How to sharpen an electric chainsaw chain

Selecting, tensioning and sharpening your chainsaw chain

The chain of your chainsaw is a functional part that will have to be sharpened, repaired or completely replaced with a new one sooner or later. To do this correctly, you need to take into account the design and other details of this machine.

It’s good to know that there is no difference between chains for petrol and electric saws. For both types of tools, the chains are made of the same materials and are mounted on the same bars for both electric and gasoline-powered machines. To choose a chain for your chain saw, you need to consider a number of things. Some must match the specifications of the installed bobbin.

Chain size

This parameter always corresponds to the tire size of your machine. If you buy a saw chain smaller than the bar, you will not be able to put it on. Also, if you buy a chain longer than the bar, it will not stretch properly on the bar. In both cases, it will not be possible to use a power saw. It is customary to indicate the size of your sawing equipment in inches and they can have the following values: 10″, 12″, 13″, 14″, 15″, 16″, 18″ and higher.

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Chain pitch

Determined by any three rivets of the chain. In the illustration below, the letter “a” shows exactly this distance, which is measured in inches.

Chain pitch can have the following values: 0.325″, 0.375″ и 0.404″.

Pitch with size 0.375″ is often written as a fraction as 3/8″ (3 : 8 = 0.375), not to be confused with 0.325.

You should know: the bigger the pitch of the saw chain, the more power the machine’s engine must have. On amateur and semi-professional machines with power outputs of 1.84 kW chains with pitch 0.325″ are installed. This attachment can be used to cut thin branches and knots, as well as for construction work, such as trimming boards. Saw with 3/8 step (requires approx. 2.94 kW motor power) is already able to cut thin trees and medium boards. Accessories with 0 increments.404″ (motor power from 4.41 kW and above) is used only on professional equipment and is designed for all degrees of complexity.

drive link thickness

Thickness of shank (also called drive link) is a very important parameter when selecting accessories for your power saw.

In order to achieve the right sawing attachment for the machine, the shank thickness must match the bar groove width. The thickness can have the following values.

  • 1.1 mm (0.043″), 1.3 mm (0.05″). Work with low loads and use on small electric saws. The tooling has a pitch of 0.325″.
  • 1,5 mm (0,058″). Chains with this shank thickness have a 3/8″ pitch. They can withstand considerable loads and are installed on semi-professional and domestic machines.
  • 1.6 mm (0.063″), 2 mm (0.08″). Chains and saws with this value are only used for demanding, high-loading jobs with professional equipment.
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Number of links

The number of links (shanks) determines the length of the tooling. To choose the right harness, it is possible to choose either the length or the number of links. Since different manufacturers may indicate only the number of cutting elements in the product description, it does not hurt to know both information.

Type of cutting links

There are two configurations of cutting tools: chipper and jigsaw.

A chipper cutter is a sickle-shaped cutter that has a large contact area with the material. Sickle-shaped cutters increase the load on the engine of the machine, and their cutting performance is not that good. But, thanks to this shape, the teeth are easy to handle contamination, and their dressing does not require particular precision.

The cheesel tooth profile resembles the number “7” and is popularly referred to as a “seven”. Tools with such tooth profile are notable for fast cutting speed and cutting quality, and are mostly used in professional machines. It is quite difficult to sharpen a tool with a cheesecloth in everyday use, because even the slightest non-compliance with the sharpening angles negates all the advantages of the cheesecloth blade profile.

Cutting tooth material

When selecting a power saw bit please ask about the material from which the cutters are made. Chains with chromium-nickel, alloyed steel cutters are good for sawing soft wood. Alloy steel cutting accessories are not suitable for cutting frozen, contaminated or hard wood. Cutters with hardfacing hardfacing that provides extra resistance to wear are used for these applications.

Profile height

The cutting depth and output depends on the height of the pick profile. The higher the profile of the cutting tooth, the deeper it will go into the material. Teeth with a low profile height will remove finer chips during sawing. The depth of engagement of the cutter into the material is adjusted by grinding down on a stop on each cutter.

There are 2 types of chains by profile height:

This information can also be found in the instruction manual of the machine (the tooling types applicable to a particular saw model are indicated). It is useful if you sharpen the teeth yourself. Both high profile and low profile chains are used on professional machines, but only low profile chains are used on domestic machines. High-profile chains are high-performance tooling. But its use increases the vibration and aggressiveness of the tool.

