How to Sharpen Chainsaws

By Dremel Staff

With use, the teeth on a chainsaw – called cutters – become dull and inefficient. Sharpening the teeth improves a chainsaw’s cutting ability and makes using it much safer. A Dremel rotary tool combined with the Dremel Chainsaw Sharpening Attachment lets you sharpen a chainsaw with ease.

List of Items Needed

  • • Dremel 8000 10.8V Lithium–ion Cordless tool (or Dremel 400XPR, 300, 200 or 100 series)
  • • 1453 Chainsaw Sharpening Attachment
  • • Sharpening stone
  • • Vise
  • • Gloves
  1. The Dremel 8000 10.8V Lithium–ion Cordless tool is suggested for this task, due to its easy handling and long-lasting battery charge (two hours), however, the Dremel 400XPR, 300, 200 or 100 series tools can also be used with the Chainsaw Sharpening Attachment.

  2. Check your chainsaw manufacturer’s guide to learn which size sharpening stone to use. The grindstone or file you choose must be the correct diameter for your saw. The Dremel Chainsaw Sharpening Attachment comes with three standard sizes of sharpening stone – 5/32 inch, 3/16 inch and 7/32 inch.

  3. Remove oil, dirt, and debris from your chain using mineral spirits or a commercial degreaser. Be careful not to get cleaner on the engine or other components, since some of these products can damage the plastic housing or other parts. While cleaning, inspect the chain for damaged or over-worn links and teeth. Discard a damaged, weakened, or extremely worn chain.

  4. Tighten the chain on the bar to remove any slack. (You should still be able to move the chain with moderate effort.)

  5. Stabilize the saw in a vise so the bar remains stationary.

  6. Install the sharpening stone and attachment. Line up the tool with the 30¼-angle guide and sharpen all the teeth facing one direction. Make the same number of passes on each tooth—inconsistent sharpening causes the blades to wear differently and cut less efficiently. When you are finished with all the teeth in one direction, line up the tool with the second 30¼-degree mark and sharpen the rest of the teeth.

  7. Return the chain to its normal operating tension.

Tips and Warnings

  • • Unplug electric chainsaws and remove spark plugs from gas models before sharpening.
  • • After sharpening, oil the chain to give it tack and speed.
  • • Check the tension of the chain and adjust according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • • Use caution and wear protective eyewear when using power tools.

© Demand Media 2011