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Never sharpened a chain before, need advice.

Post in 'The Gear' started by HDRock, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I have a couple of chainsaws,A 16" and a 14", and six chains.
    and I don't know jack about sharpening a chain so, to start out and try to hand sharpen them with files is and a probably not going to work out very good. But IDK I could give it a try
    I sharpen, my plane blades, chisels, jointer knives ,and such ,but never sharpened a chain saw chain.
    I have been reading on here in learning some things, anyway this is what I'm thinking.
    Purchase this ,Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener, Model# G-106B , or the , HF Chain Saw Sharpener, or maybe both.
    I can get the HF grinder for 32 bucks with a 20% off coupon .
    The timberline chain sharpener looks like a good tool , but a rich price.

    What are your ideas, input, advice ???

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  2. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Others will chime in with good advice.

    Mine isn't much.
    I file mine, it's close to right, it cuts very well IMO. I knock down the rakers when they look to high or the chain don't pull or small chips or dust is coming out of the cut, when it's sharp.
    Like you I sharpen my other tools. & believe a chain saw chain is less critical for my fire wood ; than my jointer or planer blades are for my wood projects.
    Mines's a chain saw for cutting fire wood. Throw out chips pretty good & cut as straight as the operator running it allows. Do my best to not hit the ground.
    Cut till the chips don't look or feel right, file or change the chain out. Clean the saw & sharpen in the shop, evenings after cutting or before next trip out..

    All I use it this guide. pretty basic & simple to operate & hold the correct angle. Can look & touch the teeth & they look/feel sharp. Flat file for the rakers now & then.
    Some videos online that show how to use it.

    file gd.jpeg

    by no means perfect
    If you are after perfect, several guides, grinders & tools out there.
    Some tools for the rakers too, I use a straight edge & look. Hit them all 2 strokes with a fine flat file if it looks like they need it.
    If you already sharpen various tools,
    Betting , you won't be much sharper than you can do with a file after a few times. ;)

    My thought is, "it's fire wood".
    With a file, I'm fairly close & pretty sharp & it works well for me. ( Maybe even sharper ;) )
  3. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Like you said it's a a chain saw cutting fire wood, so I don't think it needs to be perfect,but I would like, quick and easy.
    Don't get me wrong ,I know It won't be that quick and easy right from the start, no matter what method I use
  4. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Just my 2¢.
    Like I said, there's much better ways & you'll get better advice. Some are more into chain saws than I am.
  5. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    I usually hand file my chains with a Stihl filing kit (round file, file guide, flat file). I highly recommend starting with a file with guide for your chain pitch. It's fairly inexpensive but highly effective. If you can't get the hang of it, you can always add an electric sharpener or bar mounted guide later.

    It's not that difficult if you watch a good video:
    http://www.stihlusa.com/information/videos/#chain-saw-safety-ope

    The one problem I had when I first started hand filing was that I didn't use enough filing strokes to return the teeth to proper sharpness and shape. Also note that the first couple strokes on a new chain takes a little more coaxing, but then it goes smoothly.
  6. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I highly recommend you start with a filing kit (like the ones Stihl & Husky sell) that includes a file with an attached top-plate style guide, a depth gauge/raker height gauge, and a flat file. They're inexpensive and really all you need. Watch the Stihl video until you have the process down pat and then then if you want, consider faster/more precise methods. I would not recommend jumping into a grinder with zero chain sharpening experience. Keep in mind with the grinders, you get what you pay for, both in the quality of the machine and the results. The same applies to the Timberline, which I like (but do not own) for it's simplicity, idiot-proof (as close as your going to get sharpening chain anyways) factor, and the consisent results it should deliver.

    Nixon and Bacffin like this.
  7. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    If you can freehand sharpen a chisel or plane iron you can do a chain. Many chains have a line across the top of the chain to use as a guide. If your chain does not have the line, follow the angle as close as possible. It doesn't have to be exact.

    I've never seen a tutorial on sharpening a chain like I have for the trusty Disston. Maybe I'll put one on my list of things to do should I ever get some free time.

    Matt
  8. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I highly recommend this video from Stihl. It'll show you all you need to know. From there on, it's all in the wrist...

  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Before plunking down a good chunk of change I would watch the video or even better hook up with someone who knows how to sharpen by hand or with one of the file guides by Husquvarna or Stihl . . . try that first and see if you can get the knack. If you can . . . you've saved yourself a good chunk of change . . . and if you're a filing idiot like myself then you can go with the more expensive options.
  10. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Thanks
    Good video, I went and watched another one on Tube.
    Looks pretty simple actually, never saw a video about it before. I'll give it a shot, I think I may be able to keep the angles true,Ah before any beer ;lol
    Found this , Oregon 5/32-Inch Chain Saw Sharpening Kit, with files, guide,and depth gauge.
    That's what I need for my 3/8 chains , correct ??
    My little saw has no brake, how to hold the chain on that ? Small wood clamp?
  11. Nixon

    Nixon Minister of Fire

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    ^^^ for 3/8(.375 ) chain , you need the 7/32 file set and roller guide . As for how to keep the chain from moving , slightly over tighten the chain , and wear gloves . When done adjust the chain . Just take your time and enjoy learning a new skill .
  12. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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  13. Nixon

    Nixon Minister of Fire

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    ^^^ that's interesting .id have sworn that 5/32 and3/16 th's files were for .325 chains .
  14. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    3/8 pitch is not the same as 3/8 LP (low profile) pitch.

