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best way to sharpen a chain saw?

Post in 'The Gear' started by par0thead151, Sep 28, 2010.

  1. toytrkman

    toytrkman New Member

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    Ya it was more. I paid $99 for it but I think they are a little more now. Well worth it though if you cut lots of wood and still much cheaper than the Oregon. Wouldn't want to be without now. :cheese:

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  2. kubota

    kubota New Member

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    Does anyone have experience with the Oregon 511AX? I just ordered one after reading a lot of good reviews on it. Have I made a mistake?
  3. toytrkman

    toytrkman New Member

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    My guess is you will be thrilled with it. I used an older one (511a maybe?) at the shop I worked at years ago and it was great! I would have bought an Oregon if I thought I could afford it. But I bought the imitation instead and have been happy with it too.
  4. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    I have now used this sharpener and am pleased with it. I have sharpened 4 chains already so it has paid for itself (I get charged $8 per chain). I'll say the instructions were pretty useless but even I figured out how to use it. I have used 2 of the chains (an Oregon on my 16" and a Stihl on my 20"). Results are good. I can see where this isnt a high end tool but it does the job I'm looking for it to do and has paid for itself already and will many times over.
  5. pshking

    pshking New Member

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    I have the exact same HF one. It has already paid for itself several times. I just mounted it to a 2x4 block, and lock it in a bench vise when i sharpen chains. It is on the flexible side but with a little patience, it does a pretty good job.
  6. fjord

    fjord New Member

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    Sounds like you know the Gunks X. Rock or ice, your skill at knowing your gear, how to use it, repairing it,and maintaining it IS your lifeline. Not much different from chainsaws.

    For serious users, hand sharpening is the ONLY way. In woodlands, away from any vehicle except your woods ATV or skidder, chains need work, sometimes often in dirty wood ON THE STUMP such as dead standing oak. For far less than the price of a super duper powerful power bench sharpening device, you can buy a stump vise, and the PFERD tool or two(see Bailey's online or a pro dealer) that will do both the tooth and raker with each pass . The PFERD fits the gauge of your chain. Follow your witness marking on each tooth ...simple, easy fast. With little experience, you can sharpen a chain on the bar in a stump vise or in the shop faster than any super electric grinder (remember setup time, the chain off the bar, changing wheels, adjustments ). And no chance of NO BURNING of the temper.

    PFERD.
  7. Got Wood

    Got Wood Minister of Fire

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    I did the same
  8. Kenster

    Kenster Minister of Fire

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    I have the right tools to sharpen the chains of my cheapo Craftsman and my new Stihl 390. I've read lots of tutorials and watched many Youtube videos. I'm still reluctant to try my hand at sharpening, though. I am a real hands on, visual learner. I guess I need to find a neighbor who does his own chains that can show me the ropes.
  9. fjord

    fjord New Member

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    No fear, just do it on an older chain. There's no macho with chainsaws for real users. When you get a new chain it has a spec sheet in the box with all the correct angles. Dealers have the Oregon book for bar and chain maintenance. It's free and well done and clear. Stihl has similar instructions online.

    Google PFERD: it's under the Husky brand also for each gauged chain. Forget those silly girlie sharpeners--they break, in the wrong hands you can ( most do ) screw up a chain by burning, and the wheels wear quickly.
    Yes, the super power sharpeners fail. The rakers stihl need lowering with many sharpenings. Rakers properly set are your friend. Most here (appointed experts) haven't done their rakers---ever.
    Hand sharpen. It's easy, fast, safe, an indispensable skill for the real users in woodlands. Real I say.

    PFERD.
  10. AngusMac

    AngusMac New Member

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    Well, you learn something new everyday and to be honest I never knew there was another method other than a sharpening kit.

    When I m in the forests I sharpen the saw there, I mark the first link with a marker pen, then procede to sharpen using an independent roller guide and a 3/8 file.

    Because I m cutting solid, dry elm, I need to sharpen after each fill of fuel, so in other words it takes approx 3 fills and 3 sharpenings, to fill a 3 tonne trailer.
    I just run the file twice over each link, thats enough.
    I can get many years out of one chain, I would guess about 90-120 tonnes of wood
  11. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    This produces very fast production chains.
  12. fjord

    fjord New Member

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    I did the same before a friend Forester and logger showed me the Pferd tool. The first link still needs marking. It is honestly better than silicone implants, or the Stihl "flippy" caps.
    Find it online at Baileys or your pro dealer in Glasgow. Super invention that works.
  13. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I just got the one Pferd makes for Husqvarna. Same tool, but in Husky orange (shows up on the forest floor better). I agree, it's a great tool, unless you subscribe to the Carlton sharpening method. Carlton insists that the rakers need to be not just lowered, but progressively lowered as the cutter plate shortens. Others I talk to think that's a bunch of hooey, so I'll just practice away with the Pferd tool. Even on a brand new chain, the Pferd found and lowered several rakers that were a bit too high. My chains cut even better than new now. I'll never send a chain out for grinding again.

    If you are into grinders, have you ever tried this one?

