How to Sharpen a Chainsaw: A Comprehensive Guide


If you use a chainsaw for any sort of woodcutting, you already know how crucial it is to keep the chain sharp. A dull chain will require more effort, reduce performance and efficiency, which increases the risk of operator fatigue and accidents. In this article, we will not only explore the importance of sharpening a chainsaw, but also provide a comprehensive guide on how to effectively sharpen a chainsaw, including a step-by-step guide, video tutorial, infographic, common mistakes, best practices, and tool reviews

Before we get started learning how to sharpen a chainsaw, let’s consider an interesting fact: Did you know that over 36,000 people are treated for chainsaw-related injuries each year? While not all of these injuries are caused by dull chains, many of them could be prevented if people properly maintained and sharpened their chainsaw blades.

Step-by-Step Guide

Sharpening your chainsaw can be intimidating, but with the right tools and a good guide, it’s easier than you think. Below is a step-by-step guide to help you sharpen your chainsaw at home:

  1. Start by cleaning the chainsaw thoroughly to remove all dirt and debris. This will make it easier to see the condition of the teeth when you begin the sharpening process
  2. Identify the cutting tooth pitch by checking the numbers on the bar mount.
  3. Select the correct file diameter for the chain you are sharpening.
  4. Secure the chainsaw guide bar and chain in a chainsaw vise.
  5. Use the file guide to file the cutting teeth to the correct angle.
  6. Move on to the next tooth and continue the process until all of the teeth are sharpened.
  7. Finally, make sure the depth gauge settings are correct to avoid kickback.
  8. Give your chainsaw a quick test when you’re done to make sure it cuts properly.

It’s important to note that the above steps are general and may differ for various types of chainsaws. Therefore, it’s recommendable to review the manufacturers’ instructions before beginning to sharpen your chainsaw.

Video Tutorial

If you’re a visual learner, we’ve created a video tutorial demonstrating how to sharpen a chainsaw. Follow along with the video, or use the written transcript provided, for a more hands-on experience.


  1. Put on protective gear to prevent any injury risks.
  2. Secure the saw in a vice or clamp the chainsaw bar to the edge of your work table.
  3. File the first cutting tooth along its original angle while holding the file guide against the top plate and the file against the side plates; repeat this filing action until you reach the last tooth.
  4. When sharpening the teeth on the other side of the chain, make sure to hold the saw securely so you don’t accidentally cut yourself.
  5. File the depth gauge to maintain its height if it’s been ground down by the sharpening of the cutting teeth.
  6. Fit the chain back to the saw, adjusting its tension to allow for a quarter-inch play. Test it to make sure that it’s sharp enough


For a quick reference guide, we’ve created an infographic to help you visualize the steps to sharpening a chainsaw. Follow the steps illustrated in the infographic to easily sharpen your chainsaw at home.

Infographic on Sharpening Chainsaw

Common Mistakes

Many individuals make common sharpening mistakes that can lead to the overall deterioration of their chainsaw blades. Let’s review some of the common mistakes:

  1. Not properly wearing protective equipment before working with the sharp blades.
  2. Using the wrong file size and type for the chain you’re sharpening.
  3. Creating a sharpening angle that is too shallow.
  4. Over-sharpening teeth, altering the tooth angle and creating an irregular tooth size.
  5. Skipping teeth, which can lead to uneven cutting.

To avoid these common mistakes, make sure to choose the right file size and angle, take your time, and check your sharpening process often.

Best Practices

Maintaining a chainsaw blade properly is essential to its longevity and performance. To ensure that your chainsaw remains sharp and in good condition, consider these best practices:

  1. Perform regular chainsaw maintenance.
  2. Clean the chainsaw after each use to avoid debris accumulation on the blade and teeth.
  3. Store the chainsaw blade in a dry and cool area to avoid rusting.
  4. Keep the chainsaw’s chain sharp to help extend the overall life of the chainsaw and improve its quality of work.
  5. Always consult the manufacturer’s guidelines when performing repairs or maintenance on your chainsaw.

Tool Reviews

There are many tools on the market that can help you get the job done when it comes to sharpening your chainsaw. We’ve reviewed some of the top chainsaw sharpening tools on the market:

1. Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder

This model by Oregon is a consistent and powerful tool that allows you to sharpen heavy-duty chainsaws. It’s a premium chainsaw sharpener that’s perfect for those who use chainsaws regularly.

2. Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener

This portable sharpening machine is unique as it clamps over the bar unlike other sharpening tools. It can make your chainsaw sharp in less than ten seconds!

3. Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

The electric chainsaw sharpener is perfect for those who want the sharpening process to be fast and effortless. It is also ideal for novice users who don’t want to spend much time learning how to use the tool.


When done effectively, chainsaw sharpening will save you time, avoid accidents, save money, and prolong the life of your chainsaw blade. Whether you’re an experienced professional or a novice, knowing how to sharpen your chainsaw is an important skill that can help you take care of your chainsaw effectively. Use this guide to help you get started, and be sure to invest in the right chainsaw sharpening tools. Once you’ve learned the process, you’ll find that sharpening your chainsaw blade isn’t just easy, but can also be a rewarding activity that helps you get the most out of your chainsaw.

Now that you’ve read and learned about chainsaw sharpening, why not try it out for yourself? Leave a comment below and share your experience with other readers.

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