How Often to Sharpen Chainsaws? – Don’t Overdo It

To get the best cutting experience from a chainsaw, sharpening the blade is a must. But the question is, how often to sharpen chainsaws?

You should sharpen the chainsaw after every 3 or so tanks of gas or after 5-6 hours of continuous use. Some people used to sharpen it before every project. Besides, if your chainsaw gets hit with metal or dirt, sharpen it immediately, or it will damage the blade.

But how long to sharpen chainsaw? You do not need to sharpen it for a long time with lots of effort. It only takes 5-10 minutes to sharpen a chainsaw chain. So try to sharpen it when needed to keep your machine running and get the best result.

How to know if your chainsaw chain needs sharpening?

How Often to Sharpen Chainsaw
How Often to Sharpen Chainsaw

If you want to know how often to sharpen chainsaw chain, you must know the signs. If you have the following issues with your chainsaw, then it is time to sharpen.

  • If your saw is spitting wood dust instead of chips, it is time to sharpen.
  • When you need to put more strength to cut something, chances are high your saw is dull.
  • If your saw is balancing one side, it needs sharpening.
  • When the blade itself is not pulling into the wood.
  • If the saw is making smoke when cutting even the tension and oiling is ok.
  • When the saw is making an uneven cut.

If you find any of the signs, simply sharpen your chainsaw and start cutting again. These signs will tell you how often to sharpen chainsaw mill.

How to sharpen your chainsaw properly – 8 easy steps

How Often to Sharpen Chainsaw
How Often to Sharpen Chainsaw

The process of sharpening a chainsaw is described below.

Step 1: Get the Right Tools 

First things first – you’re going to need the right tools for the job. 

In addition to a chainsaw, you’ll need 

  • A chainsaw file
  • A depth gauge 
  • A flat-file

Step 2: Inspect the Chain 

Take a close look at your chainsaw to make sure that it’s not damaged. Look for any cracks, chips, or other damage that could cause the chain to break while sharpening. If you find any damage, fix it before proceeding. Depending on the condition, you need to determine how much to sharpen chainsaw mill.

Step 3: Cleaning the chainsaw chain

The chainsaw may be full of dirt, grease, and debris, which can affect your sharpening process. To clean it,

  • First, turn off the machine
  • Wear work gloves and safety glasses. 
  • Take an old towel.
  • Use it to clean the debris and grease. 
  • If there are any hard objects, use an old screwdriver or wire scraper brush to remove them. 

Sometimes you cannot remove oil or debris with your bare hand. In that case, use mineral spirits to do the job. 

Step 4: Set up the tension of the chain

It is important to set the tension perfectly to get the best results.. To adjust it,

  • Look for the tension control screen on your chain saw. 
  • Turn it to the right side or left to increase and decrease the tension. 
  • Hold the chain and pull it underneath the guide bar. 

If it automatically gets back into its position, it means it has enough tension. When it doesn’t get back, turn the screw in the right direction to set the tension again.

Step 5: Place the chainsaw

Stabilizing and placing the chainsaw will make the sharpening easier. To do it,

  • Hold the chainsaw. 
  • Now place it in a table vise and use clamps to hold the saw.
  • Make sure the clamps can hold the guide bar. 
  • Now rotate the chain until it can move freely.

Step 6: Sharpen the short cutter first

It is better to start the sharpening process with the shortest cutter. Be careful when dealing with the short cutter.

  • Look for the shortest blade on your chain saw. 
  • It is better to sharpen the teeth first. You should always sharpen your chainsaw at between 25° and 35° angles.
  • Use a marker to mark that tooth. This mark will point in the direction you have started sharpening. 
  • Complete the whole sharpening process in that direction.

Step 7:  Stroke the teeth of the blade at the same angle

Now stroke the teeth of the blade at the same angle. Start the stabbing process with the marked tooth. To do it,

  • Put the head of the chainsaw’s cutter in a notched section. 
  • Now hold the file at a similar angle.
  • Insert it inside the teeth of the bleeder. 
  • Start twisting the file so that it can get attached perfectly. 

Now do the same step for every second cutter.

Step 8: Make sure to sharpen the other side

When the sharpening process of one side is completed, you need to sharpen the other side. 

  • Hold the saw in the opposite direction from where you start sharpening. 
  • Now file the opposite-sided teeth. 
  • Start with a tooth and file all of them in the same direction. 

After the filing process is completed, you will see the top side of the cutters has the same length.

Check the depth gauges to see if they are shorter than the surrounding cutter or not. When you get any gauges that are longer than the others, file them at the same length.

The method is the same for all types chainsaws. So if you are in look for “how often to sharpen Stihl chainsaw”, the answer will be the same.

In case you miss something, check this video out:


Now you know how often to sharpen chainsaw blade. Sharpening the chainsaw is vital to keep the machine going and cut the trees and woods smoothly. Without proper sharpening, it is impossible to get the best result. A chainsaw can last a maximum of 4-5 hours effectively before sharpening. So do it regularly.

Sharpening is not tough as well. You need to sharpen your chainsaw for up to 10 minutes and you can sharpen it more than 100 times. The secret of sharpening a chainsaw lies in the attention and care you give while sharpening. So sharpen it to get the job done with less effort yet the best result.

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Johnathan Brewer

Hello, I’m Johnathan Brewer, a professional woodworker and power tools salesperson. I’ve worked with top interior designers and architects of the city. With an experience of 11 years in this field, I can suggest the best tips for bigger DIYers. I help my friends and neighbors with their tools. I specialize in restoring, repairing, designing, and decorating. There are even some great woodworking tactics that I’d love to share with you. With that information and suggestions, you can do really good professional work in a very short time.

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