Sharpening a chain of a chainsaw with a drill

The cutting edges of chains of gasoline or electric saws become dull over time. A blunt saw loses performance and overloads the drive motor. Of course, you can contact a specialized service center that performs chain sharpening. But, I think, there are many people who want to try to do this with their own hands.

Today I will tell you how to sharpen the cutting teeth of the saw chain yourself. To carry out this work, we do not need expensive specialized tools and special professional skills.

What do we need

The main tool that we will use is a file of circular cross section (not conical!). The diameter of the cross-section of the file should correspond to the diameter of the rounding of the cutting tooth of the chain. For sharpening most household saws, files with a diameter of 4.8 mm are suitable. Check this size with your saw and select the appropriate file.

Often the teeth of chain saws are sharpened with a file manually. I propose to improve and accelerate this process, so we need a screwdriver or drill, preferably with adjustable speed.

Well, the “highlight” of my sharpening technology is a small bearing. It can be any - ball, roller, cylindrical, conical. The main thing is that it is convenient to hold it in your hand by the outer clip. I will explain his purpose below.

Tool preparation

First of all, remove the shank, that is, the part of the file that is included in the handle. You can do this on an emery or grinder, to whom it is more convenient. After that, insert the file into the drill or screwdriver chuck and clamp it.

Next, we make a sleeve from wood, plastic or any other material that fits tightly on the free end of the file. The inner race of our bearing should sit tightly on the outer surface of the sleeve.

This is done so that during operation it is possible to hold the tool with two hands - one by the handle of the drill, the second by the outer race of the bearing.


We place the saw on a flat horizontal surface, but rather we clamp its tire in a vice, as I did. We will grind the teeth of the upper part of the chain, so the chain should move freely along the tire.

We mark the tooth with which we will begin grinding. This can be done with a marker or by sticking a piece of duct tape on it. So, we proceed to the main part of the work.

We place the file in the rounding of the cutting edge of the tooth and orient it strictly in accordance with the required sharpening angle. This is the most important point. Sharpening should occur at an angle of 30 degrees to the chain bar. There are usually special risks on the outside of the chain teeth that show the correct angle. When performing work, the file should be kept parallel to the risk.

So, having set the file in the required manner and holding our tool with both hands (as described above), turn on the drill and gently press the file to the sharpened tooth. It is enough to spend 1 - 2 seconds for each tooth. We pass in this way along the entire chain, gradually moving it along the bus.

That's all!


Once again, I want to remind you of the importance of maintaining the correct sharpening angle. During sharpening, the file should not “walk” in a horizontal or vertical plane. It was for this purpose that I adapted the bearing as a second support for the file.

Good luck to all!

Be sure to watch a detailed and visual video on sharpening.