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Sparking a Chain :-((

Post in 'The Gear' started by richg, Dec 2, 2009.

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  1. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    Yup,

    I sparked a chain today on my MS 460 after touching a rock. It was pretty sad looking when I bought the saw, but dang...no matter how hard I tried to sharpen it, no dice, it's done. On the bright side, the full chisel on my Jonsered absolutely kicked butt. I pulled about 1.5 cords of oak out of the woods behind my house using the ATV and polar trailer. There is more wood back there than I could burn in ten lifetimes, the only problem is that the land is heavily used by hunters. I stay out when there is a truck parked near the access trail, but something tells me some day, some way, sparks are gonna fly, no pun intended.

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  2. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    always make for a good show when the sparks are flying, someday i think i will just hold it at WOT cant hurt it any worse... lol
  3. Gary_602z

    Gary_602z Minister of Fire

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    Won't cut any better either! :lol:

    Gary
  4. Kong

    Kong New Member

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    Everyone does it and does it more often than they'd like to admit.

    The moment you see a spark stop. Take the chain off, put on another one, and then get on with your cutting. To continue trying to cut with the chain after you've dulled it not only wastes your time and energy it also greatly increases wear on the guide bar while doing its level best to take very bit of temper out of the cutters on your chain. So just stop and put on another chain.

    As to the sharpening thing let me tell you what to do. Get a good sized vice and bolt it down to a stable bench. Put your worst chain on the saw and put your saw's bar in the vice and clamp it down, then tighthten up the chain way too tight. Then using a file guide, and filing in only one direction (pushing away from you) practice on filing that chain. Count your strokes, do about 6 per cutter. Hold the file/guide level and at the angle indicated by the little cross lines on the guide. Pay attention and don't wobble. This is not magic. If the cutter is worn down to about 1/2 of its original length then I want you to do this. With the bar still in the vice and the chain way too tight, make three passes over each depth guage on the chain - 3, no more and no less - with a plain old 6" fine bastard file. Do it again when the chain has about 3 sharpenings left in it.

    There is no reason on the face of the earth why any man, woman, or reasonably patient and intelligent child can not sharpen a chain to a level tollerably close to what it was when new.
  5. CarbonNeutral

    CarbonNeutral Minister of Fire

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    You clearly know what you're talking about - so here's a question - how tight is too tight, what is about right?
  6. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Whenever I see sparks I always say to myself, "Was that a spark?" Then I lie to myself and say, "Nahhhhh. . . That couldn't have been a spark." So I hit it again just to make sure.
  7. Kong

    Kong New Member

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    For the most part I don't have a clue what I'm talking about, but touching up a chain is simple enough that I can grasp the concept. I suspect you are well informed, but an awful lot of guys just keep on grinding away with the saw long after the chain has lost anything like an edge. The post was aimed at them.

    But it was a good question. When the bar is in the vice and you're getting ready to sharpen it overtighten it enough that the chain is held firm in the grove of the bar. The chain should be quite snug and require a bit of a tug to rotate it on the bar. I normall pull the chain forward with the back side of the file guide pulling on the back side of the next cutter to be addressed, one after another; you do it for about 15 minutes and you turn into a robot. Of course when you're done the chain tension has to be reset; my chains sag about the same as my belly.
  8. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

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    I have hit landscape rock hidden in a log and cut 1/2" deep grooves in sandstone hiding under a log, lots of sparks. Beyond what it does to the edge it also removes the outer chrome layer back a ways from the edge. Although I suppose such a chain could be repaired by hand filing all the way back beyond the damage, it would take a whole lot of strokes per tooth. I use the el-cheapo HF chain grinder instead when things get that bad.
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The way the Arboristsite folks put it for chain tension is "No Sag, No Drag" - IOW, While holding up on the bar tip, if needed adjust the bar back until there is some sag in the chain, and then bring the tension up until the chain just barely touches the bar in the center. Snug it up (while keeping the upwards tension on the bar tip) and move the chain - it shouldn't have any more drag on it than it does when it's way to loose... This works really well for short to normal length bars - say up to 24" or so... LONG bars can have a LITTLE sag, as it is difficult to pull really long runs of chain up straight...

    Another rule of thumb is that you shouldn't be able to easily lift the drive links clear of the bar groove...

    If the chain is overly loose, it will have a tendency to throw itself off the bar in a cut, especially if you are putting any side pressure on the saw (which you really shouldn't be anyhow) If it is overly tight you will cause greatly increased bar wear...

    Also this is for setting COLD chains - If you need to adjust when the bar and / or chain is hot (like when breaking in a new chain) give a little bit more slack than usual. Some folks also say that if you adjusted the chain hot, you should slack it off when you kill the saw, before it cools. The claim is that if not, the chain will shrink when it cools to be way over-tight, possibly even enough to bend the crank - again especially on the really long bars...

    Gooserider
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