When you’re cutting down a tree using a chainsaw, you want to make sure that the process is as smooth, quick, and efficient as it possibly can be. In order to do this, you need to make sure that your saw is sharp.
The sharper the chainsaw, the easier it will be able to cut into hardwood.
As with everything else sharp, chainsaws become blunt when used over a prolonged period of time. And for this reason, it’s important to either sharpen them yourself, or get someone else to sharpen them for you.
This article, PowerOfTool.com will explore the benefits and details of both as well as recommending some tools.
- 1 Is it worth sharpening a chainsaw?
- 2 Types of Chainsaw Services
- 3 How to find a sharpening service near you?
- 4 How much does a chainsaw sharpening service cost?
- 5 Should you use professional chainsaw sharpening service?
- 6 How to prepare chainsaw for sharpening service
- 7 An Alternative to Sharpening Services
- 8 How to sharpen a chainsaw
- 9 Can I repair a chainsaw myself?
Is it worth sharpening a chainsaw?
When it comes to making your chainsaw sharper there are two main options: sharpen it yourself or get someone else to sharpen it for you.
If you choose to sharpen it yourself, this will save you money in the long term; although initially, you will have to cover the cost of the sharpening instrument.
It will also be more time-consuming. Not only will you have to take the time to sharpen your chainsaw, but you will also have to take the time to learn how to use the sharpening instrument. This could be a viable option if you plan to create a tree cutting service with a lot of staff and a low budget.
However, if you have fewer staff, or you simply have other things to do with your time than sharpen your chainsaw, then it might be better to get it sharpened for you.
Types of Chainsaw Services
There are two main types of chainsaw services for those who choose to get someone else to sharpen their saw. Websites such as Google Maps can make it easier to find some near you.
Firstly you could go to the dealer.
The vast majority of shops that sell chainsaws also offer services for their customers to ensure that their chainsaws are working as efficiently as they possibly can be. One of these services will be a sharpening service.
The price of this will vary depending on the dealer you go to, and the type of chainsaw you wish to have sharpened.
And, as you’ve probably figured out yourself, online dealers will not be able to provide the service as it will be impractical for them to receive your chainsaw, sharpen it, and then ship it back to you.
Another option will be to take it to a service centre. These are places that don’t sell any chainsaws and only offer services for them. Most of them will also provide services for other tools such as lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, and leaf blowers.
One benefit to service centres is that they are usually better trained as repairing and services are what they specialise in. They’ll also be less likely to try and sell you things that you neither want nor need. However, they’re usually the more expensive option of the two.
Also, service centres are less common, so you might not be lucky enough to live near one, particularly if you live in a rural area.
How to find a sharpening service near you?
If you decide that you want to get you saw sharpened by someone else and you also have made up your mind as to whether you go to a dealer or a service centre, the next step is finding a service which is near to where you are.
As mentioned earlier, Google Maps is a good place to start. A benefit of Google Maps is that not only will it tell you which ones are near you, but it can also figure out the best ones based upon reviews from previous customers. This can prevent you from going to a place which isn’t very good.
However, you do need to be careful as some companies might pay people to write good reviews. So it’s always a good idea to talk to your friends who have gone to these services to ask them what they would recommend, and which ones they would avoid.
Finding a sharpening service is easy; it’s finding the best one that’s the challenge.
How much does a chainsaw sharpening service cost?
The cost of having your chainsaw sharpened will depend on several things. This includes where you go, the chainsaw that you need sharpened, and how blunt the blades are.
Generally, a smaller chain should cost you around $4 whereas a larger chain might cost you closer to $10. And going to dealers will generally be cheaper than visiting a service centre.
If you want to save as much money as you can, then it’s better to go to a dealer. However, if you want to ensure that the quality is as high as possible, then it will be wise to go to a service centre.
One downside of going to a service instead of doing it yourself is, of course, that you will have to pay every time you need the saw sharpened. This can add up to quite a lot, particularly if you regularly use your chainsaw.
On average you could probably expect to spend around $50 a year on sharpening. Although it may be more or less depending on how often you use your chainsaw and the type of chain it has.
Should you use professional chainsaw sharpening service?
Many of you reading this right now are likely wondering whether it’s even worth going to a professional sharpening service when you can just do it yourself.
However, despite the higher price tag, there are reasons for having an expert doing it for you.
First, it will save you time. As you will not have to worry about making your chainsaw sharp, there will be no need to find the time to learn this new skill.
You will also save the time it would have taken you to actually sharpen your chainsaw. You can spend this time doing other things such as cutting down more trees.
Second, you can be confident in knowing that they will do a good job. The people who do this are fully trained and therefore know how to make your chain as sharp as possible.
How to prepare chainsaw for sharpening service
Should you choose to go to professional, there are a few steps to take before taking your chainsaw to a sharpening service.
The chain that you wish to have sharpened has to be clean.
When you use a chainsaw, the chain will get dirty; I’m afraid that’s something which cannot be avoided. This is particularly true when you’re cutting down softer woods.
Bits of the wood will get stuck on the teeth and between the links. As well as splinters, you can usually expect to find a few bits of leaves, and perhaps even a bit of mud.
Before you get the saw sharpened, you need to get the chain sorted out. Luckily, this can usually be done easily using a common garden hose, but it will be better if your hose has a jet setting.
Make sure to put your chainsaw in a box when you take it to the shop, for safety reasons.
An Alternative to Sharpening Services
Going to a sharpening service might not be the best option for everyone. It probably will be if you only use your chainsaw occasionally; however, for those who use it more often, such as those who cut down trees for a living, it will probably be worth taking the time to learn how to sharpen your own chainsaw, and investing in your own sharpening tool.
While this might take up more of your time and money initially, it will be worth it in the long term.