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To reduce the aggressiveness of the chain, the developers have resorted to a small trick: with a large step of the chain is made low profile cutter and, conversely, with a decrease in the step increases the profile. This method enables the machine to process the material efficiently and with less aggressiveness at the same time.

In this video, you can get acquainted with the sharpening process, the most popular ways and tools used for this.

A person, who has a chainsaw in his house, should know how to sharpen the chain of a chainsaw with his own hands. There are several ways to do this:

  • Grinding with a file (the most common way of sharpening, i.e.к. Allows you to sharpen the tool, directly on the site of the work of sawing.)
  • Sharpening with a special sharpening machine (this method is used in service centers, but can also be used in private households)
  • Sharpening with an angle grinder. For sharpening by this method, availability of certain skills is required. A very uncommon method, t.к. difficult enough to sharpen with an angle grinder correctly.

1 way. with a file

The first thing you need in order to sharpen the chain or dress it up a bit are special files.

I’m Testing the Harbor Freight Chain Sharpener!!

The file

Two kinds of files are used for sharpening and dressing chains for saws. The first one is a circular file with a diameter corresponding to the rounding diameter of the working edge of the sawtooth.

For sharpening saw chains of household tools, round files 4, 4,8 mm in diameter are used, because they have a small tooth. For professional models use a more powerful chain with a larger tooth, and accordingly need a file with a diameter of 5.2, 5.5 mm.

To grind correctly, it is not enough to sharpen just the cutting edges of the tooth, the depth stop must also be adjusted. If this is not done, the chain will not cut into the material to the required depth, which will noticeably reduce the speed of work and, just as in a situation with a dull chain, it can lead to overheating of the saw engine because of insufficient load on the motor. This is done with the help of a flat file.

It is worth remembering that the use of a dull chain can cause overheating of the engine and scoring of the cylinder.

How to do it

The first thing you need to do when dressing the saw chain is to set the tool on a flat surface or on a table. In forest conditions billets with big diameter are good for this purpose. Next, it is necessary to inspect the saw chain for any defects, it can be cracks, completely broken off teeth. After the inspection, you must set the brake to the working state, thus blocking its movement on the bar.

The chain should be tightened while sharpening with a file.

It is advisable to support the guide bar with a log or a piece of twig of a suitable diameter or special clamps are available from sharpening tool manufacturers to hold the guide bar during the sharpening process.

STIHL clamping clamp

The chain is sharpened by filing from the inside out. The file should be parallel to the marking on the chain. This marking is provided by the chain manufacturer to indicate the standard chain sharpening angle.

The sharpened tooth, should be located approximately in the middle of the bar, it is necessary for the convenience of work, in the process of sharpening it is necessary to move the chain on the bar, not forgetting each time to set the brake in the working position.

Work on sharpening the chain on a chainsaw, must always be done with gloves made of coarse material, otherwise it is easy enough to injure yourself, t.к. Working surface of the teeth is very sharp.

Ideally the manufacturers suggest to perform the same number of file movements for each tooth, but in practice this is not always possible, because.к. The teeth have varying degrees of damage to the working edge.

To facilitate the sharpening of the saw chain with a file special holders with marked corners can be used. The markings are not only made for standard cross-cutting, but also for sawing in the longitudinal direction.

The holders are also handy if you are not very experienced in sharpening. Experienced craftsmen do not use holders for sharpening, but can only use special devices that support the file.

Another device designed for sharpening is a manual saw chain dresser. As a sharpening tool it uses a regular file, which can be independently replaced. The machine is mounted directly on the bar and has a sharpening angle adjustment and a special stop that holds the tooth to be sharpened.

Manual sharpener, perfect for beginners. Along with electric models of sharpening machines, the manual one has the undeniable advantage of a low price. Depending on the manual machine manufacturer, they may look different, but the principle is the same for all.

Depth of cut is corrected by means of a flat file so that there is a difference between the upper cutting edge of the tooth and the height limiter.

As can be seen in the figure, the depth stop is milled in such a way as to bring the clearance value to the factory value. Below is a table showing the basic angles as well as clearances for the most common types of chains.

