Chainsaw Sharpening Angles Explained [Ultimate Guide]

Chainsaw Sharpening Angles

No matter how beautiful, robust and sturdy your chain saw is, it is USELESS without a sharpened chain. Why? Because chains are super important, if they are not treated right (sharpened regularly), it means No Work done. In a chain are specially crafted metals (teeth) designed to cut wood and in each tooth are angles.

To sharpen a chainsaw chain with a fine sharpener, you need to know the unique angle for filling so you get optimum performance. It is why this article guide: Chainsaw Sharpening Angles was written. Read through and get thoroughly informed about all you need to know.

Classifications of Chainsaw Tooth Angles

Each tooth is connected to a chain that rotates on a circular bar and cuts wood or shrubs. Inside each tooth are angles that are inside and outside the top and side plate of every tooth. These are the top plate angle and the side plate angle.

Inside Top Plate Angle

This is the horizontal inside angle you see at the top plate of the cutting tooth. When cutting softwood, this angle would be best at 35 degrees. But for harder woods or frozen woods, it should be blunter. Most filling at 40 degrees will achieve faster cutting, though the chain won’t stay sharp long if you want a sharper chain file at 50 degrees.

Inside Top Plate Angle
Image Credit: Stihl dot com

Outside Plate Angle

It is the vertical part of the teeth of a chain at the outer edge. For sharper teeth, you should file at 90 degrees and a faster cutting at 40 degrees.

Outside Plate Angle
Image Credit: Stihl dot com

Inside Plate Angle

This is the vertical angle you see inside the side plate when you look from the tooth’s front. To achieve sharpness, file the teeth at a 50 degrees angle and a faster cutting file at 40 degrees. Most users strike a balance of about 45 degrees when using it, though.

Inside Plate Angle
Image Credit: Stihl dot com

What is The Best Angle For a Chainsaw Chain?

There is no one direct answer to this question as chain type’s sizes and products differ. Also, the kind of wood to be cut and the nature of work to be done vary.

As always, the best guide to follow is the instructional manual of the chain saw you are using. The manufacturers always give the best and most suitable angle for sharpening the teeth for optimum performance. However, most users have agreed that a standard chain should be sharpened around 25-30 degrees for cross-cutting and ripping wood grain, sharpen at 10 degrees.

Why is My Chainsaw Cutting on an Angle?

Chainsaws are supposed to give straight and neat cuts, not bends or curves. Now, if your loving chain saw cuts at an angle, there is something you need to fix. The two main problems that are pointers to a bent cut:

  • A bent-guide bar (where you may straighten or replace altogether).
  • The chain ( each tooth may be unequal length or filed at different angles, or one tooth may be dull and the other sharp)

When to Sharpen a Chainsaw Teeth

When the chain is entirely blunt is the right time to re-sharpen. Most times, a blunt chain will show you these signs:

  • Dust residue accompanying the cut wood instead of small wood chips.
  • You put pressure on the engine to cut.
  • The chain saw bounces, and it’s unstable when working.
  • The chain cuts irregularly.
Dull Chainsaw Chain

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain

Follow below these steps when sharpening a chain saw chain:

  • Get all the needed tools assembled and arranged in one place.
  • Clean the chain with a brush or dry cloth.
  • Ensure the chain is tightly tensioned.
  • Inspect the chain tooth. Check for the tooth that is most worn out, filed down and of a shorter length. It would be the guide used to file others to the same size.
  • Engage the chain brake.
  • Set the file gauge to the right depth, length and angle so that you can sharpen it rightly.
  • Start filling with long smooth strokes until you begin seeing that the tooth looks bright. Count the number of strokes that give you that. You will need to use the same number used while filling the first tooth for other teeth. When you are done filling the outside tooth, file the inside as well.
  • Switch the chain to the other side and file when you are done to sharpen both sides.
  • Set your depth gauge and measure teeth at the front and back to check the depth and see if it is the correct height. You may decide to use a flat file to measure correctly and ensure that the teeth are of a similar height.
  • Wipe the chain. Now your chain is freshly sharpened.

Benefits of Sharpening the Teeth Angles

  1. It helps maintain a balance between the cutting teeth and other parts.
  2. Improves cutting edge performance.
  3. Constant sharpening makes re-sharpening easier.
  4. For neater and safer cuts.
  5. Chain cuts quickly and easily.

What Angles do You Sharpen a Husqvarna Chain?

There are tons of Husqvarna chain saw types out there with different chain makes and sizes. The actual filling angle will depend on the chain make and size. However, the filing angle should go between 25 and 30 degrees.

What Angle Should I Sharpen My Stihl Chainsaw Chain?

Most Stihl chainsaws are sharpened at a 30-degree angle, parallel to the filling angle’s service mark.


With this Chainsaw Sharpening Angles guide, I am so sure you can treat your chain rightly now.

4 thoughts on “Chainsaw Sharpening Angles Explained [Ultimate Guide]”

  1. I sharpen many types of blades and tools. This site is a good resource to help determine angles and methods of sharpening when I have a question. Thank you for putting this info all in one spot.

  2. I hit some metal.. first time sharpening. correct file size.. just didnt work then looked noticed all the teeth edges have been bent in and down and bit. . the outter teeth all have burn marks hahaha.. dang metal in a tree.. just gotta replace it thought i just didnt know how to file em right at first.


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