After fiddling with lots of different contraptions, I now favor doing this freehand. I think I should sit down with my saw and take some pictures and maybe make a video.
But here is an interesting thing i spotted today. It makes me think that maybe I should try a whole different approach. The idea appears to be that if you get a completely different kind of chain, and this contraption, this whole area could be twenty times easier.
I've been a forester here in Scotland for nearly 30 years and I've tried or seen most of the gadgets on the market for sharpening saw chain.
Everybody I know who is a true professional with a saw uses hand files. They produce a good, accurate edge without the burr of the power tools. It is important however to change them regularly, they don't remain efficient for too long.
Almost every cutter I know has there own distinct style when sharpening. I like to sit with the saw on my lap to do the left hand cutters, then with the saw trapped between my knees pointing skyward to do the right hand cutters. That's for out in the wood. The best way is in the workshop with the saw held in a bench vice by the guide bar so you can get two hands on the file. This really makes such a difference, you will even get longer use out of an otherwise 'spent' file. Flip the saw left and right to do the cutters on each side.
Dont forget to do the depth guages, we call them rakers. Use a flat file and go easy.
The contraption you talk about is just that, a gimmicky toy for the urban man who bought a £100 chain saw in a diy store. Expensive to run!
I rarely buy saw chain, I get cast-off chain from various places who are too lazy to sharpen a damaged chain!!!
PS. loving you utube postings on mass heaters
with my husbands and son's physical disabilities and my husbands close head injury and short term memory loss (he forgets how to do things or what has been done or needs to be done) hopefully this tool will work for us
so I may be destroying my chains and not knowing it. One thing I learned very quickly was that the chains don't stay sharp long - first thing I learned to do on my saw was swap the chain out.
Doug, the best way to dull a sharp chain is by hitting dirt with it, dirt on the tree or the ground. Takes about a 1/2 second for every tooth to get pulled through it, so be careful.
Second thing I thought of was that your $20 electric sharpener will heat up each tooth fast when sharpening potentially changing the temper of the steel allowing it to become dull much faster. It will be super sharp at first but if the temper is changed even wood will dull it. I've run the original chain on one of my saws for 5 years now, I've probably sharpened it 100 times, it is getting to the point of needing replacing now but that is about average for the use that saw gets.
i really should learn to sharpen manually by eye ,i don't do a LOT of sawing,so this jig works well for me.
does get time consuming ,especially since i'm mostly only sharpening ripping chain for a 42" bar,and tend to do 5 chains at a time so i dont have to do it in field while i'm in the middle of milling a tree
heres a thread i came across on this particular system, it is well-liked,
arborist forum is also Excellent IMHO.
The guide is so small you can conceal it in your hand. It's a nice hybrid between hand-sharpening and gadget-sharpening. The extra piece of metal hanging off is to help sharpen the depth gauges. Here's a good page on [url=http://www.grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_sharpen_chain_saw_2/"]how to sharpen a chain saw , and and here's another photo of the roller guide in action:
I almost hate to admit it, but I bought one of those $20 electric chain sharpeners from Harbor Freight, and I've actually been quite pleased with the results. Then again, I'm a chainsaw neophyte, so I may be destroying my chains and not knowing it. One thing I learned very quickly was that the chains don't stay sharp long
I have one too and have been using it for several years. My chain stays sharp enough for maybe two hours of cutting (or about a gas tank full). I don't doubt that if I learned how to sharpen by hand, the chain will stay sharper longer. But learning isn't a high priority. Once a year, after about 40 re-sharpenings, I buy a new $25 chain and, man, that is some cutting joy!
It takes 10 - 15 minutes to sharpen the chain with the grinder (including removal and installation). How long does doing it by hand take?
Anyway, late in life I bought a nice little Logosol sawmill, a chainsaw mill, which uses ripping chain. I found out very quickly that I really needed an electric sharpener, because 1 -- running a saw that way wears on the chain a lot and dulls it, but mostly 2 -- the chain needs to be really precisely done, with all the teeth just alike. That's easy with a good electric sharpener, not so easy by hand especially as the chain gets worn down, things tend to get just a little out of whack. And it's easier to just have several chains that you change out during the day and then sharpen them all at night.
Works for me, cheap, and easy to do.
i am dealing mostly with sharpening Ripping chain for my chainsaw-milling rig.( husq 395xp,42"Oregon bar,36"Alaskan mill) it's definitely better to have 5-6 chains ready to go on workday and just swap em out. i also sharpen mine on the bar in a vise in my woodshop, i do like using the clamp-on guide to keep things precise and accurate. this year i'll buy the nicer all-metal version though. this plastic one is a little chinsey . filing down the rakers/depth-gauges all perfectly equal is important too ive found for milling anyway.
speaking of milling. i went into nyc yesterday for NYC Vegetarian Festival,on way back to car there was a boutique arts/furnishing gallery with slab tables etc( which i make too) so i had to have a look... the cheapest table was $12,000.that was nothing but a padauk slab with steel base screwed to bottom! next to it was a plain claro-walnut slab,no base,nothing done to it bsides sanded down and maybe waxed,not even flattened very wavy top..$20,000
i am obviously marketing to the wrong damned crowd of deadbeat! hah.
the gallery's site is http://www.mhhome.net turns out the owner Michael lives here in long island by me.
