5 Expert Chainsaw Chain Maintenance Tips
Chainsaw chains are NOT CHEAP! 🤑
Nobody would want to buy a new chain for their saw every few weeks (or even months). That's why it's important to look after your chainsaw chains.
I've made the MISTAKE of trying to cheap out on my chain maintenance and it cost me more money in the end. (I'm glad that I finally got smart about it!)
Btw, I'm Samuel Anali, and I'm a chainsaw NERD! 😎 I’ve been using and fixing chainsaws for over 20 years now, and in that time, I’ve picked up a great deal of knowledge through my experience.
In this article, I'm going to share with you my TOP chainsaw chain maintenance tips for keeping your chain in GOOD condition.
Are you READY??
1. Make Sure Your Chain is Properly Tensioned
Let's start with the BASIC one!
"Make sure your chainsaw chain is properly tensioned."
I know, you've heard it a MILLION times before, and you're probably getting tired of hearing it again!
But the truth is, proper chain tensioning is essential if you want to prolong the life of your chain (and, more importantly, make your saw run more smoothly!).
"What do you mean by proper tensioning?"
Well, it just means ensuring that your chain has the RIGHT amount of tension – not too tight, not too loose. (as it's EASY to overtighten!)
But how do you know if your chain is properly tensioned?
There's a cool trick that I often use. It's called the "snap test."
Grab your saw chain at the mid-point of the bar and give it a slight tug. If you can pull it away from the bar rails by more than 1/8th of an inch (which is about 3 mm) and then SNAPS back into place, your chain is properly tensioned.
Btw, if you don't know how to tighten a chainsaw chain, here's an AWESOME tutorial that'll show you everything you need to know.
For more info, check out my detailed guide on chain tensioning!
2. Keep Your Chain Sharp At All Times
Wanna hear a CRAZY fact?
6 out of 10 chainsaw users don't know how to sharpen a saw chain the RIGHT way. (Not exaggerating at all!)
I get why – sharpening can be tedious and time-consuming. Plus, you've got to be precise if you want the BEST results.
But here's the thing: 👇
If you don't keep your saw chain sharp, it'll eventually start to wear out faster and won't cut as effectively.
That's NOT all!
A dull (or blunted) chain would also cause -
- excessive vibrations,
- wear & tear on the chain sprocket, and
- poor fuel efficiency.
So, how to sharpen a chainsaw chain like a PRO?
Well, here's a detailed guide on how to sharpen a saw chain with the correct tools, techniques, and angles: 👇
Best Tips for Sharpening Your Chainsaw
- A MUST-HAVE all-in-one chainsaw sharpener kit to give novices or homeowners confidence.
- Include 6 round chainsaw file sizes to sharpen any chainsaws you have.
- Quick check gauge and flat depth gauge file ensure your chainsaw brings out chunks, not sawdust.
- Simple, effective, sturdy without being too large/unwieldy.
- Come in a nice and durable pouch to keep everything in.
However, if you're not a FAN of DIY-ing, I'd suggest you get your saw chain professionally sharpened. (it would cost you around $5 or so!)
3. Make Sure That Your Chain is Properly Lubricated
Proper lubrication is IMPORTANT if you want to keep your chain in tip-top condition!
Well, here's what you need to know: 👇
Chainsaw chains are made of metal ("stainless steel," to be exact).
When you're cutting, the chain rubs against the surface of the wood and generates a LOT of FRICTION and HEAT!
Without proper lubrication, this heat can build up and cause significant wear & tear on the chain (and cause it to stretch).
That's why chainsaws have a built-in oiling system to keep the chain lubricated (and cool) during cutting.
And if you don't want your chain to wear out prematurely, you should make sure that it's properly lubricated at ALL times! (Why Does Your Chainsaw Fail To Oil Your Bar And Chain)
It's recommended that you use a high-quality bar and chain oil.
Plus, you've got to make sure that your chainsaw oil is the RIGHT viscosity and type. (refer to your chainsaw manufacturer's guide for this)
4. Never Put a New Chain on a Worn Sprocket
YES, I'm talking about the drive sprocket!
If you don't know:
The drive sprocket (also referred to as the "chain sprocket") is the round wheel/gear-like sprocket inside your chainsaw that drives the chain around the bar.
Over time, this sprocket gets worn and develops deep grooves (check the image below).
When that happens, the chain won't stay on properly, and you'll experience a lot of slipping and skipping. Also, the chain won't stay tight for longer, and you'll notice premature wear marks.
Inspect your drive sprocket before you put a new chain on your saw. If it's worn, replace it with a NEW one.
According to EXPERTS, you should replace your drive sprocket every two chains. (I usually replace mine after every three chains and it works GREAT!)
5. Avoid Hitting the Dirt, Rocks (or Any Other Abrasive Material)
Believe it or NOT!
Dirt is abrasive. It contains tiny particles of sand, pebbles, and other hard materials.
When you hit the dirt with your chainsaw, these particles can get stuck between the chain links, causing your chain to stretch.
Also, when your chain passes through the dirt at high speed, these HARD particles work as tiny "sandpaper" and wear down your chain's cutting edges.
So, if you want to prolong the life of your chain (and keep it razor sharp for a longer period), AVOID hitting the dirt.
The SAME goes for rocks and other abrasive materials.
In simpler words: 👇
Chainsaws are designed to cut WOOD. Anything else should be avoided!
It's Time to Wrap Up!
That's all folks!
By following these SIMPLE TIPS, you can make sure your chainsaw chain stays sharp and lasts for a long time.
I know there are a LOT of things I missed, but I hope this article was helpful to you.
If you have any tips or tricks of your own, let me know in the comments below!
Happy sawing! :)