How to Sharpen a Chainsaw with a Grinder – Best Sharpening Method

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Before the introduction of chainsaws, we utilized axes as the only means of cutting branches and trees. The task used to be time-consuming and laborious. However, with several new chainsaw models flooding the market today it turned to quick and effortless.

A chainsaw is a useful tool for carrying out woodworking projects, cutting wood, and doing things around your property. As you use your chainsaw they tend to get blunt over time, and they need to be sharpened to keep cutting smoothly. Using a blunt chainsaw will only be time-consuming, and you will not achieve anything. To avoid this, you need to sharpen the chainsaw to resume smooth operations.

While here are many sharpening tools available that can sharpen a chainsaw, I will show you how to sharpen a chainsaw with a grinder. You will also get to learn some chainsaw sharpening tips and tricks.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw with a Grinder

How to Sharpen Your Chain saw with a Grinder – Best Sharpening Ways

Oregon 410-120 Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder,red

Sharpening a chainsaw blade is not complicated if you have the right information. The following is the sharpening process to help you do it right.

Safety First

Before you do anything, it is essential to first think about your safety when you want to sharpen a chainsaw. Whether you are using an electric chainsaw sharpener, chainsaw file, or even a chainsaw grinder to sharp chain saw, it is essential to protect your face, hands, and feet.

Wear protective goggles to keep your eyes from flying metal chips and wear working gloves plus a long-sleeved shirt to protect your hands. It is also advisable to wear appropriate shoes when handling any machinery.

Prepare Your Chainsaw Grinder

If you haven’t bought one then you need to from any local hardware store or online. There are many different types of sharpeners on the market to choose from to help you sharpen your chainsaw.

Some great choices can be timberline chainsaw sharpener, Makita chainsaw sharpener, Oregon chainsaw sharpener, and STIHL chainsaw sharpener.

Look at the one that will suit your needs better before you make a purchase. Investing in the right chain grinder will prove to be fruitful in the long run.

Once you have your grinder, attach it to a workbench through the holes that are attached at the base. Remove the grinding wheel cover with the help of a screwdriver.

Next, you will have to remove the grinder lock cap and install the right grinding wheel for sharpening your chainsaw. After, place back the lock cap and replace the cover.

If you are dealing with a handheld grinder, the chainsaw must be secured on the workbench instead.

Prepare The Chainsaw

Husqvarna 120 Mark II 16 in. Gas Chainsaws, Orange/Gray

The first thing you need to know about your chainsaw is the blade specifications. You must know about its gauge and the pitch. Check the user manual to know these specifications.

Once you’re through, start to prepare the chainsaw. Hold your chainsaw, remove the chainsaw’s chain, and clean it properly with using a solvent of your choosing.

Wait for the chain to dry completely and lift the chain, stop sliding the chain into its sliding tracks. Lower the stops to lock the chain in place.

Make sure the stop rests on the tooth to give you the, starting point for sharpening.

Get The Proper Angle For Sharpenings

Knowing the specifications of the blade will be put into action in this step. Chainsaws come with different size blades meaning each has a recommended angle in the user manual.

Some will have angle recommendations of 0-60 degrees. You need to rotate the grinding wheels for sharpening to the recommended chainsaw sharpening angles and tighten it from the bottom.

Start Sharpening

Using the chainsaw over time makes it go blunt. Therefore, chain sharpening becomes a necessity and you can use a quick and straightforward process to get chain sharp.

Plug in the sharpener and turn on the switch to start sharpening the chainsaw. Start with the chain from where the stop rests and let the sparks fly.

Make sure you sharpen all the chainsaw teeth by continuously pulling the chain so that the tooth you are to sharpen is placed in the chain stop.

Once you are through with the first tooth set, unplug the grinder and rotate the locking wheel in the opposite direction to readjust the right angle to sharpen the rest of the saw chain.

When you are done the job of sharpening the entire chain, the teeth will look shiny and sharp.

Chainsaw Sharpening Tips And Tricks

Sharpening a chainsaw requires one to be very cautious during the entire operation. There are many chainsaw sharpening mistakes that people make which can result in traumatic accidents.

For example, aggressive chainsaw sharpening can result in the grinder sinking into your hands and taking off plenty of metal from the tooth of the chain.

The best way to sharpen a chainsaw is you follow a few chainsaw sharpening tricks.

The first secret to appropriate sharpening of a chainsaw is to brace the saw properly. Place the bar on a bench vice and secure it well. Make sure that each stroke is consistent for each of the saw’s teeth.

