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How many chain sharpenings until you need to hit the rakers?

Post in 'The Gear' started by wahoowad, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I have hand sharpened my Stilh 0.325 RM3 chain 4 or 5 times, usually no more than 3 strokes per cutter to clean it up before the next scrounge. I'm checking the raker height but still don't need to take em down.

    Typically how many hand sharpenings until they need it? Should I be removing more cutter if I have sharpened 4 or 5 times and still don't need to lower my rakers?

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  2. Wildo

    Wildo Feeling the Heat

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    I file aggressively and take the rakers down before I start my fourth filing, fifth if I haven't hit anything recently
    JustWood likes this.
  3. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I'm at 3-4 filings under normal usage. If I "rock" the chain it may be sooner.
  4. Rich2343

    Rich2343 New Member

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    I generally don't touch them because they're made out of a softer metal than your cutting teeth. Like you I sharpen lighty.
  5. Sealcove

    Sealcove Member

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    Check them with a gauge and file when needed. Cutting softwood, I will expect to take the rakers down a little every 2-3 times I file the cutting teeth (assuming that I am not doing any aggressive filing).
    Joful likes this.
  6. mobetter

    mobetter Member

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    I hit them right out of the box, (along with the cutters) seems the do-gooders are always trying to protect us from ourselves.

    The 'standard' depth is not aggressive enough for my liking, probably for liability reasons.

    Of course my smallest saw is 4 horsepower, your mileage may vary?
    Joful and Mag Craft like this.
  7. Sealcove

    Sealcove Member

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    I don't think it has anything to do with do-gooders. Stihl and Oregon test chain profiles in a lab setting and develop their recommendations based on what is the most efficient cutting. From what I have read and experienced (we experiment with this at our annual two day saw training), taking too much off the rakers wont usually improve overall cutting speed. It will throw a bigger chip, but the actual speed of the cut is then a little slower. Too aggressive a cut for a particular wood type slows the chain down, causes more vibration, and can increase kickback potential should you make a mistake. An overly aggressive chain also makes for miserable and less safe bore cutting, so not something you want if you are felling trees.

    As you said, mileage will vary with wood type, saw power and experience. It also depends on what kind of chain you are starting with, but I am assuming full chisel non-safety chain.
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2014
    Ralphie Boy likes this.
  8. Firewood Bandit

    Firewood Bandit Feeling the Heat

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    Check with a gauge and don't guess. If your cutting softwood, 30 thousands, 25 thousands for hardwood.

    Big saw with short bar and you can go a little more aggressive. When the cutters are really short you can go more.
  9. splitoak

    splitoak Member

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    I just lay a flat file over two cutters and make sure u can slide a dime between file and raker...
    JustWood and HeatsTwice like this.
  10. HeatsTwice

    HeatsTwice Minister of Fire

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    I like this one. Simple and easy especially since I can't find my gauge. Does everyone agree with it though? I admit I will give it a try both by trying it on some wood and then, when I find my gauge comparing it to what the gauge says.
  11. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Excellent way of doing it.
    I lay the flat file across the cutters and just eyeball it. If it don't feel right in the cut I try a do-over.
  12. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    I to have 4 or 5 touch up and haven't done anything to the rakers. I got a gauge and I think there ok. The problem I had was getting the file to cut the raker, so I quit. I didn't spend any time looking at it. It seamed like the raker was harden. Next time I was thinking of using a dermal to grind them.

    Anyone have this issue? Any tips?
  13. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    Buy a new file,a good one.
    Firewood Bandit likes this.
  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Ditto. First filing, then maybe every 3rd thereafter, as dictated by the gauge.

    However, I've found my little top handle saw doesn't like having the rakers down 0.030". The 064 does just fine with this height, though. Horsepower matters, when choosing your depth gauge height.


    BTW... They're depth gauges, not rakers. In traditional saw terminology, saw chain has no raker other than the cutter itself.
  15. smokedragon

    smokedragon Minister of Fire

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    +1 to that. Depending on how dull they are before you file and what you are cutting......there is no one rule of "every 3rd time" or anything like that.



    depth gages, rakers, guides.......

    My opinion on the depth gages is this:

    My MS 290 is to spec, period. I use it in a lot of dead hardwood and some green hardwood. My 028AV I will trim them a little deeper and use it in softwoods like poplar and pine (makes it look like a real BAD (_|_) saw)

    Absolutely agree with Joful that the power of the saw (combined with what you are cutting) really matters when filing depth gages. Start with spec and then go from there.
    Joful likes this.

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