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Chain sharpening

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by Oww My Back Hurts, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Joful, sounds like your a man with a plan and are very organized in your job. I guess it shows we are all different, I'm on the extreme different side of sharpening than you, I cut when I have something, when I have time as a hobby. But when I put the saw in the vise and sharpen each tooth with that nifty tool, I get satisfaction.
    Also take it easy on Scotty, money is only a tool, not everyone needs it in abundance to be happy...
    Keep up the great work with the cutting....
    Trilifter7 and Joful like this.

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  2. charly

    charly Guest

    Whole trick is to have all the cutters the same length.. I use dial calipers to find the shortest cutter first, a paint dot first on any one cutter, Then go around one time and keep zeroing the caliper every time you find a shorter cutter.. Once you find the shortest cutter I move the dial caliper face only so it reads any wheres from .005 to .010... positive.. Now you'll be taking that much off of the shortest cutter and a little more off of the longest cutter... Check as you go so all are at zero or pretty close...I do that after free handing about a 1/4 of the way through the chain, not every time I file.. I can pretty much after over 30 years look at the hash marks and see to even things up from one side to the other... I use Timber Savage files,,, double cut files,,, they make quick work of filing..

    www.harborfreight.com/6-inch-dial-caliper-66541.html
  3. charly

    charly Guest

  4. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Wow, you get pretty technical, Charly! I like to try and keep the cutters all close to the same size, but when you hit a nail, rock, or some other obstruction, it may knock a handful of teeth. Rather than wipe out the whole chain by knocking all of the "good teeth" down to size, I just sharpen them as I go.....and I make sure the rakers are the same in relation to the tooth they are in front of. Yeah, not very scientific, but it helps get more use out of an otherwise trashed chain. The only downside is it makes the saw chatter.a little (of the damaged teeth were REALLY bad).
    Backwoods Savage, HDRock and Nixon like this.
  5. charly

    charly Guest

    Scotty, I like hand filing as a chain last me a long time.. One thing I do after hitting a rock, etc. I take my file and first go straight across the cutter knocking the dulled point off first with a few strokes, then come back to the proper angle. Yes the raker gauge is key,,, on the rakers after filing down to the proper height, I take and round off the front of the raker with one stroke so the raker is not going into the wood with a squared leading edge.. Read that a long time ago in some filing book... makes for a smoother running chain.. At times I just hit all the rakers with the same amount of strokes when I want to get cutting again.. I was told years ago to cut with three chains, rotating them out when ever they get dull,, that gives you the longest bar, rim sprocket and chain life... I use to measure brand new Oregon chains right out of the box to see how close they kept the cutter lengths from the factory,, they varied by up to ..010... I like to keep my stuff within .005..-.000
  6. charly

    charly Guest

    Scotty,
    I first got into using the dial calipers back in my climbing days... I wanted my say to cut like butter up in the tree... Especially if you were hanging out at a tough body twisting angle and and wearing down ,, that's when you appreciate a good cutting chain... Plus going through the wood faster or at an ideal pace for the motor,,, I think my fuel lasted me longer up in the tree..
    Backwoods Savage and ScotO like this.
  7. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    At first thought I was thinking you were a mechanic gaping a spark plug, ha, but you know your stuff and there is nothing wrong with being technical, that can sometimes separate the cream of the crop, keep sawing on.....
  8. charly

    charly Guest

    I was a Harley Tech for a local dealer for like 10 years, so I that's where I became fussy! I always said I'd fly what I worked on...just did stuff for others like it was being done for myself.. just in my blood... Got to use some nice equipment at the dealer too... We use to even stress bore all our cylinders, did all our own valve and guide work, 3 angle valve seat cuts, rebuilt and trued our own lower ends... Flywheel could have a max run out on the shafts by the flywheels of .001,,,, none was better ;) Harleys were basic and because they were, if something wasn't done right,, it showed up like a black eye! OK back to cutt'n ;lol
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Aw shucks. You need to take that wood handle off and stick a corn cob on the file. ;lol
    ScotO and HDRock like this.
  10. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Are you really busting my chops on that nice little ol tool that I have Dennis?.....really!!!
    It may not be a dremel. But it works....
  11. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Roughly every tankful I give the teeth 2-3 strokes with file,every 3-4 sharpenings the rakers are knocked down a bit also.That can vary with what I'm cutting at the time.Nomally have the rakers for denser hardwoods not as deep as softer woods.But once in a while I forget what was being cut or milled last on a particular chain.Quite a surprise when starting to cut Honey Locust,White Oak or similar when it was used on White Pine or Silver Maple a few days/weeks before.!!!
    ScotO and HDRock like this.
  12. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    That would make a cumfy handle, never thought of that :)
    Backwoods Savage and ScotO like this.
  13. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Exactly what I have been doing, good to here I'm not the only one
    No reason to grind/file half the chain away
  14. charly