When you’re working on sharpening a dull chain saw, never use a dull tool to sharpen the chainsaw. The chain of a chainsaw is a hard metal, meaning you have to get a very sharp tool if you want to sharpen it successfully.

I had talked of aggressive sharpening, which most people do because they want sharp teeth. This mistake has numerous dangers one of them being the risk of a kickback as you sharpen the tooth.

The saw will also be overworked, which could result in it bogging down. It will also take away more metal from the teeth decreasing the chain’s lifespan.

Some people end up with the wrong size tool to sharpen, especially if you are using a file. It is very important to select a file of the right size if you want to sharpen the chainsaw properly.

One of the most important things you should always do when sharpening a chainsaw is to wear protective gear. This can prevent the risk of getting injured during the process.

Determine the best method for sharpening a chainsaw and then invest in professional chainsaw sharpener equipment to get the job done.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What Is The Best Chainsaw Sharpener?

A: The best chainsaw sharpener is an electric sharpener because it gets the job done quickly compared to other tools. Other methods are effective, but they require more time to get the job done.

Q: Is It Worth Sharpening A Chainsaw?

A: Yes, it is. A dull chainsaw chain will pose a huge safety risk for you on top of not being able to get work done. A dull chainsaw is prone to kickback, which is way more dangerous to your safety.

Sharpening it will also keep the chainsaw functioning properly, allowing you to get work done quickly.

Q: Is It Easy To Sharpen A Chainsaw?

A: This will depend on the method that you are using and the tool. Using a file to sharpen is easy but it will take up a lot of your time.

Electric power tools may seem complicated to use but they get work done quickly. With the right instructions, it should be easy to sharpen a chainsaw.

Q: How Do I Know If My Chainsaw Needs Sharpening?

A: The best and easiest sign that your chainsaw needs sharpening is by looking at the wood dust being expelled. A sharp chainsaw will only spray out thin wood dust while a dull one expels fine wood dust.

Q: How Do I Know If Chainsaw Chain Is Dull?

A: When the chainsaw chain doesn’t feed into the wood.

  • The saw producing smoke even if you have lubricated the chain and set the correct tension
  • When you chainsaw chain produces uneven cuts
  • If you see the chainsaw chain creating fine sawdust instead of spraying coarse strands during crosscuts.

Q: What Is The Easiest Way To Sharpen A Chainsaw?

A: The easiest way will depend on the tool you are more familiar with. If you are good at filing, then that will be easy but make sure you have the time. If you want quick results, the easiest way is to use an electric chain sharpener.

Q: What Angle Do You Sharpen A Chainsaw?

A: The angle at the top plate is the one used to sharpen a chainsaw. Most chainsaws have a line at the rear of their top plate to show where the chain is sharpened.

Q: How Do You Sharpen A Chainsaw At Home?

A: Secure your home garage and make sure there is no one going to disrupt you. Secure your chainsaw on a workbench and prepare your preferred tool.

You can use a Dremel, angle grinder, or even a file to get this done. Make sure you are wearing protective gear before you start sharpening your saw.

Q: How To Sharpen A Chainsaw With A File?

A: Start by selecting the right file size. Secure the chain in place and bring your file down to start stroking the series of teeth one by one. Use steady strokes on each tooth until you see it shiny and move to the next until you are done.

Q: How Do I Know What Size File To Use To Sharpen My Chainsaw?

A: Read the number marked on the side of your chainsaw chain cutter. Use that number to select a file of the same size. If that doesn’t work for you, measure the pitch of your chain in inches and refer to file chart to select a file with the same measurement.

Q: How To Use Stihl Chainsaw Sharpener?

A: The best way to sharpen a chainsaw using a Stihl sharpener is to refer to the sharpener’s manual guide. There you will get the right instructions to follow depending on the stihl sharpener model you are having.


Whether you use a chainsaw professionally or for making serious amounts of firewood for your use, being efficient with sharpening is a necessity.

With this chainsaw sharpening guide, you should be able to sharpen your chainsaw without any problems. Remember, there are different methods to sharpen the chainsaw, however, it will depend on the type of tool you are going to use. No matter which tool or technique you use, keep the saw chain sharp and your chain saw will last longer.

I hope this article is of help, and you now know how to sharpen a chainsaw with a grinder. Follow the chainsaw sharpening hacks to help you avoid any injuries or damaging the saw.

Robert Terry

Robert Terry is a specialist author at He is very enthusiastic about woodworking and carpentry. His writings have been published in the wood magazine before. His passion for working with wood and woodworking tools lets him explore many pieces of informative content and resources. Besides working as a creative writer, he loves to share his skills and experiences with the woodworking and carpentry community.

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