A chainsaw is a powerful tool, and just like other tools, it needs maintenance so that its efficiency is not impacted. For this, it has to be sharpened as and when required.
The blade is an essential component of a chainsaw, and if the blade does not function well, the chainsaw is useless. For cutting through wood, a sharp chainsaw blade is required.
Thus, it is essential that sharpening of the chainsaw blade is done regularly and the most convenient tool to do it is a chainsaw sharpener.
Compared to a manual sharpener, an electric sharpener is quicker in sharpening a chainsaw blade. For using an electric sharpener, some steps have to be followed, and these are mentioned in detail in this article.
When Should You Use a Chainsaw Sharpener?
As a user of a chainsaw, you should know when to use an electric chainsaw sharpener. Some indications tell when the chainsaw requires sharpening, and these are –
- While cutting the wood with the chainsaw, if you find difficulty and have to apply more pressure, it is clear that the chainsaw’s teeth have become dull.
- The cutters of the chainsaw seem to have lost their sharp edge if dust is seen spitting from the chainsaw instead of sharp wood chips.
- If the cutting from one side of the blade is proper while the other side shows improper cutting of woods, it indicates that the blade from that side is dull and to balance out things, sharpening is required.
These signs should be taken seriously, and sharpening should be done. If these signs are ignored, the chances of injury to the user increase as the chainsaw may have a kickback while cutting. This can even cause damage to the engine.
Stepwise Procedure of Sharpening a Chainsaw Blade with an Electric Sharpener
The beginners can find the sharpening procedure challenging and overwhelming, but with the help of the right tool and proper knowledge, they can do it conveniently. Below is the stepwise procedure of sharpening a chainsaw blade-
1. Understanding the blade specification
While starting the sharpening procedure of a chainsaw blade, the first thing to do is to know the specification of the blade, and these are the pitch and gauge. Usually, these are indicated by the manufacturers on the box. A manual with instructions are provided, which can be helpful for the user in understanding the specifications of the chainsaw. But, if it is not available, you should do a quick search online or contact the manufacturer.
This step is required to start the procedure of sharpening. Based on this step, the quality of the results would be impacted, and thus, it is an essential step in this procedure.
Read: Best Chainsaw Sharpeners
Once you know the pitch and gauge of the blade, you would be able to position it so that the sharpening procedure can be started. There should be a ground or a stable surface to keep the electric sharpener. This is essential to prevent shaking of the sharpener during the process, and with this, an efficient result can be expected.
The bench mount sharpeners can be kept tightly on a workbench, and therefore, these are easy to be used. If the sharpener is stable, the positioning of the blade is easy.
3. Installation of the Sharpening Stone
The next step is to install the sharpening stone. Based on the pitch and gauge of the chainsaw, a sharpening stone is selected, and this should be of correct width so that it fits into the gap between the teeth of the chainsaw.
There is a common width of a sharpening stone used in most cases, and this is 3/16 inch, but different width of the stone is also available. Thus, you have to look for the one that fits your chainsaw blades properly.
4. Prepping the Chain –
This is the time to remove the chain from the saw and use a solvent to clean it well. It should be dried completely and so leave it after applying solvent for some time. In the next step, the chain stops must be lifted and fit the chain into the sliding tracks. The chain stops have to be lowered so that locking of the chain in place is done. You should ensure that the stop rests on the tooth of the chain.
The chainsaw sharpener has a holder, and the blade has to be placed in it. It is essential to adjust the angle for effective sharpening, and the most common angles are between 0 degrees and 60 degrees. But the angle could be up to 80 degrees in some cases.
6. Adjusting the angle
In this step, it is required to know the specifications of the blade so that the tooth angle that matches with the blade is known. Every electric sharpener has a knob on the blade’s holder that can be loosened to adjust the blade tooth angle, and this is an advantage of using an electric sharpener. This knob has to be moved in different directions to get accurate settings.
The locking wheel has to be rotated to the right angle, and then it should be tightened from the bottom. The sharpening stone must hold the blade tightly, and so the top housing has to be lowered. Also, the lock stop should be tightened, which will ensure that the stone will not cut the chain.
7. Adjustment of the Depth
The depth must match with the blade that is to be sharpened. When the depth is adjusted, the blade gets positioned properly, and thus, the sharpener is prevented from cutting too deep. If this step is not performed, the sharpener can cut the metal between the blade teeth. Also, there can be quick heating of the blade which can be dangerous. Apart from this, the quality of the blade will be lowered.
8. Sharpening process
This is the time to start sharpening as everything is set. For this, the lower grinder wheel is lowered gradually on the first tooth of the blade. You will be able to see the sparks when the contact is established. For sharpening, these two should be kept in contact for a while.
The tooth’s inner surface should be bright and shiny after sharpening, and to look for it, lift the grinder. If this is achieved, you can now move to the second tooth and repeat the teeth procedure. The grinder has to be readjusted after sharpening a set of teeth. If the angle is set to 20 degrees on the positive side, then for the negative side, it should also be adjusted to 20 degrees. After sharpening this, the next set of teeth can be sharpened.
Sharpening a chainsaw blade is not difficult with an electric chainsaw sharpener if you follow the steps mentioned above. You should follow all steps properly and do not miss any one of these. Also, wear some protective gear during the sharpening process to keep yourself safe.
Important Guidelines While Using an Electric Sharpener
- While sharpening, the chain must be kept tight. The functionality of the sharpener will be hampered if it is shaky, and this can be dangerous as well. If the chain is slack, sharpening is not accurate.
- The sharpener’s handle should be working properly, and its surface should not have any guck stuck to it.
- Another thing to look for is to secure the sharpener before starting the procedure. With this, results will be of high quality, and any unforeseen accident would not occur. The sharpener can easily fall on your feet and cause injury if it is not secured. With this, the tool can be damaged as well.
- There should be no flammable gases and liquids at the workstation. It is advised not to use the sharpener in a wet environment to prevent the risk of electric shock.
- The place where you decide you carry the sharpening process should be well-lit. Usually, it should be done in daylight, but an overhead lamp should be used if it is not possible. With this, the sharpener will be used effectively, and you will have clear visibility.
- Each tooth should be given the same number of swipes during the process. Also, both sides should be sharpened evenly for better results. If the swipes on both sides are not even, one side will bend over, and thus, the efficiency of the blade will be impacted.
- The blade should be wiped off for any dust, grease, and chippings after the sharpening process. The blade and the chainsaw should be greased gently, which helps the smooth running of them afterward.
- Your safety is the most important thing, and you should be careful while running your fingers on the tools as sharpeners and chainsaws are sharp tools.
- You should wear protective gear as well, like gloves and goggles. These will prevent your eyes from chips of metal that can enter during the process. Also, during the sharpening process, maintain a safe distance from the chainsaw. After the process is completed, do not forget to unplug it.
- Proper footing and stability on the ground should be maintained. With these, the risks of accidents during the sharpening process will be minimized. Loose clothes and hanging jewelry should be avoided as these can get into the machine easily, leading to jam and harm to you.
It is not possible to get a clean cut with a dull chainsaw, and thus, sharpening is required. The sharpening process is quick and effective with the help of an electric sharpener.
With the help of the steps and tips mentioned above, you can sharpen your chainsaw quickly and efficiently. I hope you can sharpen your chainsaw for better use.