Skip to Content

Why Does a Chainsaw Blade Dull Fast? (7 Common Reasons)

Why Does a Chainsaw Blade Dull Fast? (7 Common Reasons)

Share this post:

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

As a homeowner, you’re gonna have to go the DIY route from time to time. At some point, you would build things, cut some stuff, and do all sorts of chores to maintain your home.

Thus, owning a chainsaw would be very convenient for plenty of practical reasons. For instance, I used mine for tasks like trimming tree branches, cutting down logs, or for wooden projects.

But it can be annoying when the blade gets dull fast every time you use it. And yes, while it’s not some end-of-the-world crisis, a blunt chain can considerably slow your work down.

So, is there a reason why your chainsaw blade is dulling fast? Could it be that you’re doing something wrong? How long will a chainsaw remain sharp in the first place?

1 – Constant Use Will Dull Any Blade

Chainsaw In Constant Use

First, let’s start with the obvious. How much are you using your chainsaw? Were you cutting for hours at a time for a few days?

See, as with most tools, constant use will dull the chain. Even if you think you’re doing a great job of sharpening and maintaining the blades, you can’t expect them to stay sharp indefinitely.

At most, and under ideal circumstances, a chainsaw should remain razor-sharp for three to four hours. After that point, you’ll want to file the teeth for the chain to continue cutting well.

Still, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t other things that could be causing the blade to dull faster. But you’ll often find people losing track of how much they abuse their chainsaws.

2 – Incorrect Sharpening Angle

Let’s say your chainsaw is new, and you haven’t even used it for longer than an hour. But it quickly started turning blunt, and you’re confused why.

Well, are you sure you’re sharpening the tool correctly?

You’ll want to file the teeth at right angles to the guide rail. The best sharpening angle is about 25 and 35 degrees, depending on the saw chain and the wood you’re cutting.

The general rule of thumb is that the harder the wood, the greater the filing angle should be. But don’t forget to refer to your owner’s manual for what the manufacturer recommends.

Here’s a pro tip:

Take care that the round file only grips at the forward strokes by lifting as you pull it backward. Also, turn the file regularly when sharpening to prevent wearing only one side.

3 – Having the Rakers Too Far Down

It might sound surprising. But something as simple as having the rakers or depth gauge too far down could contribute to the chain dulling fast. 

Having the rakers too low puts more bite and stress on the cutters. So, if you notice that the chainsaw blade blunts faster than you expected, it’ll be worth checking into this.

Setting the rakers higher might help you use the chain longer before it gets dull.

The appropriate raker clearance should be between 0.025″ and 0.030″ for the best bite that won’t stress your blades. You can use a depth gauge tool to remain within this optimal range.

4 – Cutting Dirty Wood Material

Cutting Dirty Wood With A Chainsaw

Is the wood that you’re cutting with the chainsaw particularly dirty? That might be the culprit behind your woe.

However, dirt and trees almost always come in a package. Throughout their lives, trees collect dust, soil, and grime hidden in the crevices of their trunks and barks.

One way to avoid this hitch is to remove the tree bark before cutting. It’s a great way to keep your saw blades from dulling and save some of your time sharpening.

5 – Certain Types of Wood Are Hard On Chains

Certain Types Of Wood Are Hard On Chainsaw Chains

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that certain types of wood will be harder on your chainsaw than others. You’ve heard that dirty wood can dull your chainsaw blade quicker, but cutting through tough wood can do the same thing.

For example, maple is a type of wood known to be rough on chainsaw chains. You can cut through it just fine, but it’ll dull your chain faster than many other types of wood.

Hickory, ironwood, and hedge apples are also known to trouble chainsaws. So, if you’re carving some of these rigid trees, a dull chainsaw blade is the least you can expect!

6 – Accidentally Touching the Ground

Accidentally Touching The Ground With The Tip Of The Bar Of A Chainsaw

Are your blades touching the ground while cutting? It’s a common scenario even for experienced sawyers, and some people have this happen without realizing it.

