DIY How To Do It Yourself

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DIY How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Echo CS 330T. How to Do It Yourself

What You will need

  • -Chainsaw
  • -A pair of gloves
  • -A round file. (Sized to match the pitch of the chain.)
    • -For both 1/4 and 3/8 inch low-profile chains, use a 5/32 inch file.
    • -For a 0.325 inch chain, use a 3/16 inch file.
    • -For both 3/8 and 0.404 inch chains, use a 7/32 inch file.
  • -A 6 inch flat file
  • -A file guide (Helps hold the file at the correct height and orientation)
  • -A depth-gauge
  • -A Vise or A stump vise
  • or
  • -Flathead Screwdriver
  • -Socket & Socket wrench or The proper Scrench Tool
  • -Electric Chain Saw Sharpener

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove Spark Plug Cap Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove Spark Plug Cap Cullins Service

The Chain we are sharpening today belongs to a 14 inch Echo CS-330T. But the techniques I will show you can apply to most chainsaws.

Having a sharp chain on your saw is just as important as having gas in the tank. Anyone who has tried to cut w/ a dull chain should understand. Not only is it dangerous it could ruin your chainsaw, and it just sucks. At first I wanted to blame the saw, but I learned it was my own stupidity for not keeping my chain sharp. Now I sharpen my chain every time I use it and keep a couple sharp chains on hand whenever I go out.

Your chainsaw is self feeding.
If you have to push on the saw or literally saw with it you should your chainsaw.
If your chain is smoking and the wood looks like it's burning you should sharpen your chainsaw.
If you are working way to hard not getting anywhere you should sharpen your chainsaw.
If your chain hits a rock or metal or really hard surface check your chain and you should sharpen your chainsaw.
If you go through a tank of gas you should sharpen your chainsaw.
When you come home after using your chainsaw you should sharpen your chainsaw.
Are you getting the picture?
In fact you should go sharpen your chainsaw right now.
Once you get the hang of it you should be able to sharpen your chainsaw in 5-10 mins or less.

I will show you 2 ways to sharpen a chainsaw. I use both methods, but recently have been using the hand file more. I like the electric sharpener it sharpens quick and gives a sharp tooth, but it also takes off a lot of the tooth.

I'm showing you the way I sharpen my chainsaws. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but my chains are sharp.

Safety First

Before you start Sharpening your chainsaw you should be safe.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Safety First Cullins Service

Remove Air Filter Housing

The Air Filter Housing may be covering your spark plug.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove Spark Plug Cap Cullins Service

Remove Spark Plug Cap

Locate your spark plug and remove the boot

Get your Information

Get the correct tools for the job.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw What saw do you Have Cullins Service

What saw do you Have

What is the Make, Model, size and bar chain info of your chainsaw.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Get Correct File Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Get Correct File Cullins Service

Get Correct File

You need the correct file to properly sharpen your chain. The file size should be on the box or manual for your chainsaw. If not you could find out by reading the side of your bar. If none of the above bring her details make, model, size, and info on the bar to a store that sells chainsaws. They should be able to get you the right file. If they can't don't buy anything they from them.

The file needs to fit between the cutter and the raker in the gully.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw place chainsaw in vise Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw place chainsaw in vise side view Cullins Service

Put Chainsaw in Vise

It is best practice to use a vise to hold your chainsaw. It will keep it steady and secure. You can use a workbench vise or if you are in the field a stump vise.

You should also tighten the chain to keep it from moving, but loose enough to turn around the bar. Remember to set the chain tension correctly before using.

Mushroom Pipe Key Chain
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw different files Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw file guide Cullins Service

Get Your File Ready

Make sure you have the right file

Getting the angles right are very important. If they are not right you might as well not sharpen the chainsaw chain. Until you can guide the file on it's own you should use a file guide. They have the different filling angles on the guide to guide you.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw file chainsaw Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw between the chainsaw teeth Cullins Service

Sharpen Your Chain

Ok, Now let's get to the sharpening.

* Place the file guide over the cutter, and lay the round file in the gully between the rake and the cutter.

* Hold the file handle firmly with one hand and guide the file with the other hand.

* Always hold the file at a right angle (90) parallel to the guide bar.

* The guide bar will have angles marked on it. Hold it at the proper angle (check the manufacturer's specs) I'm doing this chain @ 35.

* Use steady, even strokes the full length of the file.

* The file sharpens on the forward stroke (away from you) let up pressure on the backstroke.

* There are no set amount of strokes. Stroke until it feels right to you.

* It's important to use the same amount of strokes each cutter. The cutters need to be equal in length

* Mark the first cutter you sharpened w/ sharpie, paint pen or tie a string to it.

* Sharpen a few cutters then use the file to move the chain into position to sharpen some more.

* Sharpen every other cutter then move yourself to the other side of the chainsaw and sharpen the other side.

* Check each cutter to make sure they are sharp (don't be a dumb ass and cut yourself).

* When you are done all your cutters should be shiny and sharp.

You want to sharpen between the cutter and rake right in the gully

Click Here to skip to Checking Depth Gauge

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw What saw do you Have Cullins Service

Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Now I will show you how to sharpen a chainsaw w/ an Electric Chainsaw Sharpener. The purists will tell you not to use an Electric Chainsaw Sharpener, but they do work. Electric Chainsaw Sharpener's will give you a sharp cutter, but they also remove a good amount of the cutter. It's easier to sharpen extra chains w/ the Electric Chainsaw Sharpener because the chains need to be loose to fit onto the Electric Chainsaw Sharpener. So you don't have to mount each chain to sharpen it. Anyway decide for yourself.

