A chainsaw is an important tool for any professional or homeowner looking to prune small limbs or fell large trees. Unlike most cutting tools, it requires a lot of maintenance to ensure optimum operation. After several cuts, you might notice that you need to put more pressure on the chainsaw while at work. This is when your chainsaw needs sharpening to continue operating well. So, how do you sharpen your chain’s teeth?
Every cutting tool has an effective method of maintenance; therefore, you cannot sharpen a chainsaw the same way you do with other power tools. Most people find it quite tricky to sharpen a chainsaw and prefer to use it that way for some time. But, did you know that it is dangerous to both the operator and the chainsaw itself?
Using a blunt blade reduces the efficiency of the chainsaw as well as its cutting power. As such, you will spend a long time on a wood that usually took you a few minutes. The engine might also start straining and could damage the chainsaw. To top it up, your tool will be prone to kickbacks, and that might lead to severe injuries that could have otherwise been avoided.
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How to Know When to Sharpen
How will you know when it is time to sharpen your chainsaw?
- Putting more pressure on the chainsaw during operation, lack of which the chainsaw will not pull into the wood.
- Instead of coarse strands, fine sawdust is created during a cross or a split cut.
- Even when everything is in order (the chain’s tension and lubrication), smoke still comes out.
- It is difficult to achieve a precise position due to the “rattling” and “bouncing” of the chainsaw during operation.
The Tools You Will Need
Sharpening is a real art, and it requires practice. Before you start the process, here are some of the tools you will need to have.
- A pair of gloves: Safety should always be your priority while working with chainsaws. To avoid cuts and other injuries on your arm, wear a pair of gloves before you start sharpening.
- A table clamp or a vice: This will hold your chainsaw in place while sharpening. You can do without a table clamp but be careful to keep you chainsaw steady.
- A chainsaw sharpener: A round file is the best choice in this case. Select one that matches the diameter of your chainsaw’s teeth. Note that every chainsaw has teeth of a particular size; therefore, not all files will work. Some common sizes include 4.8mm, 4.0mm, and 5.6mm. Ensure you choose the correct one to avoid frustrations.
- A depth gauge: This will help ensure that the rakers are maintained at the right height.
If you are not sure of what to buy, you can secure a filing kit available at any chainsaw-related store.
The Process of Sharpening Your Chainsaw
After you have all the required tools, you are now set to begin sharpening the chainsaw. Do it the easiest way by following these procedures.
- First, ensure that all the oil is wiped out from the guide bar and the chain brake is engaged to avoid any inconvenience or accidents. If you have your table clamp or vice ready, position your chainsaw well on a flat surface and lock the guide bar on the vice.
- Now insert your file guide in the filehandle then tighten the wing-nuts. While sharpening your chainsaw, it is always advisable to consider the angle. The best angle may vary for each chainsaw, but it is usually anywhere between 25 and 30 degrees. Check the chainsaw’s manual to confirm and then position your file holder at that angle. Using a file holder will prevent you from going too deep while sharpening.
- To sharpen, hold the file so that it remains flat on the chain and push it smoothly through the cutter. Repeat the same process at least three times until you are satisfied with the final product. Do it the same number of times for subsequent cutters to ensure uniformity. Also, ensure that you use the same motion and consistent amount of pressure for every tooth.
- Release the chain brake and rotate to expose more teeth. After you are done with cutters on one side, flip the chainsaw and continue sharpening the rest of the teeth.
- Set the depth gauge tool and adjust the height until it comes in contact with a raker. This way, the height of all the cutters will be consistent, ensuring effective sawing.
- After all the process is done, clean your chainsaw, and get ready for your next job.
Ensuring that the chainsaw is working effectively is important for any homeowner or professional in the timber industry. As we have seen, lack of sharpening may have serious repercussions to your tool and even the operator. As a commercial user, it will also waste your time which means less money! Sharpening a chainsaw will only take you a few minutes once you have known all the basic principles.
Although it is an easy task, there are a few things that you must consider before starting. The motion, the pressure required, and the sharpening angles are some the factors. The latter is dependent on the model of your chainsaw; therefore, you will need to consult the user manual. Also, do not forget to regularly clean your tool after work.
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