How Many Times Can You Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?

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how many times can you sharpen a chainsaw chain

Do you own a chainsaw? It's an indispensable tool for contractors; many homeowners also keep it handy. Whether cutting up firewood or felling trees, a chainsaw makes life much easier than using a traditional axe. How many times can you sharpen a chainsaw chain before replacing it?

The answer depends on how often you use a chainsaw, your work with the machine, and how you maintain it. In most cases, you can sharpen the chain around ten to 15 times before replacing it.

How Many Times Can You Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?

As mentioned, you can sharpen the blades on your chainsaw around ten to 15 times before replacing it. The number of times you can sharpen the chain can withstand will depend on how much metal you remove during sharpening and the wear it sustains between sharpening. It's the same for any types of saws, in this regard.

Different materials used in the sharpening process can impact the chain differently when sharpening. What do you use your chainsaw for? If it's heavy-duty use, you might accidentally run it over rocks, and the chain dips or breaks. In that case, you'll need an immediate replacement.

If you sharpen the teeth on the chain and remove more metal than necessary, you limit the number of future sharpening sessions. While the rule of thumb is ten to 15 sharpening’s, that's not a set in stone or a manufacturer's recommendation.

Understanding when the chainsaw is blunt, and the best technique for sharpening the teeth is the key to extending the chains service life.

How Do You Know if the Chainsaw Chain Is Sharp?

how do you know if the chainsaw chain is sharp? if not, how often should you sharpen a chainsaw? here you can learn all the necessary details on chainsaw chain sharpening

One of the easiest methods of telling if the chain and teeth are still sharp is to examine the wood chips and sawdust left behind after using the machine. If there are large chips or the sawdust is coarse, it means the teeth are still sharp.

If you find it easy to position the saw in use and get a smooth cutting motion, the teeth are still sharp. The chainsaw shouldn't get stuck in the wood while running.

The blade should easily rip through the material and stay stable during cutting without veering off the cutting path or shaking your hands. The machine should do the work when cutting, requiring little pressure to pull it through the material.

How Do You Know if the Chainsaw Chain Is Blunt?

One of the key ways of telling if the teeth on the chain are sharp is the smoothness of the cut and how well the machine pulls through the material you're cutting. However, that's not always the defining metric.

In some cases, the pressure exerted on the machine during a cutting job doesn't clearly indicate whether the teeth are sharp or blunt. If you notice smoke being produced when cutting, it's one of the best signs that the teeth need sharpening.

When Is it Time to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?

when is it time to sharpen a chainsaw chain? and, how many times can a chainsaw chain be sharpened? learn each details correctly!

How often should you sharpen a chainsaw? If the cutting power of your chainsaw, no matter the type of chainsaw, seems to be waning, it's a sign that it's time to sharpen the teeth. If the saw produces fine sawdust or small chunks of wood when cutting, it's a sign the teeth need sharpening.

If you notice any of the following, it's time to send the chainsaw in for sharpening:

  • You have to apply more pressure than usual when cutting the same material you're used to ripping through with ease.
  • The composition of the sawdust starts to change, as previously explained.
  • If you oil the chain and it still produces smoke when cutting.
  • If you tension the chain correctly and it produces smoke.
  • You start noticing uneven cuts – usually, this is a sign the teeth are dulled on one side of the chain, or the teeth are uneven.

You should always inspect the condition of the chain after each use. Look for signs of dulled teeth or missing teeth from the chain. To extend the service life of the chain, avoid cutting activities that involve the possibility of hitting rocks, ice, or metal.

Store the chainsaw properly when it's not in use. Don't leave it wet, or the moisture causes rust and corrosion in the chain. Remember to lubricate the chain after every use to keep it in the best condition.

DIY Tips for Sharpening a Chainsaw Chain

diy tips for sharpening a chainsaw chain

When performing a DIY sharpening, until you get better at it, you might limit the number of times you can resharpen. Typically, how many times can you sharpen a chainsaw chain? Ten to 15, but on your first handful of times you might limit the life of that one chain. That's okay, it's part of the learning process.

A dull chain can cause kickbacks when cutting, which is dangerous. Sharpening the blades ensures you mitigate this risk and enjoy the safe operation of the machine. Always use your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when operating the chainsaw.

To check the chain, turn off the machine and prop the blade upright on a stable surface for inspection. Check the owner's manual for your chainsaw; it should have an entry for the correct file diameter for the job and sharpening angle for the teeth.

