How To Sharpen A Chainsaw Chain With A Round File Correctly

DIY chainsaw sharpening
Sharpening the chainsaw chain with your own hands The chain tooth planes the wood like a plane, and the thickness of the chips is adjusted by the height of the limiter. Intense sawing results in rapid dullness

General rules for sharpening chainsaw chains. Chain teeth parameters

To achieve optimal cutting properties, the tooth blades are angled. The back of the tooth falling back at an angle forms the posterior angle of the upper blade. This angle is needed to cut the upper blade into the wood.

The backward tapering blade of the tooth forms the back angle of the end blade. This angle is needed for side cutting of the chips.

The edge of the end blade forms a rake angle with the sliding surface of the cutting link. The rake angles for different types of chains range from 60 ° to 85 °.

The back angle of the top blade refers to the backward tilt of the top blade.

This angle is measured relative to the sliding plane of the cutting link and, depending on the type of saw chain, ranges from 50 ° to 60 °. The top blade is the main blade and the back corner of the top blade. This is the most important corner. The clearance angle of the upper blade is difficult to measure, and the correct value is obtained by observing other prescribed values.

The sharpening angle or entering angle is obtained by measuring from the top cutting edge at right angles to the guide bar.

The sharpening angle can be changed, depending on the application. Rule of thumb: the larger the sharpening angle, the higher the cutting performance when cutting non-frozen softwood. Reducing the angle of sharpening when cutting frozen and / or hard wood contributes to a smoother saw blade and less vibration. However, sharpening angles greater than 35 ° and less than 25 ° should be avoided (except for rip chains where this angle is 10 °).

The rake angle, sharpening angle and upper blade angle change during sharpening. These angles have a decisive influence on the cutting performance of the chain. Be sure to observe the prescribed values.

A depth gauge is located on each cutting link in front of the tooth blade. The difference in height between the top edge of the depth gauge and the front edge of the back of the tooth is defined as the distance of the depth gauge.

The depth of penetration of the upper blade into the wood (chip thickness) and thus the productivity depends on the distance of the depth gauge. The distance of the depth gauge is set depending on the chain pitch and type of execution. Normally, it should be 0.5-0.8 mm, more often 0.6 mm. High values ​​will lead to an increased tendency of the chainsaw to kickback, too much grip and chain vibration. Low values ​​lead to a drop in performance. Since the distance of the depth gauge decreases with each sharpening of the saw due to a decrease in the upper edge of the tooth, the depth gauge also needs to be filed periodically. After 5-10 chain sharpenings.

DIY chainsaw sharpening

The chain tooth planes the wood like a plane, and the chip thickness is adjusted by the height of the stop.

Intense sawing will quickly dull the chain. Several sharpenings may be required within one day. The problem is aggravated by the fact that the tooth quickly dulls when it meets the ground. It is enough to hook the soil with the tire once or twice, and the work can be stopped. The shavings become fine and the saw stops going deep into the wood.

The sooner dull teeth are sharpened, the less material needs to be removed during sharpening, as a result. The service life of the saw chain is longer. Determining the moment when sharpening is already required is quite simple. An important feature is the feed force. A properly sharpened chain is pulled into the cut with just a little pressure. If, on the contrary, the chainsaw is forced to cut by an increased feed force, then the teeth are dull. A dull chain can also be recognized if only small chips fly out of the cut instead of coarse, thick chips.

In this situation, the chainsaw must be sharpened urgently. Do not cut with a dull or defective saw chain. The consequence is high stress in the body, high cyclic load, poor cutting results. In addition, this means reduced productivity, high fuel consumption and increased wear on all parts of the chainsaw.

Chain sharpeners

The round file holder has a mowing line that can be correctly positioned in relation to the chain. The holder fits onto the sharpened tooth in accordance with the line orientation. In this case, the insert itself rests on the upper edge of the tooth and the depth gauge, and the file is located under the cutting edge.

The use of a holder ensures that the file will fit to the tooth at the correct height. There are different holders for different pitches of the saw chain. The correct choice of holder, combined with the correct file diameter, ensures that the file protrudes over the back of the tooth by 1/5 of its diameter. Use only special saw chain files.

Before sharpening the chainsaw chain, it is advisable to secure the bar. When sharpening, it is necessary, keeping the position of the holder and pressing the file to the sharpened edge, to make several (2-3) turning movements away from you. Do not try to press too hard on the file, the movements should be smooth and measured. Rotate the file regularly to avoid one-sided wear. All other teeth are sharpened in the same way. It is more convenient to first sharpen the teeth in one direction, then change the position and do the same with the teeth in the other direction.

