How To: Sharpening Your Chainsaw Chain

Taking good care of your chain and chain bar ensures that your processor will serve you for years to come.


Hakki Pilke

Regular maintenance of the chainsaw chain and chain bar is important for maintaining a high standard of firewood quality and maximizing the lifespan of your firewood processor. Using a dull saw chain can cause a variety of problems: the machine heats up, the chain bar heats and wears, the saw slows down and more time is needed to cut, and the chain sprocket wears faster. In heavy use the chain is recommended to be changed daily. 


Remember always to wear correct protective gear, gloves and eyewear when maintaining your firewood processor.


Hakki Pilke firewood processors' minimal need for service equals less downtime and more firewood processing. Check out our video for the detailed instructions on sharpening the chain with an electric sharpener:


Chain sharpening video


Removing the Chain


Hakki Pilke Pro series firewood processors feature our highly efficient AC 10 automatic chain tensioner that keeps the chain in optimal tension at all times preventing breakage and loosening. Correct chain tension greatly increases the useful life of the chain and improves cutting speed. The hydraulic chain tensioner doesn’t require any manual tensioning and allows you to replace your chain in less than 40 seconds.


Make sure your processor is turned off and disconnected from its power source. Open the machine guard and turn the lever to the OFF position. This releases the pressure in the automatic chain tensioner. Loosen the chain by pulling it downwards from the middle of the beam and remove it.


Chain Maintenance


You can sharpen your chain with a round chainsaw file or with an electric chainsaw grinder. If you are sharpening your chains with a file there are many filing aids available to make the job easier such as file holders and filing templates. Sharpening your chain with an electric sharpener is an easy and fast way to achieve correctly sharpened chain edges.


Sharpen the chain according to your chain type and the manufacturer’s specifications on the recommended cutting angle.


When using the grinder apply a quick tapping motions to prevent the surface from overheating. Check that the vise blocking handle is screwed in tight and that the chain is blocked. Run the chain forward to position the next cutter to be sharpened.


Check and adjust the depth gauges if necessary. Check that the cutters are smoothly sharpened and the surface looks uniformly bright. Clean off any debris and lubricate the chain thoroughly with chain oil.


Servicing the Chain Bar


The condition of the chain bar should always be checked when chancing the chain and the bar turned and maintained when needed.


If the bar is bent or has cracked rails it should be replaced with a new one. Look down your chainsaw bar like you would the sights on a rifle to determine if your bar is straight or not.


The chainsaw bars wear in two places: on the top side of the bar rails and on the surfaces inside the rails. Check the bar rail for wear and grind the tops of the rails with a grinder. Remember to grind both sides and check that the top of the bar is even.


Replacing the Cutting Chain


Install the cutting chain and ensure that it is rotating in the correct direction. Install it first on the nose sprocket of the guide bar. Remember to turn lever to the ON position. Close the machine guard and turn on the machine.


Modern firewood processors have automatic chain tensioners, this will tighten the cutting chain to the right tension and raise the saw bar. The Hakki Pilke Pro series machines have the patented AC 10 which doesn’t require any manual tensioning and you don't need tools to change the chain.

Pull the edge of the chain at the middle of the beam to check the tension. The tension is correct when the chain can be lifted slightly with moderate force. If the chain feels too loose or tight, check the chain tensioner pressure in the hydraulic chain tensioners and the chain tensioning screw in the mechanical systems.

Extra tip!  Always keep five chains on standby. If you lack the tools for sharpening your chains or have a large amount of chains, consider sharpening your chains by using the services of an external sharpening service. Sharpening chains in bulk can be more cost and time efficient this way.


We have developed a simple questionnaire to help you find the right firewood processor for your needs. Read more about the cutting-edge solutions Hakki Pilke has to offer by visiting our website.


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