How To Sharpen A Chainsaw With A Grinder? – 4 Easy Steps

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw With A Grinder

If you use a chainsaw regularly, you know that maintaining a sharp chain is essential for efficient and safe cutting. While there are many methods to sharpen a chainsaw, using a grinder can be a quick and effective way to get the job done. But exactly how to sharpen a chainsaw with a grinder?

In this blog, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of sharpening a chainsaw using a grinder and provide you with some tips and tricks to ensure that you get the most out of your chainsaw. Whether you’re a professional or a weekend warrior, this guide will help you keep your chainsaw in top condition so that you can tackle any cutting task with ease.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw with Grinders in 2024? A Step-by-Step Guide

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw With A Grinder

These are the four steps to sharpen a chainsaw with a grinder:

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools
Step 2: Prepare Your Saw for Sharpening
Step 3: Place Chain in Grinder Position
Step 4: Sharpen Each Tooth Individually

Now, let’s follow the detailed step-by-step instructions on how to sharpen a chainsaw chain with an electric grinder one by one.

Step 1: Gather the Necessary Tools

Before beginning the sharpening process, make sure that you have all of the necessary tools at hand. You will need safety glasses or goggles, a grinding stone or wheel for your grinder, gloves, protective clothing and ear protection. If possible, use a dust mask as well for added protection.

Step 2: Prepare Your Saw for Sharpening

Next, prepare your saw for sharpening by disconnecting the spark plug wire from its outlet on the engine. This is necessary in order to prevent any accidental starting of the chainsaw during sharpening. In addition, you should also remove any dirt or debris from around the chain by using compressed air or running water over it.

Step 3: Place Chain in Grinder Position

Now it’s time to place your chain into the correct position on the grinder so that you can begin sharpening it. Make sure that each cutting tooth has contact with the grinding stone or wheel before proceeding further. Also, ensure that each tooth has uniform contact with the stone so that they are evenly sharpened when completed.

Step 4: Sharpen Each Tooth Individually

Once you have set up your chain correctly on the grinder, start by sharpening each individual tooth on one side of the chain first before moving on to those on the other side of it. Generally speaking, each tooth should be polished for about 10 seconds until all teeth on one side are done; then, move on to polishing those on the other side of it following similar instructions as mentioned above and continue until all teeth are equally honed and polished.

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Understanding Chainsaw Chain Anatomy

Understanding the anatomy of a chainsaw chain is important because it can help you properly maintain and sharpen your chain. For example, the cutters are the most important part to focus on when sharpening, as they are the part that actually does the cutting. The depth gauges also need to be properly maintained to ensure that the cutters can cut into the wood at the correct depth.

Different Parts Of A Chainsaw Chain

A chainsaw chain is composed of several parts that work together to cut through wood efficiently. Here’s a breakdown of each part:

  • Cutter: This is part of the chain that does the cutting. Each cutter is made up of a top plate, a side plate, and a cutting edge.
  • Tie Straps: These are the pieces that connect the cutters together and keep them spaced apart evenly.
  • Drive Links: These are the links that fit into the chainsaw bar groove and transfer power from the chainsaw engine to the chain.
  • Depth Gauges: These determine how deep the cutters can cut into the wood.
  • Rivets: These connect the links and hold the chain together.

Importance Of Understanding Chain Anatomy For Sharpening

There are a lot of myths about chainsaw sharpening, that’s why it’s important to note that there are different chainsaw chains available, each with its own unique design and features. Some chains are designed for rough cutting, while others are designed for precision cutting. Understanding the anatomy of your specific chainsaw chain is important for selecting the right chain for the job and maintaining it properly.

Types Of Chain Teeth

There are three main types of chain teeth that are used on chainsaw chains:

  • Full Chisel
  • Semi-Chisel
  • Low Profile

1. Full Chisel

These teeth have a square shape with a sharp cutting edge. They are the fastest-cutting teeth and are typically used for cutting hardwood and other dense materials.

