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Is My Chain Trashed?

Post in 'The Gear' started by ChrisN, Nov 21, 2007.

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  1. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

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    Don't want to hijack the thread but I cut down a stump, and I know it had sand in it. But anyhow I knocked the chain off and it hit that metal guard and stopped. It's a Husky 455. I have the two file Husky sharpener and I sharpened it twice and it still only shoots small chips. There doesn't seem to be any damage. I am very careful with the angle I sharpen at. The saw is very new, so the bar and chain are also. Not sure what my problem is.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've trashed more than one chain trying to cut stumps down below the ground level. They must contain all kinds of sand and dirt, because it's usually fatal.

    My guess is that your chain is dull, but you can't see it. Sometimes that happens.

    Any chance of posting a pic?
  3. Lignums

    Lignums New Member

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    ALWAYS check the depth guages.
  4. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

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    The saw is at the cabin, but the points on the cutters are sharp, nothing looks bent. Maybe I have to run the file over each cutter 10 or more times?

    The double file sharpens the cutter while filing off the top of the racker.
  5. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    Was it just me? or did Eric just offer to show me just how good my Stihl will slice after he sharpens the worst chain I have?
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'll be happy to sharpen your chain. Bring it on up.

    More than the points have to be sharp, Smokey. The entire leading edge of the cutter needs to have a sharp edge to it, or the chain won't cut. My guess is that you're pushing down or to the right when you file instead of applying upward pressure against the bottom of the cutting edge. You should be pushing the file somewhere towards 1 or 2 o'clock. Forget about the rakers and just use the round file. Apply your pressure up and towards the back of the cutter as you sharpen each one. If your file occasionally slips up and out of the groove, then you know you're on the right track.
  7. LarryD

    LarryD Member

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    Smokey,

    If you are running a Husky, it most likely has Oregon saw chain. Go Here-> http://www.oregonchain.com/tech/ms_manual/ms_04.pdf

    Every saw chain is different. Two things will tell you if your saw is properly sharpened. 1. To a degree chip size (Not all woods will give you the same size chip with the same chain) 2. The saw is pulling itself into and through the wood without jumping/chattering.

    Once you've look at the tech manual and if you have questions post them. The one thing that I disagree with is that all of the cutters have to be the same size. I treat them all as individuals and sharpen and adjust depth gauges accordingly.

    Tools like the chain sharp, sharp force and roller guides do all of what you will find in the manual. It is good to have an idea of what you should see as an end result

    My $.02. My apologies if it's too much info!!

    Larry D
  8. Bill

    Bill Minister of Fire

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    I never can have to much information, always ready to learn. I'll try the upward pressure, not sure if Oregon makes Husky chains or not. I bought a new one, just incase I can't get it sharp. The piece of wood I was cutting was red oak about 8 inches or so in diameter, with small chips, and it seemed to cut slow. Should I take the Husky double file apart and just use the round file?

    Thanks for the help
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think all Husqvarnas are shipped with Oregon chain. The replacement chain at most dealerships is Oregon.

    I agree with LarryD on cutter size. As long as the depth gauge (raker) is adjusted for the cutter it's serving, the chain will cut fine.

    If I were you, Smokey, I'd just concentrate on getting your technique down with the round file and not worry about anything else at the moment. You can always adjust the rakers later, but it's important to get the right stroke down when filing the cutters or the rest is a moot point.
  10. Lignums

    Lignums New Member

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    I just bought a new Husky chain....Front of the box had the Husky Logo, everything...back of the box had a kickback drawing, with an Oregon logo on the chainsaw...go figure.
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That's because Stihl manufactures its own chain. Husqvarna doesn't
  12. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    When I first got back into the 'wood thing', I had a tendancy to throw chains a bit. The first replacement chain I got for my Stihl was at a Husky dealer, thus an Oregun. The very first time I threw that one, I screwed up most of the drive teeth. Seemed strange to me since I could throw the Stihls and just pop um back on an go.

    Yup, I got better at keepin track of the tension now that the chain catchers just about shot. :p

    But I still like the Stihl chains better. . .probably all in my head.
  13. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    The Sharpforce has two metal bars that run on adjacent teeth, so in theory the round file is always at the right height and you don't need to push up. The bars also set the raker heights, so I don't think that filing often will make the rakers too low. (But the height is built in and certainly might be incorrect for some chain.) But in practice those bars have a little give, and at a minimum you need to make sure you don't press down hard and flex the bars. I sharpen with the bar at near vertical, which helps avoid this tendency.

    The problem I find when I hit sand or rock is that the hard chrome coating on the cutters gets scraped off well back from the edge. (The picture was from hitting some landscaping rock hidden in a pocket in a yard tree; sand usually wears the chrome back even farther.) The softer metal that's left won't hold an edge as long. Only cure is to file/grind all the way past the damage (the shiny part). That's hard to do with a file, though.

