How to sharpen a small chainsaw blade

Chainsaws have made cutting through trees or any wood easier, but as you use it, its blades will dull over time. If you notice that it’s getting increasingly harder to cut through a wood, then it’s time to sharpen it. By having a general idea of what tools to use and how to use it to sharpen your chainsaw, you can get back to cutting in no time at all. 

File Sharpening 

Using a file to hand sharpen a small chainsaw manually may seem like a tedious and arduous task, but once you get the hang of it, sharpening your chainsaw would be a quick task for you.

The first thing to do is to inspect your chainsaw thoroughly; you’ll notice that your chainsaw has a series of semi-circular cutting edges and teeth. The cutting edges of your saw will vary from size to size, to sharpen the curved cutting edges, you need to get a matching-diameter round file. 

Secure the Chainsaw 

But before you even begin, you need to secure your chainsaw. Find a stable work surface and clamp your chainsaw down. It’ll prevent the chainsaw from moving and shifting while you sharpen it so you can sharpen at a consistent rate. 

Tighten the Chains 

Locate the tension adjusting screw and tighten the chains. You can use a screwdriver to adjust the chains, or if you have a tool-less tensioning adjusting system, the better. Make sure that the chains are tight, but not too tight. Tightening the chain stops them from moving as you are sharpening it. 

Mark The Starting Tooth 

Mark the first tooth that you’re going to sharpen, either by coloring it or using a permanent marker. It helps you keep track of where you’ve started and to track your progress; it also helps you avoid sharpening the same tooth twice. 

Set Sharpening Guide 

Situate the guide where it’s on top of the saw chain, then let the file rest against the marked tooth. You need to adjust the sharpening guide until the lines are parallel with the saw’s steel bar. 


Now with the file all situated and set-up, you are ready to sharpen your chainsaw. Maintain the angle and slowly move the file back and forth across the cutting tooth.

Repeat this motion for a good five to six times, keeping a consistent and slow stroke. 

You must keep the number of strokes consistent with all the other teeth, so count how many strokes you make on the first one. One indicator of a sharpened cutting edge is that it looks clean and shiny. 

One thing to note is after you’ve sharpened the first tooth, skip the next tooth, and proceed to file the one after that. That’s because a saw tooth has an alternating sharpening angle from left to right. Doing so will save you the trouble of constantly changing and adjusting the sharpening guide. 

Once you’re done filling every other tooth, move to the other side, and start filling the ones that you’ve skipped. Then you’re done!