When it is time to sharpen a chainsaw, you will know it immediately – your chainsaw is no longer able to chew through wood, and the waste are more of a sawdust than wood chips. But before we learn how to go about it, let us take a look at what a chainsaw is made of.
A typical chainsaw has the ability to cut wood with an instant blow and this comes from the opposing cutters that are spaced along the chain of the instrument. The cutter has a flat-faced depth gauge to control the depth while cutting woods and cutting element that is dual-profile in nature. The element profiles known as top plate and side plate come with three angles that are different from one another but work well to cut wood quickly.
1. First, gather the tools. Although a few chainsaw manufacturers provide sharpening tools that are more suitable for their brands, to sharpen a chain, you will need a round file that is perfectly sized to match the chain’s pitch. This means for 1/4 and 3/8 inch low-profile chains, you need to choose a 5/32 inches file. For 3/8 and 0.404 chains, use a 7/32 file. You also need a 6 inches flat file, a depth gauge filing guide, a stump vise, and a pair of gloves that are heavy, safe and comfortable.
2. For those working in a field, the saw should be secured with a stump vise. For those working in their garages, use the bench vise to secure the saw and make sure the surface is flat.
3. Next, place the file guide on top of the cutter and the round file within the cutter but across the guide. Once this is in position, draw the file starting from inside the cutter and moving toward outside with full strokes.
4. When the cutters are sharpened on one side of the chain, it is time to move to the other side. As the cutters are sharpened, the space between the depth gauges of the chain and the cutting elements of the cutters becomes smaller and smaller. So, make sure to file the depth gauge in order to offset the reduction. Some manufacturers offer sharpening guides that do double duty as depth gauge guides. If you don’t own one, use a guide meant for depth gauges.
5. Place the guide on the chain so that the top surface is resting squarely on the top plates of the chain. Stroke the cutter from inside and moving toward outside using a 6 inches flat file until the depth gauge is exposed with the slot’s top. Repeat this step until the rest of the depth gauges are of equal height.
6. Make sure to file in a way that would produce no hook. When there is a hook, the chain is exposed to unnecessary strain and increased vibration. You don’t want this to happen when you are working with the tool. Correctly sharpened chainsaw produces no movement when they are in use.
7. When the chains are sharpened, your chainsaw is ready for more action. Note that, if your work involves a heavy schedule with the chainsaw, you will have to repeat all of the above sequences a couple of times to make the best use of the tool.