It’s important for cutting equipment such as brush cutters, lawn mowers, and chainsaws to maintain their sharpness. This is where knowledge in the proper way of sharpening your blades and chains come in. And while chainsaws, in general, are designed with easy maintenance in mind by most manufacturers, it goes without saying that you have to understand the basic principles involved to make sure that you are doing it correctly.
When To Sharpen Your Chainsaw
The cutters of your chainsaw are plated with a thin yet tough coating of industrial chrome. In general, these cutters have the capability to stay sharp as long as you use them in clean wood. However, the reality is that wood is often dirty or in close contact with debris, dirt, rocks, and grit, which are difficult to avoid. This is why, professional and experienced saw operators can be seen brushing, washing, and cleaning dirty areas before cutting. Nevertheless, it doesn’t really take much before a sharp chainsaw becomes dull, especially with how these equipment are operated at high-speed levels.
Truth be told, it’s a little difficult to assess if a saw chain needs sharpening for beginners or inexperienced operators. But, fret not. There are actually a number of telltale signs that you can look out for to know if it’s time to sharpen your professional chainsaw.
For starters, an obvious sign that your saw chain needs re-sharpening is when the chain no longer self-feeds. Even with little experience, you can observe that a sharp saw chain always pulls itself down through the cut. And when you start noticing that you’re the one who has to do the pushing on the chainsaw to make it cut, it is high time that you sharpen your saw chains to solve it.
Another indicator that your saw chain has become dull is dusty chainsaw discharge. To put it simply, properly sharpened saw chains are always ejected nice, square wood chips. So if your chainsaw is expelling wood dust instead of chips, it means that your saw chains need to be sharpened.
You can also inspect your chainsaw to know if it needs re-sharpening. When your saw chain’s chrome plating has worn away, it will expose the metal underneath. This will also make the cutting edge of your chainsaw appear to be shiny. To restore its sharpness, you must file the metal or steel away until a thin layer of chrome returns.
Needless to say, it important that you know when your chainsaw needs re-sharpening in order to yield better cutting results. If you feel that your chainsaw has become dull, it is vital that you stop cutting immediately. Forcing a dull chainsaw to cut can damage the power head, chan, sprocket, and guide bar. Furthermore, it can cause safety hazards and dangerous accidents in the middle of the job.
What Tools Will You Need
Naturally, every service maintenance task requires that you have the proper and correct tools to execute it. The same idea, obviously, applies to sharpen your chainsaw as well. For a start, you will be needing leather gloves. Because you will be working around sharp cutting edges, leather gloves are a filing necessity that will serve as safety gear for you.
You will also be needing measuring devices such as rulers, squares, and measuring tapes. This is used to determine the correct file for your blade. Using a file that is incompatible with your blade can result in an undesired strain on your chainsaw. It can also cause some serious kickbacks that may prove to be dangerous when used during an operation.
Lastly and most importantly, you will need a file. This, however, is the vital component of re-sharpening your cutting blade, so you will need to give it a lot of consideration. The first thing you want to do is to determine the correct size of file for your blade. In general, 1/4- and 3/8-inch-pitch, low-profile chains need a 5/32-inch file. On the other hand, 0.325-inch-pitch chains call for a 3/16-inch file while standard 3/8-inch-pitch and 0.404-inch-pitch chains require a 7/32-inch file. Nevertheless, you have to be really careful in deciding on the file to use. There are some saw chain exceptions from the general rules that are commonly applied to other chainsaws. It’s best to check the user’s manual or instruction sheet to know the exact correct file diameter that you need.
How To Properly Sharpen Your Chainsaw
Sharpening the Cutting Teeth
Step 1: Stabilize Your Chainsaw
Make sure that your chainsaw is secured in a stable position so that it will not move as you work on it. You can put it in a vise or support it with a wood block. Regardless of the method you will use, just remember to check that it’s stable enough not to move or slide.
Step 2: Ensure Safety
Remember to wear leather gloves before working on your chainsaw. You should also engage the chain brake before sharpening, so the cutting teeth are locked in place.
Step 3: Angling Your File Right
The first thing you have to do before sharpening is mounting your round file in the file guide. Afterward, hold the file at a 30- degree or 35-degree angle horizontally to the bar whilst holding it at a right angle vertically.
Step 4: Filing Your Cutter
You can now start filing your cutter. Make outward strokes from your body with the file. Make sure to count your strokes and to apply the same number of strokes on each cutter. This will ensure that your cutters will be well-balanced after sharpening. You can also use the file guide to help you file all cutters to achieve similar depth and shape.
Remember to apply even pressure while filing. You don’t have to put a lot of pressure, but you will have to be consistent in applying the same amount of force and pressure on each cutter. The key is to be consistent in the filing.
Step 5: Finishing Touch
Unknown to many, sharpening a chainsaw is relatively easy and fast. A few strokes here and there can bring back the sharpness of your cutting blades. Furthermore, you can tell that your chainsaw is properly sharpened if the edge appears to be uniformly bright.
Filing The Depth Gauges
If you are not aware, depth gauges are located between cutting teeth. And unbeknownst to everyone, these parts also require to be filed from time to time.
Step 1: Check The Depth Gauge
Check the height of the depth gauges using the file guide. When you notice that it is protruding, you can file it flush with a flat tile.
Step 2: File The Depth Gauge
‘Put the file over the depth gauge. You can then file it until it levels with the file guide you used to measure it.
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