When Should You Sharpen Your Chainsaw Chain?

Whilst it is all good and well to know how to sharpen your chainsaw chain, one of the more important factors is knowing when you should sharpen it. It's fairly pointless to sharpen the chain well before it needs it, and if you leave it too long you may have to simply replace it. When…

Whilst it is all good and well to know how to sharpen your chainsaw chain, one of the more important factors is knowing when you should sharpen it. It's fairly pointless to sharpen the chain well before it needs it, and if you leave it too long you may have to simply replace it. When it comes to sharpening a chainsaw chain, timing is everything.

Using a dull chainsaw poses serious safety rules for yourself and for the people standing nearby. Whilst the chain may be too dull to cut through wood effectively, its blunt teeth will make short work of the soft flesh of your arm or leg. You may also find that using a dull chainsaw tires you out much faster than using a sharp one, simply because you will need to exert more force on the blade as it cuts through the wood. The exertion of more force on a chainsaw is also a danger in itself, as it increases the chances that kickback will occur.

There are a number of signs that will be present when your chainsaw chain is in desperate need of sharpening:

  • How does your chainsaw feel when it is sharp and in perfect working condition? The cuts generally produce rather large chunks of wood that are square-ish in shape. If your chain needs to be sharpened, however, your chainsaw is more likely to produce sawdust.
  • When making a cut in a fallen tree, your chainsaw should go straight through it in a straight line (due to it's self-feeding design; the teeth of the chain pull the blade deer into the wood). If your chain needs to be sharpened, however, your chainsaw will start to pull to either the left or the right, as the teeth can not grip as well.
  • A chainsaw is usually pretty effective at guiding itself through a log; you do not have to use very much force at all. If your chain needs to be sharpened, however, your chainsaw will require much more down force in order to get it to effectively cut through the wood.

When you are next using your chainsaw, look out for any of the above signs – are you producing wood chunks or sawdust; is the blade pulling to one side; do you need to exert more force then normal? All of these are signs that your chainsaw's chain is in desperate need of sharpening. Do not leave it too late, or you may find yourself the recipient of a serious injury.