Rip sawing all day like that is quite a bit different from logging or cutting firewood. I almost never had to sharpen a chain during the day when logging, unless I did something dumb like hitting the dirt. Sawing lumber, however, it's more like 3 chains a day, or at least two. I guess if all the logging was done in the Winter and all the skidding done in the snow, it wouldn't be so bad, but having mud on the logs and in the bark is almost inevitable otherwise, and as much as you try to scrape or brush it off, it really dulls the chain pretty quickly. And with those long bars needed for sawmilling, that's a lot of work to do them by hand.
,, Okay okay so to be real we also go with the hand sharpening method,it is the simplest way to really control the angles if the saw has been ummm cutting some odd angles,, hmm do not know how that happens,, if more is needed that is what the kids are for,a couple of them work in forestry management and saws are their lively hood.., or you bring in the big guns the 86 year old father in law who was one of the best loggers in his day..He can sharpen them by feel with a blind fold,, LOl
I have also tried the gimmicky kinds, no joy.
it isn't for his main saw, but for the smaller saw that had some bar problems going on..so replacing the bar was in the offing anyway..so this was a good saw to try the new auto sharpener on..
he is having right hand surgery Wednesday, and son working 12 hour days so not sure when it will get installed and used, but I WILL keep in mind to update you on it..
For even-ing up the wear on the teeth when you need to take more material off than is practical with a file, I like a dremel tool with a chain saw sharpening bit.
When using any kind of a power grinder, the air in your work area will be filled with particles from the grinder and saw blade. In the right light they can be seen. So be sure to wear safety goggles, the kind that are closed all around the sides, and use a respirator, or hundreds if not thousands of iron and other material particles WILL get into your eyes and lungs.
On the whole, I think the benchtop machine makes my chain stay sharp a little longer, maybe.
I rotate 3 chains and do them all at once on the benchtop grinder.
I mix it up. I use whats on hand- if in the firld and I hit some mean knots, Ill brush it by hand. If Its a fence hidden in 15 years of cherry knots, Ill stop and use the granberg. ends up that I use a machine on a chain1-2 times in its life, the granberg 10-15 times, and the hand sharpening about 50-70. I sharpen the chain after every tank when im in the field, a touch up. Ill do a granberg once a day (a day is about 3-4 tanks, im getting fat and lazy). it goes to the bench every 20-30 tanks. so after 2 benches, and 20 touch ups, its usually ready for a new chain. I cut alder mostly and some fir and hemlock, cottonwood. if I cant make 6" rip noodles from alder, its not sharp.
maybe I should film the spaghetti shredder....
I prefer to avoid sharpening by never getting my saw into the dirt. Right now I'm cutting mostly Alder and Cottonwood and can go all day without sharpening. If I need to cut cedar I leave it until my chain is just about ready for a sharpening since one cedar log will do more harm to a chain than 20 Alder logs do.
On heavily used chains I like to grind my runners down quite a bit so that instead of taking out thin shavings, I'm taking out chunks. My theory is that there's no point slicing through the same chunk five times. It's possible to completely stall out my Husqvarna chainsaw when I've got it sharpened just right so a soft touch is required. I've gotten extra life out of badly abused chains which have some teeth greatly shortened after filing out damaged areas by doing this. These chains will no longer cut straight enough for cutting large dimension wood but they're fine for limbing and brush removal.
OK first we have a 16" powersharp bar/chain combination on a Stihl chainsaw..works like a charm..you can get around 25 or 30 sharpenings before you have to replace the chain.....and most chains will only allow you to sharpen them about that many times before they'll need replacement too..maybe a little more.
My son and husband both have used it several times and my nephew used it last week and they all really liked it.
I just finished a 2 week testing on the Oregon Powernow with built in power sharp..this is built into the main body of the saw and you run the saw and pull the lever for 3 seconds or thereabouts and it sharpens the chain..I went through 2 chains and powersharp stone sets cutting around 10 cord of firewood (facecord)..over the two week period..but there was still live in both chains ..esp the second one which I only sharpened a couple of times before I sent the saw back..so I got maybe 10 days, of around 1 facecord a day per chain..and probably had more life in the chain.
I found it extremely easy for me..I have polyperipheral neuropathy in my hands as well as severe arthritis..I have very poor grip and cannot hold small things like files..and I'm also allergic to metal esp nickels..so I break out with handling metals...so for me..the power sharp was a godsend.
I highly recommend it if you don't mind spending a slight bit more for the time saving and convenience..
