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Chainsaw Sharpening Hints & Tips, Files & Filing Kits.

Extend The Life Of Your Chain & Chain bar & Keep Your Chainsaw Working At It's Optimum Speed. Our Hints & Tips Below Will Show You How To Keep Your Chainsaw Cutting As It Did When It Was New !

Chain Condition

How can you tell when a chain is blunt? There are two simple indicators that will tell you when your chain requires sharpening. First, the teeth on the chain are designed to cut by biting into the wood. Depth gauges, located in front of each tooth, regulate the size of this bite and determine how much wood is cut with each pass. A sharp chain will self feed and the teeth will cut as deep as the depth gauge will allow. You can feel this when you are cutting, you need to apply just a small amount of pressure and the chain will cut on its own. When chains are blunt, they do not self feed and you have to push the chain into the wood. Second, sharp chains will cut large square type shaped chips. However, blunt chains that do not bite will cut small chips that resemble sawdust. If you are experiencing either or both of these symptoms your chain is blunt ! The most common complaint noted from inexperienced chainsaw users is "the saw will not cut" - in most instances this will be accompanied with the above two factors - because of the condition of the machines chain.

There are two options to restore cutting performance back to your chainsaw, either replace the chain or sharpen it.

Chain Sharpening

Providing the chain has not stretched it is more cost effective to sharpen the chain as opposed to replacing it. For most users there are two options to getting the chain sharpened. Either take the chain to a saw sharpening company (a lot of garden machinery service agents offer this service) or sharpen it themselves with a sharpening kit. Although using a chainsaw sharpening kit can be time consuming and tedious it really is cost effective. Popular sharpening kits can be freely purchased for under 15.00 all in ! All that is required to correctly sharpen the chain is a pair of protective gloves for the operator and a chainsaw filing kit comprising of: A chainsaw file gauge,  A round chainsaw file the same gauge as the chain on the saw, A flat file to file the depth gauge on the teeth. ( to purchase click here )  Although not essential a small stiff brush (an old toothbrush is ideal) and a can of resin solvent would be beneficial in helping you maintain the chain and prolong its service life.

Chainsaw File Gauge: This is used for checking the important side and top plate cutting angles on each tooth of the chain blade. It also checks the tooth cutter length and depth gauge setting. Several types also have shaped tools built into them to clean the groove and oil inlet hole in the saws chain bar.

Round Chainsaw File: This is used for the correct sharpening of the chain.

Flat Chainsaw File: This is used for filing the depth gauge on each tooth to the correct height and profile.

The brush is for cleaning all debris off the chain prior to sharpening, the resin solvent is a special spray which will dissolve resin on the chain whilst cleaning and lubricating it at the same time.  ( to purchase click here )

When choosing a file gauge ensure it is the correct one for your make of chainsaw and chain type, many different brands and types are available but it is important that the angles marked on it are the correct ones for your particular chainsaw. If you own a chainsaw and cannot find one dedicated to it the best option is to ask your local dealer for advice and if needed compare one with a new chain to check the angles are correct. The same applies to the round chainsaw file, consult your owners manual or local dealer to ensure you purchase the correct  size. If you do not own either it would be beneficial to purchase a complete sharpening kit providing an off the shelf one is available for your chainsaw, this would include all files and the correct gauge. ( to purchase click here )

Sharpening the chain is a simple task, prior to commencing work please follow basic safety rules to protect you from injury: This may be obvious but the saw must not be not running ! Where possible only try to sharpen the saw with the engine cold on the chainsaw. Always wear protective gloves.

Sharpening the chain:  Make sure the the chainsaw is on a sturdy, flat, well-lit surface. Wearing protective gloves so that you are not cut whilst handling the chain place a wooden block underneath the bar to keep the saw from moving. Next, ensure that the chain is properly tensioned. If it is too loose, the chain will move from side to side and you will not be able to file it correctly. However, if it is too tight you will not be able to pull it around the bar and sharpen the other teeth.

There are three steps to correctly sharpen each tooth: The top plate requires filing to the correct angle (as marked on the gauge), The side plate requires filing to the correct angle (as marked on the gauge), The depth gauge located in front of the tooth requires filing to the correct size to give the correct "bite" when cutting. Finally the cutting angle's and "working" corner of the tooth requires checking to make sure the cutting angles are consistent. The top area of each tooth on the chain (where the side plate meets the top plate) is the part of the tooth that does most of the cutting. This is the area which you will need to sharpen (the "working" corner). Place the chainsaw file gauge (it will have an opening cut into it) over the first tooth to be sharpened, looking down on the top area of the gauge you will see the scribed or marked angle that the tooth needs to be sharpened to. Place your round file against the tooth and align it with the gauge markings. Make sure the file is positioned so  that it cuts when you stroke towards the outside of the tooth (the chainsaw file will only work in one direction). Keeping the file level with the alignment mark on the gauge push the file with a firm stroke against the tooth, you will notice resistance as the file is removing metal from the tooth and so sharpening it. Release the pressure on the return stroke of the file and make another stroke. Repeat this process until you see a clean thin area on the tooth you are working on. This clean area is the new sharp area which will have restored the chain to a serviceable condition.

