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James chose to use a round file to sharpen his chainsaw chain, although there are three methods to choose from. Start by mounting the saw in a vice to keep it stable, and also get better results from sharpening. Make note of the two angles on the chainsaw’s teeth in order to make sure you are filing in the correct direction; the top plate angle, and the tilt angle. Check with your chainsaw manufacturer for the proper size file in relation to the size of your chainsaw chain.
Begin filing from the inside of the chain outward, never the opposite. Hold each end of the round file and begin moving it in a gentle sawing motion, although only “sawing” in one direction, rather than back and forth. This is the least expensive method because all you need is a round file, but it requires the most skill because you need to eyeball the angle of the tooth and then file accordingly.
For more guidance with the angle, you can mount your round file in a file holder. The holder has markings which correspond with the angle, so you can set it according to the angle of the chain’s teeth. Adjust the gage so that the file angle you desire is parallel with the bar. Holding the handle towards yourself, file in the same motion you would if using the round file alone. Make sure to flip the saw around in the vice when you are halfway through, so that you can saw the entire chain from the same direction, which makes it easier on yourself!
If your chain is very dull, it might be wise to use the third option which is a special sharpening jig, which clamps right onto the bar of the saw. Fasten the clamps, as well as the separate clamps to hold the chain in place. You can adjust each bar to reflect the angle of the top plate, and the lilt plate. Although this method takes longer to set up, it does a quicker job of filing!
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