1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Sharpening your own chain?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by WonderingWoman, Sep 22, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. WonderingWoman

    WonderingWoman New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    116
    Loc:
    Pacific NW
    I want to learn to sharpen my own chain. It needs it now. I don't have the equipment yet, I was thinking of taking it in to have it done this time, and buying the stuff to do it and getting a run through at the store. I just bought my saw this spring, the Stihl MS 290.

    Any suggestions?

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Scott in IN

    Scott in IN New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Messages:
    51
    Loc:
    Indiana
    Do a search over at Utube, lots of videos there to show you how to do it...
  3. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,152
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Youtube is good, there are a couple videos out there where I wouldn't use the technique if they paid me, though.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJdqIOIxAl0

    For instance, that grinder is going to be way hard to handle, probably heat up the metal and soften it, and on every other tooth, the grinding wheel is going to be cutting 'into' the tooth which isn't the greatest geometry.

    My favorite sharpening tool is a little grinding stone which fits my dremel tool - it's very easy to hold the angle, easy to regulate the cut - you can take a little off, or go a little deeper if you need to work out damage from a nail, rock, etc - and doesn't burn the metal. I throw a tiny 12 to 120V power inverter in the truck and I can even sharpen in the field if needed...though I keep a couple of hand files handy for a quick touch-up between tanks of gas.
  4. SteveT

    SteveT Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    May 21, 2008
    Messages:
    335
    Loc:
    West of Boston
  5. Saw-dust

    Saw-dust New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2008
    Messages:
    54
    Loc:
    Arkansas
    I use a Bar Mount Filing Tool.

    I found this one on Sthil's site but there are some that are cheaper that wook just as good.

    http://www.stihlusa.com/chainsaws/acc_filing.html#barmount

    I have the filing kit too but all I use out of it is the depth gage to file the drags down after the chain gets worn back.

    Attached Files:

  6. stephen44

    stephen44 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    37
    Loc:
    Danville VA
    being new I did not have much success with hand filing

    - I did find that the Dremmel sharpener works really well and is very easy to use
  7. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2008
    Messages:
    15,972
    Loc:
    Anderson, Indiana
    dremmel are eazy, i still take them to the dealership about ever 3rd time iam still not so good with the rakers
  8. itsme again

    itsme again New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2008
    Messages:
    29
    Loc:
    usa
  9. efoyt

    efoyt Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2008
    Messages:
    141
    Loc:
    Maine
    Get a Dremmel, it is supper easy and very fast. You will go through chain's a little quicker then you normally would but it is much cheaper in the long run then having to pay for a sharping every time.
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,732
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    You should sharpen your chain regularly and often. Always try to sharpen a sharp chain, rather than a dull one. I file (by hand) after every tank of gas.

    It's hard to learn to file by hand, but well worth the effort. Resources like YouTube make that process a lot easier.
  11. Gator eye

    Gator eye Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    190
    Loc:
    Michigan
    I think people make it out to be harder than it really is......

    All you need is a good file and a vise....

    Put bar in the vise and only sharpen in a forward stroke, if you got a stihl follow the line on the tooth for the angle.

    I put three firm strokes on each tooth............unless I hit the dirt or fencing or other hazard, three will do the trick.

    Every so offend I hit the rakers real quick with a flat file...
  12. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    Messages:
    6,445
    Loc:
    S.NH- Mass's smoking section
    The "equipment" is cheep cheep cheep (say it like a birdie). Teach yourself and don't wait between touch ups.
  13. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    North Central Indiana, Kokomo
    My buddies and I all bought the cheap chainsaw grinders from Harbor Freight, they were like $40.00 and each of us have sharpened 100's of times over the past 3 years
  14. WonderingWoman

    WonderingWoman New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    116
    Loc:
    Pacific NW
    I went back to the store and bought a kit to sharpen my chain and got instruction from the guy. Thanks for all the advise, I'll look at that video too. From now on I'll keep up on it more frequently.
  15. renewablejohn

    renewablejohn Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    bolton england
    If you need to keep sharpening a chain you are either cutting an awful lot of wood or you are abusing the chain by cutting nails or touching the ground. I do cut a lot of timber and never abuse the chain and it will normally last me two years at which point I replace with professional quality both chain and bar.
  16. WonderingWoman

    WonderingWoman New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    116
    Loc:
    Pacific NW
    I did accidentally hit a nail once, plus hit something on the ground. I'm a newbie so I'm still learning.
  17. Shipper50

    Shipper50 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2007
    Messages:
    604
    Loc:
    Indiana
    At least your trying. Show me a man that hasn't hit something on the ground once or more and I will put him on Ripley's. %-P

    Shipper
  18. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Messages:
    608
    Loc:
    NE Oklahoma
    Shipper has my number. I would like to say most of the things I hit are not my fault but I do tend to cut too close to the ground.
  19. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,428
    Loc:
    British Columbia
    I don`t find sharpening the chain to be all that difficult. If it cuts on an angle after sharpening then I go at it again till I get it right and it cuts straight. I find getting the rakers down to the right height to be a more difficult chore. Of course, I`m not using any tools other than the round file and the flat file. Maybe I need yet another gadjet :cheese:
  20. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
    140
    Loc:
    North Central Indiana, Kokomo
    For the rakers you can buy the following tool from baileysonline.com for $2.95

    Filemate raker tool item 15225

    It is cheap and works fine, a simple gauge
  21. crazy_dan

    crazy_dan New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2007
    Messages:
    857
    Loc:
    Missouri
    I put a file to my chain every pickup load. I HATE dull chains and keeping a chain sharp will save you time and aggravation.
    Besides chains are cheap compaired to other sorces of heat.
  22. Gator eye

    Gator eye Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2008
    Messages:
    190
    Loc:
    Michigan

    I am with you, I touch up my chain with every tank fill up. By that time I am ready for a break anyway, and before the trip to the woods I put the saw in a vise and do a real good sharping job.

    Once you get use to a cutting with a sharp chain you won't cut any other way. Once you learn the how to, it doesn't take no time and really quite simple.
  23. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    912
    Loc:
    Essex County, New York
    Absolutely!. Once you learn it, it is a no brainer. You will never pay to have anyone sharpen them again!

    How does the saying go "teach a man to fish..." Well, it goes the same with your chains.

    A wise choice!
  24. rich81

    rich81 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    200
    you mean to tell me you can cut a lot of wood for two years straight without ever having to sharpen your chain??? what do you have carbide teeth on your chain?? i can't go two days without sharpening my chain i put the dremel to it after every other gas fill up.
  25. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    339
    Loc:
    Orange County NY
    I have a professional grinder and files. As sais previously, I carry the files with me. 2 strokes on each tooth brings the edge back very quickly. With practice, I found that I can sharpen by hand quicker than removing the chain to put it on the machine. Plus... you take off a lot less steel with your file and so the chains last longer. If you've ever watched someone do it in th esaw shop, they take off a lot when they grind ( sell more chain)
    I have an 029 and recently had it in the garage- I blew out the air filter, and etc with compressed air, and thoroughly cleaned the bar & made sure oil could flow where it's supposed to, then sharpened the chain and took it to a 20" oak. It was like a brand new saw with a brand new chain.
    If you've ever watched professionals ( I hire a logger to clear lots for me) they sharpen their chains (by hand) a couple of times a day.
    Practice & you'll get good at it too!
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page