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  14. ISeeDeadBTUs

    ISeeDeadBTUs Guest

    The dang farmer that owned the land where we put our house used to WRAP the barbed wire around every tree, THEN put a few staples in, too. Maybe he was like the OWB guy that loads his stove and walks away from it for 3 days . . .Anyway . . . the steel in the trees didn't get along to well with my Stihl, so after all my logger/tree company friends got sick of me pulling my saw outa the trunk halfway through a social visit and saying, "Oh, BTW . . ." I took the 'unsharpenable chains to the Husky dealer. He said the outside of the tooth was dinged so far back that all that material would have to be removed to make it cut properly again. He sold me 5 chains for $75 at the start of the season.

    Now when I was a kid, my Dad always used one of those clamp on gile guides that set both angles. I gave up tring to get one from Stihl, but then I saw this ginder from HF . . . now I am gonna sound like a tie-wearin-geek, but . . . do they sharpen the chain, or just gring the correct angle back on???

    I suppose I better not put THAT chain on when I stop in to see Eric . . .
  15. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'd probably try to save that chain, though it would take some work. Probably more than it's worth.

    That shiny part is what I was trying to describe as the cutting edge. It has to be razor sharp for the saw to cut right. Take a look at a new chain, Smokey, and try to replicate that.

    Saw chain is manufactured with a grinder, so it's theoretically possible to sharpen one up pretty good with a grinder. However, most cheap grinders aren't up to the task, and even a good grinder in the wrong (read: most) hands won't do a very good job, either. Here's an interesting fact of life: Most professional loggers sharpen their new chains right out of the box. They can get them sharper with their files than the factory does with its grinders.
  16. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    I already saved it, but I used the cheapo HF grinder, not a file. I've "saved" that chain 2 or 3 times now, it and it's buddy are my designated "rock chains". They've earned their keep by this point.

    The grinder does sharpen OK once you figure out how to work around the super-cheap design: the chain clamp sucks, the tooth gauge/stop is a joke, the angle setting is hardly precise and the grinder arm flexes a fair bit. I only use it when a chain gets beyond hand filing, as grinding actually takes longer. (You have to reset the chain for each tooth, instead of for each 3 teeth.)
  17. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The friend that was teaching me how to hand file (and I need to practice more with it, but I'm getting better) doesn't like any sort of guide when he's filing. He does the cutters freehand with just a Husky plastic file handle, and pulls up as mentioned, and also he tries to do a wrist rotation as he makes the stroke so that the file is turning as it cuts - turning the file so that it twists away from the cutting edge. His claim is that this leaves little "micro-serrations" on the surface that helps the tooth cut better.

    When he sharpens the rakers, he puts the raker guage on the tooth and sees if he can feel it if he drags the edge of the file side to side over the guage. If he does, he pulls the guage off, files a couple strokes, and rechecks. He think this gives better results and doesn't wear out the guage like filing on it does.

    He also likes chain w/ no bumper links, and with a square corner profile on the teeth - Again says it holds an edge better, and the no bumper links lets the chain cut.

    Don't know if he's 100% right or not, but his chains are sharp enough to shave with...

    Gooserider
  18. LarryD

    LarryD Member

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    Goose,

    I know several people that swear by spinning, or as one guy calls it sworling the file. Some people can do it an dget good results. I have found that people that try to learn this way don't file on a straight plane and have a bit of a "belly" to the leading edge. It works for some people, not all. If you are learning how to file a chain, I actually advise against it. It brings another dynamic that could cause you to get inconsistant results. Spinning the file (while lifting it out of the gullet!)every 2-3 strokes however will prolong file life. That is a great idea with the depth gauge jig. I can't say I'v ever worn one out, but by not filing over it, you wont wear it out for sure!

    Square corner chain is called chisel chain, and chain with a round corner is called chipper. All things being equal chisel will cut faster. Chisel doesn't hold its edge as well in very dirty or frozen wood. Chipper is a more durable edge because the leading edge bends around a corner and there is more metal supporting the cutting edge. Remember, the fastest cutting chain is when all the cutters are sharpened back to the witness mark. There is less weight, and less metal "dragging" in the wood. I wood always take chains that were like the one above (usually tossed aside or in the garbage!) and resharpen and enjoy the fastest part of a piece of saw chains life. ;-)

    Eric is correct, a lot of pro cutters do touch up there chains prior to using. Of those that did that they goofy filed.

    Stihl vs. Oregon chain. My experience has been, Stihl uses different size files for a given chain size and tends to be a bit more expensive (not significantly) than Oregon. I don't think Stihl makes .058 gauge chain. All of there 3/8 is .050. A lot of Husky's that are sold in the Northeast run .058 gauge chain (the thickness of teh drive link). I think Oregon has evolved there chain more and provides better tech support. If it makes sawdust/chips why be fussy!

    I must say it is nice to be able to share some of this stuff. Most people look at me and say "your kidding right?". Perhaps some of you are...

    Larry D
  19. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well my only saw right now is a Poulan 36cc Homeowner grade saw, which was a peice of chit when I was running it with the 16" bar that it came with. It had an Oregon 91VG chain on it, which I think is really lousy chain because they've tried to make it so totally "safe" that they forgot about making it CUT... I found both the stock chain and the replacement I bought were terrible.

    I then went to a 16" Home Depot house brand bar and chain, which cut FAR better, but was still not really great.

