Like other tools in your armory, a chainsaw needs proper and constant maintenance to perform effectively. The essential component, without which the chainsaw is almost useless, is the chainsaw chain. A sharp chain is mandatory to cut through the wood, and there is no alternative to a chainsaw sharpener to sharpen the chain properly.
However, you can go to a professional to sharpen the chainsaw blade, or you can do it by yourself, saving both time and money. And using an electric chain sharpener can make the sharpening task more precise and faster than manual files.
Thus, an electric sharpener will help you achieve more with less effort. However, to get its best output, you have to learn how to sharpen a chainsaw blade with an electric sharpener properly.
Who needs an electric chainsaw sharpener:
On average, there are three types of chainsaw owners, and each can keep an electric sharpener. However, the first category uses a chainsaw occasionally. For example, they can cut some branches of trees falling in their yard or cut some firewood. A manual file is enough for them to touch up their chainsaw chain occasionally. And they can go to a professional once a year for precise sharpening.
The second category includes those who have firewoods cutting business. So it is evident that they need to sharpen multiple chains frequently. For those, it is wise to own a high-end electric sharpener. It will not save money only. The most important aspect is the convenience of sharpening the saw blades whenever it is necessary.
The third group lies between above mentioned two groups. They can cut firewoods for their own. These may need sharpening their chainsaws 10 to 12 times a year besides touching those up with manual files. For this group, I recommend an electric chainsaw sharpener but at a lower price.
Benefits of using an electric chainsaw sharpener:
It is compulsory to sharpen all the saw teeth equally while sharpening your chainsaw. It is not that easy to achieve with a manual file, hence the necessity of an electric sharpener. Once you set the sharpener to sharpen the first tooth, the rest will be done equally.
Then the angle needs to be switched to clear the teeth on the other side. So, you can sharpen your chainsaw chain equally with an electric sharpener and cut woods more efficiently and quickly. As a result, you may save both time and fuel and keep your chainsaw wear and tear-free. Additionally, a well-maintained and sharp blade chainsaw ensures smooth running and safety in work. In short, you will get below advantages using an electric sharpener.
- Smooth operation from your chainsaw.
- Extended lifespan of the chainsaw.
- More safety in cutting jobs.
- Less impact on chainsaw engine.
How to sharpen a chainsaw blade with a electric sharpener:
A well-sharpened chainsaw is an incredibly reliable and satisfying tool. But the sharpening process may be challenging and intimidating, especially to beginners. Anyway, with a bit of knowledge and the correct device, the method will be facile. You can follow the below steps when you intend to sharpen a chainsaw chain.
1. Choose the suitable electric chainsaw blade sharpener:
There are many chainsaw teeth sharpeners available in the market from which you have to choose the suitable one for you. The frequency of your use should determine which one to choose.
If you use it occasionally, less than once a month, our recommendation is to buy a cheaper chainsaw teeth sharpener, like Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Sharpener.
But suppose you intend to buy one for professional use. In that case, we recommend a high-end electric chain sharpener, such as Mophorn Sawchaingrinder 110V, which is strong aluminum constructed with a sturdy vise for holding the chain. Or you can invest in Oregon 410-120, a wall or bench-mounted excellent professional grinder.
2. Configure the chain saw blade sharpener:
After choosing and buying the perfect chainsaw sharpening tool, you must learn how to use an electric chainsaw sharpener. Firstly, you have to read the user manual and assemble all the parts of the chainsaw grinder in proper order. It is a significant step, so make sure you are doing it carefully and correctly.
3. Wear protective gears:
It is mandatory to put on protective gear like hand gloves, goggles, and earplugs while pointing your saw blade. Goggles will save your eyes from flying debris.
4. Understand the saw blade specifications:
Before starting the actual sharpening task, you need to know the specifications, like the pitch and gauge of your saw blade. Usually, these specifications are mentioned on one side of the chainsaw. However, manufacturers also indicate these on the box in which the saw comes. For better understanding, you can get the detailed information in the user manual provided with the chainsaw.
However, if you cannot find the information in any way, you can check it online or contact the manufacturer for a few insights for measuring the chainsaw blade appropriately. Then, with the correct blade measurement, you can pick a suitable size sharpening disc.
This step is significant as it affects the quality of the sharpening task directly.
