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I need some chainsaw sharpening advice.  RSS feed

 
Ross Raven
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Im not sure where to post this.

I dinged a rock a couple of days ago. I tried to resharpen the chain...but its not cutting well. Usually, if I hit something, I take for granted that the chain is now toast and not worth resharpening. Its only 25$ for a new chain....but this is bugging me. I should be able to get more life out of that chain. They might not be around forever. I clearly just dont know the skill.

Regular sharpening I have down....but does anyone here have any good tips for restoring a dinged chain?
 
Troy Rhodes
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What method do you use to sharpen your chain when it's dull through the normal usage?

When you sharpen it using your normal method, how do you know when you're done, and the chain is sharp?


Once we know that, we'll know where to go from there.


troy
 
Ross Raven
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Just a regular file and guide bar.

I just push the file through 6-7 times...and make sure its pointy. lol. Im no expert here. Not sure what I should be looking for.
 
Allen Wimberly
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Are you using the right angle to sharpen the blade
The bigger the angle the bigger the bite the faster it cuts
 
Allen Wimberly
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You may have a hooked tooth or a bent tooth or two tighten your blade more than you would when your sawing and slowly turn the blade looking down the side of the blade to see if you have some that are layer out further than the rest if there is that blade is done
To see if you have a hooked tooth look at each tooth to see if they are bent down at the tip if so you will have to file it down more than normal to get rid of the hook also feel the side of the tooth to make sire you can feel a edge there as well as on the top edge of each tooth
More than likely tho you have flattened out the angle of the tooth and need to increase the angle so it opens up the tooth for a bigger bite
 
Tam Deal
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So chainsaw sharpening is a two step process: 1) Sharpen teeth; 2) set height of the depth gauges. If you skip 2, you will wear the teeth down to the point where they haven't the clearance to take a cut. Used to be that owning a proper bench mounted chain grinder was as expensive as the saw. Today reasonable Asian facsimiles can be had for under 30 dollars. You need to keep the blades well shaped and formed, and you may need to buy a new blade if that turns out to be the weak point of the deal. I set gauges with a depth stop.

Carry enough chains so you don't need to sharpen in the field, though a fresh file can initially save you time by dressing a dulling chain, but it can't deal with a serious strike to anything like a rock or metal.

Obviously there are all kinds of trees and terrains, so strikes can be part of the price of admission, but saws aren't hoes, and should be kept cutting in wood only, if that is at all possible.

Chains are sharpened differently for ripping or cross cutting (most of the work they do). Normally just following the pattern in the chain itself is enough.

If you blow through a lot of chain for some reason. Look at Bailey's or some such place, they sell chain by the spool.
 
Will Meginley
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The only difference between regular sharpening and "extra care needed" is the amount of work. The procedure is the same, whether you need two file strokes or two dozen file strokes to get the teeth sharp again. Before sharpening, rotate the chain at least one complete revolution looking for the most chipped/bent/worn down tooth. Sharpen that one first. Then sharpen all the other teeth to be the same length and angle as that one. Don't count strokes - use as many or few as necessary to make each tooth identical to the one before it. A chain with unevenly sharpened teeth will cut crookedly. Depending on your skill level, every two to four sharpenings you will need to file down the rakers (depth gauges) for the reasons listed above.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Clamping your chainsaw bar in a vice allows all of your personal energy to be focused on getting the proper angle and depth. Level your file. And then as you file, be sure to equally level your chain filing zone to the last one. By making everything equal, you remove the strain/friction on any given link, which causes it to quickly dull again.

Always be sure your bar oil is topped up when fueling, to reduce chain friction. A person can hit a rock or a nail and refile the chain to serviceable levels. You should get a lot more life out of the chain. I hope you haven't been tossing out all those chains. You can probably rehab them.

When doing crappy chainsaw jobs that require ground level cutting (near stones), or places where metal might be (nails, wires on fence posts, or in demo jobs), put an old rehabbed chain on your saw, so that you don't mess up a newer chain for more delicate work like rough carpentry.
 
Troy Rhodes
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Plenty of good advice already. I will put some links in for two products that drastically improved my ability to sharpen chain saws (and other things)

One is the (previously mentioned) asian electric chain saw sharpener.

http://www.harborfreight.com/electric-chain-saw-sharpener-61613.html

I have owned and used one of these for about a decade now. It is a surprisingly effective and capable tool. $34. It takes some practice to set it up, and to sharpen the correct amount.

There are a ton of videos on how to do this. And double extra reinforcement about this being a two step process. You have to sharpen each tooth, and you have to (ever so slightly) file or grind down the depth stops ahead of each tooth. I find that I do 5 or 6 sharpenings before I notice it's not as effective at cutting. It starts to produce more like saw -dust- instead of bigger chips. Then I know it's time to adjust the depth thingees.


The second product that had a huge impact on knowing when the object is really sharp(knife, chain, scissors) is a triplet lighted magnifier. Once you see the cutting edge, before sharpening, during sharpening and after sharpening, it's much easier to know when you're done.

The glass triplets are about twenty bucks on ebay. Even the 5 or 6 dollar loupes are better than just trying to eyeball it.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/10x-Magnification-Magnifier-Jeweler-Loupe-21mm-Triplet-Lens-6-LED-Light-/221933356824?hash=item33ac424718:g:lZ4AAOSwo6lWPC~q


 
Michael Newby
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Will Meginley has a lot of good advice there.

A couple of key points:

Make sure you're using the right size file.

Make sure you first file the worst tooth and then file all the others to that length (counting strokes will give you uneven results)

Maintain the same angle on all your teeth. This can be adjusted depending on what kind of cutting your doing but a 25-30 degree angle is a good general angle to shoot for.

Get a raker guage so that you'll be able to file your rakers to a consistent depth.

If your saw is still cutting crooked and getting bound up even with a freshly sharpened (or new) chain then you need to do some bar maintenance or buy a new bar. If you run a worn out chain or unevenly sharpened chain it can cause the groove in the bar to wear out unevenly leading to the chain not riding straight in the groove but angled a little to one side or the other. This will make even the best maintained chain to cut in a curve instead of a straight line.




 
Ross Raven
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Thanks everyone. Plenty to work with here. I just have to put a bit more sweat equity into this....and attention to detail.
 
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