What Size File for 3/8 Chain? A Comprehensive Guide in 2023

What size file for 3/8 chain?

When it comes to maintaining your saw, one issue often arises: choosing the correct size file for your 3/8 chain. Using the right size can lead to efficient cutting and even potential damage.

The ideal file size for a 3/8″ chainsaw chain is typically 7/32″. In most cases, a 7/32″ file will be adequate for a 3/8  pitch chain.

Understanding the correct file size for a 3/8 chain and how to use it. We’ll delve into the details in this guide to ensure your chainsaw operates at its best.

What Are Chainsaw Files?

Chainsaw files are crucial for maintaining and extending the lifespan of every tool. These cylindrical implements, made from hardened steel, are designed to sharpen the cutter’s top plate blade. 

The process involves running the file across each cutter on the chain, removing any dullness, and restoring the sharp, efficient cutting edge that allows the chainsaw to operate at its best.

File Size of 3/8” Saw

File sizes correspond with a 7/32″ file being the optimal choice for a 3/8″ chain.

What Size File for 3/8 Chain? 3 Top Sizes

When selecting the precise file size for a 3/8″ chain, there are a few important sizes to consider:

7/32″ File:

7/32″ size of the file is optimal size for most 3/8″ chains. A 7/32″ matching file ensures proper sharpness, offers the best trimming performance, and minimizes chain damage from over-sharpening.

5/32″ File:

A bit smaller than the standard, the 5/32″ file can be used for touch-up jobs or to remove minor damages from the chain’s cutting edge. 

3/16″ File:

This file size can sharpen the chain, but it’s not ideal for 3/8″ chains. It may cause over-sharpening, weakening the precise cutting ability of the tool and reducing its lifespan.

Importance of the Correct File Size-A Necessary Aspect

It is necessary to use the proper file size for your chain.

Incorrect file sizes can lead to poor trimming efficiency, rapid dulling, and even damage to the chainsaw. The right file size, like a 7/32″ for a 3/8″, ensures your saw remains sharp and efficient.

What Type Of Chainsaw File Do You Need?

When choosing a suitable file, it’s essential to consider the type required based on your specifications and sharpening needs. The two main types of files are the following :

Round Files

These are most commonly used for sharpening the cutting saw teeth. The diameter of the file used should correlate with the size of the chain’s pitch. For example, as we’ve discussed, a 7/32″ file size matters for 3/8″ chains, and a 5/32″ is recommended for 3/8 LP chains

Flat Files

Flat files, on the other hand, serve a different role. These are used to lower the depth gauges on the chainsaw, which are critical for maintaining the correct depth for each trim. This is a secondary yet crucial step in sharpening that ensures the chainsaw operates optimally.

The measurement method is a way to measure the distance of the pitch length of the chain manually. Some file sizes of different chains for brands like Stihl, Oregon, etc. are given below:

Chain PitchRound file diameter

File Profiles and their Types

The shape of the file itself is also important. There are three common profiles- single, double, and triple cut. Each type provides a different level of sharpness and longevity. These are as follows:

Single Cut Files

A single set of diagonal rows of teeth characterizes a single-cut profile. They are commonly used for fine sharpening, light-duty, and finish metalwork.

These files provide a smooth finishing touch and are preferred for tasks requiring a refined finish.

Double Cut Files

As the name suggests, double-cut files consist of two sets of diagonal rows of teeth that cross each other. These files are used for more aggressive material removal, such as deburring, shaping, or heavy material removal from metal surfaces.

A double-cut file typically leaves a blunt finish but removes more material with each stroke.

Triple Cut Files

Triple-cut files, also known as Swiss pattern files, have a unique tooth pattern that enables them to remove material more smoothly and gradually than their adjacent single or double-cut files. As a result, they are ideal for tasks that require precision and a smooth finish.

We recommend using a double or triple-cut profile for most 3/8″ chains, as this will provide optimal performance and cutting ability results.