If you decide to use an Electric Chainsaw Sharpener here's how to do it. If not skip to Click Here to skip to Checking Depth Gauge

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove Chainsaw Chain Cullins Service

Remove Chainsaw Chain

In order to use the Electric Chainsaw Sharpener you will need to remove the chain.
This means removing the clutch cover, chain and bar. It's actually a lot easier than it sounds.
So let's get right to it

Loosen and Remove Nuts

You can use either the proper scrench tool or a socket wrench w/ the proper socket.
Just loosen the nuts and remove them.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Release the Chain Tension Cullins Service

Release the Chain Tension

Take the scrench or flathead screwdriver locate the tension screw on the side. Usually it's near the nuts you just removed. When you find it just loosen it. That is all.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Release the Chain Tension Cullins Service

Release Chain Brake

Now release the chain brake. Sometimes it's easier if you release it before removing the nuts.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove the Clutch Cover Cullins Service

Remove the Clutch Cover

With the chain brake off, the nuts removed and the tension released you will be able to remove the clutch cover. You may have to jiggle and play with it a little. Sometimes they can be a tricky.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove the Chain Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove the Chain Cullins Service

Remove the Chain

The bar and chain will be loose now. Wearing heavy gloves remove the chain from the bar.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove the Bar Cullins Service

Remove the Bar

After the chain is off the bar should just come right out.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Loosen Nuts Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove Nuts Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Remove Nuts Cullins Service

Clean Chainsaw

Now that your chainsaw is apart it would be a great time to clean your chainsaw. I clean my chainsaw after every use. You should clean your chainsaw and make sure the oil port is clear of all debris. Cleanup the brake, and clear out the bar grooves so the chain slides through easily. Check all parts to make sure they are in great working condition.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Insert the Chain Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Insert the Chain Cullins Service

Insert the Chain

To insert the chain on the electric chainsaw sharpener lay the chain over the rotation rollers.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Adjust Chain Cullins Service

Adjust Chain

Flip over the chain stopper. Lower the grinding wheel(in the off position). Set the stopper and adjust the rollers until the cutter and grinding wheel are in a good position.
Adjust the rotation roller to the correct degree.
Check the make, model or box for the degree.
I'm using a 35 degree angle.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Pull out air filter Cullins Service

Mark Cutter

Mark the first cutter you sharpen so you don't resharpen cutters.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Start Sharpening Cullins Service

Start Sharpening

Once your chain is lined up you are ready to sharpen
Make sure you wear protective gear because sparks are getting ready to fly.
Turn on the electric chainsaw sharpener.
Hold down the hand brake to clamp your chain and prevent it from moving.
Bring down the grinding wheel to sharpen the cutter.
When finished with one cutter bring the grinding wheel up release the hand brake. Turn the rotaion roller until you reach the next cutter. remember to rotate cutters. Every other one does the other way.
now repeated the process.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Reinstall Chain and Reassemble Cullins Service

Reinstall Chain and Reassemble

Finished now remove chain from electric chainsaw sharpener
Check to make sure your cutters are sharp.
Now reinstall the chain and reassemble your chainsaw.
To reinstall the chain and reassemble your chainsaw. Refer to this section and do these steps in the reverse order
You will also want to flip your bar to ensure even wear.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Check Depth Gauge Cullins Service
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Check Depth Gauge Cullins Service

Check Depth Gauge

Now you need to check the depth gauge setting.
You can do this every 3-5 times you sharpen your chain. Or every time you sharpen your chain.
It does not take long and is very important to the effectiveness of your cuts.

The depth gauge setting determines how deep the cutting tooth will cut.
The cutter slopes down and every time you sharpen it it brings the cutter lower. If the cutter is to low and the rake is to high, the cutter takes a very small amount of wood.

If the cutter is to high the cutting tooth will cut too deeply into the wood. Thus making a more aggressive cut resulting in high vibration. This also increases the risk of kickback and exposes the chainsaw to stress like slipping of the clutch.

The rake needs to be .025 below the cutter. Now this is easy to achieve with a depth gauge tool.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Depth Gauge Tool Cullins Service

Depth Gauge Tool

Lay the depth gauge tool over the chain.
Make sure the raised portion is resting over the cutter and the slot is right over the rake.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw 6 Inch Flat File Cullins Service

6 Inch Flat File

Now grab your 6 Inch Flat File

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw 6 Inch Flat File Cullins Service

File Rake

It the rake extends above the slot just run the rake over it to file it down.
If the rake looks to flat you should round out the curved back part with the flat file.

Finished

Now you are finished sharpening your chainsaw.
Learn it, Live it, love it.
Get to know your chainsaw. Learn how to perform routine maintenance on her. Get to know what she likes.Her favorite way to be started, to be run and handled. Treat her right and she will treat you right. Name her, my Echo CS 330T's name is Sara.

Now go filler her up with oil and gas, be safe and enjoy your chainsaw.

Watch Video

If you prefer to watch the video on this How to Sharpen a Chainsaw w/ an Electric Sharpener and Round Hand Files. Check Depth Gauge disassemble chainsaw and clean DIY Echo CS 330T by Cullins Service check out our video. Subscribe to our channel for more DIY How to videos.

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