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I stink at bucking...

Post in 'The Gear' started by Jay H, Apr 20, 2007.

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  1. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    :) I have to admit that I've never touched a chain saw before in my life. So I went at a fairly big sized maple, about 20-24" diameter and about 12' long. First, I tried my 5' peavey and no way I'm moving this thing, there is just too many limbs on it that keeps me from getting any leverage on it. Of course, the limbs have been cut, but the stumps make the log not round and impossible to move...

    Anyway, I'm actually not doing that bad til I got to the very large trunk part where I literally started to cut a spiral in it!!! I had about a 6" gap between my cut on the left side and my cut from the right.... Horrible!!! I am embarresed! Of course, I'm cutting this honking piece of wood with my little 16" Makita UC4000 because my Husky 350 that I bought didn't want to start... (used but serviced from Husky)...

    Anyway, what are that little row of spikes on the saw body for? I've kind of found them somewhat handy to kind of stick them into the trunk and leverage the bar nose down a bit with this.. Is that the purpose?

    Jay "The cutting newbie" H

    I had a lot of fun though!

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Keep at it, Jay. We've all got wood in our past that we're ashamed of. In the end, it all burns the same.

    After awhile, you'll come up with an approach that works for you and your situation. One tip: start with a new or sharp chain, and keep it sharp. Cutting with a dull chain will only make things worse, and eventually damage your saw.
  3. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    That's my next place to research. Going to probably buy a gallon of bar chain oil and start looking at chain sharpeners... going to search here, figure I've seen the Husky one that is manual and then there also is a dremel one. I can borrow my father's dremel tool if that is compatible...

    I would definitely need something that will sharpen both the Makitas and the Husky. I think both are .325..

    Anybody want some sawdust??? I now have a huge pile in my driveway!

    Jay
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Learn how to sharpen with a file, Jay, and you'll be a lot better off in the long run.
  5. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    The Makita has 3/8" low profile chain, and uses a 5/32" file.
  6. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    They're handy to pivot around in certain circumstances, although if you have to put much leverage on the nose to cut then you probably need to sharpen the chain. Downside is they can catch when bucking and take up an inch or two of bar length. I think some here remove them.
  7. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

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    No...keep them....they grab the wood and prevent the wood from being pulled towards you and past the saw. Also, they (as stated earlier by someone) form a pivot point around which the front bar can rotate to cut downwards...they make for a much safer saw......
  8. Bones

    Bones Member

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    Jay, the important thing is think ahead of what might happen and the results, and do it safely.
  9. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Thanks all, As far as the spikes go (I just saw them referred to as "bones" here in a different thread), the ones on my Makita are fairly short, with the curvature on many of the logs, they don't really bite that great but they do seem to work OK.
  10. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Update, well after my 350 didn't want to start and I successfully returned it, I went ahead and bought a 359 with a 20" bar, a filing kit, and a plastic wedge from southwest trading, as per I believe Roospike's recommendation I found here via a search.... Comes with an extra chain, eye protection which I already have and some 2-cycle oil... Hopefully, it will work better than my 350 :)

    Jay
  11. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi -

    Keep at it. Keep the area around the log clear for you to work safely in. Don't start a cut in an awkward position, it WILL NOT improve if the log starts to move... Maybe slow down a bit as you're gaining experience. My 12YO protoge was in a hurry to show he could 'cut it' and was shocked to see all the odd looking results. After a sandwich he went back in and did a great and safe job in the afternoon. More PPE to buy!

    You're going to like the 359!!

    ATB,
    Mike P
  12. brownie

    brownie New Member

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    The spikes are called DOGS. They tend to be larger as the saw gets bigger. Don't take them off , when you take down a larger tree you will use them when you cut with your saw on it's side.
  13. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Dom't forget to buy some PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) if you haven't already...

    All the gear is important, but if you have to sequence it, take a look at the OSHA injury figures and go from there.

    In terms of "bang for buck" I'd go for a head / face / ears setup - Ideal is one of those hard hats with the earmuffs and face screeen built in, next best, and adequate if you aren't dropping trees is one with just the earmuffs and face screen.

    Next is chainsaw chaps.

    On my list, but I'm not sure how critical they are - but they are fairly low cost, is chainsaw gloves.

    Feet show up quite high on the OSHA chart, but chainsaw boots are EXPENSIVE - you can buy a couple sets of the other gear for what one pair of boots will cost, but they are worth it - I just got a pair of Matterhorns, most expensive pair of boots I've ever bought, but comfortable, and hopefully I'll never find out just how good they are....

    Last on my list, but another low cost item is a chainsaw vest...

