please recommend a chainsaw filing system

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Ericcc

Member
Jan 30, 2019
19
western NC Piedmont
I've been free hand filing my own chains for years, but although I've gotten by and it seems like I can sometimes get my chain to cut as good as a new chain, I'm frequently not altogether happy with the way my saw is cutting. I know there are other factors besides chain sharpening that can affect how well a chainsaw cuts, but I'm thinking that buying some kind of file guide or other filing system might help to reduce the number of potential problems. The Granberg bar mounted file guide system looked good, but the reviews I saw for it led me to believe it isn't well made and breaks easily. I would prefer a non-electric system. I don't mind a system that's slower to use, especially if it's low-tech (less to break and therefore longer lasting), less expensive, and more transportable. Is a basic file guide (like I've seen sell for about $13) all I need? I'd like something that helps me file my drags to just the right depth, too. What do you all recommend?
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,119
Downeast Maine
I really like the Granberg File-N-Joint and the Precision grinder. Both are guided filing jigs with back stops for equal length cutters.
 
Pferd /Stihl 2in1 sharpener ..
 

WoodBurnerInWI

Feeling the Heat
Feb 2, 2020
264
Madison, WI
Pferd /Stihl 2in1 sharpener ..

Second this, such an easy system to utilize, perfect for when you're out in the field! FYI for anyone new to 2 in 1 sharpeners, the Pfred ones are the exact same as the Stihl ones, just a different color. Buy whichever you want but on Amazon, the Pfred is a few bucks cheaper. And if you own multiple saws with chains of different pitches and gauges you'll need the proper file size 2 in 1 for each saw.
 

CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
598
SW Ohio
+ 1 for the Pferd
It's easy, quick, reliable, effective, and convenient for the field even in poor conditions.
Also some of the time use a Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener jig. It uses a hand-cranked rotary carbide cutter.​
It puts on a wickedly sharp edge, and it can trim all cutters back to same length for real smooth cutting, but it's a bit more complicated, and you'll still need to file the depth gauge.​
 

DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
668
West Michigan
What the previous folks said. End of discussion.
 
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MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
583
NE Missouri
I have the Pferd 2 in 1 system. I really like it, however I was sharpening one side more than the other. The teeth on the inside of the saw were becoming shorter than the outside teeth. I did not realize it, until I noticed it. If you go with the Pferd or similar 2 in1, be aware to always apply the same pressure to all the teeth to keep them at an even length. As @SpaceBus suggested in my discussion, was to get an inexpensive pair of dial calipers or some kind of micrometer to make sure you are applying even pressure and keeping the cutters at the same length.
 
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I have one of each of the 2in1's one color one size the other a different size ..easy to know which is which ..
 

CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
598
SW Ohio
I was sharpening one side more than the other. The teeth on the inside of the saw were becoming shorter than the outside teeth. I did not realize it, until I noticed it. If you go with the Pferd or similar 2 in1, be aware to always apply the same pressure to all the teeth to keep them at an even length.
Any time you sharpen by hand, even wit h a guide you can have differences because most of us have a favored side when sharpening. I do.
As someone else posted turn your saw upside down (in a vise).
I like the idea of a checking with a dial caliper, and use one periodically (a benefit of having a brother who is a machinist).
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,119
Downeast Maine
The Pferd is very flawed because it does not take of equal amounts from each side cutter unless you count strokes and turn the saw so you are always using the same hand on either side.
 

MoDoug

Minister of Fire
Feb 3, 2018
583
NE Missouri
Any time you sharpen by hand, even wit h a guide you can have differences because most of us have a favored side when sharpening. I do.
As someone else posted turn your saw upside down (in a vise).
I like the idea of a checking with a dial caliper, and use one periodically (a benefit of having a brother who is a machinist).

Turning the saw upside down is thinking outside the box, at least for me anyway. I guess the gas doesn't leak out?
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,476
Northern Canada
Turning the saw upside down is thinking outside the box, at least for me anyway. I guess the gas doesn't leak out?
Just sharpen before you refill...
You should look at the cutting tooth then read up on how it works.Once you get the picture in your mind how the tooth cuts,hand filling is the best with some practice.
Any logger or racer will tell you hand filling beats any machine filing.
 
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Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
1,031
Western Washington
I use a chisel bit grinder and every one I ever worked with do the same. I did work with an old timer that could touch up with a file very good. We were working in the ash around my st hellens and was fairly handy but much quicker to swap to a fresh ground chain.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
I have the same HF grinder.

I would not buy it again, recommend it to anyone (that I like), or use it again.

I'm a big HF fan, by the way, and own and use a ton of their tools, both power and hand, but this tool doesn't cut it for me.

Just an alternative experience.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,119
Downeast Maine
I've ripped boards with my chainsaw mill after sharpening with an electric grinder with a stone vs a guided file. The stone/machine ground cutters made a much smoother cut.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
Just sharpen before you refill...
You should look at the cutting tooth then read up on how it works.Once you get the picture in your mind how the tooth cuts,hand filling is the best with some practice.
Any logger or racer will tell you hand filling beats any machine filing.
This sounds good and all, but I've practiced a ton, and have spent a great deal of time figuring out how the cutting teeth work, and still cannot hand file well enough to get a passable sharpened chain.

So, I say to folks trying to figure out the best way to sharpen, endeavor to figure out hand filing without a guide. But realize that it may be something that you will never be good at, and have an alternative plan.

After many different tools, I've found the granberg hand jig to do a passable, if painfully slow, job. If I had to pick one thing, so far, I'd pick this. And yes, it's cheaply made nowadays, and it would not shock me if it broke.
 
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GerryM

New Member
Dec 6, 2020
4
Ontario Canada
the Stihl set from Amazon when I have to do it.... usually I run my MS 250 dry, set it aside, then run the 261dry. The guy on the 025 who knows what he is doing dresses his when it runs dry, then does my 250. Once his runs dry again he does the 261 and his while we have coffee. Repeat.....
 
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Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
423
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
If there was a 2in1 for my setup that's what I'd use.... however hand filing seems to work just fine and is simple.

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DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
668
West Michigan
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PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,020
MA
I also like the Stihl 2-in-1. Bought it before I joined here and learned that it is Pferd.
 
It's preferred (Pferd) ;)