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sharpening a chainsaw

paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 14850
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
We very much need a thread on this topic to go over all of the different preferred techniques. 

After fiddling with lots of different contraptions, I now favor doing this freehand.  I think I should sit down with my saw and take some pictures and maybe make a video. 

But here is an interesting thing i spotted today.  It makes me think that maybe I should try a whole different approach.  The idea appears to be that if you get a completely different kind of chain, and this contraption, this whole area could be twenty times easier.




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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 2
Location: Lanark, Scotland
Paul,

I've been a forester here in Scotland for nearly 30 years and I've tried or seen most of the gadgets on the market for sharpening saw chain.

Everybody I know who is a true professional with a saw uses hand files. They produce a good, accurate edge without the burr of the power tools. It is important however to change them regularly, they don't remain efficient for too long.

Almost every cutter I know has there own distinct style when sharpening. I like to sit with the saw on my lap to do the left hand cutters, then with the saw trapped between my knees pointing skyward to do the right hand cutters. That's for out in the wood.  The best way is in the workshop with the saw held in a bench vice by the guide bar so you can get two hands on the file. This really makes such a difference, you will even get longer use out of an otherwise 'spent' file. Flip the saw left and right to do the cutters on each side.

Dont forget to do the depth guages, we call them rakers. Use a flat file and go easy.

The contraption you talk about is just that, a gimmicky toy for the urban man who bought a £100 chain saw in a diy store. Expensive to run!

I rarely buy saw chain, I get cast-off chain from various places who are too lazy to sharpen a damaged chain!!!

David

PS. loving you utube postings on mass heaters
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
I am far from being a pro with a chain saw, but over my 30+ years of amateur use I have to say that hand sharpening with a sharp/fresh chain file is real hard to beat for the money spent.
Ran Prieur


Joined: Jun 01, 2010
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
    
    1
I have poor hand-eye coordination, so I hand sharpen with a Husqvarna roller guide to keep the file at the correct angle. It's a small, simple gadget that you can get for less than $20 online, or if you're lucky, you'll find it a big box hardware store.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
my son planned to buy the oregon power sharpener, as neither he nor ron can use their hands well now, Ron needs another surgery on his hand this spring..so it might help i that area..we have the hand files and the ones that fit a rotary tool and it is just too difficult for either of them right now to use them..so we'll be trying the power sharp this year and seeing if it is a good product..you have to get the bar and chains that go with it so it is expensive..

with my husbands and son's physical disabilities and my husbands close head injury and short term memory loss (he forgets how to do things or what has been done or needs to be done) hopefully this tool will work for us


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
                                


Joined: Jan 30, 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Bath, ME USA
I second the hand sharpening method. I own and manage a 50 acre tree farm in Northern Vermont and I have always used hand files for sharpening all my saws. The only additional tool I use is a file guide made by Oregon. Here is an example on Amazon.
http://www.amazon.com/Oregon-Chain-File-Guide-25892/dp/B00004RA76


Tell me and I will forget,
Show me and I will remember,
Let me do it and I will understand.
Doug Gillespie


Joined: May 04, 2010
Posts: 77
I almost hate to admit it, but I bought one of those $20 electric chain sharpeners from Harbor Freight, and I've actually been quite pleased with the results.  Then again, I'm a chainsaw neophyte, so I may be destroying my chains and not knowing it.  One thing I learned very quickly was that the chains don't stay sharp long - first thing I learned to do on my saw was swap the chain out.  Anyway, I'll have to look into sharpening by hand.  Anyone have a link to a video they recommend?

Doug
                                


Joined: Jan 30, 2011
Posts: 4
Location: Bath, ME USA
elsyr wrote:
so I may be destroying my chains and not knowing it.  One thing I learned very quickly was that the chains don't stay sharp long - first thing I learned to do on my saw was swap the chain out.


