10 Easy Steps on How to Hand Sharpen a Chainsaw in 2024?

Richard McMann

Knowledge Based

hand-sharpening a chainsaw in 10 easy steps with a fileDo you think that hand sharpening a chainsaw is a difficult process? No, not at all when we are here to help you out. Once you learn properly about how to hand sharpen a chainsaw then you will think it is the easiest thing to do.

To sharpen a chainsaw fully you need to start with the teeth of the chainsaw chain. Then, you will move to the next part which is sharpening rakers. Afterward, to give perfection to your sharpening you should also sharpen the bar of the chainsaw to remove the burr.

If you want to be an expert at sharpening a chainsaw then read it till the end because I am going to tell you all the process in ten easy steps. So, let’s begin with the signs which indicate that your chainsaw needs to be sharpened now.


Most of you would be worried about your firewood chainsaw being slowed down or you may notice that it is producing fine dust of wood while cutting. When your chainsaw produces fine dust waste rather than large and unified wood chunks then it is a sign that you should sharpen your chainsaw chain with a sharpener.

You must be careful about these signs including; slow cutting, heating while cutting, and requiring more force to cut. All these signs are telling you that it is time to sharpen your chainsaw chain. You should never neglect these signs or else they may prove to be dangerous and can cause serious issues.


Let’s start with the tools that you would need to sharpen a chainsaw. You need to have; a depth gauge to keep measurements uniform, a Dremel tool for sharpening, and a Dremel tool blade sharpening kit, a Round file, and a flat file.

The first step to sharpen a chainsaw chain is to find a proper place that is clean and dry. Put and fix the chainsaw chain on it. You can use the chainsaw for sharpening the chain or you can buy a stumpy vise for sharpening a chainsaw chain. For the chainsaw method, you need to fix the chain on it but not too tightly. Just fix it to the extent that it is still movable.

How to Hand Sharpen a Chainsaw in 10 Easy Steps?

Follow the guide below if you wanna learn how to hand sharpen a home use chainsaw without facing any issue:



Start with sharpening the teeth of the chain. The teeth are on the opposite side and the pattern is like one on the right and then the other left again one on right and the other on left and so on. So what you need to do is to mark the point where you are starting and first deal with one side. Like if are starting with the right teeth then just go on and complete all and then move to the left side.

For doing this, a hand filer is always a good option. You do not need to buy expensive gadgets to sharpen your chainsaw chain. When you are buying a chainsaw do buy a filer and a guide as well because you are going to need it a lot as the chains become dull quickly.

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Place the guide on the teeth and start giving stokes to the teeth with the filer. Keep the direction of the stroke according to the guide which is usually at 30° or 35°. Or else, if you are not having a guide, then there is a mark on each tooth that you may follow for maintaining the right direction.


While giving stokes keep in mind that your filer should not touch the very end of the chainsaw chain like it should be 25% above the surface. Also, it should not be too high, or else it can damage the rakers.

If you are a beginner you should use the file guide. It holds the filer at the right angle as well as keeps the file at the right position in terms of height. But what is not good about it, is that you cannot see the progress that you are making as it covers the tooth fully.


You should keep in mind while sharpening the teeth is that give equal numbers of strokes to each tooth. If you would not keep it equal then you will face difficulty in cutting due to irregular sizes of teeth.

Normally you may need 3 to 4 strokes per tooth or in case of extreme dullness you can give 5 to 6 strokes. One more indication of a perfectly sharpened tooth is that it turns shining silver and you will realize from even the look that it is well sharpened.


Keeping in mind all these factors, sharpen all the teeth on one side. Then, turn the chain and start doing the same with the other side of the chain. Done with all the teeth? Great. Now, let’s move to the next step.



The next step is sharpening the rakers. If the height of the rakers and tooth is not similar then it will create problems in cutting and you will not see the perfect waste of large wood chunks.

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Then, use a depth gauge to measure the differences in the heights of teeth and rakers. Hold the gauge over the portion and give strokes to the rakers with a flat filer. Give the strokes until it matches the height of the teeth.

One tip for sharpening rakers is that keep the strokes in one direction and the same goes for sharpening the teeth. Do not rub the filer over teeth or rakers instead give strokes in one direction. In this way, you will sharpen your chain more perfectly.



For a perfect touch, you should also check for the bar of the chainsaw if there is some burr that you should remove. Sometimes it happens that your chainsaw chain is perfectly sharpened but still there is no smooth cutting it is because of the issue with the bar.


Take off the chain and examine your bar there may be some burr stuffed there. It happens because your chain is not powerful enough and then it heats which results in creating a burr in the edge of the bar.

STEP 10:

To remove this, you need one or two more minutes. Just take the flat filer and give strokes to the bar edges. You will feel that the bar gets smooth after 2 to 3 strokes on all sides. And here you are done with a perfectly sharpened chainsaw chain by hand.

Here’s a video guide on how to hand sharpen a chainsaw with file by Tips from Shipwright:


To sharpen a chainsaw blade with a hand file, you need to have a good round and flat filer and sharpen both teeth and rakers evenly. The process of sharpening is mentioned above. You must be careful about all the details that are provided.

The tips and precautions must be followed or else you may end up creating new problems. The angle, strokes, and position of the file should be as prescribed.


If you are not used to handling chainsaws or are a beginner, then you have to follow the direction strictly. Also, you should check for all the aspects of the chainsaw chain and the chainsaw itself.

Just sharpening the teeth and rakers is not enough. It may work but you should also check for the bar to make it a perfect sharpening. I have already mentioned the problems with the bar and how can you sharpen the edges of the bar to remove the burr. By completing all these steps you will end up having a perfectly sharpened chainsaw.


There is no such difference in sharpening a Stihl chainsaw with hand. I have already mentioned different ways of sharpening a chainsaw. You may opt for the way that best suits you.

You can use guides on the teeth to maintain the direction of the strokes or you can use a guide for this purpose. Also, there are different guides available and again you can use them according to your choice and convenience.


So, here we are done with the process of sharpening a chainsaw with hand. I have told you about the multiple ways and their usefulness as well as disadvantages. I hope it will help you in giving perfect sharpening to your chainsaw.

Richard McMann
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