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When sharpening all teeth, file the same number of strokes at the same pressure. This will result in the same tooth length. All cutting teeth must be of the same length. Different tooth lengths cause uneven chain running and cracking. If the length of the teeth is not the same, all cutting teeth must be filed to the length of the shortest tooth.

After several sharpening of the cutting teeth, the depth gauge is ground. To do this, a template is superimposed on it so that the limiter falls into the slot, and the tip protruding from the slot is grinded with a flat file.

The principle of using a different set for sharpening chainsaws is no different from the first, although its design is different.

A round file is also used to sharpen the cutting tooth, and the depth gauge is used to sharpen the depth gauge. Flat. A special template provides parameters for sharpening both cutting teeth and stops. In the first case, it is superimposed on the chain in such a way that it falls into its slots. The file, placed on the template and brought under the cutting edge, rests on the guide rollers. The direction of movement of the file must be parallel to the lateral edges of the template.

When sewing the stopper, the template is applied so that the stopper falls into the slot, near which it says SOFT (for soft wood) or HARD (for hard wood). As in the case of the first tool, the file is seamed with smooth, even movements of the flat file away from you.

Chainsaw chain sharpening machines

Stihl produces two versions of hand-held machine tools. Stationary FG 2 and mobile FG 1 mounted directly on the tire. There are analogues of lesser-known companies, comparable in price with the simpler devices described above.

The working part of these devices structurally resembles a bow saw, into which a round long file is inserted instead of a saw blade. FG 1 and FG 2 not only sharpen chains, but also straighten them, adjusting the length of the top edge of all teeth to the same size. On the smallest tooth, which is taken as the control one. A rather complex configuration mechanism allows you to set all the necessary parameters. Sharpening is done with 2-3 movements, after which they proceed to the next tooth, keeping for it all the settings that were made for the control tooth. This ensures the same sharpening parameters for all teeth. When sewing the stopper, the round file changes to a flat file.

Simple and convenient to use electric chain sharpener for chainsaws. It has an adjustment system that allows you to set the chain at the desired angle and bring the disc exactly to the sharpened edge. There are machines that automatically clamp the vice when the disc is lowered onto the chain.

Files and tools

The main one with which the saw tooth is sharpened is round. Flat is used to adjust the height of the cutting depth gauge.

File holder

The round file is installed in the holder and fixed with special clips. There are several markings on the plane of the holder that indicate a specific sharpening angle. When straightening the chain with a file with a holder, the markings on the device are placed parallel to the chainsaw tire, which allows you to accurately maintain the required angle.

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw Chain With A Round File Correctly


For those who are just learning how to sharpen a chainsaw chain on their own, it will be useful to take into account a few basic tips on how to carry out this process correctly.

  1. For any manipulations with the chain, the engine must be shut off, in no case is it permissible to sharpen the chainsaw chain on a running saw.
  2. The chain must be tightened to normal working condition before sharpening.
  3. The chain brake must be set to the working position when dressing.
  4. When sharpening the chain, gloves must be worn to protect against cuts from the sharp edges of the teeth.
  5. Observance of the same number of movements with the file is guaranteed to ensure uniform grinding of all teeth.

Below you can see how to sharpen a chainsaw chain with a file on, it describes in detail which files you need to use. How best to position the chainsaw. And of course, how the sharpening tool should be positioned in relation to the saw bar.

Finally, I would like to note the main advantages of sharpening with a file, compared with straightening the chain in the machine.

How to properly sharpen a chainsaw chain with a file

During operation, the chainsaw chain periodically requires sharpening. A special machine can be used for dressing, but it is better to learn how to sharpen with files. As a rule, two types are used for sharpening.

Description of the sharpening process

Let’s take a closer look at how to sharpen a chainsaw chain. The first thing to do is to prepare a place for installing the clamp, or if the process takes place without it, then it is convenient to use a regular log as a stop for fixing the tire in the horizontal plane. The chainsaw is installed on a flat surface, the log is placed under the tire, the brake is activated.

The next stage is direct sharpening of the tooth. To do this, a round file is made to move from the inside of the tooth to the outside.

It is very important at this point to maintain the correct sharpening angle. The standard angle is thirty degrees from the file perpendicular to the plane of the tire. The correct positioning is shown below.

In the process of sharpening a chainsaw for a non-standard cut, for example, longitudinal. The sharpened angle is changed to a less acute one. As a rule, it is no more than 10 °. It is in such cases that a holder, hand-held machines or filing gauges are used to control the sharpening angle.

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Some manufacturers of chains for chainsaws, to facilitate sharpening, as well as to indicate the maximum possible sharpening, a special mark is made on the upper surface of the tooth.