If you have time to stop your work and sharpen the chain..then by all means it isn't for you..enjoy hand sharpening your chain..but myself..I plan to buy a powersharp bar/chain for my husband's Husqy..as soon as I can arrange for it..it was THAT convenient for us..
they are developing a lot of new sets of the powersharps and other 40 volt tools to use with the 40 v line..was told they have stringtrimmers and hedgetrimmers in testing..see the thread on the saw or my blog for more info on that.
we have very hard wood here!
i think it is usefull to use a saw set evry few sharpens ,also usfull to sharpen both sides evenly
I would also say to those that don't know, never replace your 'safety chain' with professional chain unless you really are a professional & know what kick-back is. Also if your saw came with 3/8 LP (Low Profile) do not replace that chain with 3/8 (regular, or professional)...as the drive links are different and will bind up if you didn't replace the sprocket(s). 3/8 LP nor 3/8 regular are interchangeable neither will interchange with .325 saw chain either, each size chain is set-up for the intended purpose of the saw, changing the saw chain can cause serious safety issues & mechanical problems too.
Some people file down their regulators to get a bigger bite, this is not a homeowner modification and should not be recommended for homeowners, for many reasons, safety being the strongest. ALL saw chain mgf. & chain saw mgf. make a big deal about reminding chainsaw users about using this type of tool safely & still remain very efficient. Hopefully from my picture, you can see the proper depth regulator height of a regular 3/8 saw chain...what I'm trying to show in the picture is that the depth regulator height should 'meet/break at about half the thickness of the chisel cutter thickness'. Some people use a saw chain guage to file these regulators to the proper height.
Yes as the saw chain is used, the chisel edge resharpened many times, the depth regulator height must also occasionally be file down to allow the chisel cutting edge & 1/2 of the chisel cutter thickness to protrude above the depth regulator. By allowing 1/2 of the chisel cutter thickness to protrude above the depth regulator, the bite of wood removed will also be a similar thickness... if the depth regulator is not filed to the proper height, the chisel cutter may be perfectly sharp, but the regulator height will be too tall & not allow the chisel cutter to engage the wood. And if the depth regulator protrusion is filed below the 1/2 thickness of the chisel cutter, the chisel edge takes a larger bite, slowing the engine down, shock loading the clutch, and unnecessarily causing dangerous kick-back situations.
When you install the proper new chain on your saw, with the engine off, look down the row of cutters much like my picture shows, you should be able to see on your new saw chain where the depth regulators height should be maintained for the life of the saw chain. The regulators generally break at 1/2 the thickness of the chisel cutter.
As Matt mentioned some good tips earlier, while sharpening a chisel saw chain, remember that the pointed corner is the highest protrusion of the chisel cutter, that means it must be sharp, and that pointed corner does most of the work, it also takes most of the wear. If you get into some rocks or mineral while sawing, that pointed corner will show the worst wear, and you can resharpen the chisel cutter, but if you don't file enough, till the pointed corner is also sharp, then your blade will be somewhat dull.
Generally try to resharpen both right & left hand cutters equally, but if you have some damaged cutters, it is more economical as far as overall saw chain wear, to not file every cutter to equal the most worn one. Saw chain resharpening takes experience in the field, some things work, some don't. Generally it is easier to resharpen a slightly dull blade, than to continue forcing a dull blade to the point of drastic resharpening.
That's why we keep our old worn out chains...for the really dirty jobs.
you came in asking for a rat tail file! Somehow this has become an acceptable alternate name for a chain saw file, BUT it is borrowing the accurately descriptive
name of the type of round file that tapers to a point, and is wrong!
I am sure that you are only repeating what you have heard said, probably over a couple of beers. Your best revenge is to buy and store in your tool kit a blister
packed rat tail file and the next time offer to show the word bending, shape shifting, identity thief, exactly what a tail tail file is !
A long time ago, faced with a O'dark thirty deadline, a soft tire, No air and a Datson rim with a good tire and an almost close to bolt pattern, I had to hog out the
holes large enough to bolt that rim onto my pick-up ! today I would never try it but it bought me the time to get the job done ! Big AL
I would also say to those that don't know, never replace your 'safety chain' with professional chain unless you really are a professional & know what kick-back is
I want to second this. I recently bought a new saw with a 20" bar. It came with a ripping blade but I had been using low kickback blades since the beginning. I did take the change seriously and looked at a lot of info on kickback, however, when I got the saw ready and started cutting with it, it became very apparent very quickly that this was pitbulls compared to puppies and that kickback can kill you. Many people can't say that anymore because they are dead. Just sayin'!
For sharpening, I use a cheap set of round files and a cheapy guide that came with them. If you take it seriously that you need to maintain the factory blade angle and make the raker height uniform, you'll do ok. I was told a long time ago that it was difficult to sharpen a chainsaw blade correctly but I seem to do ok without being anyone who is extraordinary. Just stick with the program all the way around, then turn the saw around and do it all over again.