Doug, the best way to dull a sharp chain is by hitting dirt with it, dirt on the tree or the ground. Takes about a 1/2 second for every tooth to get pulled through it, so be careful.
Second thing I thought of was that your $20 electric sharpener will heat up each tooth fast when sharpening potentially changing the temper of the steel allowing it to become dull much faster. It will be super sharp at first but if the temper is changed even wood will dull it. I've run the original chain on one of my saws for 5 years now, I've probably sharpened it 100 times, it is getting to the point of needing replacing now but that is about average for the use that saw gets.
Matthew Fallon


Joined: Jan 07, 2010
Posts: 307
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
    
    1
i've been using a filing guide system similar to this one (mine is mostly plastic,this one is all metal and far far nicer,i ought to upgrade )





i really should learn to sharpen manually by eye ,i don't do a LOT of sawing,so this jig works well for me.
does get time consuming ,especially since  i'm mostly only sharpening ripping chain for a 42" bar,and tend to do 5 chains at a time so i dont have to do it in field while i'm in the middle of milling a tree 

heres a thread i came across on this particular system, it is well-liked,
arborist forum is also Excellent  IMHO. 
http://www.arboristsite.com/chainsaw/36214-3.htm



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Ran Prieur


Joined: Jun 01, 2010
Posts: 66
Location: Spokane and near Diamond Lake, WA
    
    1
I found a blog post about the little roller guide that I use:
http://flyingshavings.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/852/

The guide is so small you can conceal it in your hand. It's a nice hybrid between hand-sharpening and gadget-sharpening. The extra piece of metal hanging off is to help sharpen the depth gauges. Here's a good page on [url=http://www.grounds-mag.com/mag/grounds_maintenance_sharpen_chain_saw_2/"]how to sharpen a chain saw , and and here's another photo of the roller guide in action:


                            


Joined: Oct 13, 2010
Posts: 11
elsyr wrote:
I almost hate to admit it, but I bought one of those $20 electric chain sharpeners from Harbor Freight, and I've actually been quite pleased with the results.  Then again, I'm a chainsaw neophyte, so I may be destroying my chains and not knowing it.  One thing I learned very quickly was that the chains don't stay sharp long


I have one too and have been using it for several years.  My chain stays sharp enough for maybe two hours of cutting (or about a gas tank full).  I don't doubt that if I learned how to sharpen by hand, the chain will stay sharper longer.  But learning isn't a high priority.  Once a year, after about 40 re-sharpenings, I buy a new $25 chain and, man, that is some cutting joy!

It takes 10 - 15 minutes to sharpen the chain with the grinder (including removal and installation).  How long does doing it by hand take?
Mark Vander Meer


Joined: Dec 12, 2009
Posts: 74
It takes about 5-10 minutes to sharpen a chain - depending on damage.  We sharpen our chains without guides, but a handle is nice.  We also spin our own chain - costs about half of a purchased loop.  Paul, if you need a saw sharpening lesson here in Missoula - I can do that.
                        


Joined: Apr 03, 2011
Posts: 6
Location: Oshkosh, WI and Grand Marais, MN
    I worked in the woods for many years logging and always sharpened my chains by hand with a file, and with just a simple little flat steel plate guide made by Carlton, I think. But it really depends on what you're cutting too, because sawing evergreens like pine, spruce, cedar, etc and even the softer hardwoods like birch and aspen, having the chain perfect is not so crucial as it is with some of the real hardwoods. What I mean is you can have a chain with every tooth sharp as a razor, but doing it by hand out in the woods especially it's easy to get the angle a little different on one side from the other, or the teeth a little shorter, whatever. I logged in hardwood country for awhile and got into some big elm trees one day and my saw kept wanting to cut in a circle. I kept sharpening the chain, couldn't figure out what was wrong for the longest time. And that elm would eat the black finish off the side of the chain links very rapidly. Tough stuff.
    Anyway, late in life I bought a nice little Logosol sawmill, a chainsaw mill, which uses ripping chain. I found out very quickly that I really needed an electric sharpener, because 1 -- running a saw that way wears on the chain a lot and dulls it, but mostly  2 -- the chain needs to be really precisely done, with all the teeth just alike. That's easy with a good electric sharpener, not so easy by hand especially as the chain gets worn down, things tend to get just a little out of whack. And it's easier to just have several chains that you change out during the day and then sharpen them all at night.


