A chain saw, like other power tools, requires regular maintenance to retain functionality. One of the essential components of a chain saw is the blade. Without a properly-functioning blade, your saw is typically useless. On this note, you need to keep it in the right state by sharpening it regularly.
An electric sharpener is quicker to operate compared to a manual one. But, you need to follow a few steps to ensure the correct use of the sharpener for quality results. This is why I have compiled this article to feature the steps you should follow.
When Should You Use a Chain Saw Sharpener?
First, I would like to highlight a few points on when you should sharpen your chainsaw blade. If your chainsaw starts spitting dust instead of sharp wood chippings, then it shows the cutters have lost their sharp edge.
When cutting, observe how smooth the chainsaw blade cuts. If you hare having to exert more pressure to help it cut through, then that means it needs sharpening. Also, if the blade tends to pull in a specific direction, it means one side of the teeth is dull. You will need to sharpen to even out both sides.
The Video Tutorial about How to Sharpen a Chain Saw Blade with an Electric Sharpener
Step by Step process of Sharpening a Chainsaw Blade with an Electric Sharpener
The process of sharpening a chainsaw blade can be overwhelming and challenging, especially for beginners. But, with the following steps, you can hack the procedure in no time.
Step 1: Understanding Blade Specifications
The first thing you should do before sharpening is to understand the specifications of the blade. Usually, manufacturers indicate the pitch and gauge of the blade. If your chainsaw blade does not show this information, consider reaching out to the manufacturer or running a quick search online.
The idea of measuring the blade is to pick the right stone for sharpening. This step affects the quality of the results and certainly the most important one in this process.
Step 2: Positioning
With an understanding of the pitch and gauge of the blade, you can now position it for sharpening. Place your electric sharpener on the ground or on a stable surface. It will prevent shaking during the process, which can highly affect the results.
There are chainsaw sharpeners that come as bench-mount designs. These are easy to use, and you can secure them tightly on a workbench. Ensuring the stability of the sharpener makes it easy for you to position the blade.
Step 3: Installing the Sharpening Stone
After preparing the chainsaw sharpener, you need to install the sharpening stone. With the specifications you acquired from step 1, you can then choose a sharpening stone with the right width. This will ensure it fits the gap between the chainsaw’s teeth.
Usually, a sharpening stone measures 1/16 wide. But, the width is different from other sharpening stones for other blades. It is, therefore, important to make sure the one you are using fits precisely.
Step 4: Prepping the Chain
Remove the chain from the saw and clean it well using a solvent of your choice. Leave it to dry completely. Next, lift the chain stops and fit the chain into the sliding tracks. Ensure you lock the chain in place by lowering the chain stop. Confirm that the stop rests on the tooth of a chain.
Step 5: Swivelling
In this step, you need to place the blade in the chainsaw sharpener’s holder. You then need to adjust the angle for effective sharpening. The most common angles are between 0 degrees and 60 degrees. However, some designs allow adjusting up to 80 degrees.
Step 6: Adjusting the Angle
You will need to refer to the specifications of the blade in this step. That will help you know the tooth angle that matches the specific blade. The good thing is with electric sharpeners; you can adjust the blade tooth angle by loosening a knob on the blade's holder. You should move this knob in different directions to ensure the most accurate setting.
In this step, you should rotate the locking wheel to the right angle and tighten from the bottom. Next, lower the top housing to ensure the sharpening stone holds the blade tightly. Also, make sure you tighten the lock stop as it will prevent the stone from cutting into the chain.
Step 7: Adjusting the Depth
You need to ensure the depth matches the specific blade you are sharpening. Adjusting the depth ensures proper positioning of the blade to prevent the sharpener from cutting too deep. If you miss this step, the sharper is likely to cut the metal between blade teeth.
In such a situation, you can compromise the functionality of the sharpener and damage the quality of the blade. Additionally, the blade can heat up quickly, which can be dangerous for you.
Step 8: Sharpening
Once you have set everything up, you can now start sharpening. Gradually lower the grinder wheel on the first tooth of the blade. Once it makes contact, you can see sparks. Keep the two in contact for a while to sharpen.
Next, lift the grinder and check if the tooth’s inner surface is bright and shiny. If so, move on to the second tooth and follow the procedure for all the others. It is important to note that after sharpening a set of teeth, you need to readjust the grinder.
For example, if you set it at 20 degrees on the positive side when starting, change it to 20 degrees on the negative side. You can then continue to sharpen the next set of teeth.
Important Tips When Using an Electric Sharpener
It is important to keep the chain tight while sharpening. If the chain is shaky, it can be dangerous and affect the functionality of the sharpener. A slack chain makes it difficult to sharpen a tooth and can affect sharpening accuracy.
Ensure the sharpener is in the right state to do the job. Remember, it is a tool as well, and a little dysfunction can blow up things quickly. Ensure the handles are properly working. Also, ensure it does not have any gunk stuck to the surface.
Make sure the sharpener is secure before you start. It not only contributes to the quality of the results but also prevents any unforeseen accidents. If the sharpener is not secured, it could easily fall on your feet and cause injury. This could also damage the tool affecting its efficiency going on.
Do not use the sharpener in a wet or damp environment. Such can expose you to the risk of electric shock. Prevent body contact with items that can facilitate shocks such as refrigerators, pipes, and radiators. Also, ensure there are no flammable gases and liquids at your work station.
Set up the sharpening station in a well-lit environment. If it is not possible to do it outside in daylight, consider using an overhead lamp. It will enhance your visibility for easy and effective use of the sharpener.
When sharpening, make the same number of swipes on each tooth. You want to make sure both sides are even for quality results. Uneven swipes result in one side bending over, and this will affect the effectiveness of the blade when cutting.
It is also important to pay keen attention to the direction of a tooth. The whole idea of using the sharpener is to sharpen not cut down the size of the teeth. On this note, focus on the tooth and the direction it is going. It will guide you on when to stop without digging too deep.
After sharpening, wipe the blade off any grease, dust, and chippings. Grease the blade and chainsaw gently to ensure it runs smoothly afterward. Remember, if the blade required sharpening, then there are higher chances the chainsaw has lost smoothness over time.
The most important consideration is your safety while sharpening your chainsaw blade. Chainsaws are usually sharp, just like the sharpeners. Therefore be careful when running your fingers close to the tools.
Also, consider wearing protective equipment such as gloves and goggles. The process can produce chips of metal that could easily enter your eyes. Also, maintain a safe distance from the chainsaw during the sharpening process and make sure you unplug it.
It is also important to ensure proper footing and stability on the ground. You want to minimize the risks of accidents when sharpening your chainsaw blade. You should also avoid wearing loose clothes or hanging jewelry. These can easily get in the machine, causing a jam and potential harm to you.
A dull chain saw does not deliver clean cuts, hence the need for sharpening. Using an electric sharpener on your chainsaw blade is quick and effective. However, you have to follow specific steps for the functionality of the chainsaw and the sharpener.
The tips above can help you set up easily, sharpen quickly, and achieve quality results. I hope this process helps you transform your chainsaw blade for better use. If you have any questions, leave them here, and I will be glad to answer.