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The big one! Chain sharpening is the single most important aspect of using a chainsaw. There is nothing else more important if you own a chainsaw than a correctly sharpened chain. Dull chains cause faster wear on all moving parts. If the chainsaw does not cut wood with a straight, smooth, progressive feel then the chain is dull.

Does my chain need sharpening?

If you’re asking yourself this question the answer is probably yes!

Understanding how a chainsaw chain cuts and you’re half way to understanding how to correctly sharpen your chain. If you take some time to read Oregon’s maintenance manual below, this will give you a solid foundation to build on. Often [and always if the bar is pretty new] – if your set up is not cutting straight then change the chain to a new chain. Because this should tell you if it is the chain or not. Some of our favorite regular comments from customers that are not sure why things are not cutting correctly – [but are adamant it won’t be the chain] are 1) The chain is new 2) My previous chain cut straight for days but this time my cutting is crooked after only an hour… 3) I just sharpened it 4) cutting clean wood only so no way is the chain dull yet 5) chain feels sharp so it must be sharp 6) hardly used it and already it’s not cutting right 7) my other saws seem to cut for much longer before I need to sharpen.

Click here to understand how a chain cuts from Madsens

Click here for Oregon’s chainsaw maintenance guide

If you have more time check out electrosawhq article here

This article gives some added tips as well as looking at bench mounted grinders.

Manual chain sharpening



Damaged chain and causes

Peened drive links

Terrible for your bar. Chain has come off bar, drive sprocket is worn or the incorrect drive sprocket has been used.

Peened drive links

Peening of tie straps

This guide bar has been forced to cut. This is usually caused by a dull chain, poor bar lubrication and / or loose chain tension.

Peening of tie straps

Damage to bottom of drive link

Worn drive sprocket or bar rails have been dressed below minimum height.

worn drive sprocket

worn rim

Blunt chain

Time to sharpen. Notice on a full, fast cutting chisel chain it doesn’t take much to dull the fine point that is the crucial part that cuts the wood. Dirty wood is very detrimental for full chisel chains. Semi chisel and chipper chains are more resistant to dulling.

Blunt chain

blunt chain image

Damaged chain when hitting metal

This is what the damaged chain will look like after hitting metal.

Damaged chain hitting metal

damaged chain hitting metal image

Video advisory

How to recover badly damaged chain


Click here for chain sharpening equipment


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