The different types of chainsaw chain sharpener

A chainsaw is a fantastic tool when it operates well and can be a nightmare when it’s not working at its best. Aside from maintaining the motor, having silky smooth razor sharp chainsaw blade is essential to having your saw perform at its best. Regardless if you are a tradesman that uses a saw as an extension of yourself or if you are a weekend handyman at the cottage, you will eventually need to have your chain re-sharpened. There are two basic types of chainsaw sharpeners that are readily available on the market, electric powered bench models, and manual sharpeners that bolt directly to the chainsaw bar. Both will work well, which one you choose will depends on your budget and needs.

Manual Sharpeners

Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener

Example of a Manual Sharpener

A manual bar mounted sharpener is essentially a no frills guide that allows you to file the chain with tremendous accuracy. These types of sharpeners have the additional advantage of being a little more affordable than the electric models. Just by the basic description you can tell that this is a relatively time consuming and tedious job. You will be essentially working with a fancy albeit incredibly precise jig. A great advantage to this type of design is that it’s a tool that can be easily transported to any job site.  A bar mounted sharpener clips right onto the saws bar, its depth and angles are adjusted, then the user will in a sweeping motion slide the file back and forth working tooth by tooth on the chain. A proper set up for the beginner may take a little getting used to but the results are cheap, precise, and rewarding.

Electric Sharpeners

Oregon 510A Bench Chain Grinder

An Electric Sharpener

Electric chainsaw sharpeners require significantly less manual labour than the bar mounted units. Price varies but will cost you more than the bar mounted manual sharpeners. A typical unit will be wall or bench mounted. As a consequence this will not be a device that you will be easy to transport from job site to job site.  An electric sharpener is basically a grinding wheel that you lower down to your clamped-in chain. This type of sharpener usually includes various sized grinding wheels. Angles and guides are set based on your chains factory specification making this style of sharpening extremely accurate. Some getting used to is normal for the amateur sharpener. Look for a model with the best safety features especially a grinding wheel cover.

A home user might consider a manual bar bolt-on jig file model while a professional tradesman may require a little more speed and accuracy found in the electric bench mounted models. Regardless of what model you choose a sharp chainsaw will have less resistance therefore will put less strain on the motor. Aside from a more efficiently operating motor, a smooth cutting accurate blade is more predictable and will be a safer tool to use. Regardless if you are slicing through logs with your freshly sharpened chain, or if you are in the process of sharpening the chain itself, always consider safety.

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