    3/8 pitch chain takes 7/32" round file (or 13/64").

    3/8 LP (low profile) pitch chain takes 5/32" round file.
    MasterMech and Nixon like this.
  15. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    It's all in the wrist (and the devil is in the details)...
    TreePointer likes this.
  16. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    How many chains you gonna sharpen in a weeks time? I often run through a dozen or so between the various saws, so I went from a file guide to a bar mounted grinder to a very pricey Oregon bench mount grinder with a hydraulic chain clamp. Hand file is probably the sharpest, but the grinder leaves a different tooth contour, so it's tough to go back & forth. I'd start with a simple guide to teach yourself the proper motion/angle, then freehand file.

    Pay attention to Treepointer's post as far as file size, 3/8 low pro, & 3/8 pitch chain are far different. Make sure you have the proper file & go to it, not rocket science, just practice. A C

    BTW, I'm kinda of a chain nerd just so you know.
    TreePointer likes this.
  17. charly

    charly Guest

    Once you get it down, filing by hand, it's relaxing, knowing your going to have a nice cutting chain. Plus doing it by hand makes you respect the chain more , as far as keeping out of anything but wood, no dirt or rocks!
    TreePointer likes this.
  18. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I checked the manual for one saw, don't have one for the other,checked chains, and boxes they came in,and I needed, 5/32 file so ,I Picked this up, today, Oregon 5/32-Inch Chain Saw Sharpening Kit, with files, guide,and depth gauge.
    I didn't get a chance to play with anything ,cuz, I finely got a hold of a guy, to get the load of wood he had., but man I don't know what I got myself into.
    See, http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/another-what-wood-is-this-on-cl.94453/

    I may have to learn , sharpening quick, I may have to make some noodles

    amateur : good to know your a chain nerd. I know who to ask my dumb questions
  19. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    More tips:

    File size is determined by the PITCH of the chain. If you note that the pitch of the chain must match the pitch of the saw's drive sprocket and also the pitch of the bar, then you can learn the chain's pitch from looking at the numbers stamped on the bar and drive sprocket.
    amateur cutter likes this.
  20. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    HD Rock, try plunge cutting that elm 3-4" deep in an X pattern on top of the log, & starting a wedge that way, may make it split easier. A C
  21. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Well I finally got out and sharpened up three chains, with the files, guide, and depth gauge.
    I haven't cut anything with them yet, but the process was pretty straightforward and really didn't take very long.
    Now I will be cutting with sharp chains only .
    Thanks for the information and the video , it all helped a lot.

    I won't be using these every time,but, I used this Head Strap Magnifier, to inspect the teeth, before and after I sharpened them, it comes with four different lenses in a little box, I have had them over five years and used them quite a lot, I wouldn't be with out them, and they are 10 bucks ( http://www.harborfreight.com/head-strap-magnifier-with-work-light-95890.html ) the light on it is not real bright, you can even attach two lenses at the same time to see very close up ,you could see a dimple on a pimple on a aunts left nu* ;lol .
  22. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    I have the HF, I think they have slightly changed it to make it less wobbly. I found it painful but need to have another go. I paid close attention last time I had a chain sharpened in a shop.

    A good grinder is not cheap and not something most people will buy unless it is your job. Not your hobby.

    I am thinking of getting a Granberg, I have been handfiling, if you buy your chains in bulk where I am the shop grind and a new chain is not that much different. The Granberg looked a bit fiddly but they have a video to show how to set it up. Especially when Baileys have a deal like they do now. Also they sell better quality files for half the price locally.

    If you have a Dremel then they sell a $9 or so kit, the stones wear but you can buy diamond encrusted stones.

    I did work out that if I had the tools to make my own and bought a 100ft reel then a chain would be $7 each, less that the local shop charges to sharpen.

    But I do not have a breaker and spinner.

    The biggest improvement was moving to a better chain, I now use Woodland Pro 30RC.
  23. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Most folks will never wear out 100 ft of chain on a saw. Unless of course they change chains out like tissues and never sharpen.:oops:
  24. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    Used one of the sharpened chains yesterday , it cut real nice.
    If U sharpen a chain after a couple of tanks of gas, generally, how many strokes, do U take with the file, 2 ,4 or what ????
  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    One or two good, long strokes is generally sufficient with a good sharp file. You will be able to see if the file has covered the entire edge.

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