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How to Use an Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Electric chainsaw sharpeners are used to sharpen the individual teeth on a chainsaw blade. The unique adjustments of a chainsaw sharpener allow you to set the proper depth and angle settings for accurately sharpening the teeth. By following a basic setup procedure you can accurately use a chainsaw sharpener and save money by doing it yourself.

Obtain the correct specifications for the blade you are going to sharpen on the electric chainsaw sharpener. These specifications can be found on the box or package that the blade came in when you first purchased the blade.

Set the electric sharpener on a firm and comfortable stand where it is easy to reach and the chainsaw blade can be easily installed and removed from the machine.

Using the specifications from Step 1, install the correctly sized width of sharpening stone in the machine. Manufacturers sell different width stones for different sized blades. The most common is the 3/16 inch wide blade and it will fit most chainsaw blade teeth. Install the stone as per the manufacture's specifications. Some stones only run in one direction.

Place the chainsaw blade into the sharpener's holder and set the swivel angle of the blade first. The adjustment will be on the rear of the machine and allow the grinding head to swivel generally from 0 to 80 degrees. The most common angle will be 60 degrees.

Adjust the blade tooth angle next. This angle is what gives the curve of the teeth its grip to cut into wood. Generally this angle is adjusted by loosening the knob under the blade holder and moving it in a positive or negative direction 10 degrees. Again the specifications from Step 1 will give you this information.

Set the blade tooth backstop by lowering the grinding wheel into the tooth. You will want to adjust the spring-loaded backstop so every tooth of the chain saw blade comes to rest in the same location under the grinding wheel. You will want to set this backstop by trying a few teeth at a time.

Adjust the depth stop of the grinding head as it fits into the tooth. You do not want to take an excessive amount of metal from the blade tooth as this can cause overheating and the metal can loose its temper. Set the depth stop so the grinding wheel just “touches” the inside edge of the tooth.

Start the grinder and touch the wheel to the first tooth. Note that there will be a slight amount of sparks. Lift the wheel and look inside the tooth. You should see a full curve of the tooth with a shiny metal look. Advance to the next tooth and sharpen. Sharpen all the teeth on that side of the blade.

Adjust the grinder for the next set of teeth on the blade by resetting the blade tooth angle as in Step 5. If you set the angle first, at a positive 10 degrees, then you will set it to a negative 10 degrees for the opposite set of teeth on the blade.

Start the grinder and sharpen the next set of teeth. Continue until all the teeth have a full curve cut into the tooth and a shiny metal look.


Use a black marker to identify the first tooth you sharpen by coloring the top of the tooth.

When sharpening blades, adjust the grinder to sharpen the teeth on one side of the blade first, then go back and reset the grinder to do the other side.

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