The 8 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners
8. Granberg G-106B
7. Timber Tuff CS-BWM
6. Oregon 30846 Sure Sharp
5. Stihl 2 in 1 Easy File
4. Buffalo Tools ECSS
3. Tek Motion Electric
2. Timberline Sharpener
1. Oregon 520-120
Choosing The Right Chainsaw
When choosing the right chainsaw, first consider the type of cutting to be done, then think about which saw you'll buy. As a general rule of thumb, a chainsaw's blade should be 30% longer than the thickest cut it will make, so if you are felling trees 24 inches in diameter, select a saw that has a guide bar (the main length of the cutting surface, e.g.) that's at least 34 inches in length.
When dealing with trees and lumber (as opposed to demolition work or other applications), chainsaws are used for four primary cuts. The most common is felling, which is the act of cutting down trees. Trimming is the shaping and pruning of a live tree for aesthetics or tree health. Limbing is the process of cutting most or all branches off a tree before or after it is felled. Finally, bucking refers to cutting a log into smaller usable and/or portable sections.
Choosing the right saw for your purposes means considering more than just blade length, it also means considering power source and torque.
The primary differences between electric chainsaws and gasoline powered saws are size and power. Electric chainsaws tend to be smaller than their gas powered counterparts, and usually deliver less torque, meaning the are only suitable for smaller cutting jobs. While electric saws mean the sacrifice of some power and size, they are also usually much lighter weight and more compact than gas powered chainsaws, and that makes them easier to use for smaller or less physically able operators, and it also means easier storage. It's also much easier to maintain a saw that requires no liquid fuel or gas and oil blending, and you're unlikely to run out of electric power.
Ultimately, a gas powered chainsaw is the more versatile, useful tool, and not only thanks to the potential for more power and cutting range: a gas saw doesn't have to be plugged in to work, so you can bring one with you anywhere, from the construction site to the back woods to the back yard.
Chainsaw Sharpening And Maintenance
Almost all gasoline powered chainsaws use a two-cycle internal combustion engine and do not have separate reservoirs for engine oil. That means it is imperative that an operator use the correct blend of gasoline and oil, which in most cases is approximately five ounces of motor oil per one gallon of fuel; check your saw's manual to be sure. Without the correct blend of fuel and oil, a chainsaw's engine will be quickly damaged and worn out.
Before each use of your saw, check its blade tension setting and make sure it is as specified by the manufacturer. Make sure the guide bar and blade are clean and, if need be, oiled. Also ensure the air filter is clean, clear, and in good working order.
To start a chainsaw, lay it flat on the ground and ensure the engine brake is fully engaged (the chain should not be able to budge when the brake is pushed forward into position). Open/engage the choke and prime the engine if a primer is present. Next get a solid grip on the tool, pull the starting handle, and hear the roar as the engine comes to life.
In order to make sure your saw is working up to its full potential, won't endure unnecessary wear and tear, and also is as safe a tool as possible, you need to keep it sharp. Regular chainsaw sharpening extends to life of the tool, saves you time when you use it, and reduces the risks of kickbacks, flying debris, or a saw jammed into a thick piece of lumber. Along with safety goggles, a hard hat, ear protection, and work gloves, a good chainsaw sharpener is an important tool to have on hand.
Choosing A Chainsaw Sharpener
A chainsaw blade consists of cutters, which are the teeth that do the actual cutting of the material, and rakers, which control the depth to which the teeth reach, keeping the cutting process smooth and consistent. The rakers will have to be filed from time to time, but it is the cutters that need regular routine maintenance.
While it's entirely possible to sharpen a chainsaw manually using a round hand file to work on the cutting teeth, the process is laborious and rarely as effective as using a dedicated chainsaw sharpener.
Using an electric bench mounted chainsaw sharpener is the fastest way to get those cutters sharp. Most electric sharpeners look like small rotating saws, but feature grinding discs rather than saw blades. Their disc can be adjusted to achieve the right angle needed for the teeth of a specific chainsaw's chain. Check the ideal angle of your saw's blade before buying a chainsaw sharpener to make sure the two are a match, but almost all decent chainsaw sharpeners will be suitable for most chainsaws.
As an alternative to an electric chainsaw sharpener, you can consider a unit that clips into your chainsaw's guide bar and manually draws the chain through as it sharpens. You provide the power in such units by turning a crank, but unlike the process of using a hand file, the sharpening angle is still strictly maintained by the tool. While less efficient and more physically involved than an electric sharpener, this type of sharpener has the benefit of working anywhere.