As a rule, the clearance value is adjusted using a special die. This is placed on the chain during sharpening, after which the depth limiter is ground.

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What are chainsaw chain teeth like

One of the characteristics that sets a chainsaw chain apart is its complex geometry. Traditional cutters are usually in the shape of a triangle or a highly elongated oval. As for chain saw teeth, they have a more complex configuration.

Each tooth is made up of two cutters, which are at right angles to one another. The first cutter looks like an ordinary tooth. Its main function is to make an incision in the wood.

This is followed by the other cutter, which is shaped like the letter G. It is not by chance that it is shaped like this, because it removes chips from the wood and makes a wide kerf, which prevents the chain from jamming.

That’s why the chainsaw chain is to a large extent responsible for how easy and good the sawing operation will be. This is a good reason to take a closer look at its design.

In fact, in the vast majority of cases, the saw tool begins to cut worse because the chain is already in a state where it can’t handle the task at hand.

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Why tool blunting occurs

Every chainsaw has a specific durability period. This is called the time from the beginning of work with a new tool, until it is rendered inoperable.

Destruction or deterioration of wood cutting tools is caused by a set of forces that are exerted during the cutting process. One of the key ones is friction force. Dulling of the saw chain occurs due to prolonged use, due to improper use of the chainsaw

The amount of wear can be determined as a measure of weight, measured in milligrams. Wear is a parameter that shows the change in shape and size characteristics of the cutting blade. The change in geometry that occurs during cutting, where there is no linear wear, is called dulling.

There are parameters on the basis of which a decision is made as to whether the tool can continue to be used. In particular, when examining the teeth of a saw chain, pay attention to the front and rear surface edges, the height of the blade, and the area of wear. If these are not in a satisfactory condition, it is time to have the chainsaw sharpened.

Signs that the saw has lost its sharpness include the following:

Chain saw sharpening template

To greatly simplify the procedure it is recommended to purchase a special template, which greatly simplifies the procedure of setting the required angle. Such a tool allows you to check the index of the back corners of the tapered and upper blade, as well as the leading edge of the cutting edge.

Specialists tell us that it’s best to use the jig to check the back angle. This is due to the difficulty of changing this parameter, while it must be maintained in a strict range.

A fairly common indicator can be called the cutting angle, which also varies depending on the task at hand.

Too high hardness of the material determines the need to reduce such an indicator. Experts indicate that the optimal value varies in the range from 10 to 12 °.

How to sharpen a chainsaw chain

Chainsaw chain sharpening is a procedure regularly encountered by gardeners and professional woodcutters. In this article, the master plumber will tell you how to restore the damaged teeth of the saw headset, and quickly return it to its previous working condition.

To understand how to properly sharpen the chain, it is necessary to understand the basic principles of its construction and operation. You cannot just sharpen a chain by eye. you need to know the basic characteristics of the chain and its parts.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw with Elegant Efficiency [smoother & straighter cuts]

A chainsaw chain consists of three types of links made of high-alloy steel:

  • Cutting. the main elements of the chain. A distinction is made between right-hand and left-hand cutting teeth, which are arranged alternately with their cutting edges above the plane of the bar. Tooth design includes kerf limiters.
  • Drives (shanks). serve to transmit torque from the gasoline motor to the chain through the drive sprocket. This feature extends sprocket life and gives the chain a more stable hold on the bar.
  • Coupling. connects the chain’s shanks and cutters.

One of the main elements of the chain is the cutting tooth, which plunges into the wood and removes chips. The tooth depth limiter determines the thickness of the wood chip and limits the depth of penetration into the wood.

Depending on chain type the recommended settings relative to the limiter are 0.025″ (0.65 mm) or 0.030″ (0.75 mm).

The long life of any chainsaw depends on proper care and use, including the chainring. The good performance of the latter affects the performance of the device and the performance parameters. Untimely sharpening can cause some problems in the performance of the saw itself. Most often it is:

  • Curved cuts;
  • Heavy loads on the saw, resulting in increased wear on the parts of the unit and therefore a reduced life of the entire unit;
  • Increased fuel consumption.

If the cut produces fine dusty chips and the saw plunges into the kerf with great force, it means a blunted target.