By keeping the file parallel to the mark, you can be sure that the correct angle is being observed.

In the process of straightening the chain, it is customary to sharpen the teeth first on one side, and then on the other, this is convenient since there is no need to constantly change its position in relation to the chainsaw.

After the working teeth have been sharpened, it is necessary to adjust the height of the limiting tooth with a flat file. To do this, the filing gauge is placed on the chain in such a way that the limiting tooth coincides with its slot, after which the protruding part is grinded with a file. This procedure is performed on all restraining teeth.


This device allows you to hold the bar of the chainsaw while sharpening. For its correct use, the process must take place directly at the cutting site. The clamp is hammered into a tree or board, then the tire is clamped into it and securely fixed against displacement. The device can be used for all types of tires, regardless of size.

In some cases, for example, in garage conditions, instead of a clamp, you can use a conventional vise, the tire is clamped in them so that the vise jaws do not interfere with the free movement of the chain. Further, sharpening is performed according to the usual scenario.

File and chainsaw. A successful tandem!

Remember that you must pay attention to each link in the chain. The rule should also be taken into account that the efficiency of the saw is determined by the difference in heights: we are talking about the distance between the cutting teeth and the limiter itself. Differences in height parameters allow the teeth to cut into the tree (usually a stop tooth in its characteristics should be about 0.7 mm lower than the cutting tooth).

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain. Instructions for action

Do you want to use sawing equipment for a long time? Then take care of its timely prevention. It is necessary to sharpen the tool as needed.

How to sharpen a chainsaw correctly. We will tell you the tool yourself!

A chainsaw without a normal chain belt is like a machine without a motor. This proven postulate will be confirmed by any tech-savvy person. The chain should always be well sharpened if you want to always use your chainsaw. Otherwise, she will not forgive you for miscalculations. This means that you will not see accuracy, efficiency and safety of work.

Any professional will confirm that the final result of such a laborious activity as working with a chainsaw will depend on sharpening the teeth of your tool, even more than on the motor itself. Experienced lumberjacks give the following good advice. Sharpening is necessary as the sharpening sharpness deteriorates. If you have to put in a lot more effort than before, the saw starts to cut as it pleases and changes the angle, slowing down your work, in which case you have no choice. Start sharpening.

Pay attention to the sharpness of the chain and escaping chips. If everything is in order with sharpness and sharpening, then your chips will be almost uniform, and the resulting sawdust will be square in shape. If the need for sharpening is ripe, then this will be seen by the dust in the shavings and sawdust in the form of needles.

The chain sharpening process is more difficult than sawing!

Don’t think that everything will turn out so easy the first time. But if you get the hang of it, you will achieve success. The cutting teeth must be sharpened first. For this, a special template is imposed. When sharpening along it, the arrows will indicate the direction of movement. Do not use physical force in such cases, but try to carry out uniform pressing at an angle directly to the saw bar with smooth and precise movements.

Experts remind that the angle of the slope itself in practice can be different and depends on the pitch of the chain. The main thing in such a jewelry and laborious work is not to rush and, as an option, remember how many movements you made. This practice of counting will allow you not to overdo it in one place and remember to perform the same amount of load in another.

Sharpened cutting teeth, it’s too early to rejoice. Grinding of the stop tooth is ahead. A template is also used here (it is better to use a flat file here). As practice shows, if you sharpen without a template, then you can accidentally go beyond the mark, and then your chainsaw will “bite” into the tree and increase vibration when working with the material, which means that you can simply forget about such an important characteristic as accuracy.

Things to consider:

If you are already ready to start sharpening, then it is better to do it right away, without delaying until later. And remember: the frequency of sharpening can vary significantly depending on the bark of the trees. If the bark from the logs is ripped off, then you can not sharpen the chain so often and, accordingly, cut longer. And don’t be afraid to use a chainsaw. If your trees and branches are small, you can always use different types of tree pruning tools. So good luck!

We work with a file

The best solution is simple gadgets for sharpening work. This set includes a round and flat file, special holders, a gauge template, a hook for removing chips, etc. Structurally, “adaptations” may differ, but the functionality has a common logic.