5. Position your electric saw sharpener:
You know the gauge and pitch of your chainsaw, and now you have to position your chain sharpening tool appropriately. We recommend placing your saw sharpener on the ground or stable surface to prevent shaking while sharpening the chain.
There are chainsaw blade sharpeners available in the market that are designed as bench-mount options. These are easy to operate, and you can firmly secure them on workbenches with vises.
Positioning the chainsaw sharpening grinder in a rigid position is mandatory because it makes it easy to install the chain on the sharpener. It has a significant impact on sharpening performance.
6. Install the sharpening disc:
Once you assemble and position your chainsaw sharpener tool perfectly, the next task is installing a sharpening stone. With the specifications you obtained from step 3, you have to choose a sharpening disc with proper width. That is why step 3 is crucial as it ensures the fitting of the stone in the gap between the chain’s teeth.
Usually, most sharpeners are of the same shape, but the sharpening disc width can differ. Therefore, it is mandatory to use the one that fits your chainsaw blade precisely.
7. Clean the saw chain:
Now detach the chain from the chainsaw and clean it with a solvent. After drying it thoroughly, raise the chain stop and fit the saw chain into the sliding track. Then lock the chain by descending the chain stop. Now adjust the swivel angle precisely. Usually, the most common swivel angle is between 0 to 60 degrees. In some cases, the angle can go up to 80 degrees.
8. Set the blade tooth angle:
Now you will have to get back to the specifications of the blade to learn the given blade tooth angle. It is easy to adjust the angle in the sharpener. What you need to do is to loosen an adjustable knob located on the holder of the blade. For precise setting, the knob should be moved in both positive and negative directions.
9. Adjust the depth:
The next step is to set the suitable depth for the blade you are using. Make sure the grinder reaches the blade but not the chain links. Bring the grinding wheel down and forward the chain stop adjustment until the grinding wheel makes very light contact with the blade.
Failure to properly adjust the depth increases the chances of the grinder cutting the metal between the blade teeth. As a result, the blade will get damaged. Additionally, the blade can get overheated, and the construction elements may lose their integrity.
10. Time to sharpen:
To start sharpening, double-check that you have set everything properly. You can mark the starting tooth with a marker to avoid resharpening the same tooth. Now switch on your sharpener. Once you switch on, the grinding wheel will start to rotate at high speed.
Then you have to slowly lower the grinding wheel’s edge until it comes to contact with the first tooth of the blade. Ensure that the grinder is barely grazing the blade edge. You will get to see some sparks. Keep them in contact for a while, then lift the wheel and check if the tooth has been completely sharpened or not.
Then proceed to the alternative tooth. Continue the same for the rest of the teeth. Once you are done with one side, you will have to readjust the grinder angle to sharpen the teeth on the other side. For example, if you adjusted the sharpener to work at 45 degree angle, you have to change it to negative 45 degrees.
Maximum 5 mins are sufficient to sharpen a chainsaw with an electric sharpener.
11. Adjust the depth gauge height periodically:
The depth gauge, a curved and rounded metal extension, is located in front of each tooth and regulates the depth that the tooth can bite into the wood. After three or four sharpenings, the height of the chainsaw teeth gets reduced. At that time, the height of the depth gauges needs to be reduced correspondingly. Without this intermittent maintenance, achieving the highest performance from a saw chain in the second half of its life is impossible.
So, now you have to manually file down one depth gauge to proper height using a guide and a flat-file. This process is broadly described in another article on the chainsaw sharpening process with the manual file. Now, consider this depth gauge size as standard to grind the rest of the depth gauges.
An electric grinder is ideal for this type of periodic maintenance, but you have to use an extra-wide grinding wheel that is made especially for depth gauge maintenance. There is nothing to worry about as most renowned brands include both grinding wheels in the grinder package.
Important tips when using an electric chainsaw sharpener:
- Do not forget to put on protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and earplugs. Metal chips can be generated during the sharpening process that could enter your eyes. Also, keep a safe distance from the sharpener and the chainsaw while sharpening. Finally, unplug the machine as soon as you complete your task.
- If you do not remove the chain from the chainsaw, it is essential to keep the chain tight on the saw bar during the sharpening process. A shaky chain may cause danger and affect the functionality of the grinder. Moreover, it is hard to sharpen the tooth in a slack chain. And it can affect the sharpening accuracy.