    Except for the helmet, all the "chainsaw stuff" is basically made with kevlar or other material intended to jam up a moving chain and stop it, maybe, if you attempt to chainsaw your anatomy (This is NOT reccomended!) I've heard reports from people who have "field tested" the stuff, and so far everyone has said it helped... One guy hit his leg, shredded the chaps, gave him a massive bruise, but he didn't get cut!

    OSHA says if you are getting paid to wave a chainsaw, you are supposed to be wearing the full collection. I'm not much on gov't regulation, but it does seem like this isn't unreasonable.

    Gooserider
  14. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Yes, I have the PPE except for chainsaw specific helmet and steel toed boots. I have a Husky brand ear protection, generic shop safety glasses and I bough kevlar chaps from labonville.com. My gloves are basic garden glove variety and being a climber, I use my Petzl climbing helmet. As a hiker, I use some old Montrail hiking boots. I think my double plastic winter mountaineering boots would be too hot :)

    I also ordered my 359 from SW trading and got free eye protection so I'll probably use those since they are probably better than the ones I use now which I can relegate back to bushwacking here in the NE.

    Jay
  15. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I had a log roll on my foot last summer.
    It wasn't bad, but it woke me up to what could happen.
    Naturally, I still haven't gotten steel toesd shoes. :)
  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Sounds like a good start for sure. I found the face shield helps as I occasionally find I get hit in the face with chips or get tapped by a branch. Not the injury hazard that getting hit in the eye would be, but it still stings... (Note that I also wear my eyglasses under the faceshield) At any rate I would use whichever eye protection you feel lets you see best, I've never gotten a pair of "free" eye protection that was worth as much as I paid for it...

    On the boots, I'd at least get steel toes, but according to some of the discussion I've seen here, a large
    e of the foot injuries with chainsaws are not to the toe, but rather to the top and side of the foot, or to the ankle area, where the steel toes aren't. I forget just where it is, but there was a post in the gear section a while back that linked to the OSHA injury statistics and gave a very detailed breakdown of where they had the injuries reported. Legs were number one, but feet were a close second... It's why I ended up getting the Matterhorn chainsaw boots and totally blowing my budget!

    Gooserider
  17. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Jay,

    Here is a helpful FAQ from Oregon chain:

    http://www.oregonchain.com/faq.htm

    Here is the part about sharpening: http://www.oregonchain.com/faq.htm#sharpening

    I learned on a smaller saw--that may be easier, to get the hang of it. Also, I'd go get a new file--they seem to "fill up" pretty quickly, and then work poorly.

    Also, in case you didn't know this, the file cannot have curve to it's profile. IOW, many round files are fatter in the middle, than the ends. No good. You need a "straight" file, in the exact size, for your chain.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Eric,

    I totally agree with you here:

    I also feel that while the dedicated-chainsaw grinders create a sharp chain, they seem to take off more "meat" than might be necessary, especially compared to hand filing.

    Also, where do you plug the grinder in, out in the woods? :shut:

    I've only taught myself how to hand file in the past few years, but I get good results when using a filing guide and paying attention to the degree marks.

    Having said that, the "big" saw I borrowed (a Homelite 360 "Professional,”, 19” bar, from the 1980's, I believe) is now "hooking" badly, to one side. It was cutting straight as an arrow the last time I used it and sharpened it, and used it some more.

    Since it will still saw out big chips when it's hooking to one side, (meaning, at least one side is sharp? Actually, both sides are fairly sharp) I thought I could get away with just sharpening one side, to even it out. I had then planned to sharpen both sides, normally, the next time it got dull.

    Well, when I did one side, it was even worse--obviously, I had chosen the wrong side. I then did the other side side, and got it to a fairly neutral place.

    But now I can’t remember which side I had to sharpen, to even it out. And it’s hooking again pretty badly, to the left.

    However, I do remember that it seemed that to correct the hook, I had to sharpen the opposite side from which I would have thought logical. (I think, but am not sure, that to correct a left hook, I initially sharpened the right, on the theory that the right wasn’t “keeping up.” Whatever side I did, originally, as I said, was the wrong one.) LOL If I remember correctly, even though it was hooking left, I think that ulitmately, I had to sharpen the left side, to straighten it out. Again, that seems backwards to me.

    I’ve read the FAQ on this, from Oregon chain, dealing specifically with “hooking” (as I call it) or cutting to one side: http://www.oregonchain.com/faq.htm#cutting1side:

    Now, when I got the saw, some of the teeth were filed at different angles than others—I’ve pretty much evened that out.

