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Would my chainsaw blade go dull this quickly?

Post in 'The Gear' started by wahoowad, Jan 15, 2006.

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  1. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Yesterday I put a new factory blade on my Poulon Wild Thing 18" chainsaw. The original blade had been abused when I cut up a few railroad ties so I put on the spare thaty came with the saw. I cut up a dead 6" diameter dogwood into a dozen logs and cut up a couple seasoned oak logs that were maybe 14" in diameter. In total maybe 6 cuts on the oak logs and 12 on the dogwood. Today I went to cut some more 14" oak logs and the blade acted as if it was dull. I got through them but it felt like the blade was struggling.

    Is this a matter of me just cutting some big, hard logs or did I already wear out the blade? How long should a blade last?

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  2. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    By "blade", I assume you mean the chain? Wouldn't think it would go bad that fast...are you sure there wasn't some sand or dirt trapped in some of the wood?
    Could be though. I bought a Wild Thing 18" last year as a throw away to cut things I don't want to cut with my Husky or Stihl, and the replacement chain that came with the saw was junk. Didn't last very long, but longer than what you describe. I replaced it with an Oregon chain and the thing actually cuts pretty good now. I find the Wild Thing is a little under powered for an 18" bar, so the trick is to not horse the saw, let it pull itself through at it's own pace.

    Willhound
  3. snowfreak

    snowfreak New Member

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    Was the spare chain brand new? If not the spare may not have been sharp to begin with. Generally that few of cuts would not dull a sharp chain, however if the wood/bark had some dirt in it or if you accidentally ran the chain into the ground even just once that would dull a sharp chain. If I keep the chain in clean wood (no dirt) don't hit any nails or barb wire I can go the day without a need to sharpen. If I do run into some snags (dirt, rock, nails etc.) I grab my file and do a quick touch up, much better to cut with a sharp chain than fight with a dull one. A sharp chain will pull itself through the wood with little to no down pressure and will spit out consistent chips whereas a dull chain will require significant down pressure and will spit out saw dust with a few chips mixed in. At the end of the day I sharpen my chain whether it needs it or not. I have had some chains last me 6 months and some only a month. One tree I hit 3 strands of hidden barb wire and by the time I was done filing I was lucky to have half the life of the chain. So chain life can vary quite a bit from my experience or should I say lack of it :eek:)
  4. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Sorry - chain, not blade. Don't know what I was thinking.

    Yes, the chain was new. Today I did have to 'force' it. I probably hit the tip lightly into the ground, more than once. Are they that susceptile to dulling?
  5. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    If you hit the ground and it was frozen, or you caught a small rock, yes. Doesn't take much some times. And like I said, the "free" spare chain that came with the Wild Thing was junk. I guess you get what you pay for. Mine went dull pretty quick and even after sharpening, didn't hold for very long, which is why I tossed it and bought a new one. The price of a good replacement chain is usually worth it, but even these will get dinged and dull if you hit the dirt or something hard.

    Willhound
  6. DavidV

    DavidV New Member

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    Put a new Oregon chain and bar on it adn keep it out of the dirt. You will be pleased with the way it cuts.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Amen David.
  8. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    hooray! Lowes sells oregon chain!
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    When you consider how fast the chain is moving, it's not hard to understand that it can become very dull very quickly. Just hitting one little rock can dull a chain instantly. Like DavidV said, get yourself a new chain, keep it out of the dirt and sharpen it after every tank of gas to keep it from getting dull. Remember that hitting frozen sand or dirt is just like hitting a rock.
  10. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    My chains last me as long as there is nothing left to file.

    It took me a long time to figure out how to file a chain correctly. Now that I do, I get straight fast cuts. The weight of the saw will provide all the pressure necessary to get a fast cut.

    If your saw if not providing the bite, then the chain is not right. What I mean is that you should not need to put much pressure down to cut.

    I file it after every tank of fuel. IT IS WORTH IT.

    I use Stihl Chisel chains.

    And like Eric said, if you hit a rock, then......
  11. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Can I learn to sharpen a chain by reading the manual or other paper reference? Or is it something someone just needs to show you? I don't use my saw that much although I sharpen my own knives and think I would like to know how to sharpen a chain.
  12. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    There a gigs that sit on the bar set to the proper angle using the proper file that takes the guess work out of it
    There are also file holders that indicate the angle to bar relationship that are help full foung at Home Depot or Sears
    Basically 30 degrees will work fine
  13. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    Like a lot of things, someone can show you, or you can watch a video, or read a manual, but it really comes down to practice makes perfect. If you can sharpen a knife, you've got the basics down. The big thing with a chain is maintaining the correct angle, and using the right file at the right time for that particular chain. It is also easier if you start with a chain that just needs a bit of a touch up, vs. one that is really trashed. The one that just needs a touch up, you can start with just a few easy strokes per tooth to get you in the groove. After a while you can "feel" if you're using the right stroke and angle or not.
    On the other hand, a trashed chain, like the one you are replacing, is good for practice and trying different things on. It's sometimes worthwhile even to see if a shop or somebody will give you a fried chain that you can just play with, so that you have a bit of an idea before you tackle a good one.

    Willhound
  14. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I use a cheezy file guide made by Husqvarna that works like a champ. Cost like 14 bucks at Lowes, and it included 3 files. I had to slightly modify it to work with Stihl chains.

    I would highly recomend some sort of filing guide.
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