Keeping Your Chainsaw Sharp And Ready
Anyone who has ever used a chainsaw understands the frustration of constant starts and stops as the chain begins to dull.Things are running smoothly at first,and you’re slicing through your project at a pretty good pace,but after a little while the chain starts to get caught in the wood with more and more frequency…it’s time to do some sharpening!
The chain of your chainsaw will,of course,dull with usage,but there are many other factors that may cause a chain to need to be sharpened.For instance,if you cut into a dirt covered log your chain will dull very quickly.Also, accidentally running the chain into things like nails,concrete,or other “hardened” objects will obviously have a bad effect on your chain,so do your best beforehand to check your cutting surface for obstacles.Also,if you are doing some serious, non-stop cutting,it is recommended that you sharpen your chainsaw at least once per hour.
How to Sharpen Your Chainsaw
Once you feel the chainsaw start to “grab” or stop with more frequency,shut the machine down and begin sharpening procedures:
1. Find a good,flat surface to place the chainsaw on (clamping the saw in a vice for stability would be optimal).
2. Make sure that you have a sharpening file that matches the size of the teeth on your chain.
3. Next, you’ll want to make sure the chain is clean and clear of any debris so that nothing interferes with the file or sharpening device.You should have some kind of degreasing detergent at the ready so that you can wipe the chain down and during the cleaning and debris-removal process,make sure there are no damaged or broken teeth on the chain.
4. Before sharpening,take a piece of chalk, a pencil,a crayon, etc.,and mark the tooth on the chain where you begin…so you know where to end.
5. At this point,you’re ready to start sharpening.Find the groove between the teeth (the little notch in front of the tooth…your file should fit right into it)and give about 3-5 good swipes of your file (if you have a good, sharp file,this should be sufficient).Make sure you use the same amount of swipes for every notch/groove so that you keep everything even.Also,try to use the same angle with each swipe;this will contribute to a smoother performance by your chainsaw.
6. Repeat this process one at a time until you have come back around to the tooth where you began.
7. Then, after one side is done,turn the saw around and repeat the process.Again, remember to use the same amount of swipes with the file every time,and try to keep the same angle;uniformity/consistency within the teeth of the chain is very important for evenness and smoothness.
As a general rule,after about 12-or-so times sharpening,you will want to bring the chain into a power tool repair shop or a place that does chainsaw repair, for some professional sharpening.The pros will be able to grind the chain back into shape and get the angles perfect.
So,the next time you plan on spending the day with your chainsaw,have all the tools and supplies ready in order to keep it clean and sharp…to maximize performance and minimize frustration!
David A. Cochran, Director of Sales