A sharp chainsaw in the springtime…

Once the snow melted and the ground dried, it was time to replenish our supply of wood.  I really enjoy cutting wood at this time of the year.  It is nice to get out before the air gets hot and the bugs come out.

A freshly sharpened chainsaw makes cutting wood so much easier.  I can cut twice as much wood with the same amount of gas.

I know that my chainsaw is getting dull if it is sending out dust rather than wood chips, or if I am working too hard. A sharp saw will feed itself.  A dull saw will have to be pushed into the wood.  I always sharpen it before a full day of cutting, or about every 3 to 4 tanks of fuel.

To do the job, I purchased a sharpening kit.  It was less than the price of a new chain and since I’ve used it 8 times already, it has more than paid for it’s self.

The kit included 2 round files for the chain, a flat file for the depth guides, sharpening guide and complete instructions.  Some items not in the kit that make the job easier:  Red Sharpie® marker & leather gloves. Other color markers could be used, but the red is very easy to see. The gloves are NOT OPTIONAL!

I use the Sharpie® to mark one of the cutters, so I know where I started.  

It’s a good idea to sharpen all the cutters about the same number of strokes, otherwise they may not cut to the same depth.

When cutting wood, not only do the cutters become dull, but their corners and edges wear down, curving the cutting edge.  So while sharpening, I’m not only sharpening the blade, but giving it a straight edge.

I find that it helps to work in a well lighted area, so I can see my progress.  A desk lamp or flashlight helps, if you don’t have proper lighting.  I like to inspect each cutter, to make sure it is straight, sharp and undamaged.

Be sure to follow the instructions that were included with your sharpening kit.

For more information, see this great article in Mother Earth News, Keeping your Chainsaw Sharp.

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