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who sharpens by hand? who uses a sharpener?

Post in 'The Gear' started by kennyl70, Nov 5, 2012.

  1. kennyl70

    kennyl70 New Member

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    I sharpen my saws all by hand. always have, ever since my grandpa taught me when i was knee high to a grasshopper. i have friends who use the sharpeners and swear by them. but i would think it would mess with the metal temper in the tooth.
    Thoughts?

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  2. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I think hand sharpening is sharper when you get good at it.

    I think you are right, gotta be careful with the grinders, but
    once you get good with them, I think you learn to not overheat with it, + faster & more accurate.
    Have got chains back from the saw shop & can see it was over heated.

    I'm a hand filer.
    Thistle likes this.
  3. kennyl70

    kennyl70 New Member

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    thats what they tell me.... they said u get to know when enough is enough and stop. but i am with ya. i have cut with their saws and they do a great job.... but i feel mine get at it alittle more........... partial..... maybe lol:)
  4. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Sharpen my good knives by hand too, not many I know sharpen their good knives with a grinder ;)

    I know your are right, sharper if done by hand.
    More "love" goes into hand sharpening LOL :)
    Thistle and kennyl70 like this.
  5. kennyl70

    kennyl70 New Member

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    right on the money bogydave!
  6. jonwright

    jonwright Member

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    Given that I haven't found anyone that can sharpen a chain with a machine here I do it myself with a file. I just look at the teeth and I can see where they just miss.

    I'm not an expert by any means. But I have enough sense tO know when it doesn't work any better than when I brought my chain in. My nearest dealer doesn't even fool with sharpening chains.

    I have one that I'm patiently bringing back after being "sharpened".

    I've learned an awful lot about how to do things right after I found this site.
    bogydave likes this.
  7. kennyl70

    kennyl70 New Member

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    it is an art jon for sure. i know so many people who dont even know how to sharpen, they take it to someone to sharpen. i have offered to teach them but some just as soon take it and have it done for a few bucks. it really isnt hard if u take ur time. i agree with u.
  8. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'm a hand filer. I'm toying with buying a Timberline but I do pretty well filing with just a flat guide. If I had a lot more chain to sharpen than just my own I would invest in a grinder. Haven't found a dealer here that knows how to sharpen chain properly, and they all use grinders.

    I think you can get chain's just as sharp on a grinder but there is technique involved in doing so. Knowing a little something about grinding/machine work is a plus too. I'm very intrigued by the Timberline's carbide cutting process too but the entry price a bit high for me to pull the trigger for curiosity's sake.
  9. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Oregon grinder here. Don't have time to fart around with a file.
  10. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Dad taught me years ago,I started with the Granberg file guide,then after getting good switched to filing freehand.Guide still hanging up on wall behind old bench 25+yrs later.
  11. oldogy

    oldogy Member

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    The last chain I had sharpened, they pretty much ruined. I took the chain in when it needed a "touch up" and it was like worn out when I got it back. And this is from a shop that makes up good chains. That is why I was there, having a good type chain made up.
    So, I've always filed by hand although I am thinking about a grinder..
  12. Hurricane

    Hurricane Minister of Fire

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    Always by hand, I just learned that when I was young. Only takes a few minutes and it is probably quicker than bringing it to someone and then going back to pick it up.
  13. rottiman

    rottiman Minister of Fire

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    Do er' by hand. Generally only requires a few touch up strokes. If I am stupid enough to touch a stone or something, and really mess a chain up, then I have occasionaly used a Oregon guide to really clean it up. Have an electric grinder never seem to use it. Carry the file right in the toolbox on the tractor, handy as heck anytime,any where.
  14. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I'm a mechanical idiot . . . tried doing hand sharpening . . . had it shown to me several times and for some reason I can never master this technique.

    Tried the Grandberg . . . tried Husky's widget tool . . . still never got things very sharp.

    Ended up with a mechanical grinder . . . so far, so good. I just tap-tap lightly to sharpen the chain so it doesn't over heat.