File the top plate. This angle ranges from 25 to 35, most guides have 30 to 35 angle scribed on them.

File the side plate. Most chains have a side plate angle around 85.

Check the cutting angle and working corner. This angle should automatically form when you file the top plate and side plate. If correctly filed, your cutting angle will be consistent across the entire cutting edge. Usually this angle is around 60.

File the chain until any nicks and damages are removed. Look at the corner of the cutting blades on the teeth. If you see a clean, thin chrome edge, the chain is sharp. Advance the chain to the next tooth. Sharpen all of the teeth on one side before you change the guide angle to work on the teeth on the other side.

While a sharp chain is your primary concern, you must maintain the other saw components to prolong the life of the saw. These components, when working properly, also ensure that your saw will perform trouble-free.



The information provided is supplied FREE OF CHARGE by our experienced staff and by suggested and recommended UK suppliers, all whom have many years of experience between them in using and supplying chainsaws and other landscaping tools.

Stihl's electric & petrol chainsaws are modern, efficient & combine innovative technology, high performance, good ergonomics and low weight. Stihl chainsaws are used throughout the world not only by professionals, but also by keen gardeners and domestic users who only occasionally reach for the chainsaw. 

Stihl Electric Chainsaw Range                                   Stihl Petrol Chainsaw Range


Chainsaw Wooden Sawhorse: The wooden sawhorse from Stihl is an invaluable accessory to allow safe chainsaw working.


Why Should I Use A Sawhorse ?

Using a sawhorse allows you to work efficiently & safely. A quality sawhorse from a supplier like Stihl will give years of service and extra peace of mind whether used at home or at the workplace.

What Types Of Sawhorse Are Available ?

Several types of sawhorses are available - popular ones being as in the Stihl range:

1) The standard wooden type - these are inexpensive to purchase and represent good value for money.

 2) The robust steel type, galvanised for long life and with a log securing chains for added safety.

 3) their robust and handy steel "smart" sawhorse.

Chainsaw Safety "Hints & Tips"

Makita Electric Chainsaws.

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 Wooden Chainsaw Sawhorse:

"The wooden sawhorse from Stihl is an invaluable accessory to allow safe chainsaw working".


Stihl Replacement Chains & Chain Bars

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RYOBI PCN3335 14" PETROL CHAINSAW: The Ryobi PCN3335 petrol chainsaw. How Ryobi can sell this chain saw for such a low price is beyond belief. The saw features: two stroke petrol engine, 14" chain & bar size, automatic lubrication, "zip - start" to make starting less of an effort, fast acting inertia chain brake, anti -vibration handles, large silencer for quiet working.

RYOBI PCN4040 16" PETROL CHAINSAW: The Ryobi PCN4040 petrol chainsaw. This chain saw features: 16" bar & chain, 33cc two stroke engine, 4.5kg weight, primer bulb and choke for quick starting, auto chain gear lubrication, safe-t-tip for added blade safety, fast inertia chain brake.

RYOBI PCN4545 18" PETROL CHAINSAW: The Ryobi PCN4545 petrol chainsaw. This 18" (450mm) Ryobi chain saw is the ideal tool for the professional landscaper or keen gardener. Packed with features the Pcn4545 is ideal for those larger tasks which require a longer blade length. As with all Ryobi saws this model is supplied with a 2 year warranty as standard.

STIHL MS170 PETROL CHAINSAW: The Stihl MS170 petrol chainsaw is the introductory model from Stihl power tools. This compact model has proven features as all the models have from this high quality manufacturer. If you use a saw only occasionally then this may be the one for you.

STIHL MS180 PETROL CHAINSAW: The Stihl MS180 petrol chainsaw is renowned for its light weight, compact size and good all round capabilities. This good value for money chain saw is made to the same quality as the larger professional models from Stihl, employing the same technology used. If you are after a compact chainsaw for general cutting, logging and shaping this saw should be on your list !

STIHL MS180 C-BE PETROL CHAINSAW: The Stihl MS180 C-BE petrol chainsaw is popular for its easy start mechanism as well as its quick chain tensioning system. As with the standard MS180 model this chainsaw features: light weight, a compact size and good all round capabilities. The MS180C-BE has easy starting due to the chainsaw having the fitment of an additional spring between the machines crankshaft and the starting cord rope rotor. The quick chain tensioning system is a feature on this saw whereby after releasing the sprocket cover, the chain tension wheel can be easily adjusted without the need for any tools. In all other respects this chainsaw is identical the standard Stihl MS180 chainsaw.