How Do You Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?

To sharpen a chainsaw chain, adjust the tension, secure a file guide to the chain bar, and file each cutter with a round file for five to seven strokes. Check the height of the depth guides, and file them with a flat file if necessary.

  1. Adjust the chain tension

    Place your chain saw on a shop bench with a woodblock under the bar for support. Adjust the chain tension so that it is tight, yet easy to turn by hand.

  2. Place a file guide over the chain

    Drop a file guide over the chain bar to help monitor the file angle.

  3. File each cutter five to seven strokes

    Place a round file through the first cutter. Line it up at the proper angle using the marks on the file guide. Stroke smoothly towards your body five to seven times. The cutter is sharp when chrome shows through at the pointed corner. Continue sharpening all the cutters on one side of the chain, then do the cutters on the other side.

  4. Check the depth gauges

    The depth gauges are fin-like projections that make sure the chain cuts to the proper depth. They do not need to be filed every sharpening. Check their height by placing a depth-gauge jointing tool over the top of each guide. If the gauge protrudes above the slot, file it level with the slot using smooth outward strokes with a flat file.