    My own feeling . . . as long as it works, to each their own. That said, without a doubt hand sharpening is a cheaper way to go . . . plus you can sharpen in the field and without removing the chain from the bar . . . several benefits over mechanical sharpening.
    PA Fire Bug likes this.
  15. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    I posted this on a similiar thread the other day:

    "In over 40 years of cutting/sharpening I've gone from an unguided hand file, to a "flat bar" guided hand file, to a fancy "jig type" guided hand file, to a guided carbide cutter sharpener, to a small 12V Oregon rotory grinder, to a larger el-cheapo Chicago circular bench grinder, and back to hand filing with the simple Stihl flat bar guide. (The little 12V Oregon sharpener with the round stones was the next best thing for me.) I file my chains a few strokes after every 1-2 gas tanks and keep them from ever getting really dull."
  16. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I was only "ok" by hand, now I use a grinder and keep a handful of chains around. I keep some files in my box for when I'm out in the timber, but I don't really use it anymore.
  17. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Hand sharpening seems to work just fine for me too. I just use files and the Husquavarna file guide that came with the saw. taught myself how, seems fairly straightforward.

    I only use the saw a few times a year though, might invest in better gear if I was sharpening daily.
  18. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I free hand file my own chains and use a grinder for my friends, family and paying customers who would never know the difference.
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    I do not hand file. I have no desire to get good at hand sharpening when I can grind a chain to very sharp with a grinder in very little time. I need to take the chain off anyway to flip the bar and clean out the groove, oiler, etc. So I keep a second chain and have never wanted a third. Careful grinding has allowed me to use just two chains for three years and at least 25 cords of wood.

    If you are willing to get good at one or the other, getting good at mechanical sharpening will make you more productive. You can't compare the ground chains from a saw shop to the chains ground by somebody who cares to do it right. I have had to recover chains ground by some idiot at a saw shop and it is amazing what careless grinders can do to a good chain. Not just bad angles, but overheated teeth, ignoring the rakers, irregular tooth length, wrong size wheel, etc. but the biggest is just oversharpening so that you have to buy new chains sooner.
  20. dorkweed

    dorkweed Guest

    By hand here also.
  21. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    I have always sharpened by hand. But then I have been sharpening for a while. I made the mistake of sharpening a knife for a friend one time and the word spread.......now knives just seem to get dropped off at my house...........which I assume means they want them sharpened ;)
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  22. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    I can do a fair job with a file, but no comparison to my early impressions of the Timberline. So far, I love it. Dead nuts accuracy, and no chance of overheating.
  23. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Kenny, I learned how to file many, many moons ago and would hate to know the count on how many times I've sharpened a chain. I learned how to sharpen without any thing except the file; no guides. Then I also remember learning to sharpen those big circular saws in the mill (which I never liked to do). But time and injuries sometimes take a huge toll on the body. My hands just do not like sharpening with a file and a couple years ago I finally got one of the little dremel type sharpeners. I wondered for sure at first how good I could get the chain and of course worry about the temper. So far I have not ruined any chains and sharpening is quick and much easier on my hands. I know some put these things down but there is a time and a place. They do the job well. Yes, a good filing by hand by someone who is good will do a tad better but not much. So I happily carry my sharpener to the woods every time I go. In fact just today I had to drop a couple small trees but first had to sharpen the chain. No problem. They do have their place.

    EDIT: I own one chain saw and one chain. That is all I need now and can not see any need to tie up more dollars having several chains. If one wears out, then I buy another.
    tfdchief likes this.
  24. rottiman

    rottiman Minister of Fire

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    I hear ya Dennis, I'm down to 1 saw, 1 chain and 1 file also. The Kiss principal seems to work just fine.
    tfdchief and Backwoods Savage like this.
  25. Shmudda

    Shmudda Burning Hunk

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    I sharpen with a grinder, and like others have said once you get good at it you become more productive than hand filing and the edges are just as good. As with anything it takes time, but in the end time is saved with the grinder in my opinion. I have had chains last me for 7+ years using a grinder and I bet I cut 5-6 cords per year. With both methods its all about the setup when starting out! I can honestly say I have never had to pay for a chain to get sharpened, I have had access to a grinder (homemade from my grandfather) to an Oregon unit I purchased back in 2006 since I was a young boy and it has been a life (and money) saver!!

    Craig

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