you choose must be the correct diameter for your saw. Typical sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 inches in diameter.

The chain saw sharpening guide states you must clean the chain. You may use mineral spirits or a commercial degreasing detergent to remove oil, dirt, and debris from your chain. Do not flood or get excessive cleaner on the engine or other components, since some of these products can damage the plastic housing or other parts.

The chain saw sharpening guide states you must inspect the chain for damaged or worn links and teeth. Individual teeth may become chipped, broken, or bent, making them dangerous to use. It is suggested the top plate should be at least 1/4 inch in length. If it is shorter than this, there is a risk it will break while operating your saw. Replace any damaged chains.

The chain saw sharpening guide staes for sharpening, place your saw on a solid surface or clamp the blade in a vice. The saw must be stable and the blade must be supported in a stationary manner to file your saw safely and accurately. Clamping the bar in a vise, with the jaws holding the bar and allowing the chain to rotate freely is the preferred method of holding it.

You must locate the leading cutter. This will be the shortest cutter on the chain. If all of the cutters seem to be the same length, you may start anywhere. The main concern is that you file each cutter so that the flat on top of the cutter is very nearly the same length, so that they each cut away the same amount of wood as they pass through the cut. Note which tooth you start on with some type of mark.

The chain saw sharpening guide suggests you set your file in the notch on the front of the cutter. This is the angled "tooth" on the front of the flat surface of the chain link. The curve of the file should fit the curve of the face of the cutting tip, and the top of the file should be nearly flush with the top of the tooth.

Place the file at the same angle that the cutter is ground or filed to begin with. The standard angle is about 25 degrees on most saws. Slide the file across the face of the cutter, using a moderate twisting motion to discharge metal chips (filings) that are removed. Push the file from the short side of the angle toward the long point. This should leave a smoother cutting surface.

Then work each tooth with the same angle from one side of the chain around the loop. As you progress around the chain, you will want to spin it so the teeth you are filing are on the flat top side of your bar.

Reverse the saw to the other side, and proceed around the unfiled teeth angled in the other direction. Keep an eye on the length of each flat top of the cutter.

Check the clearance of the depth of the rakers, which are the curved hook shaped links between the cutters. They should clear each cutting edge about one tenth of an inch lower than the cutter. This gauges the amount of chip that the cutter removes on each pass through the wood.

A special tool that is laid on top of the blade is available from chainsaw dealers or hardware stores. If the gauge is too high, and must be filed, this tool protects the adjacent tooth as you file the gauge down.

File any rakers that interfere with the cutter (that are too high) with a flat mill bastard file.

Oil your chain (saturate/soak with oil), check the tension, and you should be ready to cut once again.

Safety considerations chain saw sharpening guide

A chain saw is without a doubt the most dangerous power tool in use today. More injuries are caused to the average user than any other tool. When you purchase a chain saw the manufacturer will provide you with safe operating procedures. It is a must that you review these procedures before operating. Children should never be allowed to operate this piece of equipment.

Wear clothing that fits snugly but allows for freedom of movement with no binding. Definitely no scarves or jewelery or long hair. Wear safety boots, safety hat, safety shield or glasses, hearing protection and heavy duty non slip leather gloves.

When transporting the saw always engage the chain brake and attach the chain scabbard. Always carry by the handle bar.

Never refuel the saw when the motor is hot and when starting move at least 10 ft away from where the saw was refueled.

Never let the machine run unattended. Remember that the operator is legally responsible for accidents with the chain saw.

Ensure you have firm and stable footing before beginning work and never work alone.

Do not smoke while using the chain saw.

Be very wary and aware of kickback. Hold the saw firmly with both hands. Always cut at full throttle. Never cut several limbs at once.

Do not fell trees unless you have specialized training. This is a very dangerous procedure.

Do not limb trees unless you have specialized training. Felling and limbing should be left to the professionals who do this for a living.

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