    charly Guest

    My chains last me a long time... filing by hand. My neighbor years ago had an OWB and a powered chain grinder,,, he went through chains left and right,,, trouble is,, even with a power grinder , you need to take five minutes with the dial-calipers to find the shortest cutter once around the loop.. then you set the grinder so your are just touching any cutter until you get the length that you've determined to even the cutters, I usually like to take off .010...from the shortest cutter.. Once the stop is set on the power grinder then you could just grind away... now you'll have a chain that last a long time again..Plus your not hogging a bunch of metal out over heating the cutter. I still like a file over a cutter wheel , unless you get a diamond wheel.. I feel a regular cutting wheel wears as you grind and you loose some of your consistency from the time you started to the time you ground the last cutter.. You'd have to check the first and last cutter and see if the last cutter is longer...probably not enough to really worry about... Basically if you do it my way, it goes quick because you don't need to remove a lot of metal, plus you have a nice cutting chain when your done... I could sharpen my neighbors chain by hand and give him a nicer cutting chain then he could get with his grinder.. Seems he found moving the grinder from the left to right cutters changed things a little.. He was all about getting 5 chains sharpened in 20 minutes. Guess it's all about how interested your are in getting the most out of your cutting and chains... I always enjoyed cutting, so having a nice cutting chain made it even that much nicer.. I took the time to learn... I was a big hit when I hired on to the DOT tree crew,,, we had good cutting saws ;lol Once you use the dial calipers you'll always do it.. Like I said I do it when I see the chain is getting pretty uneven.. other then that I just keep the strokes pretty even and go with that field filing...
  15. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    All good, in theory. However, if I can save a few minutes on each chain, I don't really care if I can get a few extra sharpenings out of one. Chain ain't that expensive, and can last plenty long sharpening with a chain grinder, in careful hands.
    Trilifter7, MasterMech and smokinj like this.
  16. mecreature

    mecreature Minister of Fire

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    get some good files and go at it.
    Look closely at what you are doing.

    I have brought some really bad chains around.
    Once there keep it sharp all the time, even if its takes just a couple swipes.
    charly likes this.
  17. charly

    charly Guest

    I agree in careful hands.. My thoughts are if you take off an 1/8 inch on a grinder without measuring what you really need, you just removed .125... I usually remove about .010 on the shortest cutter - .020 on the longest cutter,,, using the longest cutter that's about 6 sharpenings to once on the grinder.. so that gives me a very long service life, especially when your cutting on a daily basis...
  18. charly

    charly Guest

    I agree!
  19. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I usually remove almost nothing from the shortest cutter, and since I always sharpen by grinder, there really is not more than a few 0.001"s difference between the shortest and longest cutter. If one cutter is somehow badly wiped out, I have a choice between ignoring it (one dull cutter out of 91 isn't all that noticeable), or grinding all of the others down to match it. Either way, the hours I save over the course of a year with the grinder is well worth whatever few pennies worth of chain I'm losing.
    Trilifter7, charly and smokinj like this.
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I would challenge anyone that hand files up against my cyclone wheel. Or, even stone running kool grind. Anyone who thinks there saving whatever it is just don't know enough on hopw to grind in the first place. Your just trueing it up and putting a shine on it. Same with a file. I corrected enough bad hand filers in my life. ( Each time a hand filer sharpens they will begain to narrow the gullet) Over time this will cause quicker dulling of the chain. It takes a wheel to open it back right!:p So anything they think they have gained will disappear once its opened back up right.


    cutter resize.jpg

    This is opened now look that close at a hand filer's you will see a major problem. After just 3-5 filings.
    Joful likes this.
  21. charly

    charly Guest

    I've never had an issues hand filing, depends on how you put pressure on the file. For me a use one hand on the tip of the file and the other on the handle. My gullets seem to stay open to the point I have to watch the tie strap. Plus I twist my file as I push it through.. I think it's more of a problem with people who just file with on hand on the handle.. Depending on the angle sometimes some up pressure is needed so you don't get big hook with a thin razor edge that will dull quick.. I know what your saying...
  22. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    ;lol Ya, just fooling with you. Actually many moons ago that is all we used for handles were corn cobs.
  23. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I think it has more to do with the attack angle of the wheel. Whereas a file will just create a semi-circular grind that goes deeper and deeper as you progress, the wheel comes in at a set angle from the top, removing proportionally more top plate per side plate, versus the file. I think that's where using a 10-degree vise angle can help the hand sharpeners, but you'll still never match the exact profile (or speed!) of a grinder.

    smokinj likley goes thru more chain per week than most of this forum does per month, so his advice carries a lot of weight!
    charly likes this.
  24. charly

    charly Guest

    I know what your saying about filing deeper and deeper into the cutter.. When I see that starting to happen I lift up on the file to flatten the top angle back out so you don't get that semi circle.. using a filing jig , you can raise that up to avoid that semi circle as well.. No doubt you can get the perfect quick angle with the grinder,,, I just enjoy sharpening with the file, done it for 35 years...;)
  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    It also depends on your circumstance. I'm going grinder in a few days, I've been hand filing mine and my customers chains but with customers dropping 12-15 chains at a time, I'm falling behind. Great results can be obtained with a grinder, skilled hand filing will always be sharper. In either case, the end result depends on the operator much more so than the tool. ;)

    If I was mostly sharpening for me and on my own time, I would stick with the files. But when your handed a rocked out 28" loop, that takes more time with a file than I could reasonably charge for. Folks don't want to pay more than $5-$8 to sharpen a chain and at my shop labor rate, that means I need to be done with a chain in 6 - 9 minutes or else I'm taking a pay cut. ;lol
    smokinj and charly like this.

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