Below I will outline 6 easy steps to sharpening your chainsaw chain.
Before I start refer to the diagram below for terminology of your chain.
Step 1. The first step is to determine which method you are going to use to sharpen your chainsaw chain. You can either sharpen your chain on the saw, or remove the chain to sharpen it. Usually if you leave the chain on the saw you will be using a hand held round file to sharpen each tooth. If you are using a chainsaw sharpener (grinder) you will need to remove the chain from the saw. If need to remove the chain, do it now. Otherwise continue to step 2.
Step 2. Find out what angle your teeth need to be filed at and what diameter file you need. You can find this on the box that your chain came in. The angle referred to is usually 25 -30 deg. see below diagram.
Step 3. Find your tooth that has the most wear. You are going to start with this tooth because you will need to remove the most material from this cutter. It is important that all cutters end up being the same length. Each tooth is angled backwards and as you remove more material from the cutter, the top or cutting edge gets lower. So if you had some teeth at different widths, then you would end up with some being higher and taking more material than the others and being inefficient.
Step 4. Start filing the first tooth until it cleans up. This is how much material you will need to remove from all teeth, even if they do not need as much removed to become sharp again. If you are using a file, you should have the file position in the cutter so that approx. 20% of the file is above the top of the tooth. see below. Sharpen every second cutter (all of the cutters in the same orientation)
Step 5. Repeat step 4 for the teeth with the opposite angle.
Step 6. File depth gauges (rakers) Like I said before, the top of each tooth is angled downward as it is filed back. This means that the cutting edge of the tooth in relation to the top of the raker gets closer. This distance determines the thickness of chip that you will be cutting. If you find yourself basically just making fine sawdust you will know right away that you need to file your rakers/ depth gauges down. Most chains specify that the distance from the top of the cutter to the raker should be .025″
That is it! you are ready to start making chips again…..
I have made a video below to show how you would do this with a grinder designed for sharpening chainsaw chains.
Sharpening Chainsaw chain using a Grinder