Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener Review


For anyone who’s ever worked with a chainsaw, know that the key to efficient and safe operation lies in a well-sharpened chain. Enter the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener, priced at $124.95, a tool that promises to transform the way we sharpen our chainsaws. After extensive use and thorough evaluation, here’s everything you need to know about this innovative product.

  • Carbide Cutter Sizes: 7/32″, 13/64″, 3/16″, 11/64″, 5/32″, 1/8″.
  • Weight: 0.95 lbs (15.25 oz).
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 4 × 4 inches.
  • Additional Features: Offers standard 30˚ angle guides, with optional 25˚/35˚ guides.

First Impressions and Setup

The sharpener arrived in a robust carrying case, admittedly more for organization than portability – it’s unlikely to be something I’d carry on my belt. Timberline had upgraded my purchase with brass angle guides, a nice touch for enhanced durability. The main jig, the heart of the system, is impressively solid, and the inclusion of a 3/16″ carbide cutter – perfect for my Husqvarna Rancher 450 – showed attention to detail.

Person setting up a Husqvarna chainsaw in a workshop

Setting up took a bit of effort. Aligning the front and back arches to pass the chain correctly was tricky initially, and it took me a couple of tries. However, once set up on my MS460 with a 28″ bar, it was smooth sailing.

The Sharpening Process

The Timberline Sharpener differs significantly from traditional hand filing. Its rotational motion scoops out the teeth, as opposed to the back-and-forth motion of a straight file. This method, along with the fixed angle provided by the jig, delivers a consistent, factory-edge sharpening – a notable improvement over my previous hand-filed attempts.

Hand sharpening a chainsaw blade in a workshop

The alternating tooth sharpening capability is a standout feature. Unlike my old method of setting up for one side and then flipping for the other, the Timberline allows for a continuous flow, significantly speeding up the process. Marking the first tooth with a Sharpie helped me keep track of my progress.

Performance and Results

In terms of performance, the Timberline excels. The first time I used it on a well-worn chain, it took around 33 minutes, but the results were worth the effort. The sharpened chain produced sizable chips and cut through wood like a hot knife through butter. There was no curving, a common issue with uneven sharpening, and the cuts were perfectly straight.

Person adjusting a mechanical device to enhance performance and results

However, I did encounter a minor hiccup with the adjustment knob, which advances the teeth into the cutter. When dealing with a really dulled chain, it required significant effort to turn, making a pair of Knipex Cobra pliers a necessary addition to my toolkit.

Versatility and Precision

The Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener truly excels in its versatility. What sets it apart is its universal design, allowing it to adapt seamlessly to almost any chainsaw type and size. This adaptability is made possible through the range of carbide cutter sizes that are compatible with the same tool, a feature that underscores its user-friendly nature. The package includes one carbide cutter, and users have the flexibility to choose from a variety of sizes to perfectly match their chainsaw chain’s specific requirements. The available sizes are:

  • 7/32″ (5.5 mm): Ideal for .404″ and 3/8″ pitch chains, typically used in larger chainsaws.
  • 13/64″ (5.2 mm): Specially designed for “Stihl” Brand 3/8″ pitch chains, accommodating both large and medium chains.
  • 3/16″ (4.8 mm): Perfect for .325″ pitch chains, commonly found in medium-sized saws.
  • 11/64″ (4.5 mm): Suitable for some .325″ pitch chains, bridging the gap between medium and small chains.
  • 5/32″ (4.0 mm): For 3/8″ Low Profile chains, often seen in smaller, more maneuverable saws.
  • 1/8″ (3.2 mm): Tailored for 1/4″ pitch chains, used in extra small or specialty saws.

This comprehensive range of sizes ensures that no matter what chainsaw you own, the Timberline Sharpener is equipped to handle it with precision and ease.

Who Is It For?

Reflecting on my use, the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener isn’t for everyone. If you’re a professional woodsman with access to multiple blades and a shop to sharpen them, or a suburban dweller with minimal cutting needs, this might not be the best fit. It’s an investment, after all. But for someone like me, often dealing with chainsaws but not at a professional level, it’s perfect. It saves trips to the shop and provides a level of sharpening precision that’s hard to achieve manually.

Comparison: Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener vs. STIHL 2-in-1 Chainsaw Sharpener

Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener
STIHL 2-in-1 Chainsaw Sharpener
FunctionalityPrecision sharpening for each tooth2-in-1 sharpening for cutter and depth gauge
Ease of UseRequires some learning; better for experienced usersUser-friendly, great for beginners
DurabilityHighly durable; carbide cutters last 40+ sharpeningsRobust construction; includes quality files
PortabilityPortable with carry case, slightly heavierExtremely lightweight and compact
SuitabilityProfessional and frequent usersOccasional users, DIYers
PrecisionHigh precision in sharpeningHigh precision with dual functionality

Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener:

  • Best For Professionals or those needing precise, individual tooth sharpening.
  • Investment Value: Higher priced but offers durability and precision, making it a long-term investment.
  • Learning Curve: Not as beginner-friendly, requires some practice to master.

STIHL 2-in-1 Chainsaw Sharpener:

  • Best For: Casual or occasional users, and those new to chainsaw maintenance.
  • Affordability: More budget-friendly and offers good functionality for its price.
  • Ease of Use: Very user-friendly, with guides to assist beginners.

In conclusion, if you’re a professional or require detailed, precise sharpening, the Timberline is a worthwhile investment. For occasional use or if you’re new to chainsaw maintenance, the STIHL sharpener provides a cost-effective, user-friendly solution. Both have their unique strengths, making them suitable for different user needs.

Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener: Pros and Cons

  • Delivers high-quality sharpening results, comparable to professional services.
  • Significantly reduces the time spent on sharpening, making it a swift process compared to traditional methods.
  • Once the initial learning curve is overcome, it offers a straightforward and user-friendly sharpening experience.
  • Constructed to be robust, ensuring long-term use and durability.
  • Compatible with a wide range of chainsaw chains, making it a versatile tool for different saw types.
  • Comes in a handy carrying case, making it easy to store and transport.
  • Allows for precise sharpening with minimal deviation, enhancing the chainsaw’s performance.
  • At $124.95, it is a significant investment, especially for casual or infrequent users.
  • The initial setup and leveling can be challenging and might require some time to master.
  • For severely dulled chains, additional tools like pliers may be needed for adjusting the sharpener.
  • Some users may find the tool’s operation and adjustment settings a bit complex initially.
  • May not be the most cost-effective solution for professional loggers with access to multiple chains or sharpening services, or for occasional users with minimal sharpening needs.
  • Some users might prefer an automated or less hands-on sharpening process.

Final Thoughts: Assessing the Value of the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener

Priced at $124.95, the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener is undeniably an investment, and its worthiness largely depends on the user’s specific needs. This high-quality tool is tailored for a particular segment of chainsaw users – the ‘prosumers’, who straddle the line between professional and consumer use.

For someone like me, who regularly uses a chainsaw but not at a commercial level, the Timberline Sharpener has proven to be a valuable asset. The initial investment might seem steep, especially when compared to the cost of traditional files or less expensive sharpeners. However, when evaluating its value, it’s essential to consider the long-term benefits it offers.

The precision and quality of sharpening achieved with this tool are akin to professional-grade results. For chains that have seen better days, the Timberline Sharpener can breathe new life into them, ensuring cuts that are clean, straight, and efficient. This level of performance enhancement can potentially extend the life of your chainsaw chain, leading to cost savings over time.

Moreover, the time saved is a significant factor. Traditional sharpening methods can be laborious and time-consuming, especially for those who are not experts in the craft. The Timberline Sharpener, with its innovative design and ease of use, once you get past the learning curve, dramatically cuts down the sharpening time. For someone with a busy schedule or for whom time is a valuable commodity, this time efficiency translates into a considerable advantage.

In conclusion, while the $124.95 price tag of the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener might give pause, its value is evident in the long run. It’s an excellent investment for regular chainsaw users who seek professional-grade sharpening at home. The sharpener’s quality, efficiency, and time-saving capabilities justify the initial cost, making it a worthwhile addition for those in its targeted user category.

Related Articles:


  1. Can the Timberline Sharpener be used on chains that have been previously sharpened by hand?
    Yes, it can be used on hand-sharpened chains. However, for the best results and ease of use, starting with chains that have consistent tooth size and angle is recommended.
  2. How does the Timberline Sharpener compare to electric grinders for chain sharpening?
    The Timberline Sharpener offers more precision and portability compared to electric grinders. While grinders can be faster, they often remove more material than necessary, potentially shortening the chain’s life.
  3. Is it necessary to buy additional carbide cutters immediately?
    The sharpener comes with one carbide cutter. Additional cutters are only needed if working with various chain sizes regularly or if a replacement is needed after extensive use.
  4. Can the Timberline Sharpener damage my chainsaw chain if not used correctly?
    Incorrect use, like improper leveling, can lead to uneven sharpening. However, the sharpener itself is unlikely to cause damage if basic instructions are followed.
  5. How do I know when to replace the carbide cutter?
    Replacement is needed when you notice a consistent decrease in sharpening quality or if the cutter shows visible signs of wear. Typically, each cutter lasts for at least 40 sharpenings.
  6. Is the Timberline Sharpener suitable for professional chainsaw users?
    Absolutely. Its precision and ability to maintain consistent sharpening angles make it ideal for professional use.
  7. Does the sharpener work with chains of different pitches and sizes?
    Yes, it works with various chain pitches and sizes, including .404″, 3/8″, .325″, and others, making it highly versatile.
  8. How long does it take to sharpen a chain with the Timberline Sharpener?
    The time varies depending on the chain’s condition. A well-maintained chain can be sharpened in less than 20 minutes, while a more worn chain might take longer.

Join the discussion below by sharing your experiences, tips, or reviews. Your contributions help others make informed decisions and navigate their chainsaw choices with confidence. Let’s build a community of shared knowledge for all wood-cutting enthusiasts!

David Murray
David Murray
Forestry Author

I'm David Murry, a forestry equipment specialist with a focus on chainsaw operation. With over 13 years of experience, I've honed my skills in operating and maintaining a wide range of machinery, from chainsaws to log splitters. My passion for the outdoors and commitment to sustainable forestry drive my work, which emphasizes safety, efficiency, and staying updated with industry advancements. Additionally, I'm dedicated to sharing my expertise and promoting environmental awareness within the forestry community.


Need instruction book for set up and a phone number to call

Daniel Adams
Donald Filidei
June 5, 2024 1:52 pm

I’ve been using a Timberline for about 8 years, and it is my go to for very sharp chains. I quit using shops for my sharpening as they seemed to take too much off and drastically shortening the life of the chain. After practice, you can get really fast and have a very sharp chain easily.

Daniel Adams
Bill D Caver
February 1, 2024 1:41 am

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