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I need to be schooled on filing my chain

Post in 'The Gear' started by WellSeasoned, Oct 6, 2012.

  1. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    I bought a pack of files today, and I know using one is pretty basic, but anyone care to throw out a couple pointers on what to do? I take my chains to the local mom & pop stilh dealer, and they sharpen my chains for 7 bucks a pop, which is good I guess, but would like to file in the field. Thx
    ScotO likes this.

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  2. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    Start with a file guide to teach yourself proper angles etc. A C
    ScotO and Thistle like this.
  3. woodybiomass

    woodybiomass Member

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    First, get a good vise or way to hold the bar steady. Secondly it helps
    If the cutters in the chain are big. Bigger the easier- like 3/8 inch. In anycase the techniques are the same: 3 strokes on each cutter (unless you hit a rock) staying even with the angle of the edge as you go. Watch the filings carefully, like a jeweler until the edge is consistent and sharp. A bigger chain will have a small line to hold your file
    parrallel with as you go. After 3 sharpenings or so, you'll want to address your rakers, talk to us then..
    - keep it steady
    geoff1969 likes this.
  4. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    I would add to woody's comments to put the chain brake on when filing, to hold the chain steady, open the brake to slide the chain to the next position after filing several on the top. You normally flip the bar in the vise to do the opposite angle. The rakers are easy, you use a flat file for them (they are the points in between the cutters that limit the amount of wood that is cut). Only file with a forward push.
    Thistle and ScotO like this.
  5. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    This was included in a previous thread and I found it very helpful. It's an hour long, but is thorough and includes a very good tutorial on chains and sharpening.


  6. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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  7. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    That's a good video, too. I had one of those jigs one time and liked it a lot. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of holding angles, etc. Very easy and quick. I'd get another one, but my dealer sharpens my chains free;)

    One thing I noticed about that video was when demonstrating the jig, he ran that file back and forth across chain without lifting it. I don't think that's good practice. And don't take off any more metal than you have to! Those teeth can get too short quickly that way.
  8. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    That and angle are the two most important things when sharpening!!
    PapaDave and Thistle like this.
  9. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    A file is a cutting tool that only bites on the away stroke, dragging it back over the work piece will accomplish nothing but dulling out the file. Most common mistake made. Sell a lot of files that way though.
    PapaDave, Thistle and ScotO like this.
  10. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    I was tought to hold the bar with my twoo feet and work over the top of the cutter. Not sure why but I just got it.
  11. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Don't think I'd want to be doin' a 28"+ setup like that, lol. My back would come up with all kinds of good names for me.

    Stump vise helps out a lot, and that Stihl video is a great reference for initial "how-to" for hand filing. One note, if your mom and pop uses a grinder to sharpen chain, then your going to be filing a lot more than 3 strokes to get the shape of the cutter right for the file. If you intend to keep getting your chains sharpened like that (grinder), then I'd recommend just buying a couple extra chains and swapping in the field.
  12. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Skippers not bad...lol My father tought me on a lombard and 20 inch bar. It dont take long once you see everthing you need to see then switch to a vice.
  13. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    Put a new chain on your bar and with the correct size file , lay the file in the gullet of the tooth so that it fits the profile. Memorize the angles and follow through in your filing. If you forget the angles just repeat with a new chain.
  14. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    Thx everybody for the tips. Much appreciated. I came here before you tube so ya'll know. Good info! Be well
  15. benp

    benp New Member

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    My .02....Just getting started.......Husqvarna Swedish Roller Guide.Comes for .325 and 3/8th chain.

    The kit is inexpensive around 15 bucks. Comes with guide, correct size round files, file handle, and raker file. Very simple to use and you get very good results.PLUS, the raker depth gauge is a progressive one. There has been a lot of discussion on this regarding this method as a more accurate way vs the gauge that lays across a few teeth or putting a flat edge across the cutters.

    Here's a video from Husqvarna demonstrating it.



    This is my "in-shop" setup for using it.This is my 394 with a 32" bar. I use a paint pen to mark a tooth as starting point reference. I can crank this one out in about 15 minutes.

    [​IMG]

    My in field setup. 7900 with 24" bar and I was getting it done in 5 min per side.

    [​IMG]

    Really no reason to have a dull chain in the field any more when you can touch it up quickly.

    A few lessons, I have learned. Pay attention to stroke count and do same amount per cutter. Every now and then I get "shiny objected" and wind up with a short tooth. lol ;em

    I would start with a new chain, that way you are starting with a clean slate, and the angles a correct for a point of reference.

    I like good files and stick to Pferd's or Save Edge's.Maybe explore that option once you burn up ones that come with the kit.

    The file will let you know what's going on. Big difference in feel between a good cut going on and chattering.Light pressure and let the file do the work. It took me a while to figure this one out. lol

    Good luck and take your time. :)
  16. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    If you already have a dremel, get the round diamond files that work with it.
  17. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    Well here goes nothing. I followed instruction here, a couple youtube vids, and did my first filing in my living room!??! I feel confident, and can't wait to see the results, which I'll post. Rakers were good.
  18. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    1) Keep at it. It's more art than science. It'll take quite a lot of practice to get good, so expect that and don't give up like a big, whining cry baby.

    2) Files come in different sizes for different sized chains. Make sure you have the right size file.

    3) I've tried file guides and have had no luck with any of them.

    4) If anyone makes a skip-tooth chain for that little tickler start using them - who wants to file 2x the teeth?

    5) Make sure your chain is properly tensioned. You will never file properly with a loose chain.

    6) File each tooth till it is sharp. If it takes 3 passes with the file or 5 or 9 or whatever.

    7) Don't forget to file the rakers every couple times you file the teeth.

    8) Re-read #1
  19. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I've found it's much easier to bring 4-5 sharp chains with me and just swap chains when dull. Then I just sharpen at home on a chain grinder.
  20. WellSeasoned

    WellSeasoned Guest

    I've been filing away. I am using the guide to start, till I get a good feel for it. All rakers except maybe a few were good. I did my third chain today.
  21. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I had a dull chain on my Husky 350 and followed the advice from everyone here on the forum, took my time and hand filed the chain, I was surprised when I cut with it how sharp I got it on my first try, its not really all that hard, just follow everyones advice and take your time.
    amateur cutter likes this.

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