Chain not cutting well


New member
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2:19 PM
Feb 18, 2023
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Hi All,

First off, I'm a novice to chainsaws, but have been learning how to safely use and operate in my timber these last 6 months.

My small light duty saw (Greenworks 48V 16") has served me well in cutting up lots of fallen trees, but there came a point where the chan was obviously dull and it wouldn't cut well anymore.

I watched some videos on how to use the Oregon field sharpening kit, and attempted to sharpen the chain, but with only a marginal improvement in cutting ability. The rakers are flush, as I used the depth gauge tool, so I don't think it's that.

Perhaps I'm just not filing the teeth aggressively enough with the file. Do you see anything apparent in the attached images that would be the reason why it's not cutting well?

Basically if I start a cut, it'll cut ok at first, but I then have to start tilting the saw up and down in the cut groove in order to keep it moving. If I don't, it scorches the wood and the wood will smoke from excessive heat, so clearly I've got a problem of some sort.


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Bob Hedgecutter

Staff member
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9:19 AM
Sep 12, 2021
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Way Down South New Zealand
Looks like the top plates of the cutters are still pretty dull- maybe filing too deep into the gullet- sharp gullet but missing the top plate which strikes first.
Hand filing is one of those things that takes time to develop the skill and you can only really learn from doing.
The cutters on this chain in the photos look well damaged and dull- possibly from ground strikes and evident from the dull colour rounded over leading edge- might be best to take the chain to a shop and have it ground and buy one or two spares.


New member
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3:19 PM
Oct 16, 2022
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near Oak Ridge, TN
That chain looks rough.
I don't know your skill level, but, the c part of the cutter isn't what cuts the wood really. It severs some of the fibers, but what cuts it is the rectangle part at the top that gouges the wood.

Your picture doesn't even show those, leading me to believe you may not realize that's the important part to file. The one to the right in the one picture should look rectangle, bright and shiny, and it has black or shadows on it.

You don't need to do a good chain aggressively. Files only cut in a single direction, and you can take off way too much, or set a bad angle very quickly.

Best thing to do here is to buy a new chain, have that one ground correctly by a professional, and then take some pictures and measurements so that you can replicate it. After each use, a couple of light passes should be plenty to keep a chain in top shape.

Good luck!!


New member
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1:19 PM
Apr 25, 2023
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The two above comments are right on, the only thing I can suggest is make sure you are using the proper size file.