2. Semi-Chisel

These teeth have a rounded shape with a cutting edge that is not as sharp as full chisel teeth. They are more durable than full chisel teeth and are less prone to dulling quickly, making them a good choice for cutting dirty or abrasive wood.

3. Low Profile

These teeth have a rounded shape and a low profile, which means they are smaller and closer together than full-chisel and semi-chisel teeth.

Choosing a Grinder

Choosing the right grinder is important for sharpening a chainsaw chain effectively and efficiently. A dull chainsaw chain can be dangerous to use, and sharpening it with the wrong grinder or technique can lead to an uneven or improperly sharpened chain, which can cause the saw to kick back or vibrate excessively.

Here are some factors to consider when choosing a grinder for sharpening chainsaw chains:

  • Grinding wheel size
  • Motor power
  • Speed
  • Features
  • Cost

1. Grinding Wheel Size

The size of the grinding wheel is an important factor to consider. For sharpening chainsaw chains, a wheel size of 4-1/8 inches to 5-3/4 inches is typically recommended. Larger grinding wheels can be more efficient for sharpening chains, but they may also require more power.

2. Motor Power

The power of the motor is an important consideration, especially if you plan to use the grinder for heavy-duty sharpening tasks. A higher horsepower grinder will handle heavy-duty sharpening tasks more efficiently but may also be more expensive.

See also  Understanding Chainsaw Kickback and How to Prevent It

3. Speed

 The speed at which the grinder spins is also important. For sharpening chainsaw chains, a grinder with a speed of 4,000 to 7,000 RPM is recommended. A slower speed can result in more precise sharpening, while a faster speed can make the process quicker.

4. Features

Look for grinders that come with adjustable guides or other features that can help ensure accurate and consistent sharpening. Some grinders may also have built-in lights to help you see what you are doing, which can be helpful when working in low-light conditions.

5. Cost

 Grinders can range in price from under $50 to several hundred dollars. Consider your budget when selecting a grinder, but also keep in mind that investing in a quality grinder can save you money in the long run by extending the life of your chainsaw chain.

Check Out: How To Use a Electric Chainsaw Sharpener?

Preparing For Sharpening

Preparing for sharpening is an important step in ensuring that you can safely, accurately, and efficiently sharpen your chainsaw chain. This can help to prolong the life of your chainsaw and ensure that it performs at its best.

Safety precautions

Sharpening a chainsaw chain can be a dangerous task, so it is important to take appropriate safety precautions to avoid injury. Here are some safety precautions to consider when sharpening a chainsaw chain:

  • Wear protective gear: Always wear safety gear, including eye and ear protection, gloves, and sturdy footwear.
  • Disconnect the spark plug: Before you sharpen, disconnect the spark plug to prevent the chainsaw from accidentally starting.
  • Secure the chainsaw: Use a bench vise or clamps to securely hold the chainsaw in place while sharpening.
  • Use a file guide: A file guide can help to ensure that you are sharpening your chain at the correct angle and depth. This can help to prevent damage to the chain and improve cutting performance.
  • Keep the chain lubricated: Chainsaw chains generate a lot of heat when they are sharpened, which can cause the chain to warp or become damaged. To prevent this, keep the chain lubricated with oil or water while sharpening.

Sharpening The Chain

Sharpening a chainsaw chain is a simple process that can be done with a few tools and some practice. Here are the steps to follow to sharpen a chainsaw chain with a grinder:

  • Mount the chainsaw chain on the grinder
  • The proper angle for sharpening
  • Grinding the teeth
  • Check the Depth gauges
  • Lubricant the chain

1. Mount the Chainsaw Chain On the Grinder

First, make sure the grinder is securely mounted on a work surface. Then, place the chainsaw chain in the jaws of the grinder, making sure it is properly aligned and seated securely.

2. Proper Angle For Sharpening

The angle at which you sharpen the chain depends on the type of chain you have. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for the correct angle to sharpen your chain. For most chains, the angle will be around 25-30 degrees.

3. Grinding the Teeth

Turn on the grinder and use a steady, even motion to grind each tooth of the chain at the proper angle. Use light pressure and let the grinder do the work. Be sure to maintain the same angle on each tooth and to grind evenly to avoid creating an uneven cutting surface.

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4. Check the Depth Gauges

After sharpening the teeth, use a depth gauge tool to check the height of the depth gauges on each tooth. These gauges help control the amount of wood that the tooth removes with each pass. Make sure the gauges are at the correct height and that they are filed evenly.

5. Lubricate the Chain

After sharpening, lubricate the dull chain with bar and chain oil to help prevent rust and to keep the chain moving smoothly.

Also Read: How To Hand Sharpen a Chainsaw?


How do I know when my chainsaw chain is properly sharpened?

When sharpening a chainsaw chain with a grinder, there are a few ways to tell when the chain is properly sharpened:

  • Sharpness: A properly sharpened chain will feel sharp to the touch. When you run your finger along the cutting edge of the teeth, they should feel sharp and smooth. If the teeth feel dull or rough, the chain may need more sharpening.
  • Cutting speed: A properly sharpened chain will cut through wood quickly and efficiently. If the chain is taking longer to cut through wood or is getting stuck, it may need to be sharpened further.
  • Cutting quality: A properly sharpened chain will leave clean, even cuts in the wood. If the chain is leaving jagged or uneven cuts, it may need more sharpening, or the depth gauges may need to be adjusted.

What safety precautions should I take when sharpening a chainsaw chain with a grinder?

When sharpening a chainsaw chain with a grinder, it is important to take the following safety precautions:

  • Wear protective gear: Wear safety glasses, gloves, and ear protection to protect yourself from sparks, debris, and loud noise.
  • Secure the chainsaw chain: Make sure the chainsaw chain is securely mounted on the grinder and cannot slip or move while you are sharpening.
  • Keep the grinder stable: Make sure the grinder is securely mounted to a stable surface and cannot tip over while in use.
  • Maintain a safe distance: Keep a safe distance between yourself and the grinder to avoid injury from sparks or debris.

How often should I sharpen my chainsaw chain?

The frequency at which you should sharpen your chainsaw chain depends on how often you use your chainsaw and the type of wood you are cutting. As a general guideline, aim to sharpen your chainsaw chain after every 4-5 hours of use or whenever the chain becomes dull or damaged.

Can I sharpen a chainsaw chain by hand?

Yes, it is possible to sharpen a chainsaw chain by hand using a chainsaw file guide and a round file. While using a grinder can make the sharpening process faster and more efficient, sharpening by hand can be a more economical option for occasional users or those on a budget. To sharpen a chainsaw chain by hand, you will need a chainsaw file guide that fits your chain’s pitch, a round file that matches the size of the teeth, and a flat file. You will also need to wear gloves and eye protection to protect yourself from the chain and filings.

What kind of grinder should I use to sharpen my chainsaw?

For sharpening a chainsaw, the most common type of grinder used is a bench grinder. Bench grinders are a good choice for sharpening chainsaw chains because they are readily available, easy to use, and can be purchased at a reasonable cost.

Wrapping up

Sharpening a chainsaw chain with a grinder can help you keep your chainsaw working at peak performance and can save you time and money on replacement sharp chains. By understanding how to sharpen a chainsaw with a grinder and choosing the right grinder for your needs, you can ensure that your chainsaw chain is sharpened to the correct angle and with consistent grinding.

Proper safety precautions should always be taken when working with a grinder, and the sharp chain should be cleaned and inspected before sharpening. With practice and patience, anyone can learn how to sharpen a chainsaw chain with a grinder and keep their chainsaw running smoothly for years to come.

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