Sharpening your chain saw

a full woodshed is like money in the bank.
a full woodshed is like money in the bank.

a sharpened chain saw makes getting firewood easy

Okay, I don't always sharpen my own chain saw blade. But I do love cutting when the teeth are sharp. This time of year, at least in the northern regions, folks might be getting firewood stashed for the coming winter. With higher heating bills, wood heat is making a comeback as one way to save money. There are many ways to get firewood, including purchasing it. If you have woods on your own property, a chainsaw is an essential tool to harvest your firewood.

Chainsaws can be very frustrating if they are not running well. A fouled spark plug, a dirty air filter, bad gas and oil mixture, and lack of bar oil all hinder or prevent your progress. A new chain will stretch after it gets warm and needs to be tightened. A chain saw chain should have the right links for the sprocket on the saw. The bar gets worn also and should be turned or rotated to even the wear. There are round files with guides that assist you in the right angle to sharpen the teeth. There is also something called a raker tooth which needs to be the right height. If it is too low it won't do its job of pulling out the sawdust or woodchips from the cutting blades. If it is too high, it will prevent the blade from cutting.

There is sometimes a grease fitting at the sprocket on the end of the chain saw bar. The saw will tell you when it is dull. When you are cutting through a piece of firewood, the cut will curve instead of going straight through. It will also heat up the wood from the friction. Instead of nice big wood chips and easy cutting, the sawdust will be fine.


Being Careful

Cutting with a dull saw is not only hard work, but probably more dangerous. If you don't have the chain tightened correctly, it might come off the bar. It should be loose enough to turn freely on the bar.

To be honest, I am not a big fan of sharpening my own chain saw blades. It could be because I am lazy, or from the fear of doing it wrong. I have done it. I also have tried using a Dremel with a special chain saw grinder. I also like to have a spare sharpened or new chain saw blade handy. I get in trouble when I forget to label which is which; a problem when you have more than one chain saw and they are different brands.

Electric chain saws are basically the same except for the cord, which you definitely want to keep out of the vicinity of the blade.

In conclusion, in the past, I have brought my chain saws, or just the blades into a saw sharpening place for around six bucks. They do the job professionally, and it might take a day or two. I also am thankful my dad sharpens blades. At some point, I might get serious and sharpen my own. There is always a tension between doing stuff on your own, or paying to have it done. In my case, getting the firewood is enough work in itself and I prefer, if possible to get the blades done at the correct angle, etc.

At some point when the blade has been resharpened many times, you need to bite the bullet and not use that chain any more. In my case, being a packrat of sorts, that means they will hang on a nail in your garage for some time. Oh well.

Chainsaw Sharpening

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Benjimester profile image

Benjimester 7 years ago from San Diego, California

There's my woodpile. This year's gonna be better.

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