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I have to sharpen chain 1 or 2 times per tree

Post in 'The Gear' started by wahoowad, Feb 4, 2007.

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  1. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I keep reading all the 'how to sharpen a chain' posts, including the specific advice to my own threads. I feel I am sharpening the cutter OK and feeling much more comfortable with the consistency of my stroke. I'm using the basic Oregon guide so that holds the file at the recommended height and gives me an angle reference. I give each tooth a couple strokes and can see it clean up whatever irregularity might be present. I'm currently using a new Oregon 91P chain.

    I dropped a 12" hickory and bucked it up yesterday. I started with a freshly sharpened chain. I had to sharpen it once again about half way through (actually should have done it about 1/3 of the way) bucking it up. My saw tore through it while dropping it (big chips, felt it literally pulling the saw through the cut) and the first 1/3 of the bucked logs. Then it just seemed to cut noticeably slower so I stopped and sharpened the chain. I did not notice any damage and was trying very hard to keep it out of the dirt. I don't recall hitting anything but I know I can't see a lot of what is under the log. After sharpening it was ravenous in the wood again, then slowed down after about the same amount of cutting. I had checked the raker height before heading out but the chain is relatively new and they were fine as per my .025 gauge.

    One could think I must have hit some dirt or a rock, but this just seems to be my cutting pattern. Everybody else seems to get far more cutting per sharpening than I do. Let me mention one other thing I've noticed. When I go to sharpen it I frequently see a small amount of hardened wood/sap(?) stuck to the top and/or sides of the cutter. My chain doesn't fling oil, probably could use more oil flow, but I at least see a thin coat on the chain whenever I check. Is it possible this wood sticking to my cutter is causing my problems? Could it be a low oil flow issue allowing the wood to stick and impact cutter performance?

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  2. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I just took these snaps to try and better explain the stuff about wood sticking ot the tooth. Obviously these pics show damage to the cutters. I must be hitting stuff. Man, I really try to not push through into the ground at the bottom of bucking a log. In fact, yesterday the log kept closing on me so I didn't cut all the way through. I had to roll the log and finish with another cut, but this definately kept me out of the ground. Somehow the tooth tells another story, no?

    Any thoughts about the degree of wood and junk collecting on my chain? This chain has probably cut up 3 green trees max.

    Attached Files:

  3. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Turn up your oiler, looks like not enough oil to start.

    I turned my oiler to the max and left it there, the brown stuff is burnt wood.

    Hickory is among the hardest woods in this country, that and the fact that it is freezing dont help matters a far as chains go.
    Frozen wood wears chains quicker.
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    You're hitting dirt or rocks or some other abrasive, wahoo. The sure tipoff is that it cuts fine right after you sharpen, but quits cutting aggressively soon after you put it back into the wood.

    Try it on another piece of wood that you know is clean--you know, a different tree that's suspended well above the ground. You should get at least at tank out of a sharp chain.

    I can see from your very nice pics that you're abrading the chain. Look at the cutting edge on the top rail. It's all dinged up and scratched. When that edge loses its edge, you don't cut.
  5. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    Please explain, baba. I've never done it, but I'd think it would be the opposite.
  6. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Maybe Eric can better explain it but try this for an experiment.

    Run a knife back and forth through water, now do the same with a block of ice. Which method dulls the knife?
    Frozen wood = frozen sap = frozen water
  7. roac

    roac New Member

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    Along with the great advice given already, get rid of the safety chain. Oregon 91P chain is going to cut slower than non safety chain such as 91VS or it's new replacement the 91VX. The bumper links will slow down the cut. A dull, or slow cutting chain is far more dangerous than a sharp aggresive chain due to the force exerted to get the chain "through" the log.
  8. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I'll try a different style chain when it is time to replace this one, but it goes through wood just fine when sharp. I do not have an adjustable oiler so perhaps I'll try to thin my oil if I'm cutting in the cold. Also just have to be extra extra vigilant as I'm nearing the end of the cut.

    I have the chain soaking in kerosene to try and clean it up. Will that do it? I want to clean it up before sharpening it again.
  9. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Soak it in oil after the Kero.
    You should soak new chains as well.
    When I am going to be cutting all day I sharpen three chains and leave them in a coffee can of bar oil.
    I touch each one up every tank and change it out after two/three tanks or if I hit dirt, stone.
  10. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    I was cutting yesterday (about 32 degrees after a colder night) and I brought my saw inside for a while before to warm up the oil. It helped a little, oil was flinging off the bar, but three times when I put the saw down for too long it seized up and I had to loosen it and manually turn the chain. I've never had that happen even once before, so I assume the cold was to blame. OTOH, my cutting teeth look fine. So I don't think cold wood is inherently damaging.

    Perhaps the bark is full of sand; your chain looks like a couple I used on really sandy logs. Those chains would not hold an edge after hand filing, because I just couldn't file enough material off to get back to undamaged chain. The outer layer (chromium I think) is harder than the steel, and that's what holds an edge. If it's gone, you can sharpen the underlying steel but it won't last long. I used the HF cheapo grinder, and seem to have rescued both chains.

    I don't know about the Oregon 91 chain, but I've used both safety and non-safety versions of the 73 series, and they cut the same. Oregon actually claims the newer safety version cuts faster. Never had any real kickback with either so far.
  11. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    DiscoInferno - yeah, it was about the same temps down here in Virginia. I let the saw sit in the sun awhile in the black case, but probably did not warm it up very much. Oddly enough, mine locked up too for the first time. I couldn't figure out what it was, but it started turn after pulling on the chain awhile. Seems fine now. I don't think I had enough oil flowing.
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Wood fiber is an abrasive. Frozen wood fiber is even worse. Bab's analogy was correct. The harder the substantce being cut, the more it will damage the cutting surface. Plus, anything on or in the wood, like sand or small rocks, will do even more damage to the chain because it's frozen in place, instead of being free to move when the cutter hits it.

    I've cut frozen, muddy logs and it's kind of like trying to cut concrete.
  13. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

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    Those pictures look like the chain is hitting dirt. I cut frozen wood all day long and my teeth don't look like that unless I make contact with the ground. Frozen wood will dull the saw a little quicker but it doesn't make the teeth look like that unless it is dirty or the saw contacts the ground or dirt stuck to the wood!

    Craig
  14. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    I cut about 75 trees yesterday with MALogger and our chains didn't look anything like that. The only time I see chains like that is when they hit dirt and rocks
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I agree. The frozen wood has nothing to do with the condition of your chain. You're hitting dirt or rocks. The only difference the cold weater makes is that if there's mud on the trunk, it acts like a rock.
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