How to Determine Chainsaw File Size? A Sharp Guide



Determine Chainsaw File Size

To determine chainsaw file size, measure the chain’s pitch and use a file matching it: 1/4″ pitch requires 4mm file, 3/8″ pitch needs 5.2mm, .404″ pitch needs 5.5mm.

If you’re a chainsaw user, whether as a professional arborist or a DIY enthusiast, knowing how to maintain and sharpen your chainsaw is paramount. A key component in chainsaw maintenance is selecting the correct file size for sharpening the chain. This detailed guide will take you through the process, ensuring your chainsaw remains in peak condition for optimal performance.

Understanding Chainsaw Chains

The first step in determining the proper file size for your chainsaw is to understand the specifications of your chainsaw chain. There are three primary numbers you need to know:

  1. Pitch: The distance between three consecutive rivets divided by two.
  2. Gauge: The thickness of the drive link where it fits into the guide bar.
  3. File Size: The diameter of the file needed to sharpen the cutters.

The pitch and gauge of your chain will directly influence the file size you need to keep it sharp.

How to Determine the Pitch and Gauge

Finding the Pitch and Gauge on Your Chainsaw:

  • Refer to your chainsaw’s user manual.
  • Look for the information stamped on the guide bar or chain.
  • Contact the manufacturer with the model number of your chainsaw for specifications.

Once you have identified the pitch and gauge, you can proceed to select the right file size.

Selecting the Correct File Size

The file size is crucial to ensure you sharpen the cutters effectively without damaging the chain. Here’s a simple table to assist you in matching the pitch of your chainsaw chain to the appropriate file size:

PitchFile Size
1/4″ Pitch4.0mm (5/32″)
3/8″ Low Profile4.0mm (5/32″)
.325″ Pitch4.8mm (3/16″)
3/8″ Pitch5.5mm (7/32″)
.404″ Pitch5.5mm (7/32″)

Note that these are general guidelines, and your chainsaw’s requirements may vary. Always verify the recommended file size with your chainsaw’s specific manual or manufacturer recommendations.

Tips for Chainsaw Sharpening

  • Maintain Consistency: Use the same file size and technique every time you sharpen to maintain consistency in your chain’s performance.
  • Regular Maintenance: Sharpen your chain regularly to keep your chainsaw running smoothly. A dull chain can be dangerous and inefficient.
  • Check for Wear: Inspect your files often for wear, and replace them when they no longer sharpen effectively.
  • Safety First: Always wear gloves and protective eyewear when sharpening your chainsaw chain.

Learn more: What Size File for 16 Inch Chainsaw


Understanding how to determine the correct chainsaw file size is essential for any chainsaw owner. Remember to always refer to your chainsaw’s user manual for specific instructions, and ensure you’re using the right tools for the job. Proper maintenance will extend the life of your chainsaw and help you to work more efficiently and safely.

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