- Make sure the device is in suitable condition to do the sharpening task. As it is a machine, a little disfunction may blow up things instantly. Check the handle is working correctly, and there is no gunk on its surface.
- Make sure the tool is secured before you start the sharpening task. It not only affects the sharpening quality but also prevents any unexpected accidents. If the device is not appropriately secured, it could fall on your feet to cause serious injury. The tool will get damaged also.
- Set up your electric sharpener in a well-lit area. If you cannot do the task outside in daylight, use an overhead lamp for better visibility.
- You have to give close attention to the tooth direction. The purpose of using a chainsaw sharpener is to sharpen the tooth, not to cut down those. So, while pointing the chainsaw, you have to focus and stop at the exact time to avoid digging too deep.
- Do not run it in a wet environment, as it can expose you to the risk of electric shock. In addition, we recommend preventing direct body contact with items like refrigerators, radiators, or pipes as these can facilitate electric shock. Finally, do not keep any flammable liquids or gases at the workplace.
- After sharpening, wipe the saw blade off any dust, chips, or grease.
- It is mandatory to fit the device on a stable surface to avoid any unwanted situation. Additionally, you should also avoid hanging jewelry or loose clothing to reduce the risk of accidents as these can get into the machine quickly and cause severe damage to you.
- While sharpening the saw blade, it is wise to occasionally stop to measure the teeth with a ruler or template. The earlier you find out any depth mistake, the easier it is to correct.
- Never skip the sharpening task as a blunt chain is dangerous to cut with. Moreover, it will be less effective.
- Grinding wheels wear down quickly, so keep some in stock always.
- Even if you are confident about using an electric chainsaw sharpener, our advice is to go through the user manual before starting sharpening.
Possible downsides of a less expensive electric chainsaw sharpener:
The only downside you can face is the accuracy level of the sharpener. After completing one side, when you switch to the other side, the sharpness may not be perfectly equal. On the other hand, while using the expensive models, the angles will be the same. So in cheaper models, you will need to invest more time to achieve even sharpness. It does not mean that every less expensive model will have the same problem.
After sharpening one side, you will have to take care if your sharpener has accuracy issues when you need to shift to the other side. Then, carefully make all other adjustments to get an accurate result.
Don’t throw your manual chainsaw file away:
Electric chainsaw sharpeners do not make the manual files invalid. It is wise to keep a manual file even if you own an electric chain saw sharpener from a famous brand. Manual files are easily portable, even in your pocket, so it is of great use outdoors.
If needed, you can give a quick touch-up to speed up your log cutting job instantly. And you know, using the manual file to sharpen the saw chain is not a difficult task at all. But it is vital to have the correct size file for the particular chain you have.
We recommend carrying a second chain when you are out cutting wood. If you hit any hard material like a rock or nail and your chain gets blunt, it will take a long time to fix it with the manual file. So a second chain can save you that time.
FAQ on electric chainsaw sharpeners
1. How much does it cost to sharpen a chainsaw?
If you take the chain off your saw to any professional, he may charge $15 to $20 based on the number of cutters. If you pay an extra few bucks, they will remove and refit the chain in your chainsaw too.
2. How Long Does A Chainsaw Chain Last?
How long should a chainsaw chain last does not have a fixed limit. It depends on the usage and maintenance. However, it should last at least 5-6 years without any problem. But if you use and maintain it properly, it can last more than this.
For example, if you use your chainsaw with a dull chain, both the bar and chain will overheat due to increased friction, and the chain will stretch prematurely. If a new chain hits sand, rocks, or charcoal, it will be destroyed in a few cuts.
3. What Is Picco Chain?
A Picco chain is a low profile chain with 3/8 pitch. A Picco chain will not stretch as quickly as 1/4 does. As a Picco chain is low profile, it has less mass, and the chainsaw has more power to allow the chain cut. Most small saws go with Picco chain for this reason.
A blunt chainsaw does not give clean cuts, hence the necessity of sharpening. An electric sharpener is quick, accurate, and efficient as well. As you have come up to this part of this article, now you know how to sharpen a chainsaw blade with a electric sharpener.
But you have to follow all the steps and tips to get the expected functionality from the sharpener and the chainsaw. We expect, this article will help you use a properly sharpened chainsaw. And you will not let any shop sharpen your chainsaw again.