There are other signs of a dull chain:

  • The speed of the tool has decreased;
  • Uneven and sharp sawdust is formed;
  • It is necessary to put a lot of effort to cut the wood;
  • The chain is loose or has become slack.
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A chainsaw chain can quickly become blunt for the following reasons:

  • If you work with the saw too often;
  • When the operator presses hard on the saw while sawing;
  • If the chain is made of poor quality metal or if the steel has not been properly heat-treated;
  • If you frequently cut wet or resinous wood;
  • When sawing hardwood trees such as: oak, birch Karelian, cherry, acacia, elm, ash and others;
  • If the chain meets an obstacle in the form of sand or stones;
  • If the chain is not properly sharpened or has insufficient tension during operation.

The design of all chain saws is similar, so the algorithm of actions when removing the chain will be the same:

  • Wear protective cotton gloves first to avoid cuts from the cutting teeth.
  • Remove the protective cover from the chain saw and place it on a flat surface on its side.
  • Using a socket wrench of the desired diameter, unscrew the fixing nuts that hold the housing and the bar, remove the top cover of the housing.
  • Now you need to slide the bar all the way down to the sprocket, thereby relaxing the chain, and remove the working elements from the mounting bolts.
  • Disconnect chain from guide bar.

Chainsaw chain sharpening on a sharpening machine

Even skilled felling machine operators can’t afford to buy a special sharpening machine for sharpening chainsaw or electric saw chain cutters. Such equipment is characterized by high, but at the same time it eliminates the need to understand the details of restoring the quality of cutting edges.

Experts recommend resorting to sharpening the chain on special equipment only when the tooling is really neglected (if they have lost their shape). For example, the saw has not been used for a long time and there are characteristic signs that not only the sharpness of the edge has reduced, but also that there are signs of corrosion. If you sharpen your saws by hand on a regular basis you will not need to use any special sharpening machine.

If you still have a machine, it does not hurt to know the advantages of this method:

  • High speed of the job. about 5 minutes.
  • Convenience. no need to choose the angle, control the level of pressure and count the number of passes file.
  • Quality. each tooth is sharpened to a high degree (not in all cases).

The principle of sharpening the chain on a special machine is that the tool is pre-fixed in the vise of the tool. To sharpen it, you will need to remove it from the chainsaw. Next, the tooling clamped in the vise of the machine is placed at the appropriate angle (depending on the pointer). After that, direct contact with the rotating abrasive disc is carried out.

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Here is how the chain is sharpened on a chain sharpening machine.

This is interesting! Many people mistakenly believe that sharpening with an electric tool is the right way to go, the most reliable, and the most accurate. In fact, it is not, because to normalize each tooth, and achieve their same angle of sharpening on such a device is impossible. Especially for this purpose, manual machines are used, more about which you can learn below.

Popular models of inexpensive chain sharpening machines

Popular manufacturers of inexpensive chain sharpening machines: Dnipro, Einhell, Sadko, Vitals, Forte, Intertool, Eltos, Zenit, Grand, Stern, Temp.

Among the variety of models, each owner of a chainsaw or electric saw can choose the right tool for him. Below is the rating of the best inexpensive chain sharpening machines for chainsaws, these machines have received a lot of praise from owners. How much will this device cost? The cost of machines from this category. from small to medium. There are many models in this price range that are excellent for sharpening chains for electric and gasoline-powered saws.

Grinding with angle grinder

This method is less common. This is because of the higher safety requirements. But some saw users use it. To sharpen the chain with the angle grinder the guide bar has to be clamped in a vice so that the chain can move freely with the saw brake off. The following steps are performed:

  • A reference tooth (the first one to be sharpened) is selected.
  • The saw brake is set in working position.
  • Turn the angle grinder on, start sharpening. It is important that the wheel on the angle grinder is sharpening, not cutting.

The disadvantage of this sharpening is that it is very difficult to maintain the necessary angle of the edge. Equally important, there is a risk that the angle grinder blade could damage the eye of the link and then the chain could break during the sawing process.

Despite the fact that grinding with an angle grinder is quite feasible, still do not abuse it. It is better to use the manufacturer’s recommendations and use only certified chain sharpeners. this will save time and money. Sharpening a chain is not as complex as it may first appear. Even if you sharpen your chain the first time you get a bad job, do not let that upset you. you can be sure that in time you will acquire the necessary skills to sharpen your chain as quickly as possible.

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