    However, there is some variation in top plate length as well (though there is plenty of meat left on all of them). I didn’t caliper all of them, and count up which side is shortest, but the “shorty plates” seem fairly randomly distributed between left and right which, to my thinking, means that top plate variation is NOT causing my hooking.

    The other variables mentioned in the Oregon text on this, above, do not seem to be in play, e.g., the guide bar is not worn, and I don’t think anyone has touched the “rakers” or depth guides, so they should all be equal length (though possibly equally too-long).

    I didn’t really grind away at the top plates, though, to even them up, because although I know they're all supposed to be equal, I didn’t have the heart (or energy) to hand file so much good chain away. And again, the variation looks fairly-evenly distributed between left and right.

    Instead, I tried sharpening just one side, to zero out the hook. Like I said, it pretty much worked, once I did the correct side.

    So I have a question, for you or any other experienced hand filers:

    Even though we know there’s more (potentially) involved in a hooking saw, than just one side being sharper than the other, if we assume for now, that that's what's causing this hooking, then which side do I sharpen?

    Say your saw is hooking to the left, as you stand behind the saw. Which side of the chain do you sharpen, to even it out?

    (Let's assume we're still standing behind the saw when we refer to Left and Right, so we're all on the same page. IOW, don't give me Left and Right while you're facing the saw, mentally, to sharpen it. Stay behind the saw, where it's safer....)

    Thanks, all.

    Peter
  18. Turner-n-Burner

    Turner-n-Burner New Member

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    well I'm not a expert, but I think I understand.

    Forget sides of the chain for a moment, and from standing behind the saw, you'll see that the cutting teeth are pointed in opposite directions.


    some look like this /| and some look like |.

    With me so far?

    Now it get's tricky. You're looking at the top of the bar, but they cut when they're on the bottom of the bar, and they have to flip over to get there.


    So /| turns over and becomes | to the wood. When it's dull, it will try and slide to the right instead of cut. so sharpen the ones with the point on the right side (top view of /|) to correct a right hook. and sharpen the ones wit the point on the left | to correct a left hook.


    Hope that helps !

    -Dan
  19. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Dan,

    I feel like such an idiot! I think you've put your finger on why what I did to correct the problem seemed counterintuitive--because mentally, I had failed to flip everything backwards, to account for the "business end" of the teeth not being right side up when cutting. If I knew how to spell "Dumbkoff!" I'd shout it, and slap my forehead.

    I'm with you as far as I can be, without having your comments in one hand and the saw in the other. I will print them, and take a crack at sharpening the bar at a later date.

    Thanks again!

    Peter
  20. Jay H

    Jay H New Member

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    Sounds like a thing to remember is sharpen the teeth that "point" to the direction of travel, the only thing you have to remember is to look at the top of the bar. :)

    Jay
  21. carpniels

    carpniels Minister of Fire

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    Hi TP,

    It is spelled Dummkopf and it means dummy head in German.

    Carpniels
  22. TruePatriot

    TruePatriot New Member

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    Jay:

    I think you meant to say "...to look at the bottom of the bar," no? Otherwise, you'll be making the same mistake I did--LOL!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Hey, Carp:

    Thanks--"dummy head" indeed. Well, I had a 50% chance of getting right, huh? :p
  23. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Up here in the Northeast we say "chowdahhead."

    Just kidding.

    Actually, I think you can sharpen your chain all different ways until you're blue in the face and you'll still get hooking if one set of rakers is filed lower than the other. That's because the rakers regulate how deep the cutter can go into the wood, and if one side is lower than the other, the chain is going to cut more aggressively on that side, with obvious results. I've been using and filing chain saws for decades, and this just occurred to me in recent years.

    On a related note, I sharpen one side of the chain and then flip the saw over and file the other side. I use a simple vise made out of a C-clamp screwed into the end of my workbench to hold the saw in place. That's because I'm incapable of filing a consistent angle from side to side any other way.

    Here's a link to a thread with some pics.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/1264/
  24. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    Whether hand filing, or using a powered means of sharpening, you only take off as much as you allow the file to take. If the powered method is eating too much metal, its user error allowing so. As far as your question of how to sharpen with powered method in the field/woods. They make a sharpener that connects to your 12v car battery for just this purpose. ;)
    I personally drag my wood to the front of the garage and cut/split there. Also sharpening with my dremmel attachment. For me, its fast and a steady hand makes it accurate. :)
  25. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Regarding those chaps and your electric saw. My chaps from Stihl says they don't work with the additional torque of an electric saw. My saw also has a long inertia coastdown time, and will continue to turn even when resting against a log and the switch turned off. That's something else to think about. I've heard that some (maybe yours) has a brake that stops the chain when the switch is turned off.
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