How to File a Chainsaw Chain? Step By Step Guide

To ensure the best performance from your tool, it’s crucial to grind its chain correctly. This process involves using a file of the right size, in this case, a 7/32″ for a 3/8 chain. Below are the steps that should be followed:

Secure your chainsaw:

Fasten your saw to a stable surface before you begin for safety and efficiency. This prevents any accidental movement while sharpening.

Identify the lead cutter:

This is the shortest tooth on the chain; start your sharpening process from here.

Position your file:

Hold the 7/32″ file against the lead cutter at a 30-degree angle. Ensure that the file with a diameter of 1/5 rises above the top plate of the tooth.

Sharpen the chain:

Push the file to sharpen across the cutter using smooth, even strokes. Usually, 3-5 strokes are sufficient to restore the chain’s sharpness.

Repeat the process:

Continue this process for all, maintaining the same number of strokes for each to ensure even sharpness.

Understanding Chainsaw Chain Measurements

When measuring your saw chain, the three crucial measurements are the pitch, gauge, and the number of drive links. Following these steps to ensure accuracy:

Measure the Pitch:

The pitch of a chain refers to the distance or length between its links or two pins. For a 3/8 chain, know the pitch length is 3/8 of an inch.

Identify the Gauge:

The gauge is the thickness of the drive link where it fits into the guide bar groove. This can be measured using a calliper.

Count the Drive Links:

The drive links are the teeth that sit in your chainsaw’s guide bar. Count these to determine the length of your chain.

Determine the File Size:

Based on your chain’s pitch, chain cutters, and depth gauges, you can now determine the appropriate file size. 

What Is The Right File Size To Use On A 3/8 LP Chain?

The 3/8 LP (low profile) chain has smaller teeth, making it suitable for light-duty tasks such as pruning and trimming. A smaller 5/32″ file is typically the best choice for this type of sharp chain.

This size fits the 3/8 LP chain, enabling effective sharpening without the risk of removing too much material, which could weaken the chain’s structure.

As with any chainsaw maintenance, it’s crucial to use the file correctly, maintaining the right angle and applying even strokes to ensure uniform sharpness across all the chain’s teeth. This will help to maximize the lifespan and performance of your 3/8 LP chainsaw chain.

Common Mistakes When Filing a Chainsaw Chain

Some common mistakes when filing a chainsaw chain include:

  • Not using the right size file for your type of chain.
  • Not maintaining the angle when filing the round grind teeth.
  • Not applying even strokes while filing, resulting in uneven sharpness.
  • Using a too-large file can over-sharpen and weaken the chain’s cutting cutters.
  • Filing too aggressively leads to excessive material removal from the teeth.


In conclusion, to maintain the effectiveness and longevity of your 3/8 chainsaw chain, it is highly recommended to use a 7/32″ round file for standard chains and a 5/32″ round file for low-profile (LP) chains.

Avoid common mistakes, like using the wrong file size or wrong filing technique, to ensure optimum performance and extended lifespan of your chainsaw. It is necessary to consult a manual or manufacturer regarding your tool problems.


Some of the most common questions asked about what size file for a 3/8 chain are listed below:

What size chain takes a 5 32 file?

How to choose the correct file size for the chainsaw chain? The size chain that takes a 5/32 file is the 1/4″, 3/8″.

How wide is a 3 8 chain?

The 3 8 chain is 0.57 inches wide.

What size file do I need to sharpen a 3 8 chainsaw blade?

To sharpen a 3/8 chainsaw blade, you will need a 7/32″ round file for a standard chain and a 5/32″ round file for a low profile (LP) chain.

What size file for the .325 chain?

For a .325 chain, the recommended file size is a 3/16″ round file.

What size file for 3 8 chain Husqvarna?

For a 3/8 chain on a Husqvarna chainsaw, you should use a 7/32″ round file for sharpening.

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