How Many Times You Can Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

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Have you been sharpening your chainsaw chain for the past few years, you’re wondering if we can sharpen it anymore? Do you want to know how many times can you sharpen the chainsaw chain? If yes, then you’re definitely in the right place.

 How many times sharpen chainsaw chain is something that most chainsaw users think about after they have had a chainsaw for a while. Remember, your chainsaw chain can only be sharpened for a finite amount of time. Essentially, you can sharpen the chainsaw up to 10 times, sometimes even more, before you need to replace the entire chainsaw chain. It will mostly depend on two things – the amount of wear your chainsaw chain incurs and the amount of metal removed each time you sharpen the chain.

In this article, you will get to know all about sharpening the chainsaw, how many times sharpen chainsaw chain, when should you sharpen the chainsaw chain, how long should the chainsaw blade ideally last, common mistakes in sharpening the chainsaw, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Chainsaw Chains for Better Performance

Depending on the kind of wood you’re cutting or how often you’re doing it, your chainsaw chain eventually becomes dull and stops functioning as expected. Constantly using a dull chainsaw for cutting down trees or timber will make your work quite tricky. But is it worth sharpening your chainsaw chain or will you need to purchase a new chain entirely?

Sharpening the chainsaw chain will definitely be worth it, as a sharp chainsaw chain would be easier to work with. It will take you less effort to cut through wood, and the chain will result in cleaner cuts with sharp blades. The best thing is that you can sharpen the chainsaw chain multiple times without costing that much.

To know how many times you’re able to sharpen the chainsaw chain, you should know the average lifespan of your chainsaw chain. Further, you should also know about the things that can damage your chainsaw chain and other basic knowledge.

Generally, you’ll be able to sharpen your chainsaw chain for as many as 10 times. This will depend on a few factors. Further, how much your chain is damaged from each sharpening will define the right method of sharpening the chainsaw chain. You should also know the mistakes that you can make when sharpening the chainsaw chain and try avoiding them as much as you possibly can.

You can sharpen the chainsaw chain properly and get better performance out of your chainsaw. Do it regularly, and you’ll be able to get many years of cutting from your chainsaw. Cutting with a dull blade could cause burning and buckling when cutting through wood. Further, it’ll also be a slow and dangerous way of cutting.

How Many Times you can Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

A chainsaw chain could be sharpened up to 10 times, sometimes even more, before you have to replace the entire chainsaw chain. It will depend on a couple of things – the amount of wear your chainsaw chain incurs and the amount of metal that gets removed each time you sharpen. Different methods could have different types of impacts on the chain. The number of times you’ll be able to sharpen the chainsaw will vary depending on what you’re using it for.

For instance, if your chainsaw ends up hitting a rock and the chain chips or breaks, you might struggle to repair it through sharpening at all. Moreover, if you’re sharpening the chainsaw chain and remove 60% of the metal, it means that you will only be able to sharpen it 40% more before you need to replace it altogether. There isn’t a specific number or recommendation from manufacturers, but it will give you a fair idea or understanding of how many times you can sharpen the chainsaw.

professional chainsaw sharpener sharpening a chain

Of course, once you have worn out your chainsaw and chainsaw chain, there will always be the fun prospect of buying a new chainsaw altogether. However, you should ensure that you make the most of your purchase first. 

When to Sharpen the Chainsaw Chain

A tell-tale sign that the chain requires sharpening is when you’re noticing that it isn’t cutting as well as it did before. Another way would be by examining the sawdust. If you’re noticing small chunks of fine wood dust, it’ll be an indication that the chainsaw chain requires sharpening. However, there is no set interval at which you’ll need to sharpen the chainsaw.

Now you must be thinking, what is the right time to sharpen a chainsaw chain or how to know that your chain requires sharpening. Here are a few signs that you can visibly see or feel, and they’ll help you know that it is time to sharpen your chainsaw chain – 

1. Sawdust

The first indication that your chainsaw chain is in need of sharpening is when it creates sawdust instead of large chunks. You need to be careful while you’re working with a chainsaw chain and pay close attention to these indications.

2. Smoke

Another thing that you will notice when the chain requires sharpening is smoke. When you’re cutting, and you feel that your saw is producing a lot of smoke, and you’re wondering if you have lubricated, then why is your saw producing smoke? The answer is a dull chain. You will have to sharpen the chain right away.

3. Difficulty in cutting

Sometimes, you might feel that you have to put more pressure and force when cutting with the chainsaw chain than usual. If this happens, then it is a sign that your chain is dull and you need to pay more attention to it. This will be similar to how you feel that your knives aren’t working efficiently, and you have to exert more pressure, and you sharpen them. The same will be the case with chainsaw chains. Sharpen the chain when you notice that the chain is dull.

4. Dull or uneven cuts

You start working with your chainsaw, and you notice that your chainsaw isn’t working properly. You realize that the cuts are dull and uneven, and it puts you in a bad mood. If that happens, then you shouldn’t worry, as it’s not your fault. All you have to do is sharpen the chainsaw chains, and you will be able to enjoy perfect cuts.