If you’re cutting with the log lying flat on the floor, the bar’s tip can easily come into contact with it. Whether it touches concrete or soil, you’ll still end up with a blunt chainsaw in no time.

Try being careful about how you’re cutting the wood so that this doesn’t happen. Or better, you can elevate your cutting material a few inches off the ground to avoid this issue.

7 – Metal and Hard Objects in the Wood

Sharpening Chainsaw Blade

Don’t judge a tree by its cover. Some hide the nastiest secrets underneath that smooth bark. From pieces of metal and nails to rocks—anything can be lurking in there and dull your cutters!

If you know the tree you’re cutting has a colorful history of signposts, treehouses, or birdhouses, you better think twice before driving your saw into that wood.

Inspect the trunk and branches for rusty nails and remove them with pliers. If available, you can use a metal detector to evade the areas with hidden metal to avoid damaging your chainsaw.

Prioritize cutting from a safe position or discard the wood altogether.

Practical Tips to Keep Your Chainsaw Sharp

Anyone would want their chainsaw to remain razor-sharp. So, here are some expert tips to follow when using your cutter:

Use Proper Cutting Techniques

Your cutting method can affect how fast the chain dulls. If the blades turn blunt quicker than you like, you could be driving the chainsaw to the wood at the wrong angle.

Now, there are several techniques you can use to correct this mistake.

For example, when cutting a log flat on the ground, you can try the over-bucking method, which involves starting the cut from above and slowly making your way down.

Or you can try the reverse, called under-bucking. In this case, you’ll cut the material bottom-up using a pull-slide motion, carving your way to the top.

By handling the tool appropriately, the blades won’t dull quickly and save you valuable time.

Use the Right Sharpening Tools

It’s imperative to use the right sharpening tools if you want a sharp chainsaw. The primary tools you’ll need are a round file for the chain teeth, a flat file for the rakers, and a depth gauge.

Picking a suitable diameter is crucial when choosing a round file. So, check your owner’s manual to identify which file size works best for your chainsaw.

You’ll also want the right flat file dimension and grade for your rakes. This way, you can maintain the proper clearance and prevent stressing your cutters.

A depth gauge would also be valuable in plenty of ways to maintain your blades. You use it to hit the appropriate angle while sharpening and adjusting the rakers for optimal bite.

Sharpen Your Blades Regularly

Regularly sharpening of chainsaw blades solves plenty of dulling issues. But when and how will you know if your blades need filing?

The first thing to watch out for is how well the cutter eats wood. If you find yourself putting more pressure on cutting than usual, your blades might need that well-deserved sharpening.

A jumpy chainsaw is another tell-tale sign of a dulling blade. Get your blade a good filing once you notice the bar shifting around when it contacts the wood.

Lastly, observe the size of the wooden dust the machine makes. A sharp chain makes coarse pieces of wood that turn finer as the cutters gradually dull.

When Should You Replace Your Chainsaw Chain?

Is your chainsaw long in the tooth? The dulling might be because of a worn chain rather than your cutting or sharpening methods.

Here’s a quick inspection list to know when you should replace your chain:

  • If the drive links are blurry and no longer fit the bar.
  • If there are bent or broken cutter teeth or drive links.
  • If chains are filed down to over two-thirds of the cutter teeth length.
  • Lastly, if you find visible cracks and excessive deterioration on the chain.

Replacing your chain at the right time ensures a more efficient cutting session. It also promotes a safer workspace, minimizing the risk of accidents from a faulty chainsaw.

Final Thoughts

Of course, it’s worth considering that your blade might not be dulling any quicker than a regular chainsaw! As you know, some jobs will cause a chain blade to dull faster than others. 

For instance, cutting through dirty wood will take more of a toll on your blade. Certain types of wood can also be tougher for the chain than others. If you’re carving hickory or sugar maple, it’s only natural for the cutter to turn dull after a few hours of work.

That said, so long as you’re caring for the chainsaw to the best of your abilities, it should be able to last a long time.

If you want more backyard tips, including recipes, how-tos, and more, consider subscribing to my YouTube channel!


If you want more backyard tips including recipes, how-tos and more, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel

Share this post: