Manual vs power/professional chain sharpening?

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ben94122

Burning Hunk
Sep 4, 2017
140
California
I didn't like the way the clamping screw in my stump vice was making scratches in the bar, so I put an old bike inner tube around it. Seems to hold the bar a bit better.
 

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dquest

Member
Dec 13, 2018
74
Ont,Can
Somebody simply did a poor job. It can take a bit of time to learn, but isn't difficult to do. Get a stihl 2 n 1 ( or equivelent) and learn to sharpen them yourself. It takes only a few minutes per chain and yields a chain with good performance.
Just one dudes opinion.
Juts bought the 2 n1 maybe a month ago after the "professional" job was poorly done. The 2n1 is fantastic !!
 

Microduck17

Burning Hunk
Dec 21, 2017
240
New Concord Ohio
I've been cutting a lot here the last week or two since I'm not working at the moment and have been practicing my hand filing and have it down to a science using a guide and a vice. I took 2 of my chains that cut slow even though they were really sharp and used a small flat file to take 5 strokes off each raker and boy oh boy what a difference! The saw saw seems to almost fall right through smaller logs and easily cuts the big stuff with little or no down pressure. I tried it on some red oak about 18 inches around thats pretty dry and hard, it gets through that hard stuff knots and all with ease.
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
6,115
07462
I swear by the 2:1 hand sharpener, but I also bought a 3 pack of regular stihl round files, used a round file only yesterday while bucking and noodling big ash and oak rounds. Before I started cutting I re-shaped my chain, already had about 6 cords worth of cutting on it, push cutting slash / crap in the woods and had hit the dirt a number of times, did 10 strokes per tooth, the chain was sharper then when I originally put it on brand new, I've been using tractor supply county line 20" 3/8 pitch full chisel chains, they do tend to stretch out a bit while using, but I can easily get 8-10 cords cut per chain before it becomes to stretched to use.
 
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Microduck17

Burning Hunk
Dec 21, 2017
240
New Concord Ohio
I swear by the 2:1 hand sharpener, but I also bought a 3 pack of regular stihl round files, used a round file only yesterday while bucking and noodling big ash and oak rounds. Before I started cutting I re-shaped my chain, already had about 6 cords worth of cutting on it, push cutting slash / crap in the woods and had hit the dirt a number of times, did 10 strokes per tooth, the chain was sharper then when I originally put it on brand new, I've been using tractor supply county line 20" 3/8 pitch full chisel chains, they do tend to stretch out a bit while using, but I can easily get 8-10 cords cut per chain before it becomes to stretched to use.
I'll likely get a 2in1 at some point in the near future. The beauty of hand filing is you can easily touch up your chain wherever you are cutting. I carry several spare chains and a spare bar but rarely need them. I need to get another file for the smaller chains on my cordless saws and smaller gas saw. Any experience with a stunp vice? They look useful but I've never tried one.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,219
Palmyra, WI
I'll likely get a 2in1 at some point in the near future. The beauty of hand filing is you can easily touch up your chain wherever you are cutting. I carry several spare chains and a spare bar but rarely need them. I need to get another file for the smaller chains on my cordless saws and smaller gas saw. Any experience with a stunp vice? They look useful but I've never tried one.
Yes I have a stump vise, and use it every time I sharpen. It works best if you can pound it into end grain. I also have it spiked to a 2x10x24 pc for using in the garage and back of the truck. The thumb screw is a little weak for tightening, so right now I use a small pliers to cynch it down. Maybe someday I'll replace that part with something I can get ahold of. On the otherhand, it is currently handy to slip in a back pocket, so no hurry.
 

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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,301
Downeast Maine
I have used a stump vise in the past, but I prefer using a regular table vice that can attach to my trailer hitch.
 

Bill the Dog

Member
Mar 10, 2008
16
Central Wisconsin
I have been a hand filer for a long time too. I take my Stihl full chisel chains in to the local Stihl dealer about once a year for electric grinding to true things up or if I hit a nail or something. I always liked the job they did. Hand filing was OK to really good. I have a guage to do the rakers at 0.025", but that is clearly not as aggressive as when I would get the chains back from the dealer. Because i REALLY like an aggressive chain that pulls the saw into the wood, I decided to buy my own electric grinder a few weeks ago. I bought the Oregon 410-120. It took a bit of time to really read the instruction manual and get it set up. Plus reading different forums on what angles to use, but I finally went out yesterday with a chain that I sharpened myself. Wow! The saw cut as good or better than it does with a new chain. I only cut for about 4 tanks of gas (3.5 hours), but the chain did not need touching up in the woods. It was pulling into the wood at the end of the day better than I could ever get it with hand files. I was cutting fairly large (12-20" diameter) oak. The saw was throwing large chips all day. I may have ground the rakers a little too much as my saw would bog down once in a while on the larger logs. Bottom line for me is, although it's early days, I really, really like the Oregon 410. Now I don't have to go to the dealer, drop off a chain, go home, wait a day or two, go back to the dealer and pay for a sharp chain. I wish I could cut more wood just so that I can use this grinder more.
Anyway, one guys opinion.

Bill the Dog
 
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wahoowad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2005
1,650
Virginia
I've been trying to use a Grandberg File-n-Joint for years and never get a chain that stays sharp. I feel I'm using it right, getting the settings right for different chains, just lasts about 2/3 of processing a medium size tree before I notice it producing less chips and more sawdust. So I end up using it a lot when doing tree work but feel I'm spending more time than needed repeatedly sharpening it. Might have to switch to a Stihl 1-n-1 given the rave reviews.

Sure could use that magical tip that somehow makes the Grandberg produce a chain that lasts longer than I'm getting
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,301
Downeast Maine
I've been trying to use a Grandberg File-n-Joint for years and never get a chain that stays sharp. I feel I'm using it right, getting the settings right for different chains, just lasts about 2/3 of processing a medium size tree before I notice it producing less chips and more sawdust. So I end up using it a lot when doing tree work but feel I'm spending more time than needed repeatedly sharpening it. Might have to switch to a Stihl 1-n-1 given the rave reviews.

Sure could use that magical tip that somehow makes the Grandberg produce a chain that lasts longer than I'm getting



This video helped me. I get good results without his modifications, but I'd still like to do them all the same.
If I had a drill press I'd make a few changes to mine.
 

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
423
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
I sharpen by hand with the chain still on the saw, mounted in the vice. Its simple, requires only a minimal investment in tools and for me its relaxing. Rather than waiting until its in bad shape I touch it up often so its always razor sharp. I have a raker file gauge but rarely use it, instead I just hit each of the rakers with a few file strokes every few sharpenings.

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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,679
WI, Leroy
I run a saw sharpening /machine shop- so chains are all done on machines semi chisel on the chop saw style ones and Full chisel on the Simington Square grinder. I keep files and a 12v rig in the truck for out in the field. I do not have time for the Hand filing of customers chains a lot of which can be pretty nasty. Avg. month would be some 100 + chains, the virus bug has slowed things down quite a bit but it is also mud season of late so that also slows traffic down.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,301
Downeast Maine
I run a saw sharpening /machine shop- so chains are all done on machines semi chisel on the chop saw style ones and Full chisel on the Simington Square grinder. I keep files and a 12v rig in the truck for out in the field. I do not have time for the Hand filing of customers chains a lot of which can be pretty nasty. Avg. month would be some 100 + chains, the virus bug has slowed things down quite a bit but it is also mud season of late so that also slows traffic down.
The local logging company/tractor dealer/chainsaw dealer has had logs piled up on their lot with all the feller bunchers and trucks just sitting around.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,679
WI, Leroy
one of my customers , a tree service, is down to about one crew as many did not want be out and about due to the virus - per the owner. Being a one person shop I do not have all that much exposure, and I stay away from any of the big stores. The state does have a stay home order/ closure of none essential businesses - bit of a grey area for me.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
528
Connecticut
I sharpen with a chain grinder now. Used to do it with a Dremel. To me the time savings is well worth the shortened life of the chain. But yes if they try to take to much to fast they can overheat the chain which means it won't hold an edge long at all.

How did you like the results using a Dremel? I bought a new chain at TSC and saw they had replacement sharpening stones for a chainsaw sharpener. Would they work with a Dremel tool? I know it would not be nearly as precise. Maybe there's an attachment for the Drenmel for
that purpose.
 
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Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,219
Palmyra, WI
How did you like the results using a Dremel? I bought a new chain at TSC and saw they had replacement sharpening stones for a chainsaw sharpener. Would they work with a Dremel tool? I know it would not be nearly as precise. Maybe there's an attachment for the Drenmel for
that purpose.
I used the dremel attachment and round emery stone insert for it for quite a few years. One thing is, it requires electric on mine to run, which means bringing them home to sharpen. Another is that the depth teeth are done seperate. The 2in1 does both, is precise, handy and takes equal or less time. Overall, if comfort level and results makes people drift from one method to another, then my current end game is on the 2n1.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,679
WI, Leroy
with any of the little hand held electric grinders the results are not stellar but will get you bye. They do make Diamond stones for those which last a lot longer than the vitrified ones. Every other blue moon someone brings in a carbide tipped chain. So I just use the dremel and the diamond bit on those ( most of the time 1/3 or more of teeth are missing any ways) the CBN wheels ( sometimes called diamond) are not for use on carbide. the matrix on the wheel is different - much finer grit electroplated on wheel. CBN - Cubic Boron Nitrate- man made diamond- almost as hard as Mother Natures OEM product. The lastest product called CBX is for use where one would be grinding carbide and steel together, but is not the case on a carbide tipped chain.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
528
Connecticut
That Sthil 2 in 1 got really good reviews. One thing to watch for that I didn't really think of is the depth of the rakers, or depth gauges. After
repeated manual sharpening it seems the cutting part of the chain may be reduced in height, so the raker could be level making the cutting portion ineffective.

As for the cutting stones I saw at TSC, I assume they're not diamond or CBN. Because the rakers are to be considered at some point when sharpening, you must really need to know what you're doing if sharpening by hand. The Sthil 2 in 1 appears to file the rakers accordingly though, making it a good alternative to a chain sharpening machine.