Chainsaws are great for cutting down trees, branches, and brushes. Chainsaws can also be used to cut up firewood and other items that need to be split into smaller pieces. One of the most important parts of a chainsaw is the chain.
The chain is what actually does the cutting but many chainsaw owners don’t understand why their chainsaw chain dulls so quickly. This blog post will explore the reasons and offer solutions for extending the life of your chainsaw chain.
Why do chainsaw chains get dull?
There are many possible causes for dull chainsaw chains, but here we list some of the most common ones like over-tightening the chain, neglecting to sharpen it, and not adjusting the tension.
Learn how to make all these factors work in tandem to extend the life of your chainsaw chain.
1. Contact with hard surfaces
Reason one is that the chain will dull when it makes contact with metal, rocks, or other hard surfaces. A sharp blade can easily cut through these materials, but when the teeth start to get rounded off they’ll have more difficulty.
Sometimes it’s hard to avoid these items, but if you can’t, make sure that you buy a good quality high-speed steel blade and use a sturdy saw bar when possible.
This will help to reduce the chances of your chainsaw chain dulling quickly when working. It’s better for your chainsaw if you avoid cutting into any of these substances and instead use a sledgehammer to break them up into smaller pieces first.
2. Dirt and debris
The second potential reason is that the chainsaw chain will dull from repeated contact with dirt, grit, and debris. Chainsaws don’t perform very well in dirty conditions because they can barely cut through the outer layer of dirt and other debris that covers them.
Every time you cut wood in harsh conditions, or if you’re trying to clear an overgrown lot, the chain gets covered in a layer of dirt and other debris.
Tiny, abrasive particles can work their way between the teeth of your chainsaw blade and cause it to wear down quickly. To prevent this from happening, make sure you have an appropriate blade for this type of work as well as an oily chain.
3. Lack of lubrication
A chain will dull if it is not properly lubricated before cutting wood or other materials because the friction between the teeth can cause them to bend out of shape when trying to cut through them.
To avoid this make sure you’re using enough fluids on your saw to lubricate your bar and blade while you are cutting wood or other hard materials. It’s important to be changing the oil in your chainsaw, too.
Chains need to move relatively easily against one another without any friction or resistance in order to cut things.
4. Lack of sharpening
When a chain is not properly sharpened, it will dull quickly. This happens because the metal teeth on either side of each link wear down over time until there are no longer any teeth left and then the chain cannot cut wood effectively anymore without fraying edges and becoming blunt.
Always sharpen your chain after oiling it with an oil-based lubricant to maintain proper cutting efficiency.
5. Lack of tension
A chain will dull if it is not properly stretched because chains need a certain amount of tension in order to operate effectively, and any slack between links can lead to frayed edges on one side or another as they cut through wood or other materials.
When operating a chain under maximum tension, there will be less slack between links and longer-lasting teeth.
6. Pitch and sap
A chain will dull from the buildup of pitch and sap. Woodworkers often use tarps to cover their work, but there’s the chance these sticky substances can get on your chainsaw or you could be sawing through them without knowing it.
It’s important to clean off any resin building up on your blade regularly, or you’ll soon find that it’s not cutting as well.
7. Checking for damage
Another cause of a dull chain that may not be obvious is the presence of any cuts or nicks due to improper installation, contact with hard materials such as nails and screws, or an accident.
Check your chainsaw by looking closely at each tooth: if you see any small nicks in the metal on one side, turn your chainsaw off and take it to a technician for sharpening immediately.
8. Stainless steel chains
If your chainsaw chain is used for cutting ice or wet wood, then you might want to consider a stainless steel chain.
These are more resistant to rust and don’t become dull as quickly. You may also opt for an anti-rust metal bar that helps keep the blade cool so it stays sharp longer.
Otherwise, your chains can get rusty when being exposed to water or ice, which may lead the chain to become dull and then will eventually break if not dried off quickly
9. Worn chain saw bar
If you find that the metal is not dull at all but instead has tiny grooves on one side or another, then chances are your chain saw bar is worn out and needs replacement.
Remember: if there’s a groove on one side of the tooth, then it means there’s a corresponding gap that can increase your risk for kickback.
Reason ten is that the temperature of your chain might be too low or high for cutting certain materials.
Chainsaws generally work best in temperatures between 40°F to 100°F (according to chainsaw manufacturer Oregon), but if you’re working outside on colder days without gloves then your chain is going to dull a lot faster.
11. The number of teeth on the chain
If you’re using a saw with less than 24-teeth, then this is likely why your chainsaw chain dulls faster. Chainsaws that have more teeth can make smoother cuts and won’t need to be sharpened as often when cutting through wood.
