Chain saw sharpeners: Northern Tool vs. Harbor Freight

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wahoowad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2005
1,650
Virginia
Does anybody know which of these are considered the better of the two chain sharpeners? I've heard both mentioned as doing good. Wondering if one has a feature or something that makes it better than the other.
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
interchangabLEE said:
I don't know about chain sharpeners but I have found Northern to have better quality stuff than Harbor.
+1 the oregon 511 knock off from northern. I bought a real 511 used off Ebay for 200.00 just another idea
 

Gooserider

Mod Emeritus
Nov 20, 2006
6,737
Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
I didn't know that HF sold chainsaw files.... %-P I have the HF chain grinder, and it is a VERY basic and cheap plastic item - emphasis on the cheap, considering that it's often on sale for $30 or so... From pictures and other discussion that I've seen, I'd say the Northern unit is better (and some of the guys on Arboristsite mod them to allegedly make them as good as the Oregon units, at considerably less cost) but it also costs a LOT more...

IMHO the HF unit is good enough to deal with a badly rocked chain, but if I want to get a SHARP chain, I break out my files...

Gooserider
 

LLigetfa

Minister of Fire
Nov 9, 2008
7,360
NW Ontario
So what's the mod, a reversible motor?
 

smokinj

Minister of Fire
Aug 11, 2008
15,980
Anderson, Indiana
LLigetfa said:
So what's the mod, a reversible motor?
you just add a switch to make it reversible.
 

Gooserider

Mod Emeritus
Nov 20, 2006
6,737
Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
LLigetfa said:
So what's the mod, a reversible motor?
I forget the details - I didn't own one so it didn't seem important - but I think they added a couple of shims and changed some parts from plastic to metal, it was supposed to get the slop out of some of the adjustments.

Gooserider
 

computeruser

Feeling the Heat
Jan 16, 2007
375
East Lansing, MI
The purple NorthernTool knock-off of the Oregon 511A is decent. Bailey's is selling the same knock-off now, too. I've used the NT version, and it's not bad for what it is. It is not an Oregon/SpeedSharp/Tecomec or MAXX, but it is also 1/3 to 1/4 the price.

If I only had $100-150 to spend, I'd get the Stihl bench-mount filing jig, for what it's worth.
 

precaud

Minister of Fire
Jan 20, 2006
2,307
Sunny New Mexico
I have the NT grinder, with the shim mod which really makes it smoother and more accurate to operate. I find I only use the grinder for truing up a damaged chain. Most often I still use a file.
 

Backwoods Savage

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2007
27,812
Michigan
I use the simple dremel type tool. For power, just clip it onto the battery of the atv. Saw runs out of gas, sharpen the chain. Takes only a couple of minutes; for sure less than 5. Gas up saw and resume cutting. This sharpener costs from $14-$30 depending on where you get it. Northern often has them for $14. Stones are cheap and come 3 in a package. Easy to change too. Does a good job.

I was worried about these things because for years I had sharpened with only a file and was afraid those little grinders would not do the job. I was wrong. What a Godsend when you have bad hurting hands! Only thing you have to be careful of is to not "burn" the teeth. Don't hold it on there and grind away getting the tooth hot. Touch and go.
 
I

ISeeDeadBTUs

Guest
I can't say one over the other. I've heard that the Oregon is a very good unit.

I bought Timber Tuff CS-BWM at Tractor Supply. I am happy with it, though it would be nice if it had a raker griner incorporated into it.

Jimbo
 
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