How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Blade with an Electric Sharpener?

sharpening chainsaw blade in easy stepsAny cutting tool cannot stay perfectly sharp forever and the chainsaw is no exception. If you are a professional woodworker or homeowner you probably know by now that sharpening is basic maintenance and it is needed from time to time.

Blades are meant to go dull after piercing through trees and wood. Regular maintenance is key to keeping it going for a long time.

You can do it using a filer or an electric sharpener and this article will tell you exactly how to sharpen a chainsaw blade with an electric sharpener.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Blade with an Electric Sharpener in 10 Easy Steps?

Sharpening the blade is the basis of chainsaw maintenance and it should be done in the following scenarios

  • Once a year if it is rarely used.
  • Once every three months for frequent but small jobs around the garden or yard or for cutting hedges.
  • Every other time for rough and frequent usage by professionals.

Dull blades affect performance, show poor results, and consume more power. Indications that give away dullness and need for sharpening are

  • Sawdust instead of wood chips.
  • Dull blades won’t cut through the wood like usual.
  • Requires more pressure.
  • The blade tends to push in one specific direction.

Although there is an option to sharpen the blades using a filer but that is a very tedious process. Compared to that using an electric sharpener provides a faster solution but operating it requires precautions and safety measures. To get it done right follow our comprehensive step-by-step guide.

Step 01: Precautionary Measures

  1. Wear work gloves.
  2. Wear safety pants.
  3. Wear safety goggles.
  4. Do wear head protection helmet.
  5. Wear soundproof headphones.
  6. Flat and sturdy work surface.

Step 02: Examining the Blades for Specifications

The sharpener and blades must be compatible with each other and that requires certain measurements to get the right sharpening stone.

  1. Check the manual for gauge and pitch. Or search the internet.
  2. Note down the adjustment angles.
  3. Get the stone based on your specifications.

Step 03: Positioning the Sharpener

After getting the stone based on the specifications, position it so that it does not shake while working.

  1. Place the sharpener on a flat surface. The ground, work table, or any sturdy flat surface.
  2. Some sharpeners come with bench mounts. Secure them tightly.

Step 04: Installation of Sharpening Stone

Positioning the sharpener correctly makes the installation of stone. To install the stone

  1. Make sure the width of the stone is compatible with the blades.
  2. The width differs with the blade so make sure of the specifications.
  3. The stone fits the gap between the blades. A typical one is 3/16 inches wide.

Step 05: Swiveling

  1. Place the blade/grinder/stone in the sharpener’s holder.
  2. Adjust the angle for effective sharpening. Which is usually 0 or 60 degrees.
  3. In some cases, it is 80 degrees. To make sure, consult a professional.

6th Step: Angle Adjustments

  1. Refer to the specifications in the manual for the right tooth angle.
  2. The knob on the blade holder can be loosened or tightened to adjust the angle of the grinder.

Step 07: Depth Adjustments

It is crucial to make proper depth adjustments otherwise the sharpening blade or grinder could cut too deep.

  1. Make sure to set the depth stop to prevent the grinder from coming in contact with the chain.
  2. You want the grinder to go as far as the blade tooth as possible without coming in contact with the chain.
  3. A miss-step in this could cut the metal between blades. The grinder can also heat up quickly which can damage the chain if the adjustments are not right.

Step 08: Prepping the Blades

The blades can have dirt and debris stuck in them that can affect the sharpening.

  1. Take the chain of the 18″ chainsaw.
  2. Dry clean it with a towel.
  3. Then clean it with a solvent of your choice.
  4. Leave it to dry.

Step 09: Sharpening

The chain has blades facing right and left in alternating order. Choose one side to start.

  1. Set up the blades on the electric sharpener.
  2. Plug in or turn it on.
  3. Mark the first tooth.
  4. Slowly lower the grinder till it is touching the tooth and you can see a spark.
  5. Let it grind for a minute or so and slowly lift it up.
  6. Inspect the blade to see how well it is sharpened. If it is shiny and fits the criteria you are done with the first tooth.
  7. If not, repeat the process for 10 seconds.
  8. The point at which you are satisfied, note it down because that timing would be the same for all the blades.
  9. Finish in the direction you have started. It will finish once you reach the marked tooth.
  10. Once it is complete rotate the chain for the other side of the blades.
  11. The grinder is to be re-adjusted as well. If before the angle was 20 degrees now it should be negative 20 for another side of the blades.
  12. After readjustments repeat steps 3 to 8 till the whole chain is done.

Step 10: File the Depth Gauge

It is the round piece of metal in front of each tooth and controls how much a tooth can remove.

  1. The depth gauge and top plate of the blade should be leveled.
  2. They are to be filed if you notice a height difference.

Have a look at this video guide explaining how you can sharpen chainsaw blades with an electric grinder by highlandoutboards:

Frequently Asked Questions

How are Oregon electric sharpeners?

Oregon is a top-rated chainsaw brand that offers loads of variety in the chainsaw market with its saws, chains, accessories, etc. It also provides top-notch electric sharpeners to sharpen the chainsaw blades like Powersharp.

Check the specifications of your saw and if it is compatible with the Oregon Powersharp or any other Oregon electric chainsaw sharpener you got yourself an excellent deal.

How do you sharpen a chainsaw blade with an electric sharpener?

  1. Follow precautionary measures
  2. Examine the blades for specifications
  3. Get the sharpening stone
  4. Install the sharpening stone
  5. Swiveling
  6. Angle adjustments
  7. Depth adjustments
  8. Prepping the blades
  9. Sharpening
  10. Filing the depth gauge

For a detailed step-by-step guide check out the steps we have mentioned above.

What angle do you sharpen a chainsaw blade with an electric sharpener?

Typically it is 0, 60, and sometimes 80 degrees. But check your manual and consult with a professional as well.

What is the best degree to sharpen a chainsaw blade?

That depends on the specifications of your blades but it is typically 0 or 60 degrees.

How do you adjust an electric chainsaw sharpener to sharpen chainsaw blades?

Blades are adjusted on the sharpener as they are on the saw. There is a base to place the blades on and fix them in place.

Final Takeaways: How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Blade with an Electric Sharpener?

Sharpening the blades is at the top of the chainsaw maintenance list. There are multiple indications that give away the dullness and should be heeded as soon as possible.

An electric sharpener might be a little tricky to use but it gets the job done. Note down the specifications of your saw, put on your safety measures, and follow the comprehensive guide so you can achieve optimal results.


Richard McMann

Richard lives out in the wild with his other half, Diana Richard. He tests chainsaws based on his personal experience and loves to share their nitty gritty details with his audience. Although Richard does focus on other home improvement tools, his focus remains on cutting fallen trees or maintaining his backyard via chainsaw tools. He pledges to come up with new knowledge about chainsaws every once in a while. Explore Details About Richard