12. Chain adjustment
Reason twelve is that your chain might be too loose or tight. This can make the teeth rub against each other which also reduces their lifespan. Your chainsaw should have come with an instruction manual explaining how to adjust the chain.
13. Chain type
It’s important to take into account what type of saw you are using when selecting the appropriate chain: there are different sizes for all different types of saws.
If you’re using a chainsaw that requires an 18-inch chain, it’s not going to be a benefit to purchasing a 36-inch tooth count chain – the teeth will be too long for your saw and may cause kickback or other issues with performance.
14. Chain angle
Reason fourteen is the angle of your chain might not be set right, so it’s meeting more resistance when cutting and this leads to dull quicker. So if none of these tips work for you then make sure your blade is at the perfect height before anything else.
If after all of those adjustments, you still find that your chain is going dull quickly, consider getting a new one.
15. Brand matters when selecting your chain
Chainsaws are made by different manufacturers, each with its own design for teeth and tooth-tooth distance which will affect how quickly your chainsaw runs out of sharpness when cutting through wood.
16. Chain teeth
The teeth on your chain might be worn down too much for you to use it anymore, which can happen due to over-sparring and using a dull file or grinder blade when sharpening.
So if your saw keeps going dull fast even after all of these adjustments, consider purchasing a new chain.
1. How long should a chainsaw chain stay sharp?
This is dependent on the frequency of use and the type of chain you purchase. You should change your chainsaw chain as soon as it starts to wear out – typically this happens after about 5-10 years, depending on how often you are using the saw.
It’s a good idea to keep spare chainsaw chains in reserve for when one needs to be changed.
2. How to use a chainsaw safely?
We recommend wearing a safety helmet and eye protection at all times. Be sure to read your chainsaw’s manual before operating the machine for the first time, as it will offer instructions on how to do so safely.
To operate your saw, you should put both feet firmly on the ground and use two hands to hold onto either side of the saw. Make sure you have good footing before starting up your chainsaw, and always keep a firm grip on it while cutting.
3. How should I sharpen my blade?
There are two steps to sharpen a saw blade properly: first, use a file to straighten out any uneven edges or bends where teeth have been broken off. Second, use a grinder to sharpen the teeth for cutting.
4. How to sharpen a chainsaw with a grinder?
First, set the grinder to a slower speed for grinding. Second, use your fingers or pliers to hold onto the chain tightly and guide it over the grindstone in an even motion from side to side.
Third, keep steady pressure on top of the chainsaw blade so that it stays flat against the stone.
5. How to sharpen a chainsaw with a file?
First, make sure the file is of a size that will fit over your chainsaw blade. Second, use long strokes to move down the length of the teeth and remove any unevenness or bent edges.
Third, use short strokes to rake out broken points on each tooth. Fourth, repeat this process until you’ve gone through all teeth in your chain.
Once you’re done, wipe off excess metal filings and oil with a cloth or brush from your chainsaw engine’s air filter to make sure that they don’t cause future problems with the inside of your saw.
6. How often should I sharpen my chain?
In general, you will want to sharpen your chainsaw’s chain as soon as the teeth start to bend or become rounded from wear and tear on softer woods like pine.
The frequency of sharpening your chainsaw chain will depend on the type of wood you are cutting.
7. How often should I oil my chain?
In general, you will want to lubricate your chainsaw’s chain with a bar or engine oil once every twenty-five hours of use.
The frequency of lubricating your saw chain will depend on how much moisture is in the timber.
8. What can I do to make my chainsaw chain last longer?
There are three main factors that affect how long your chainsaw chain lasts: use, type of wood you cut, and level of maintenance.
The frequency of use affects how fast your chainsaw chain will dull. If you are sawing often, you should make sure to keep it oiled and sharpened regularly so that it doesn’t need changing too frequently.
The type of wood also determines the wear on your chainsaw chain: harder wood needs a more durable blade than softer wood.
Lastly, the level of maintenance can affect how quickly your chain becomes dull: if you are not maintaining it regularly and keeping it oiled, then this will make it wear out more quickly than a well-maintained blade that is sharpened before use.
9. What are the benefits of extending the life of my chainsaw’s chain?
A longer-lasting chainsaw chain means you will have to change it less often, which saves money and time.
This is because the cost of replacing your chainsaw blade will be much higher than just sharpening or oiling your current one (and also more difficult). You can extend the life of your chainsaw chain by keeping it well-oiled and sharpened.
In this blog post, we have discussed why your chainsaw chain may be dulling quickly and some ways to reduce and extend the life of your chain.
Caring for your chainsaw with regular maintenance, not neglecting the most important chain for its longevity, can make all the difference. Before you use it, always oil and tension the chain, and sharpen the chain when it becomes too dull.
Some additional resources to help you learn more about chainsaws: