5 signs of a dull saw chain

A chainsaw can only truly turn its power into peak cutting performance with a sharp chain. We explain below how to recognise the signs of a dull saw chain.

Cutting with a STIHL chainsaw.

Cutting with a STIHL chainsaw.

Even the best saw chain loose its sharpness over time. As a result, the work becomes more difficult and the chainsaw is subjected to increasing wear.

You should pay attention to the following signs:

  1. The saw chain does not pull itself into the wood. It has to be forced to cut by applying pressure to the engine unit.
  2. While doing a split cut or a cross cut (making a vertical cut) the saw chain creates fine sawdust instead of coarse strands.
  3. Smoke crops up even though the chain lubrication is in working order and the chain tension is correct.
  4. The chainsaw runs in one direction causing a crooked cut. This is an indication of dull cutting teeth on one side of the chain or uneven cutting teeth lengths.
  5. The chainsaw “rattles” and “bounces” during the cut. It is difficult to achieve precise positioning.

If you notice these signs while working with your chainsaw, it is time to sharpen or possibly replace the saw chain.

Using markings as aids when sharpening the saw chain

Every STIHL saw chain has so called service and wear marks.

Service marks on a STIHL saw chain

Service marks to sharpen a STIHL saw chain

  1. Marking for the correct cutting angle of the top-plate cutting edge and the minimum cutting tooth length. The saw chain must be replaced if this mark is reached during resharpening.
  2. Marking for the correct angle of the side plate and the minimum cutting tooth length.
  3. Marking for the correct angle of the depth gauge and wear. The resetting of the depth gauge must run parallel to this mark.
  4. Check mark for the wear of the cutting tooth running faces. Consistent wear parallel to the mark indicates normal chain wear.

On our website, we explain you how to sharpen your saw chains. In our blog article “How to find the right round file”, you will learn what to look for when choosing the filing tool for cutting teeth.

All mentioned STIHL products are available at your local STIHL dealer.


Read comments and comment:

4 thoughts on “5 signs of a dull saw chain

  1. The time it takes to dull a saw chain can range from several hours to just a few seconds. This mainly depends on the wood being cut and how much contact the chain has with abrasive dirt. To understand how dirt dulls a chain, we need to talk about what happens when a chain gets dull.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *