1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Defective Stihl Chainsaw Chain

Post in 'The Gear' started by BJ64, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    608
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    In my area there seems to be a vast quantity of defective Stihl chainsaw chain.

    The defect is that the chain cutters (teeth) are ground is such a way that you are unable to sharpen the chain with a standard round file.

    While I was at the dealer I noticed and pointed out the all the newer replacement chains as well as all the new chains mounted on new saws for sale had this same defect. This prompted my dealer to call other dealers in the area who reported the same issue with their inventories.

    This defect has been found several sizes and types of chain.

    If you are buying Stihl brand chain, be sure that you are able to correctly insert the proper sized round file into the cutters before you purchase the chain.

    I was unaware of this problem when I bought my chain. Even after having the chain sharped one time at the dealer with a bench grinder, I am still unable to insert the proper sized round file at the correct depth for proper sharpening. This is a real vexing problem when you are out in the field and want to touch up the chain.

    At this time I am not sure if the dealer has talked to the field rep about this issue.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Haven't had to buy chain in years. Thats some good info to have, thanks for sharing, BJ64...
  3. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    You have a bunch of square ground chain showing up out there? Usually that's labeled Rapid Super Klassic. Could be they got a few of those chains in RSC boxes.
    smokinj and quads like this.
  4. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    608
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    No they are not the square ground. These teeth seem to have been ground with a very thin grinder that leaves a "J hook" looking cut. There will be a hump left in the area where the file needs to pass through.

    My work schedule is all bonkers right now, but I will get and post pics as soon as I can.
  5. Roger Phelps

    Roger Phelps New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Bobby, Roger Phelps from STIHL here. I had our tech services and field reps look in to this and we have no indications of faulty chain in the field. We obviously would like to see any photos that you have to see what you are looking at, or have your dealer show the chain to our field rep just in case we are missing something.

    With a STIHL chain a new cutter does not exactly match the profile of a file radius. When it is first sharpened with a file the profile will then exactly match your file.

    It sounds like you have experience filing chain so I offer the following resources only in case you have not seen them.
    http://www.stihlusa.com/information/STIHL-Sharp-Advice-Saw-Chain-Guide-Bars.pdf
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvcCh2XqEPc&list=PLBFAA26AE81AE467A&index=6&feature=plpp_video

    Hope this helps. We take a lot of pride in the manufacturing of our chain which involves a lot of extra steps that others don’t take and so want to be sure you are happy with the performance.
  6. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Messages:
    3,330
    Loc:
    SE MI
    Welcome, Mr.Phelps. We have several stove manufacturers represented here, but nobody from a saw manufacturer, as far as I know. Hopefully we can look forward to some good input.

    I looked at the thread because I know a Roger Phelps, but you aren't him.
  7. Roger Phelps

    Roger Phelps New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    Looking forward to joining the discussion and providing assistance whenever possible.
  8. surviverguy

    surviverguy New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2012
    Messages:
    99
  9. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,860
    Loc:
    Western PA
    When you post pictures, please also give the full model name of the chain and make and size of files being used.

    My initial thought was what Roger Phelps mentioned about new chains and the first filing. My second thought was about the confusion regarding 3/8 pitch chiain and 3/8 low profile chain, which take different round files.
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest


    Holy cow! A real factory rep on here. ::-) Roger, I hope you're ready..... ;)
    Realstone, BrianK and surviverguy like this.
  11. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,170
    Loc:
    West Michigan

    I'll second that, great to have you aboard! FWIW I'm a die hard Stihl head.
  12. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    608
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    Wow, this is getting interesting. Welcome to the forum Roger! Sorry for the late reply, I didn't think the issue was getting anywhere so I didn't ever check back.

    To bring everyone up to date. The problem has been acknowledged by two Stihl dealers in Pryor, Oklahoma. The problem has been discovered in retail package chain and chain on spools. Some of the .325" chain may have this same problem, I'll investigate on this more tomorrow. I was able to talk to Stihl tech support on Thursday, the 12th at about 14:45 central time. I was told that they had been contacted by both dealers in Pryor and that the problem would be investigated.

    The chain in question is 3/8" pitch, .063" gauge, "yellow link" - 36 RSC 3 seems to be the number for it.

    The problem with the chain is a hump between the leading guide of the cutter (the part that sets the depth of cut) and the cutting edge of the cutter. This is similar to the hump pictured in this harvester chain cutter.
    [​IMG]
    The hump in the chain in question is a bit taller and much closer to the cutting edge. I have a theory that the grinding tool used to shape the cutting edge was too thin or set too far back. This hump prevents the file from being inserted anywhere near the correct depth according to the file guide included with the sharpening kit (Part # 5605 007 1029).

    In contrast this is similar what the cutter is supposed to look like on my chain.
    [​IMG]
    Taking a detailed picture of chainsaw chain is not easy to do with a phone camera. We did manage to get a decent picture with one of the dealers I-Phone and he was going to sent it to Stihl tech support. I'm not sure if he has done that yet. I do plan on borrowing and SLR camera to take pictures of the chain in question tomorrow.

    I do have a question. Is there a lot number that may be found on the cardboard spools used for bulk chain?

    Pic credits --- Pictures from Stihl's website used without permission.

    http://www.stihlusa.com/chainsaws/types.html#RS
  13. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    608
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    Here are pictures of the problem.

    The same hump was found on two spools of different types of 3/8" chain and in several retail packages of 3/8" chain.

    [​IMG]
    I also have samples from the two spools of chain and one unopened package of retail chain ready to ship to tech support as soon as I have an address.
    I hope this helps.
    chain 1.jpg chain 2.jpg
    chain 3.JPG IMG_1930.JPG IMG_1910.JPG IMG_1923.JPG
    IMG_1926.JPG
    Untitled - 3.jpg

    .....
    BrianK and MasterMech like this.
  14. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,110
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
    Interesting. Looks like something was just a bit out of whack when those were cut.
  15. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,587
    Loc:
    Northeastern Ohio
    Made during Oktoberfest? ;lol
  16. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    Messages:
    5,110
    Loc:
    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
    Maybe the day after?
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    13,994
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Watching this thread with interest. It does look like the machining process might have been a bit out of whack.

    And welcome, Roger. I hope you are on the frequent flyer program here. Did you check in with Craig - there are (were, in the old forum) special places for VIP types to congregate. Don't know if that still holds true.
  18. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    I noticed something similar (but not nearly as pronounced) sharpening my MS 250 last week (the same areas on the chain on my new MS 290 Farm Boss were perfectly flat):

    Attached Files:

    BJ64 likes this.
  19. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,968
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    Nothing That I could not fix in a heart beat.....Now 50 percent discount would make me a buyer.;)
    quads likes this.
  20. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2008
    Messages:
    1,854
    Loc:
    Amanda, OH
    That little hump is common when filing square chain. I just take a rotory file and carve it out. Don't really see why it can't be hand filed out. Wouldn't want to pay full price for chain ground that way though.
  21. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    608
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    Good job on the photos! I had to put a "like" on that.

    We had similar observations on various .325 chains here also. Since the hump seemed small enough to allow proper sharpening in the field, we decided not to raise an alert regarding .325 chain. I think the hump is annoying because it does make the sharpening job a bit more difficult, but - as your photo's show - it can be done.

    On the other hand, the hump in the 3/8" chains was deemed excessive because we could not get the round file down to proper depth to get a correct edge on the cutter. I tried to file the hump away and I couldn't do it without getting the file into the cutting edge or the leading depth guide and I didn't have all day to spend on it either.

    I have taken the chain back to the shop twice to have sharpened on the bench grinder. This time I think the cutter is ground back far enough to allow sharpening with a file which is good. The bad thing is now about 1/4th of my chain is gone after only two sharpenings.
    BrianK likes this.
  22. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    Thanks. Its amazing what you can do with these stupid little iPhones and MS Paint (to enlarge and crop the third photo).

    Actually, I was having trouble with the carbide on my new Timberline sharpener riding up out of the proper depth when I was filing the left facing cutters on the MS250. It was popping up and out and riding on the front edge of the cutter. In retrospect, I thought it was just my own learning curve, because once I tightened the chain down tighter, and switched to the Farm Boss, I didn't have any trouble. But now I'm wondering if that ridge was making it harder to keep the carbide in where it belonged.
  23. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    608
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    I was thinking along the same line Wkpoor and SmokinJ about using a Dremel tool on the hump, but you guys make a good point about "50% off" and "full price".

    Should I admit that I bought two of these darn chains?

    I might consider selling the other one for half my money back if somebody wanted to take a rotary tool to the hump, but look closely at BrianK's third photo. I'm not familiar with the Timberline sharpener with the carbide tool that BrianK used, but it took the face off the cutting edge to where it is almost 90 degrees to the wood while the hump seems untouched. I had the same results when I tried to gouge the hump out with a round file. It took the face off the cutter while the hump only had a scratch.

    I'm not so sure that half price would be a good deal.
  24. BrianK

    BrianK Guest

    The MS250 was my first time using the Timberline, and I set it up so it just barely shined up the cutter. I was purposely being very ginger with it, not aggressive.

    DexterDay posted a good photo of the Timberline on the "Group Buy" thread:

    [​IMG]
  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Think that might be pretty easy to zap that hump with a grinder no? Wouldn't have to touch the cutter either.

Share This Page