How Long should your Chainsaw Blade Last

A chainsaw chain blade can last up to 5 years despite heavy and frequent use. For occasional use, the chainsaw blade can last you a decade or more. The chainsaw blade’s life expectancy will be highly dependent on chainsaw maintenance and use. Chainsaw blades don’t actually come with an expiration date. Neither do they have a pre-determined timeline for how long the blade will last. Here are a few items that can reduce the longevity of your chainsaw chain – 


It is pretty common for blades to slip through wood and hit the ground or a rock underneath. You should try as much as possible that the chainsaw blade doesn’t hit rocks to ensure that the chainsaw blade lasts longer.


Sometimes, wood can feature unexpected metal objects within them. Some of the common examples include nails, fence staples, or bullets. These objects could damage your chainsaw blade as well.


It may not seem that much but frozen wood and ice could cause the chainsaw blade to chip and wear. You should be careful though when you are using your chainsaw in the winter.


The chainsaw blade is susceptible to rust. Therefore, you have to clean and oil the chain properly. Moreover, store the chainsaw properly to make sure that the chainsaw blade lasts longer.

Improper lubrication

Not lubricating your chainsaw will be a surefire way of overheating the chainsaw. You need to lubricate it properly to keep the chainsaw cool while also helping you maintain the blade. You should remember that the chainsaw blade isn’t going to be perfect forever. It will wear down as you use it regularly.

How to Know if your Chainsaw is Sharp

The primary way to tell that your chainsaw chain is sharp will be by looking at the chips or sawdust coming from it. In case the sawdust is coarse or there are large chunks in it, then the chainsaw is sharp. A dull chainsaw will produce fine sawdust that is smooth and less thick than what a sharp chainsaw produces. Some other tell-tale signs of a sharp chainsaw include –

  • Chainsaw operation will be efficient, effective, and smooth – You won’t have to apply a lot of pressure to get the chainsaw through the wood. The chainsaw will be able to pull itself through the wood easily.
  • Easy positioning and cutting – A sharp chainsaw won’t get stuck in the wood when the engine is still running. It’ll just go right through the wood and be stable without shaking or veering off target.

Common Mistakes while Sharpening the Chainsaw Chain

If you are sharpening the chainsaw chain, there are a few mistakes you will want to avoid. If you make these mistakes, you will be bringing more damage to the chainsaw chain and reduce the average lifespan of the chain. For instance, if you’re sharpening the chainsaw chain, and you aren’t aware of the right way to do so, then you may end up damaging it. It means that the amount of loss of metal may exceed than what is expected.

1. Not knowing how much to sharpen

It is widely believed that 10% of the metal will be removed with each sharpening turn, which means you can only sharpen the chainsaw chain up to 10 times. What if you end up scraping 30% or more from the chainsaw chain each time? This way, you will only be able to sharpen your chainsaw chain 3–4 times before it gets worn out.

Similarly, there are mistakes you will want to avoid, and otherwise you will end up harming your chainsaw chain. Here are some of the common mistakes that people make when sharpening the chainsaw chain.

2. Inappropriate storage

Often, the time comes when you are busy with other things and you are not using the chainsaw. In that case, you’ll have to leave the chainsaw in a garage or storeroom, and worst, if it is the rainy season.

What happens is that your chainsaw gets rusted, and you have to sharpen it, which you wouldn’t have had to if you stored it properly. This is the extra sharpening you’d have to do as it rusts, and you have to remove a lot of metal to clean rust.

This way, you have lost two more chances of sharpening and reusing the chainsaw. To avoid that, you should store the chainsaw chain in a dry, clean place such that you’re able to get more benefit from it.

3. The right time to sharpen

Another factor that affects the chain sharpening and the life span of the chain is the time when you sharpen it. You need to know when is it the appropriate time to sharpen the chain if you want to get the maximum use of it.

For instance, if you are sharpening with a chainsaw sharpener even though the chain doesn’t need to be sharpened, then you are just removing the metal and reducing its life span. Therefore, if you do that, then you might reduce the chain’s life span by 50%.

How the Pro's sharpen a chainsaw


Why did my chainsaw chain dull so quickly?

Your chainsaw chain might have gotten dull quickly because you might have made mistakes while sharpening it. The other reason can be that your chainsaw has come in contact with hard metals. Both of these things can result in damage to the chainsaw chain.

How often should you be sharpening the chain on your chainsaw?

How often you need to sharpen the chain will depend on how you’re handling the chainsaw. If you handle it with care and appropriately, then you’ll be able to use it for long before having to sharpen the chain.

Will it be better to sharpen or replace the chain?

The best option would be to reuse the chain as long as you can. It is most cost-effective to sharpen and reuse the chain that you’re already using. However, if you have sharpened your chainsaw numerous times, and you can no longer sharpen it, and you notice that the chain isn’t performing properly, then you’ll have to get a replacement chain.

How many times can I file my chainsaw chain?

There is no fixed number for how many times you’ll be able to file the chainsaw chain. It will vary depending on the way you’re sharpening and the metal you’re cutting with the chainsaw chain. If you’re removing 10% of the metal in sharpening, then you can sharpen it 10 times. In case you have poor sharpening skills, you might not even be able to file the chain 10 times.

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Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.