Three Easy Ways to Keep Your Chainsaw Sharp

A chainsaw is one of the handiest tools you own, but if it’s dull, it’s useless.

A chainsaw is only as useful as its chain is sharp; however, keeping the business end in good working order can be a challenge. On the surface, sharpening a chain looks complicated. The teeth are angled in two directions with multiple cutting edges on different planes, one requiring a round file and the other a flat file to properly hone. But like most things, sharpening a chainsaw can be as difficult or as easy as one chooses to make it. Instead of running to the hardware store for a new blade every time yours gets dull, or paying to have it brought back to life, consider investing in one of these proven tools for always keeping your chain in perfect cutting shape.

One-Way Motor

Features a built-in light to see your work clearly. Oregon

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If you take your saw to a shop for sharpening, the pros are undoubtedly going to put it on a machine. You can get the same results at home with a bench-mounted electric grinder. If you burn firewood in the winter or do a lot of clearing or timber felling and processing, an electric grinder is a worthwhile investment.

Multipurpose Tool

Helps you maintain the proper angle on your blade. STIHL

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Hand sharpening the snaggle-toothed cutters of a chainsaw chain is a bit of an artform. The ability to maintain proper filing angles and pressure is something that only comes with practice. However, you can shorten the learning curve by using a simple handheld sharpening guide. These devices remove the guesswork and allow you to cut with the correct file size held at a precise angle for perfect hand sharpening every time.

Ultra Lightweight

Ideal for quick touch-ups in the field. EtekStorm

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If hand sharpening your chain seems a little daunting and you don’t want to invest in an automatic grinder, a bar-mounted sharpener is a happy medium. These devices mount to the bar tip and, with the motor very slowly running, gently depress a whetstone onto the top plate of the cutters. However, you may still need to become proficient with a round file in order to dress the vertical cutting edge of each tooth, which lies perpendicular to the top plate. But for quick touch-ups in the field, a bar-mounted sharpener is an effective and affordable option.