How to Sharpen Chainsaws With Dremel (Step-By-Step Guide)

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By Jake Hill


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The process of sharpening a chainsaw can be a difficult task for those who are not familiar with maintaining power tools. However, with the help of a handy Dremel tool, it can be much easier and more manageable.

A Dremel is a useful, versatile, handheld rotary tool that can be used for various tasks, including sharpening a chainsaw. It allows you to quickly and effectively sharpen your chainsaw’s blades, restoring it to peak performance.

This guide will walk you through the process of using a Dremel to sharpen your chainsaw step-by-step. So, say goodbye to the frustration of a dull chainsaw and hello to efficient cutting with a sharp one. Let’s get right into it!

Why Should You Sharpen a Chainsaw?

Before delving into the process of sharpening your chainsaw with a Dremel, we must first understand that it is necessary that all operators sharpen their chainsaws to maintain long-term usage and performance quality.

To begin with, keeping your chainsaw sharp can save you a lot of money in the long run. Not only will it reduce the need for costly chain replacements, but it’s also a quick and easy task that can be done with a Dremel.

In addition to saving money on chain replacements, sharpening your chainsaw with a Dremel also makes it safer to use. A dull chain can increase the risk of kickback injury when using a chainsaw.

Finally, using Dremel to sharpen your chainsaw will significantly increase your cutting performance and extend the life of your chain.

How to Tell if a Chainsaw Chain is Dull

If you’re thinking about using a Dremel to sharpen your chainsaw, it’s important to make sure the chain is actually dull. Here are some signs that indicate when its time for your chainsaw chain to be sharpened:

  • Difficulty cutting through the wood: A dull chain will have difficulty cutting through wood, even when the wood is not particularly hard. The saw may bind or stall, and the user must apply more force to make the cut.
  • Rough or uneven cuts: Attempting to cut through wood with a dull chainsaw chain will produce rough or uneven cuts. This is because the dull chain will not be able to make a clean, smooth cut through the wood.
  • Increased vibration: Using a dull chain will cause increased vibration in the saw as it will not cut through the wood as smoothly, causing the saw to vibrate more.
  • Increased noise: A chainsaw with a dull chain will produce more noise than a sharp one as it will not be able to cut through the wood as smoothly, causing the saw to make more noise as it works.
  • Reduced cutting speed: A dull chain will have a reduced cutting speed compared to a sharp one.
  • Shortened chain life: A dull chainsaw chain will result in a shorter lifespan than a sharp one since it will wear out more quickly due to increased friction and pressure on the chain links and drive sprockets.

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw With a Dremel

Now that you’re aware of the importance of regularly sharpening your dull chainsaw and the signs indicating the need for this process let’s proceed with the steps for getting this done using a Dremel.

Step 1: Pick the perfect chainsaw for the task

There are a variety of chainsaws on the market to select from. But how do you determine which one is suitable for the task at hand? It all comes down to what you plan on using it for.

Generally speaking, a smaller chainsaw is likely the best choice for most home projects. They’re lightweight, easy to maneuver, and don’t need much power.

On the other hand, more demanding tasks require a more powerful model. So you’ll need to look for one that is durable and able to withstand heavy use.

Step 2: Detach the bar from the chainsaw

Removing the bar from the saw is the first thing you need to do to sharpen your chainsaw. To do so, simply pull the bar off. You can also use a mallet or hammer to tap the bar loose if it’s stuck.

Step 3: Use a Dremel to sharpen the chainsaw

Next, set your tool to the appropriate speed, secure one end of the bar in a vice or workbench, then use a wire wheel attachment on your Dremel tool to remove any accumulated metal on the chain.

If you see any cracks or chips, stop and replace the chain. Once both edges are sharpened, remove the chain from the vice and reattach it to the bar.

Step 4: Clean the chain groove of any debris

A crucial step in sharpening a chainsaw is keeping the chain groove free of debris. Any dirt or grime can disrupt the sharpening process and cause the chain to quickly become dull.

To clean the chain groove, remove the bar from the chainsaw and use a wire brush to remove all dirt and debris, focusing on the area around the chain’s teeth.

Step 5: Lubricate the chain groove

Lubricating the chain groove can help it run smoothly and prevent it from quickly dulling.

To apply, start by removing the bar, cleaning the groove using a wire brush, and then applying a thin coat of lubricant to the inside of the groove.

Step 6: Put the bar back on the chainsaw

After sharpening the chain, it’s time to reattach the bar to the chainsaw. Reattaching the chainsaw bar requires the saw to be unplugged and cool, aligning the bar with the teeth facing the same direction and firmly pushing the bar into place until it snaps.

Step 7: Tightly fasten all bolts and screws 

With the bar securely in place, don’t forget to tighten all the screws and bolts. A torque wrench should be used to ensure they are tightened evenly.

Step 8: Check the tension on the chain

Before using your chainsaw, it’s essential to check the tension on the chain by removing the bar and using a torque wrench to ensure all screws and bolts are tightened evenly.

Step 9: Start the chainsaw and see how it runs

With all the preparations done, it’s time to start up the chainsaw and test it out.

To prepare your chainsaw for use, align the bar so that the teeth are facing the same direction as before, making sure that the bar snaps into place as you firmly push it onto the chainsaw, securely tightening all screws and bolts. Next, check the tension on the chain and then test the chainsaw.


How often should you sharpen a chainsaw?

If a chainsaw is used occasionally, it may only require sharpening once a year. However, if it is frequently used, the blade must be sharpened regularly to maintain a sharp edge.

Is it worth sharpening a chainsaw blade?

Sharpening your chainsaw is definitely worth it since a dull chain can make cutting difficult and less efficient. Furthermore, sharpening the chain is more cost-effective than replacing it with a new one.

How long does a chainsaw chain last before it needs to be sharpened?

With proper maintenance, a chain can last for several years. But if your chainsaw is not cutting well despite sharpening, it may be time to consider a new chain.

Does dry wood dull a chainsaw?

When cutting dry wood that lacks moisture, more friction is created as the chainsaw chain comes into contact with the wood fibers. This friction can slow down the chain’s performance.

Will ice dull a chainsaw?

Using a chainsaw on dirty, muddy ice or snow can quickly dull the blade. These surfaces may contain elements like metal or small rocks that can cause the chain to become dull. To keep your chainsaw in top condition, it’s recommended only to use it on clean or pure ice.

How many times can a chainsaw be sharpened?

The number of times you can sharpen a chain varies depending on the sharpening method and the type of metal you’re cutting. But typically, the range is around 10 times.

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