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off topic but relevant: Chainsaw sharpening

Post in 'The Gear' started by deerhuntrer, Jan 4, 2008.

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  1. deerhuntrer

    deerhuntrer New Member

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    Im going nuts. Obviously i dont know a damn thing about sharpening a chainsaw cause I keep sharpening it, but it doesnt come close to cutting as well as it is new. I have been told plenty off advice, but no one has SHOWN me (visual learner here) is their any short videos out there or anything like that? Back back is killing me, Im going broke buying new chains, my father in law just sits there and says i dont know what Im doing. No crap. Tell me something I dont know. (he worked in the woods for half of his life)

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  2. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I can't help you, but my local hardware store sharpens them for about 5 bucks a pop.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The following are my thoughts and observations. Other members have different approaches and in some cases, fundamentally different ideas on the subject, so I'm just telling you what works for me. I'm sure the other guys are equally successful, so you can try different things and see what works best for you.

    I think it's always better to be filing a sharp chain instead of trying to restore a dull one to a usable condition. For that reason, I touch my chain up after every tank of gas, whether it needs it or not. You'll save more chain over time by sharpening it often, than you will by letting it get dull. And if you do it every time you gas up, you'll never forget to do it. Here's how I sharpen a "sharp" chain; with a dull or mangled one, you have do do a lot more filing, and it may not be worth the effort.

    I begin by clamping the tip if the bar into a vise or other holder on my workbench. You need a good light overhead. Hold the file straight and take two or three good swipes on each cutter, pushing up and to the right (towards 2:00 o'clock, more or less). You want the entire length of the cutting edge to be sharp. If you push down on the file or directly to the right, the file will dive down into the body of the cutter and not dress the cutting edge. It will feel like you're sharpening the chain, but you won't be.

    Do all of the cutters on one side. Then, flip the saw over, clamp the bar in the vise and do the other cutters. The idea here is to get basically the same angle of attack on both sides of the chain, so that the results are about the same. If your angle is off on one side or the cutters aren't equally sharp from one side to the other, the chain will cut a big arc through big wood. You've probably had that happen.

    Chains also have depth gauges, aka "rakers." These control the bite that the cutters take into the wood. If your rakers are filed too low, the chain will stall or kick in the cut. If they're too high, it won't get enough bite and you'll get fine sawdust instead of healthy chips. You can buy a raker gauge for about $5 that will tell you how much to file off each raker. I generally just take the rakers down after 5 or 6 sharpenings, depending on how the saw is cutting. But for a novice, I'd recommend going to a sawshop and buying a raker gauge. Be sure they show you how to use it, and make sure you get the right one for your chain, because they're all different.

    Learning to file a chainsaw chain takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, there's no better way to sharpen a chain, IMO.

    Here's a link to an old thread showing the saw in the vise.

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/1264/
  4. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

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  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    That is a good video, Craig. Thanks for posting it. Maybe I can get it stickied--it's got a lot of good information that new users should know, and a few good tips and reminders for the rest of us.
  6. LarryD

    LarryD Member

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    darren,

    We've all been there! Including our father inlaws telling us we don't know :zip:

    Try this go here http://www.oregonchain.com/faq.htm#sharpening

    It does help help to know what brand, type and size chain you are using and the tools (file size etc) too?

    All else fails listen to what Eric had to say, you can't go wrong listening to a guy that cuts as many cords of wood as he does.

    Larry D
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I'm sure MALogger cuts more wood than I ever will.
  8. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Hey, look who put that video out!

    Give it up for Big Red ;)
  9. deerhuntrer

    deerhuntrer New Member

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    Thanks guys. I had the concept correct, it was the execution that was flawed. My chain gets dull very quickly because im cutting hemlock slabs from my dads sawmill and their are numerous rocks in the pile that tend to wreeeck havoc on my chain. All of the info is greatly apprciated. I burn bout 2 pick up truck loads of hemlock slabs a week, I have gone thru a bit of $$ buying new chains. Over 5' feet of snow has fallen here since Dec 1. I am wishing now I was a good squirrel and prepared for winter better. But my job got in the way. (kids)
  10. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    The next new chain you buy take note of the angles or ask the dealer if he has a 2 or 3 inch piece of new chain you could have. Keep this in your toolbox or pocket for refrence of the proper angles. There is usually a mark stamped on the top of each tooth that makes for a good guide . I sharpen slightly more straight across and deeper depending on the type of wood I'm felling and bucking.
  11. Cazimere

    Cazimere Member

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    I used this electric chain saw sharpener for five years now and have been very pleased with it.
    I can sharpen the chain right on the saw or use this jig i made to sharpen my other chains : )

    Attached Files:

  12. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sorry my browser won't let me put in a link right now (I'll fix that later), but here is a great web site not only for sharpening chain saws but knives is their specialty.

    http://www.razoredgesystems.com/ (You'll have to type the URL)

    On the home page it shows a picture of John Juranitch shaving with an axe. He does this all the time. He has an excellent book called The Razor Edge Book of Sharpening (on the right side of the page is a link). He also has a DVD, but the book will get you a lot of information about the correct way of sharpening things. Well worth the money.

    No wonder you are having problems if you are hitting stones! Same goes for dirt. Hit the ground one time, just a tiny bit and you have a dull saw. Also you might consider getting a dremel tool and the right stones. Makes sharpening much faster and a lot easier on the hands.
  13. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    One tip that helped me I brought over from learning to file regular old Western panel saws like Disstons and Atkins, etc. When you can see light reflecting off the edge, it's dull. A sharp edge will not reflect light back at you. On your file, coat it with chaulk. It keeps the shavings from lodging it it and your file will last longer. Make sure you use the right size file.

    Matt
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I like the chalk tip, Matt. I'll have to try that. I clean my files with WD 40 and then coat with bar oil. For some reason, the oil makes it cut better--like cutting fluid, I guess.

    Ditto on the stones observation. No amount of sharpening skill can help you there.
  15. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I never thought of the oil... next files I buy I'll try that too.

    The chalk and oil combo may just make a gummy mess!

    Matt
  16. loneeagle15

    loneeagle15 New Member

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    great vids thanks for the links
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