A chainsaw is one of the heavier-duty tools that not every homeowner may find useful. However, if you’re having trouble dealing with dead stumps, unruly tree branches, and wild bushes, then you should consider picking up a chainsaw. Nobody wants to spend all day under the blazing sun with a pair of hedge clippers and risk dying of heat exhaustion.
A chainsaw doesn’t have to be super-duper heavy-duty; in fact, if you’re only looking for a power tool to make bush- and hedge-cleaning simpler to do, there are cordless chainsaw models with limited power out there for you.
Maintaining a Chainsaw
Even without owning a chainsaw, you can correctly assume that maintaining one can be quite troublesome. First of all, you’re dealing with a motor that rotates a long, sharp chain in quick fashion to cut cleanly through dense materials. However, in most cases, the worst you’ll ever have to worry about is keeping the blade saw chain sharp.
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Why Do You Need to Sharpen a Chainsaw?
Keeping the saw chain as sharp as possible is the only way to ensure that the tool will work as well as the day you bought it. Furthermore, like sharp circular saw blades and knives, sharper edges will reduce the amount of time needed to cut through thick branches and tree trunks. It’ll also definitely help reduce the risk of the blade getting caught between branches and twigs which could potentially result in kickback.
If this isn’t enough to convince you, there are also financial reasons why you should maintain the sharpness of your chainsaw’s blade. With a sharper chainsaw blade, you’ll decrease the amount of gas/electricity/battery power consumed on your wood-slicing projects, ultimately reducing the amount of cash needed to operate the tool. It’ll also extend the life of the blade and tool, meaning you won’t need to get the tool’s motor checked up as frequently.
Even though you may be dealing with dulled chainsaw blades, that’s no excuse to be reckless; a dull blade can still do some pretty nasty things to your clothes and skin.
Now, sharpening the blades of a chainsaw can be a dangerous task. This is why many chainsaw owners tend to leave it to the pros. However, with the right tools, knowledge, and a dash of common sense, you can sharpen your blades while reducing the risk of injury.
First of all, whenever you’re handling a chainsaw or its blades, you should always have a pair of durable gloves on. Your fingers are at the highest risk of making contact with any of the blade’s teeth during the sharpening process.
Second, eyewear should be worn at all times whenever you’re sharpening knives or blades. You should be prepared for the worst-case scenarios like the possibility of sharp metal shards flying off the blade and going airborne.
Third, make sure that the chainsaw is always on the OFF position when sharpening the blade. You can unplug the cord or remove the batteries as a form of extra insurance to ensure that there’s no way the tool will accidentally turn on.
Chainsaw Blade Sharpener Buying Guide
If you’re thinking of picking up a sharpening tool for your chainsaw’s blade, there are a few things you need to know beforehand. This section will provide you with the information needed to purchase the right sharpener for your chainsaw.
Types of Sharpeners
The three most common types of chainsaw blade sharpeners are electric, manual, and bar-mounted.
Electric blade sharpeners are the quicker option since they eliminate most of the guesswork and extra measurements. Using this type of sharpener involves placing the blade on the work table, clamp, or between the grinding wheels. There are angle gauges to help ensure that you remove just the right amount of material to produce a sharp point on each of the cutting teeth.
Manual models are the less expensive option. There is, however, a steep learning curve since it requires a ton of prep and precise measurements to get the saw chain sharp and ready for work.
Bar-mounted sharpeners take the best of both manual and electric models. They also use electricity to run while being more efficient than manual models while costing considerably less than electric sharpeners. To use one of these tools, you need to place your chainsaw’s blade onto the bar while still attached to the saw’s guide bar. Run the tool and let the sharpener do its magic. Please note that the risk of flying pieces of metal is much higher in using this type of sharpener.
Portable or Bench-Mounted
Chainsaw blade sharpeners fall into two different categories – portable and bench-mounted. They’re both easy to use but are designed for users working in different environments.
A portable blade sharpener can be brought to the middle of the forest, whereas a bench-mounted model is better suited for people who use their chainsaw around their homes. Bench-mounted blade sharpeners also offer the stability that a portable model may not, but it comes at the cost of being difficult to use at the job site.
If you’re the slightest familiar with chainsaws, then you’ll know that not every chainsaw sports the same sized chain. The most common sizes are between 0.325 to 0.404 inches. The higher-quality chainsaw blade sharpeners can handle anything in this range and beyond, but you should always double-check the capacity of the sharpener and the size of your chainsaw’s blade before settling on a sharpener.
Nobody likes sitting around all day painstakingly sharpening their tools. If you’re like us and want to sharpen your tools quicker, we highly recommend getting an electric model that utilizes quick-spinning grinding wheels. Some of these models can reach up to and beyond 3,000 RPM. That being said, just because it can go at the speed of light doesn’t mean you should always feel the need for speed.
There is a wide range of special features that a chainsaw blade sharpener can come with. Some of these include quick-sharpening, auto-coolers for grinding wheels, mounts to walls and tables, safety guards, and auto blade-alignment.
A chainsaw is a tool that chops thick, dense pieces of lumber. It’ll only be a matter of time before your saw’s blade needs to be re-sharpened. You can bring your tool to the shop to get the teeth professionally sharpened, or you can do it on your own by getting one of literally hundreds of chainsaw blade sharpeners out there.
In this article, we’ve provided you with a list of the features and specs to pay attention to when picking up a sharpener for your chainsaw’s saw chain. If speed is your thing, you should ditch the hand-operated tools and consider picking up either an electric or bar-mounted model. They can sharpen your tools in no time at all. However, the most important thing to consider is whether the sharpener is compatible with the size of your chainsaw’s blade or not.