    Attached Files:

  14. OhioBurner©

    OhioBurner© Minister of Fire

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    With all this talk on sharpening chains, is there a good writeup or diagram? For example, whats a 'raker'? And how do you know how much to file it? I have watched some of the youtube vids on sharpening chains but they are all pretty basic, using a hand file and a few strokes each alternating tooth, then repeat on other side. Everyone always talks about marking the first one but on my chain there is 1 link thats like twice as long as all the rest so I always start there so I dont have to mark. Do I have a non-typical chain? It came with my saw. I can usualy tell just by looking at what ones have been sharpened anyways (nice n shiny vs dirty).
  15. loon

    loon Minister of Fire

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    thats how they make the loop ;-)
  16. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    The raker, or "depth gauge", is the hump in front of the cutter tooth. It sets the depth of cut for the chain. Too little and the cutter won't get a bite into the wood, too much and the chain will get grabby and jump in the cut. It usually has a number stamped on it that lets you know how much lower it should be than the cutter plate. For example, the number "25" indicates that it should be .025" lower than the cutter edges. Most folks don't measure, and only give it a few strokes every 3-4 sharpenings. There are many depth gauge guides on the market. Get one recommended by your chain manufacturer. The Pferd tool has a flat file incorporated into the guide so the depth gauge gets lowered a tiny amount every time you file the chain.
  17. fjord

    fjord New Member

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    Thanks for at least one common sense user here on the value of sharpening by hand with a gauge--Pferd or others.

    Nice explanation of what the raker does; it should be basic understanding before cutting for the first time.
    Rakers are usually lowered to match the species being cut: softwood, hardwood, or chainsaw milling. The Pferd design averages the specification for both woods. It files the tooth and drops the raker
    averaging out the raker for both kinds of wood. The "new and improved" Pferd now allows you to do both sides of the chain without changing both files. Google it.

    Even with the enthusiam here for gadget tools like power sharpeners, the rakers still need attention; those power wheels will not do rakers in one blow like the Pferd. No need for power.
    No need to remove the chain from the bar. No burning of temper. Ability to USE the chainsaw in woodlands distant from roads, workshop, or vehicle. Try it.
  18. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    You can cool grind a chain. Progressive depth filing the rakers is preferd way to do it. (hand filed for shape and depth)
  19. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    SJ, you are absolutely right. I used to grind tool steel nearly every day of my life, and I rarely screwed up and blued the steel and ruined it. Having freshly dressed wheels is a huge factor in cool grinding. Guys like yourself that have learned to do this correctly and are now taking in work can get pretty good at grinding. I know guys that will grind in two or three passes if the chain has bad chips that need to be removed, other shops might just have some new kid do your chain. Just like doctors, you eventually need to start training the new ones on real patients.

    At the shop where I got my 420, one of the owners stuck a saw in the vice to hand-file for a special customer. You need to buy a lot of saws to get that kind of treatment. Any way you look at it, you either need to learn to grind cool, trust someone else to know how to do it, or learn to hand-file your own chains.

    I've read the Carlton literature that describes in great detail exactly how your chain cuts and why you need to progressively lower your rakers. Makes perfect sense, but guys I trust say that if the cutters actually tipped up the way they describe, there would be a lot more wear at the bottom corners of the cutters and they just don't see this, even though that area isn't chrome hardened like the top plate is. For me, I won't worry about that until my cutter plates get short enough for that to matter.

    In the meantime, using the Pferd guide is a vast improvement over my previous freehand attempts with just files. I'll never come close to getting enough experience with sharpening to freehand a chain, I need all the help I can get.
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Sounds good! To me the shape of the raker is more important then anything else....This really will show up in milling, but makes a very fast cross cut chain. less drag less friction faster chain.
  21. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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  22. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Makes sense to me. After I got done with the Pferd the first time, it cut some rakers a bit more than the others. Some it barely touched. That's why I think it cuts better now, the rakers are all at the same height now and they weren't quite that way from the factory. I also took the time to smooth out the little corner at the back of the raker that the flat file left. I've seen others that just leave it flat, but it seems they would be smoother against the wood if they were rounded, just takes a few minutes and is easy enough to do by eye.
  23. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    This isnt a great pic of the raker but you can tell the shape of it.

    Attached Files:

  24. StackedLumber

    StackedLumber New Member

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    I'm surprised that more people haven't mentioned the Dremel for sharpening. I had been handfiling, but got a Dremel here recently and have loved it for sharpening. It's faster and more exact when you use the right stone size for sharpening. (IMHO) It's kind of the "in between" way of going between a grinding wheel outfit and a hand file. also +1 on the making sure the rakers are filed down, it makes all the difference in the world!
  25. spencer186

    spencer186 New Member

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    For all you guys using the PFERD tool, I've had them for over 15 years. I've got 2 sizes, one for my small saws and one for the big ones. I've had good results on the small saws but recently I've been cutting big wood. I mean really big wood. Wood that has me thinking about getting a 32" bar to replace the 24" on my 394XP. I agree its great to be able to sharpen in the field and that it hits the rakers too. My problem is the angles. I can't get both sides of the chains equal and the bar is curving through the wood and not cutting straight. Not that big of a problem in small wood, but when you're cutting through over 2 feet of wood is't very problematic. Also, if I use the 35* angle the guide recommends it seems to be way too sharp of an angle and the tooth gets really pointy. I try to keep the guide level and perpendicular to the bar with a gentle up and in motion as I was taught long ago. Haven't been able to get good results though lately. Any tips from other users?

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