What File Size Do You Use For a 3/8 Chain?

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Nothing frustrates me more than a chainsaw that doesn’t cut right because of a dull chain. Trust me, it’s crucial to hone and fortify those edges to get back to smooth operation.

Now, if you’re scratching your head over which file size to pick for your 3/8 chain, I’ve got you covered. Let me walk you through the options and share some insider tips on selecting the right size.

What are Chainsaw Files?

Chainsaw files are utilized to sharpen the chains on a saw. Most people who own chainsaws use round files. But some professionals have square ones, similar to the ones used for refining knives. 
The common sizes of these chainsaw files in inches are 5/32, 3/16, and 7/32. 
Maintaining your chainsaw chain with a file can significantly increase its useful life. When cutting, it is crucial always to utilize sharp chains. This is to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on the chainsaw and an increase in fuel consumption. 

When I notice the chain on my chainsaw losing its edge, I always turn to a trusty file to sharpen those teeth and get it back in prime cutting shape.

Pitch Length in Chainsaw Chains, Explained

You need to know what the pitch length is in order to make an informed decision when choosing a file size. Simply put, the pitch length is the space between adjacent pins.

But how can you measure it? 

You can identify the pitch length in a chainsaw in two ways: by chain marking or measurement. 

chainsaw pitch

If you’re looking to manually gauge the length of the pitch, measuring is your best bet. I typically measure the distance between two pins to get a clear read on it.

By chain marking, on the other hand, you already know the pitch length within the chain links. 

What is the Right File Size to Use on a 3/8 LP Chain?

Actually, the other name of the 3/8 LP chain is the 3/8 P chain. For the 3/8 LP chain, a file with a diameter of 5/32′′ is required. 

There’s no learning curve to using this two-in-one chain sharpener. The saw’s chain cutters and depth gauges can be fine-tuned with assistance, ensuring that it remains in peak working condition.

⅜ .050 Chain

The file size for the 3/8 LP chain differs from other chains’ file sizes, so if I were you, I’d choose carefully! If you don’t use the file specifically for sharpening chain cutters and depth gauges, you may end up with a dull tool.

So, we suggest the 5/32″ file for the 3/8′′ LP chain if you are looking for a good one. 

What About on a ⅜ .050 Chain?

This type of saw has a longer tooth length than a 3/8″ saw because its pitch length is greater. In most cases, a 7/32″ file will be adequate for a 3/8 0.050 pitch chain. 

Legendary-Yes Electric Grinder Chain Saw Sharpener

File Size for a .325 Chain

Generally, you need to obtain a 4.8mm file size (or 3/16″) for a pitch length of 6/32″. In short, you need a 4mm file size for a .325 chain pitch length. 

This specific size is suitable for many Husqvarna chainsaw models, such as: 

Importance of Choosing the Right File Size

The file size is significant because it varies with the length of the pitch.

For example, you can only use a round file to refine round grind teeth. And when sharpening edges, a flat file is not the best option.

Stihl Chainsaws File Size

While any type of file will work, it will damage the saw teeth over time. So, if you really want a clean cut with your chainsaw [1], this is not the way to go about it. The angle of the top plate blade depends critically on the file’s profile.

In order to determine the optimal matching file, you must know the pitch length in advance. From my experience, the size of the file really matters, even if its build quality isn’t the top concern.

So, in order to pick the suitable file, it’s best to first precisely measure the pitch length and then calculate the appropriate file size.


Knowing what file size to use for a 3/8 chain is essential to make precise cuts. You just need a 5/32″ file to restore its cutting efficiency. 

If you own a little larger with a 3/8 .050 chain, you’ll need the 7/32″ file to make better cuts. Now you know the right numbers, take the required steps to sharpen the saw blade and resume the work. 

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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