The general rule of thumb is to use a round file with a diameter between 4mm to 6mm. Tighten the chain to the correct tension per the manufacturer's specifications and run the file from the side of the cutting edge to the outside.

Ensure you keep the file at the right angle during the process and don't rotate it through the sharpening motion. Don't push the teeth up or down as you sharpen. Keep filing until all the teeth have a uniform size and hook.

The rakers and depth-gauge teeth also require filing, but not as often as the cutting teeth. Ensure you file the depth-gauge teeth flat to prevent damage to your file. Use the same cutting motion and direction as the cutters, and take time to round off any jutting angles.

Do's & Don'ts to Keep Your Chainsaw Chain Sharp

Avoid cutting into the ground and into rocks where possible. Cutting into these materials dulls the teeth in a matter of seconds and damages the chain links, ruining the structural integrity of the chain. We recommend using a log jack to keep trees off the ground when cutting them.

If the chain looks like it's had its day, avoid the temptation to keep using it. Rather replace it and prevent the risk of a nasty accident on site. Replace the chain as soon as you reach the safety markings on the cutters. Pushing the limits of the chain risks it breaking apart during use, causing a nasty injury to the operator.

If you notice corrosion or rust on the chain, replace it. Do the same if you see missing cutters. When you get a new chain, it will need tensioning after each use as the links expand and settle. Don't over-tension or under-tension the chain, as it leads to faster teeth wear.

Ensure you regularly lubricate the chain and bar with high-quality motor oil to extend the chain's service life. As a final tip, never refuel the chainsaw when it's hot. You could burn yourself and the saw, causing yourself an injury and ruining the chainsaw. Leave it to cool for ten minutes before refueling.

A cool tip is to mark the first tooth you sharpen with a black markers so as you work your way around you know when to stop again. Let Stihl guide you on the round file diameters, chain pitch, and depth gauges.

How Long Does a Chainsaw Chain Last?

how long does a chainsaw chain last?

Typically, you can expect the average service life on your chain to be around five years with the proper maintenance and use of the machine. The chain might last up to ten years or longer in light applications. How you use and maintain the chainsaw dictates the chain's service life.

Avoid cutting the following materials to give your chain the longest service life possible:

Steel & Metals

The wood you're cutting might have nails or metal objects like fence staples and bullets lodged in it. How many times can a chainsaw chain be sharpened? Less if you start knocking chunks out of the blades.


People new to operating chainsaws often overrun the blade when they get to the bottom of the cut, causing the chainsaw to cut into the dirt underneath the tree. Back off on the pressure when you near the base of the cut.


While many people use chainsaws for ice sculpting, ice can significantly reduce the service life of the chain.

Improper Lubrication

Failure to lubricate the chain regularly results in overheating of the chain and faster dulling of the teeth.


Dry the blade after use in wet weather and ensure you oil it to prevent rust and corrosion.

How Much Does It Cost to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain Professionally?

we have covered details on how many times can you sharpen a chainsaw chain, here is how much does it cost to sharpen a chainsaw chain professionally?

Typically, you can expect to pay between $10 to $35 for a professional sharpening. While it might be expensive compared to DIY sharpening, you get optimal results and a longer service life for your chain. It's pretty cheap when you think about the time you'll spend and tools you need to collect to get it done. But if you want to go that route, Husqvarna can walk you through the chainsaw sharpening process.

Key Takeaways on Sharpening Chainsaw Blades

Here’s a quick summary of the main points covered above: 

  • You can usually sharpen the chain ten to 15 times before replacing it.
  • If the wood chips are small and the saw produces fine sawdust, it's time to sharpen the teeth.
  • You can file the teeth sharp yourself. Check your owner's manual for directions.
  • Or you can have professionals sharpen the chain for the best results and longest service life.
  • Maintain the teeth properly. Tension the chain after each use and lubricate it regularly.
  • Replace a chain that's rusted or if you notice the teeth marking appearing.
  • Don't overuse the chain, as it presents a safety hazard for the operator.
  • Avoid cutting through metal, rocks, dirt, and ice.

As you can see, you should get a long life-time out of a properly maintained, used, and sharpened set of chainsaw blades.

Sharpening Chainsaw Chains Made Easy

How many times can you sharpen a chainsaw chain? About 10 to 15 times before you begin to run out of material to sharpen safely. If you avoid cutting through items like sand, rocks, ice, and metal, your blades will maintain their sharpness much longer as well. Always lubricate and check your blade tension, and you’ll have an optimal experience.

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