Using a Dremel to sharpen

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Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
518
Connecticut
I knew I was taking a chance and it's not the best way to sharpen a chain, but I bought sharpening stones (the correct diameter for my chain) made for a chain sharpener. I used one in my Dremel tool and I was surprised to see the results were great. After sharpening, I then found a guide in the Dremel container that I believe is for a chainsaw chain. I realize doing it without the guide may take too much and/or not cut the blades evenly, but I was careful and the results were much better than when I used a manual file. The saw cuts well and evenly, not to the side which occasionally happens after I sharpen. I was careful to try to file blades the same amount of seconds. I did mess up one, a couple of very small fragments came off the blade.

I wonder if anyone else has used a Dremel tool for sharpening? Of course there's demos on YouTube, but I trust opinions here more than that site.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,677
WI, Leroy
Yes have done that in a pinch with a 12volt unit in the field-- hate those concrete filled trees and other assorted goodies that show up. Went through 3 saws 12 chains on one big old box elder in an hour- not a happy camper that afternoon. No I did not go back to the same cut. There was an 8' T-post right up the middle of it.
 
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Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
518
Connecticut
I hear ya re: foreign objects/material in trees - felt foolish because I was cutting up a good sized dead branch in my yard that I was going to take down with the chainsaw, high winds did it for me. While cutting it I wondered why it sparked - then I remembered 20 or so years ago I made a tree fort in that tree for the kids. I hit a nail I put in.

Damn that's a lot of saws and chains in a day's work! Didn't realize Dremel made a 12v unit. I guess when you're out in the woods when sharpening with precision shouldn't be expected. I know there's also the rakers to consider, that's where tools made for the job excel over the way I did it.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,476
Northern Canada
I use one sometimes...
I use a file sometimes...
I use a chain grinder sometimes...
Once you understand what it takes to actually sharpen the cutter,the method of sharpening doesn't make a lot of difference.
But the ones that race saws will only use a file to get the best results.Firewood cutters dosn't really matter once you know how the cutter works and you know how to sharpen it.
 

Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,595
Midwest
I use a dremel almost exclusively... except for a file on occasion. I really like it. Seems like the 'automatic' cutting of the stone frees me up to focus on the angles of the sharpening. No worry if I'm rocking the file, or tilting up at the end of a stroke, etc. I think the dremel is also very controllable on how much I take off, whether it is a few strokes with light pressure for 2-3 seconds as a touch-up after a tank of gas, or focusing on a tooth for a longer period to remove rock/concrete/barbed wire impact damage.

Given you're looking at a couple bucks per stone vs a couple hundred for a 'gee wiz' sharpening rig, I think the dremmel gets you about 98% of the performance for under 10% of the cost.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
518
Connecticut
Ok - I suppose the method doesn't matter too much as long as the end result is satisfactory. I chain sharpening tool just isn't in the budget right now, like a lot of things. Had a Dremel on hand. 3 sharpening stones were $7, not bad.

I may employ the touch up method. When I sharpened mine I was around 5-6 seconds per tooth. Maybe that was too long, but it was due and was more than one tank of gas since last done. Just to touch it up I'd think 2-3 seconds would be fine. Need to see if I can find the original Dremel manual. I can't see how in the world that guide is supposed to attach with the stone already on the drill. Maybe I won't worry about that too much, just use common sense and try to keep the correct angle consistent.
 
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Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,595
Midwest
I've found with most 'cheap' sharpeners, the guide gets in the way more than it helps. (so dremmel probably fits that category) I just eyeball my sharpening. Actually each tooth has a line on it...I think it's a 'maximum wear' line, but it's also at the angle the tooth should be cut at. I can eyeball that within a few degrees. Barring that, I have a couple lines on my workbench from other projects to guide from, or could even turn the vise to the correct angle, then square up with the table. But I think +/-5 degrees, you'll be fine - it's a chainsaw not a scalpel! Or maybe if you're racing hot saws where 0.01 second per cut makes a difference!
 
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Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
518
Connecticut
Like you said - precision isn't really a factor. I'm just pleased it was a big cutting improvement and I cut them evenly. My first time sharpening a blade was with a file, and I ended up favoring one direction for some reason and the saw tended to cut at an angle.

I'm good with this for now. It appeared the stones made for the sharpening tool would fit the Dremel, which they did quite well.
One question - my Dremel has 2 speeds. I used high but found it was easier to control the angle and the tool in general at the lower
speed. Ended up using the high speed for the most part. What speed do you use?
 

hedge wood

Burning Hunk
Mar 1, 2009
209
Eastern NE
I have a buddy that's sharpen chains with a 12 volt Dremel type tool for well over thirty years. Not sure what the brand is but he uses Dremel stones in it. It works well for him. He takes the raker's down with a flat file. I have two old belsaw sharpener's I use. I just change out the chain in the field when needed.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
518
Connecticut
Good to have a spare chain on hand. Will keep in mind filing the rakers with a flat file.
 

walhondingnashua

Feeling the Heat
Jul 23, 2016
398
ohio
I have done this especially when a chain is really bad. The only thing I am ever cautious of with any machine sharpener... getting the tooth too hot and changing the temper. This is why I won't take my chains to have them sharpened. They give some inexperienced kid a job in the shop and he just grinds them to nothing. The temper color is always changed on some of them.

Just don't hold it on too long.
 

Stelcom66

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2014
518
Connecticut
Yes, I can see how overheating can happen with a Dremel. That's why I'm not sure at this point whether it should be used on the low speed setting. I'm thinking yes, and maybe for only 3-5 seconds, although when I did it I used high speed. This is the first time I've used a Dremel to sharpen the chain. It did do a great job, I just hope that'll be the case next time without doing any damage.

Being careful is key. The sharpening stones made specifically for chain sharpening machines fit/work well in the Dremel tool IMO.