Sharpening the saw chain

Sharpening the saw chain

All the help you'll need to learn the essentials of sharpening a saw chain correctly.

Selecting the file

Holding the file

Checking the result

Lowering depth gauges


  • Providing you observed these rules you will achieve perfect sharpening results, the correct side plate and top plate angles will be obtained automatically and best possible cutting performance guaranteed.
  • Before you start sharpening, mark one cutter with a felt tip pen. After two or three strokes of the file, check how much material has been removed. If the surface looks uniform, your filing action is correct. If there are still patches of color in places, check that you are using the right file and make sure you are not holding the file too high or too low.
  • The depth gauge setting may be increased by up to 0.2 mm for cutting soft wood in mild weather conditions – no frost.The filing gauge for the next chain pitch up may be used for this purpose.
  • Never continue working with the chain until it is completely dull. A few strokes of the file at regular intervals quickly restores full sharpness.
  • Count the number of file strokes and use the same number on each cutter to obtain cutters of identical length.
  • If you find that the cutters in one row are shorter than those in the other row, you have used more pressure while filing the row concerned. Correct the length of the cutters by performing one or two strokes of the file on the longer cutters..

Brochure: Sharpening a STIHL saw chain Brochure: Sharpening a STIHL saw chain

View the brochure in your language

Cookies on the STIHL website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on our STIHL website. If you would like to learn more about the usage of cookies please click here.