And when you get the hang of sharpening, you’ll be able to do a job which is just as good as the professionals.
As we’ve already said, whether you should sharpen your own chain or get a professional to do it for you will depend on your personal circumstances.
But should you decide to do it yourself, we’ll now talk about a few sharpening tools available on Amazon.
Our first entry onto this list is the Stihl 2 in 1 Easy File chainsaw sharpener. Its measurements come in at 8.4 × 2 × 0.9 inches. And it only weights 10.4 ounces. It is one of the best chainsaw sharpeners
The cost is $40 and that includes the case as well as the sharpening instrument.
- This tool can sharpen at a quick speed
- Sharpens the depth gauge as well as the teeth in a single step.
- “Ideal for occasional users” according to Stihl
- Made of a sturdy, firm, and difficult to break metal.
- Average 5 Star review on Amazon.
- Easy to use.
- Easy to store design.
- Price is quite high
- Case it comes in is made out of plastic, which some buyers dislike
- A few customers have questioned the tool’s durability
- Sometimes there aren’t as many files given as Stihl claims
- Not as effective as some other sharpeners, according to some customers.
The next item on our list is the “Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Sharpener Model #G-106B”. This isn’t so much a sharpener itself; it’s more of a device that you attach to the bar of your chainsaw in order to make sharpening easier.
It weighs 14.4 ounces and measures at 12.5 × 7 × 1.5 inches.
- American made in California
- Allows you to quickly and easily sharpen any chainsaw
- Mounts to any bar
- Can use any file
- Made from cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel so you know it’s strong.
- High reviews on Amazon
- Comes with a 2-year warranty
- Files not included
- Can break too easily, according to some users
- Granberg have a refund policy which not all of its customers seem too happy with
- Instructions given are slightly unclear
- Some customers don’t find it as easy to use as other customers do
The next one our list is another bar mounter; but this time, it actually is a sharpener. It’s the “Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener with 3/16″ Carbide Cutter (for .325″ pitch chains)”. This is an interesting device as it uses a lever which you turn to sharpen the teeth.
It weighs 2 pounds and measures 8 × 8 × 8 inches.
- Sharpens each tooth in a matter of seconds
- Every tooth will be sharpened to the same length and angle
- Made from durable and high-quality aluminum
- Portable so you can easily take it with you to the woods
- Gives you what Timberline describe as “Professional Results”
- Can be difficult to use
- Carbides have been described as ‘brittle’
- Costs more than $130
- Some say it would be just as effective to just use a file
- A few customers have complained that a few of the teeth are unequal.
And finally, we have our only electric powered sharpener on the list today. It’s the “Oregon 410-120 Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder”. It weighs 16.5 pounds and runs on 120 volts and 1.2 Amps.
- Can easily be mounted to either a bench or a wall
- Sharpens chains with a pitch of up to 0.404″
- One-way motor rotation for a safer operation
- Adjustments which are easy to use
- Comes with 3 different grinding wheels
- Comes with chain and depth gauge, dressing brick and quick template
- Longer nose life and better performance with a new sprocket nose system.
- Fairly costly at over $170
- Packing is not ideal, including a bag of plastic parts which is easy to rip.
- A few bits are loose in the box
- Manual is a bit confusing and difficult to follow
One tool that you might want to think about using when it comes to making your chainsaw sharper is the Dremel. A Dremel is a multitool, hand-held device which you can use with a variety of attachments and accessories. You can use it for other purposes as well as chainsaw sharpening.
Sharpening your chainsaw chain with a Dremel is relatively straightforward. First, you’ll need to attach the sharpening attachment. This is usually a small file and a stabiliser pad. Then just turn it on and get to work. Just make sure to keep a steady hand as you go.
There are plenty of models out there. But three which Amazon recommend are:
1. Dremel 3000-15
Comes with 15 accessories, all in a convenient bag.
2. Dremel Platinum Edition 4000-6/128 EX
Variable Speeds up to 35 RPM. Perfect precision and power.
3. Dremel 43000 3/45
Thanks to a 175W motor, this delivers maximum output.
A Dremel is something which you should seriously consider purchasing because it’s easy to use, portable, and usable for other purposes as well as chainsaw sharpening.
How to sharpen a chainsaw
Perhaps you wish to sharpen your chainsaw with a tool which isn’t a Dremel. If this is you, you’ll be wondering how to do it.
Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer. Each sharpening tool works differently, but thankfully, they often come with an instruction manual to help you to understand how to use them.
Some of them operate using a lever that you turn; some of them need you to provide a file. However, one type of sharpener that’s generally the same no matter who you buy it from is the file on its own.
Here’s how to sharpen a chainsaw with one of those.
1. Clamp the chainsaw down to prevent it from wobbling
2. Tighten the chain. This will make it as stable and easy to sharpen as possible
3. Mark the first tooth, this will help you to keep track of what you’ve already done
4. Put the file in the notch on the front of the cutter
5. Get to work. Move it back and forth until the tooth is sharp.
Can I repair a chainsaw myself?
As with everything in life, particularly those things that you don’t want broken, chainsaws have a habit of breaking.
If this happens, some of you will go straight to a repair shop, whereas others will immediately try to save money by fixing it yourself.
This can be a good and economically efficient idea, but it also could be quite the opposite.
If you know what you’re doing and you’re confident that nothing will go wrong, then, by all means, repair away. But if you’re new to chainsaws it will be better to take it to a professional to get it repaired for you.
If the fixing of your chainsaw goes wrong, then instead of spending $20 on taking it get it repaired, you’ll instead be spending around $400 for a new chainsaw. So sometimes it can cheaper to pay for something to be repaired than to risk having to buy a brand new one.
What do you think is better: sharpening a chainsaw yourself or getting a professional to do it for you?