How to Use Chainsaw Depth Gauges

cutting through a branch with a chainsaw
What You'll Need
Sharpening file
Flat file
A chainsaw depth gauge guide
Grinding wheel

Whenever your chainsaw begins to lose its cutting power and you find that it takes more effort to cut, or the motor is having to work harder, it's probably time to sharpen the saw. Sharpening the tool by hand isn't hard to do, but it's important that you have the right tools and know how to do it. When you sharpen a chainsaw the teeth need to be sharpened, but did you know that you must also file the depth gauges every time?

One of the best precautions you can take with your chainsaw is to keep it sharpened and well maintained. The first time your saw needs sharpening it's a good idea to have it done professionally. You should observe the process carefully so that when it comes time, you know what you are doing. Ask questions if you don't understand something or find a step confusing.

Step 1 - Check the Lubrication

It is important to check the lubrication on your chainsaw every time you sharpen it. There is a chain sprocket located on the front of the bar. Use a small grease applicator to apply a small amount of grease to the fitting on the front of the sprocket.

Step 2 - Slide the Depth Gauge

As a starting point, slide the depth gauge carefully over your saw.

Step 3 - Sharpen the Saw

filing a chainsaw blade

Using the appropriate size file, sharpen the teeth of the chainsaw. Since every other tooth cuts a different direction, it is best to go around the chain sharpening every other one, and then to turn the chain around and sharpen the opposite teeth. You can sharpen the saw in one of two ways. First, utilize a flat file and file down any protruding angles or pieces over the depth gauge tool. Second, using a grinding wheel, grind the depth gauge to a point where you are satisfied with the level.

Step 4 - Adjust the Gauge

close up of chainsaw blade

Adjustments must occur after you have sharpened the saw two to three times in succession. Adjustments are necessary as you will ensure further accuracy of your equipment. In the adjustment, the distance between the top plate and the top of the depth gauge are measured and accurately set. A great adjusted chain saw insures good cutting results.

Step 5 - Take Careful Measurements

Using a chainsaw checking tool, remeasure the distance between the top plate and the topmost part of the depth gauge. As you proceed through checking the distance, also check the pitch of the chains on your saw and re-measure the tool length. Finally, at the same time check the drive length and last, re-check the depth gauge. Making these tiny checks, will help to insure sure your chainsaw is working correctly. You may avoid unnecessary accidents by properly performing regular maintenance on your chainsaw.

Step 6 - Equalize the Settings

Make sure all settings are equal. This insures the best cut.