How to sharpen a chainsaw

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How to sharpen a chainsaw

View the video

Project Overview

Maintaining a chainsaw prolongs its life by ensuring that it works at its optimum level and is safe to use. Blunt chains can catch and kick back, causing serious injury. So it’s a good idea to sharpen the blades every time you refill the tank with fuel. We’ll show you how to file the blades safely. 

Continue to step-by-step instructions

Step by Step Instructions

1 File from the inside to outside
2 Roll the chain to continue sharpening
3 Turn the chainsaw around and sharpen alternate teeth
  • Step 1. File from the inside to outside

    Before you start, always remember to have the chainsaw’s power cord disconnected or the fuel switch off when you are sharpening. Use a clamp to hold the chainsaw in position while you work. To sharpen, file from the inside of the tooth to the outside. The motion you should use is by starting flat and gradually lifting the blade up to get the edge. Three passes of the file will be enough for each tooth. Make sure you don’t create a hook by twisting as you file. You’ll be able to sharpen every second tooth on your first pass.
  • Step 2. Roll the chain to continue sharpening

    Now roll the chain on the chainsaw so you can bring the underside teeth around to the top to continue sharpening. Continue sharpening every second tooth, using the same inside outside motion from Step 1.
  • Step 3. Turn the chainsaw around and sharpen alternate teeth

    The next thing to do is turn the chainsaw around and sharpen every alternate tooth from the other side of the chainsaw. Roll the chain again and this will ensure you have sharpened every tooth.

Tools and Materials


  • Chainsaw
  • Chainsaw file guide
  • Chainsaw file kit
  • Safety glasses
  • Safety gloves


  • Chain bar oil
  • Cleaning rags
  • Marker pen

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