Is there a reason to sharpen a brand new chain?

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akkamaan

New Member
I have been teaching logging process machine operators in my past. And I have learned a lot from sharpening .404" chain with robots, grinders, and with a file. But you do not really realize what a sharp chain means until you use one on a chain saw instead of harvester head with a 50hp hydraulic saw motor.

I just a while ago got a brand new chain on my Stihl saw, and I could see the shape of the cutter was different than other older brand new chains I used for my old Husqvarna.

This morning I decided to make a little research on my own, and use my new macro and microscope lenses for my smartphone.
20150420_083232.jpg

I started with putting the brand new file under the microscope
file_sharp.jpg
and a slightly used file
file_dull.jpg
Can this be a reason why people think a brand new chain is the sharpest it ever will be in its life time??

Then I checked out a brand new cutter link and compared it with a brand new one which I re-shaped so the edge fitted the file, and I found out that this brand new chain have a severe hook edge, which of course, makes the chain sharper when brand new, but also get dull faster.
My green line shows the "proper" edge angle after using the file, and the red line shows the "hook" angle from the manufacturer.
hook_edge.jpg
Of course they will sell more new chains with this little trick :mad:

Now I took a couple of close-ups of a brand new edge...
factory sharp.jpg
and one that I gave a "reconditioner" with a fresh file
Filed_sharp2.jpg
Now I let you guys make some comments...>>
 
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Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,149
Northern IL
Without a doubt it appears that the hook of the tooth from the factory chain is more pronounced. I don't know that I would call it a "trick" though.
May I ask what type of chain this was? RS/RSC or some other? It would be interesting to know if ALL of Stihls chains are sharpened to the same shape from the factory.
 

akkamaan

New Member
May I ask what type of chain this was? RS/RSC or some other? It would be interesting to know if ALL of Stihls chains are sharpened to the same shape from the factory.
I did not have the box, and I don't know if there is a "code" or if the chain design can tell...
And I must say, that the one I adjusted with the file, still had little to much of a hook.
It is recommended to have 1/4" of the file diameter above the cutter plane, that will always make the proper hook size, usually 75-85 deg is rekommended.
file_height.jpg
The image is captured from The Stihl Manual for sharpening
http://www.stihl.com/p/media/download/sharpening_STIHL_saw_chains_0457-181-0121_02.pdf
Oregon recommends 60-90 deg depending on the type of chain.
oregon_angles.jpg
from
http://www.oregonproducts.com/pdfs/FilingAngles.pdf

I can not just now find a complete list of all Stihl chains...:rolleyes:
 

DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
My green line shows the "proper" edge angle after using the file, and the red line shows the "hook" angle from the manufacturer.
Just so I understand what you are saying ... You are saying that you know the 'proper' edge better than Stihl? And your expertise for this knowledge is ... ?

I think this thread will get pretty interesting if it lasts long.
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,149
Northern IL
Just so I understand what you are saying ... You are saying that you know the 'proper' edge better than Stihl?
Not looking to speak for him, but if I understand correctly - the factory chain has an edge that cannot be duplicated with a file. So the "proper" edge with a file is different than a factory stihl edge.
 
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akkamaan

New Member
Just so I understand what you are saying ... You are saying that you know the 'proper' edge better than Stihl? And your expertise for this knowledge is ... ?
First of all, I do not have to document my expertise for you, to be able to make a post here. secondly, what make you think have enough under your belt to challenge my "expertis"?:)

I stated at the top of my IP (Initial Post), what my past have been regarding knowledge about maintenance of .404" machine chains.
Why dont you argue with facts instead of stupid questions like that?

Back to my post. I can see that Stihl (which I love dearly as a Stihl chain saw owner), are giving counter active messages with their offficial
chain maintenance versus their design of the cutter. Why the f**k do they manufacture a chain with a 45° leaning edge, and then advice the user to change it to around 75° (thats what you get with ¼ of file diameter above the cutter plane) when sharpening with a file???
my_stihl_chain.jpg my_stihl_chain_why.jpg
I do not take a lot of brains to see that something is wrong here...or does it?
If we keep maintaining that 45° when sharpening, we will be called to have used too small file diameter by the "real experts"
Finally I do think Oregon's experience in this chain saw subject is pretty solid.
oregon_angles.jpg
 

claydogg84

Minister of Fire
Sep 9, 2013
1,792
Salt Point, NY
First of all, I do not have to document my expertise for you, to be able to make a post here. secondly, what make you think have enough under your belt to challenge my "expertis"?:)

I stated at the top of my IP (Initial Post), what my past have been regarding knowledge about maintenance of .404" machine chains.
Why dont you argue with facts instead of stupid questions like that?
Here's a fact for you - Sharpening a brand new chain, regardless of brand, is a waste of time. Your cut speed gains will be minimal to the point of negating the time spent sharpening something that didn't need sharpening.
 

Giles

Burning Hunk
Nov 25, 2011
108
N.W. Alabama
Since I do not make a living with a chainsaw nor do I race them, a new chain of any quality brand is good enough for me.
I also realize that any manufacturer of chains use a happy medium for the shape and sharpness of their chain. I, personally feel that they grind to satisfy the need of the average user in ALL types of wood.
A little custom change in profile may work great in certain cutting situations and fall short in others.
Sort of like a new truck that is designed to do all sorts of different jobs, but does none perfect without a little custom modifying.
Or like an item that fits everything but fits nothing perfect.
 
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akkamaan

New Member
Sharpening a brand new chain, regardless of brand, is a waste of time.
Did I ever say anything else in my posting? I just wanted to point out the brand new chains are not perfect.
But I bet you, the logging show pros, do not put a brand new chain on for their "finals". And there is several reasons for that. I tried to point out one of these reasons with my post. Of course an amateur user, like me, will get his reason to to sharpen my brand new saw chain after refilling my saw with 1 or 2 tanks of fuel or 1/2 hour cutting dirty logs. Do your chain last 4 tanks?:)
 

Mag Craft

Feeling the Heat
Apr 2, 2014
355
Wyoming
If you look at the cutters on the oregon round ground chisel chains you will see a similar design in how the cutter is shaped. I try and set my grinders to duplicate that hook as close as I can because the design has proven to work.
If you think it dulls to fast then do not use it, go to a semi chisel chain instead.

The Stihl chain is not a trick but is a design to produce a fast cutting chain right out of the box and like I said if it dulls to fast then use semi chisel.
 

DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
First of all, I do not have to document my expertise for you, to be able to make a post here. secondly, what make you think have enough under your belt to challenge my "expertis"?
I read your post that you are challenging the expertise of Stihl. I am questioning whether you have the expertise to challenge Stihl, not me. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your posts.

What I read from your post is that you think Stihl has got it wrong and that Oregon has it right. Yes/No??
 

Fifelaker

Minister of Fire
Oct 3, 2011
516
NW Mi
Well I will waste my time on a new chain! Being beat around in a box or on the roll during shipping and handling is not healthy for a sharp tool of any kind period!!! Also the speed is secondary as a sharp chain will make a power head live a longer life. I will also say that a factory grind is a compromise, as a perfect grind for softwood is a bit different that a perfect grind for hardwoods. Saw racing is a whole different ballgame. The chain is taken apart the tie straps are thinned and polished, the cutters are ground to the witness mark or more and back cut then hand filed, re-spun with new rivets which are then stoned, rakers set to a certain depth depending on the type of wood being cut. A race chain from one of the big guys is over $1,500 and takes about 80 hours to do. Besides it is MY time and I will waste it if and how I like.
 
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akkamaan

New Member
I read your post that you are challenging the expertise of Stihl. I am questioning whether you have the expertise to challenge Stihl, not me.
I see that Stihl do not have the same support instructions about the chain products. When I try to find pdf's with information about angels etc. It only refers to sharpeing with grinders. The only intruction about using a file, seems to be more of a general art, that obviously do not take different chain designs in consideration. Like this "1/4" of the file above the cutter plane. Stuff just do not make sense, and thats what I am challenging. Anyone can challenge any company about anything. I try to back up my arguments facts. Sthil give their chain an agressive 45° cutting angle, that no other chain manufacturer ever, to my knowledge, used on a regular saw chain. And on top of that the recommend a less agressive angle for the owner. Why is that?


Perhaps I am misunderstanding your posts.
Yes you obviusly do, because you are distractedby from not knowing my credits. If everyone have to document credits before posting on this forum, I think there wont be many members left....due to lack of kredits...

What I read from your post is that you think Stihl has got it wrong and that Oregon has it right. Yes/No??
"Yo" :cool:
Stihl provide two very different answers on a question, without motivating why. I am asking why??. And thats how I challenge Stihl here.
And Mag Craft, for example, gave a great input from his perspective...And I agree with him on this...
...is a design to produce a fast cutting chain right out of the box
Which I also in little different words state in my initial posting.
...hook edge, which of course, makes the chain sharper when brand new...
Oregon backs up their products with complete and comprehensive manuals and specs. I miss some of that in Sthils program.
But that do not mean that this German technology can't be competitive if maintained perfectly, and according to its design.
 

jnaumuk

New Member
Nov 25, 2014
18
NC
I find it interesting how some folks have complete faith in big business. I guess Chevy and Toyota would never risk people's lives over a 2$ part either. I've also worked with software in the past that had intentional stop clocks programmed in to them so you had to buy upgrades. So if you think it's outside the realm of possibility that Stihl is not always looking out for the customers best interest you're kidding yourself.
 

akkamaan

New Member
I've also worked with software in the past that had intentional stop clocks programmed into them so you had to buy upgrades.
Thanks jnaumuk, for verifying what I always have suspected.
Or the "stopclock" comes with a free software upgrade on your smartphone, before your 2-year contract is up for renewal...:mad:
"nope, I have no documented creds from that industry", only as a longtime user...;)
 

DougA

Minister of Fire
Dec 13, 2012
1,938
S. ON
There are a multitude of alternative choices for chains on your Stihl saw. I've used other chains and I prefer Stihl, even though it is much higher in price.

Akkamaan, why don't you email Stihl with your findings and let us know what they say.
 

1kzwoman

Feeling the Heat
Dec 27, 2013
427
West near Yellowstone
First of all, I do not have to document my expertise for you, to be able to make a post here. secondly, what make you think have enough under your belt to challenge my "expertis"?:)

I stated at the top of my IP (Initial Post), what my past have been regarding knowledge about maintenance of .404" machine chains.
Why dont you argue with facts instead of stupid questions like that?

Back to my post. I can see that Stihl (which I love dearly as a Stihl chain saw owner), are giving counter active messages with their offficial
chain maintenance versus their design of the cutter. Why the f**k do they manufacture a chain with a 45° leaning edge, and then advice the user to change it to around 75° (thats what you get with ¼ of file diameter above the cutter plane) when sharpening with a file???
View attachment 157313 View attachment 157311
I do not take a lot of brains to see that something is wrong here...or does it?
If we keep maintaining that 45° when sharpening, we will be called to have used too small file diameter by the "real experts"
Finally I do think Oregon's experience in this chain saw subject is pretty solid.
View attachment 157312 [/quote

Akkamman I know your experience and appreciate your posts. May I suggest a bit mellowed approach to a response from others who have different views. After all we are here to learn and teach and enjoy the difference this forum offers. Just a thought, because you are an excellent resource for those of lesser knowledge
 
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akkamaan

New Member
There are a multitude of alternative choices for chains on your Stihl saw. I've used other chains and I prefer Stihl, even though it is much higher in price.
I don't have a problem with my chain, i only fire up my chainsaw a few times per year. 2-3 hours of use per year, enough to sharpen my chain a few times. The chain doesn't bother me once I have used a file on it, and I usually have to use the file after the first tank is empty. Buying log yard logs is tough on the chains, any normal budget chain

[/quote]Akkamaan, why don't you email Stihl with your findings and let us know what they say.[/quote]
I am going to try that, and I will keep you guys updated on this thread...:ZZZ
http://bit.ly/1Dc7q4i

hmmm
http://m.stihlusa.com/information/mobile-contact-us/
:p
 

CountryBoy19

Minister of Fire
Jul 29, 2010
962
Southern IN
Keep in mind that the chains are likely sharpened by a grinding wheel and over the course of sharpening many chain the wheel may take on certain shapes that are outside of a completely rounded profile due to wear in specific areas of the grinding wheel. I'm sure Stihl has a set of parameters that determine how often the wheel profile needs to be dressed to provide the best quality chain at the best prices. I think for any of this to be "conclusive" a fairly sizable random sampling of chains all from different lots, or a LARGE sampling of chain from a continuous run would need to be examined to determine if changing grinding wheel profiles are the cause of this.
 

Wildo

Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2011
555
jackmanistan, maine
It surely doesn't hurt anything.
 

Mag Craft

Feeling the Heat
Apr 2, 2014
355
Wyoming
Well I will waste my time on a new chain! Being beat around in a box or on the roll during shipping and handling is not healthy for a sharp tool of any kind period!!! Also the speed is secondary as a sharp chain will make a power head live a longer life. I will also say that a factory grind is a compromise, as a perfect grind for softwood is a bit different that a perfect grind for hardwoods. Saw racing is a whole different ballgame. The chain is taken apart the tie straps are thinned and polished, the cutters are ground to the witness mark or more and back cut then hand filed, re-spun with new rivets which are then stoned, rakers set to a certain depth depending on the type of wood being cut. A race chain from one of the big guys is over $1,500 and takes about 80 hours to do. Besides it is MY time and I will waste it if and how I like.
Yes you do have the right to spend your time the way you want, and I do not consider it a waste.
But the OP made a statement that what Stihl is doing with their chains is a trick as if they were trying to pull a fast one over on the public so that can sell more chains. That is hog wash.
 
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