Post in 'The Gear' started by fireview2788, Jun 2, 2012.
I do agree. I don't know anyone that has actually tried both that still runs full-comp chains.
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I have one full comp that came with my new saw more than two years (and more than 15 cords ago) plus a second chain that is a skip chain. Back to back, no difference in cutting speed but I sure like sharpening that skip chain.
I don't think you can file a chain "needlessly," since a chain begins to get dull the minute you start cutting with it. You're always ahead to cut with the sharpest chain possible. The chain will last longer and your saw (and your body) will see less wear and tear. It's just like the professional chefs or barbers who sharpen their knives or razors all the time. They always want the sharpest tool possible. As a practical matter, sharpening a saw chain when you stop for a break (or a refill) presents the best opportunity to touch up your chain, since you've stopped working for other reasons anyway. Fewer professional loggers use chain saws these days--at least most don't do most of their work with them--but those I visit who do use their saw full-time, always touch up their chains when they gas up. Obviously, if you hit a rock or otherwise bung up your chain mid-tank, you need to address the problem immediately, as trying to cut with a dull chain will not only further damage the chain, but it will prematurely wear more expensive components of your saw, such as the bar, vibration dampening system, etc.
This approach assumes that you know how to sharpen a saw, i.e., make it sharper when you're done than when you started. Admittedly, it took me a long time to get to that point, and I've tried just about every contraption and technique out there. Finally, I found that the best solution is a round file properly used and a flat file (sparingly) used on the rakers. I have heard good things about the relatively new Husqvarna/Pferd file holder that takes the rakers down while you file and although I haven't used it extensively, it seems to be superior to filing each component separately.
I am with Eric Johnson. If I am digging a hole, I sharpen the edge of the shovel—a lot.
I used to strip on a light table for a pre-press house years ago. If you didn't have a sharp exacto you made a mess of things.
while I may not sharpen each and every tank full on the saw.
I will give it a couple swipes with the file, probably more then I need to if I am going to be at it all day.
When I got my 280 last November it came with a green chain. I got them to throw in a yellow RSC.
I have only used the original green so far. 3 or 4 swipes probably every other tank. I got 7 cord out of it and no sign of wearing out.
I have no desire for a fancy machine. BUT... I will have Smokinjay put an edge on it next time I see him just to see the difference.
Just wanted to say welcome back Eric.
Interesting to see most of you guys hand sharpening. It's the way I proposed to go when I got back into heating with wood after 15 years away from it, but I let a coworker talk me into buying a big stationary grinder. Having put less than a half dozen chains thru it so far, I'm not completely sold on it, and thinking of switching over to hand sharpening.
Seems maybe having the capability of both might not be bad, though. Hand sharpen for day-to-day maintenance, then have the grinder for re-profiling when you hit a rock or metal in a tree.
Trouble with switching back and forth from grinder to round file is the shape of the cutter. It'll be round with the round file and something else with the grinder.
My chains have to be way out of shape (rock, nail, etc) to see a grinder. IMO, routine grinding is a waste of chain.
My stihl dealer charges $11 to grind a chain....... if I rock one and it has less than half life left, I just buy a new one.
Good thinking. I was paying something like 6$ per chain sharpening for the local saw shop to grind. I bought a 30$ HF chain grinder that paid for itself very quickly.
You can absolutely get long life from a chain if you sharpen with a grinder. You just need to know how to use it. You don't remove very much material at all if you're doing it right and the very light touch prevents heating the tooth and losing the heat treatment qualities. The saw shop tends to overgrind for the sake of speed and also to sell you a new chain sooner.
Seriously, I drag logs out of the woods in the dirt. Cut stumps flush so I can mow over them. Still, with proper techniques I have gotten a very long life out of just a pair of stihl chains.
I touch up my chains every other fill up. Works for me and also gives me a little break. FWIW, I cut about 95% oak and the rest hickory.
Buying a new chain every time instead of having it sharpened is just crazy talk. The least you could do is have it pro-sharpened. The Stihl dealers around here charge five bucks a pop to sharpen. A lot cheaper than buying a new one. Still, I highly suggest you learn how to hand sharpen.
For you guys hand sharpening, are you doing it freehand or using a guide? If using a guide, which one?
Hand sharpening here with file-mounted guide. Allows some freedom of movement but keeps the file where it should be, depth wise, and gives a good visual indicator for angle without forcing my hand.
I didn't know file guides existed till I came here
Just a file. LOL I might grab a guide if handy. I have a few.
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