    Then I read here about that reccomendation that one should not "over-bar" a saw, and that the bar size in inches should be about 1/3 the saw size in cc's - so I got a 12" bar and some non-bumper link chain and put that on it, and found that I had created a fairly decent unit. Great for limbing and small stuff, but obviously a bit lacking when the logs got bigger...

    I've been dropping hints to Santa about wanting a bigger chainsaw to use on large logs - I'm thinking something in about the 60-70cc range that I could use to drive a 20" bar, and maybe go to a 24" if I had to... I don't drop many trees, so it would mostly be a firewood saw, but I do have an occasional tree that I take down as they die on our land.

    Gooserider
  20. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    My dad, who cuts wood for a living, uses a Husqvarna 346XP with Oregon 50-gauge, .325 chain. He tried some Stihl 50/.325 and didn't like it at all. I forget what his complaint was, but I think it had something to do with the chain being too aggressive and bogging down the saw. That's a pretty powerful saw to bog down, all things considered, in pine.

    And that's a fact about the chain cutting best at about half its life. If you can keep your chain in good repair up to that point, you'll be rewarded.

    I use the standard 50/.325 chain on my 346 and it cuts like a dream. Most of my wood is not that big, so I might get a 13-inch bar and see if it makes a big difference. You're always ahead with a smaller bar, IMO.
  21. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    While I agree that a small bar has advantages, I'm not convinced that it's worth going from a 12" bar to a 13" or 14" bar - and I know that the saw I have doesn't work well with a 16".

    The few trees that I drop mostly aren't that big, but most of the wood I get is log-length, from a local tree service - I find that getting it that way is less expense than scrounging since we don't already have a suitable scrounging vehicle. So far the tree service has brought me mostly wonderful stuff, all red and white oak, albeit rather gnarly, for very reasonable money, but a lot of it has been in the 2-3' size range. While I know the shtick about cutting to twice the bar length, I find that I have trouble getting the cuts to line up when I get much over 1.5 x the bar, so I'd rather have a longer bar for the big stuff...

    My thought is that if I have my existing small saw that I'm going to run till it falls apart, and then get a better version of about the same size, and use that for my small stuff, then having a larger bar for the big stuff won't be that much of a disadvantage.

    Gooserider
  22. LarryD

    LarryD Member

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    The 346 turn at a rediculous RPM. I think the last time I had a tach on my it "warbled" at 15,000. FYI-warbling or 4cycling is the sound a saw will make when it is tuned correctly. It is actually safer for your ears to use a tach. .325 chain usually cuts very smooth compared to 3/8. I've never put Stihl chain on my 346. I actually run an 18" bar. Something I got in the habit of after doing a lot of crane removals. Light weight saw with an 18" bar, I could take picks that were 30"+ and not have 20+ pounds of saw hanging of of me. It cuts very well with an 18" bar, I can't imagine it with something shorter thana 16". Damn, talk about chain speed.

    Goose-The home owner grade chain is just that, home owner grade. It is designed not to cut agressively. With all that extra meta=weight an anemic home owners saw doesn't have a chance. I think that may be where Stihl has an edge is with there picco chain.

    Larry D
  23. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Well I've never used a tach on mine, actually my local small power equipment guy has done most of the carb work on it... It seems to run great though, at least once it's warmed up (it's a little slow to respond to the throttle and bogs for the first couple minutes - after that it's great) I'm not sure just how to describe the noise it makes, sort of a high frequency pop or bark on top of the main engine noise... The two things that got it working right were to go to the small bar and run the chain way on the loose side. Running the chain loose cuts way down on the drag all the way around - I see this just pushing the chain around the bar while filing it (engine off obviously). The way I used to run, to move the chain I used to have to grab it tightly with one hand and hold the saw still with the other. Now when I run it loose, I can pull the chain around with a finger tip. Strangely enough it seems less likely to throw the chain as well. Downside is that the clutch's internal friction is enough to keep the chain moving slowly at idle (anything touching the chain stops it, so I know the clutch isn't engaged)

    I don't know how much real difference there is in the chain sizes, my saw is using 3/8" w/ an 0.050 thickness drive link - I know they don't interchange, but is that even a size Stihl makes?

    Gooserider


    Gooserider
  24. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    "You’re always ahead with a smaller bar, IMO."

    That's probably true but I get into some big stuff that requires a bigger bar. I run an 046 with a 24" bar and it really sucks through the wood. The one thing, in my case, that the longer bar has going for it is that i've got some crushed disks in my back. With the longer bar I don't have to bend over as much so I just keep the longer bar on it.
  25. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    Heh, after all the chatter about trashing chains (which I rarely do)....I put on the mother of all chain trashing clinics this weekend. G'damn brand new chain too!!!. I was cutting a dead elm that fell across my parents driveway. One side of the tree had some snow on it from the driveway. ALSO in that snow was some gravel from the driveway...whoduh thunk (the worst part....i looked for gravel, didn't see any but to be on the safe side I knocked off "most" of the snow. Apparently not enough).

    The cutting edge looks like a pug nosed dog. I'd say I used up 50% of that chain in one cut.
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