Using a chainsaw puts wear on the blade — it’s inevitable. Over time, the blade will wear down until it is too dull to work effectively. However, by using chainsaw sharpeners, you can keep your blade sharp far longer and get the most life and use out of that blade before you have to change it out. A dull saw will make progress very slow, and it can also be dangerous. It’s important to have sharpener in your tool box and on-hand for quick attention to your chain (when needed).
There are a few basic types of chainsaw sharpeners on the market. You’ll find rat-tail files, rotary files and guide bar sharpeners.
The most common type of chainsaw sharpener is the manual, rat-tail file. These allow you to sharpen each tooth on the chain individually. You’ll also find that they are very inexpensive (usually just a few dollars), and they are widely available through most hardware and home improvement stores. Make sure that you know the size and the diameter of your chain before you buy this type of sharpener, though, as different size files will fit different chains.
The drawback with these chainsaw sharpeners is that you have to sharpen each tooth individually and ensure that you get the angle right for each one. While it can be done easily by someone with experience, building up that experience can take time. With patience, you can have your saw nicely sharpened however.
Another option is to use a guide bar mounted sharpener. These are a bit different — they mount to the guide bar of the saw and sharpen the blade as it passes through the sharpener.
While you can easily sharpen your own chainsaw, consider taking your chain and/or saw to a local dealer to do the sharpening for you. You’ll find that quality dealers offer sharpening services as well. A professional can have your chain sharpened up in a very short time and you can get back to sawing. Of course, having a good file in your chainsaw case is a good idea to help you when an emergency sharpening job is called for.