The diameter of the round file is directly related to the chain size:

  • – Chains with ø 1.3. Require a file of ø 4 mm (used much more often);
  • – Chains with ø 1.6. Require a file ø 5.2 mm;
  • – Use a flat file to sharpen the depth gauge.
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Sharpening process

  1. Having previously “turned on” the chain brake, firmly grip the tire of the chainsaw in a vice (a firmly clamped saw is the key to successful sharpening)
  2. Set the template so that the “arrow” points towards the “nose” of the tire. Be sure to mark (with chalk) the tooth from which you started sharpening, otherwise you can go along the second circle;
  3. Sharpen in the direction of the arrows. Remember, there is a special factory cut on each tooth in the chain. It indicates the maximum sharpening angle.
  4. In addition to the cutting tooth, there are stops on each link. Their sharpening is carried out as needed. This is necessary when, as a result of sharpening, the height of the tooth decreases, and problems arise in the operation of the chainsaw. As a rule, the limiter is sharpened after 2-3 sharpening of the teeth;

“If you don’t have the skills to sharpen, it’s best to start with inexpensive chains.”


  • The file should not go beyond the top of the cutting edge by more than 1/5 of the working part of the file. The pressure is carried out with the same effort;
  • The movement of the grinding tool is performed in one direction “away from you”, and the number of movements for each tooth should be equal;
  • To sharpen a vertical plane, the position of the file must be at right angles;
  • For sharpening a horizontal plane, file position, at an angle of 20-30 °
  • If there are teeth of different heights, the reference is the smallest.

Advantages: The ability to “charge the saw” in the field. At the same time, it’s cheap.

We sharpen with a grinder

Professionals consider this work to be primitive. There is a risk of tire damage, and more.

Process (seemingly easy, but really difficult)

  1. The chain also stays on the bus;
  2. We attach a metal cutting disc with a thickness of 1.5-2 mm to the grinder. It is advisable to take not a new one, that is, with a worn edge;
  3. We put a barrier in front of the chain and tire (the chip will come off);
  4. We sharpen at the right angle;
  5. Upon completion of work, the chain must be properly tightened.

With a professional approach and a “full hand”, the number of sharpenings in this case can be more than 7.

“For a beginner, it is better not to“ experiment ”with a saw, a chain, etc. With your body parts! “

Advantages of the method: Fast, cheap and does not take away energy;

Disadvantages: You need special skills, a steady hand and the ability to comply with safety techniques.

Hand-operated machines

The design of such a machine is similar to a bow saw. Only where the saw blade is located is the round file. With such a machine, you can sharpen and straighten the teeth, adjusting the proportionality of the upper edges to the smallest (control) size. The mechanism allows you to accurately set the parameters. After adjusting the “control” tooth, sharpening is carried out in two or three movements. And then the transition. To the next tooth.

When it is necessary to grind off the limiter, change the round file to a flat one.

Advantages of the method: Allows you to sharpen teeth, including those that have lost their original shape, with high quality, convenient and without great physical costs.

Disadvantages: The price of the tool and the distance from the possible site of the saw operation.

What to choose for sharpening is up to you. This is due to how often you use your chainsaw. From the accuracy of handling it. From the quality of the purchased chain. And, of course, from the opportunity to spend a certain amount. It is impossible to compare the methods, because as the German proverb says. “apples should be compared with apples.”

Chainsaw teeth

Chainsaw teeth have a specific geometry. You need to understand and know what part of them should be sharpened. In general, the “logic” of cutting wood resembles a plane.

The cutting surface has two edges. One side, the other slightly beveled. The cutting depth limiter adjusts the thickness of the chips. Let’s take a closer look. The elements of the cutting-working link are arranged as follows:

  1. Base with axle holes;
  2. Tooth scapula;
  3. Cutting depth limiter;
  4. End face of the blade (placement. Vertical);
  5. Upper edge of the blade (placement. Horizontal);

Sharpened edge Dull After touching the ground

Do not over-grind or change the location of the links. The normal operation of the instrument depends on the identity of their location. Otherwise, increased stress on the chassis, tire and engine is likely. The cut can be crooked. There is also a small chance of breaking the circuit.

How to understand that the chain is dull

  • Increased physical effort;
  • Sagging (stretching) of the chain;
  • Vibration and “braking” cutting passage;
  • Inaccurate sawing and change in the type of sawdust (they become uneven with sharp “needle” edges, small and dusty). This is already the answer to the test.

“In the opinion of the experts and in my opinion too: well sharpened teeth are more important than engine power.”

Why dull? The reasons are generally known, but I will name the main ones:

  • Intense or voluminous work;
  • Accidental contact with stone, earth, hard knots, etc.;
  • Mishandling (broad term).

Electric sharpening machines

They are equipped with special adjustment functions to help you position the chain at a certain angle. At the same time, it is possible to accurately and accurately bring the disc to the chain teeth. There are machines equipped with automatic vices. They are switched on when the disc approaches the sharpened edge. Convenience and functionality are certainly high. You can find models at “lifting” prices.