Harmon Seaver
Matt Ferrall


Joined: Dec 26, 2008
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
    
    4
After 10yrs Im pretty sold on a simple hand file.I have 6+ chains so I can do them all at once.I like to do it at night with a headlamp because other stuff can be done in the daylight(no grid electricity).I started out with the guides but most of my chains include an angle mark on them these days.My worst mistake was not knowing to run the file always in the same direction so for a year or two I was only really sharpening one side so my saw would cut curved cuts.I sharpen with the saw bar in a vise with the tip facing me and sitting.


There is nothing permanent in a culture dependent on such temporaries as civilization.

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Joined: Mar 07, 2011
Posts: 177
Location: California
I second all the votes for hand-filing.. nothing beats a fresh rat tail file with a comfy wooden handle. Also helps if you throw away the safety chain that comes stock with a lot of saws and replace it with the dangerous (good) stuff.
            


Joined: Jun 21, 2009
Posts: 77
Location: Northport, Wash.
I have done all mine by hand since being a kid and working as a logger.  I just make sure I do the same number of strokes on each tooth.  Every so often, or if I notice the chain is not biting very well, I use a depth gauge and do the guides.
Works for me, cheap, and easy to do.
Matthew Fallon


Joined: Jan 07, 2010
Posts: 307
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
    
    1
agree with all the recent comments above ..
i am dealing mostly with sharpening Ripping chain for my chainsaw-milling rig.( husq 395xp,42"Oregon bar,36"Alaskan mill)  it's definitely better to have 5-6 chains ready to go on workday and just swap em out.  i also sharpen mine on the bar in a vise in my woodshop, i do like using the clamp-on guide to keep things precise and accurate. this year i'll buy the nicer all-metal version though. this plastic one is a little chinsey . filing down the rakers/depth-gauges all perfectly equal is important too ive found for milling anyway.

speaking of milling. i went into nyc yesterday for NYC Vegetarian Festival,on way back to car there was a boutique arts/furnishing gallery with slab tables etc( which i make too) so i had to have a look... the cheapest table was $12,000.that was nothing but a padauk slab with steel base screwed to bottom!  next to it was a plain claro-walnut slab,no base,nothing done to it bsides sanded down and maybe waxed,not even flattened very wavy top..$20,000
i am obviously marketing to the wrong damned crowd of deadbeat! hah.
the gallery's site is http://www.mhhome.net ; turns out the owner Michael lives here in long island by me. 
                        


Joined: Apr 03, 2011
Posts: 6
Location: Oshkosh, WI and Grand Marais, MN
    What I found with filing the ripping chain by hand was that I would sometimes get a ripple effect along the board -- that is, that the board surface was not nearly as smooth as with a new chain. Once I got the electric sharpener that precisely locked the chain in place while it ground the tooth, each one exactly the same, that went away. Also I found it was important to keep a close eye on the bar gap, closing it down regularly with a tool I got from Baileys.
      Rip sawing all day like that is quite a bit different from logging or cutting firewood. I almost never had to sharpen a chain during the day when logging, unless I did something dumb like hitting the dirt. Sawing lumber, however, it's more like 3 chains a day, or at least two. I guess if all the logging was done in the Winter and all the skidding done in the snow, it wouldn't be so bad, but having mud on the logs and in the bark is almost inevitable otherwise, and as much as you try to scrape or brush it off, it really dulls the chain pretty quickly. And with those long bars needed for sawmilling, that's a lot of work to do them by hand.
Mary James


Joined: Mar 18, 2011
Posts: 140
Location: NW MT Zones 4/5 Rollins Mt
    
    2
Have to admit I get nailed when I rip out the dremel set up,,LOL, it is worth the eye rolling,besides I am mom  are ladies really supposed to dig out their chainsaw files,,those are for doing ones nails,,
  ,, Okay okay so to be real we also go with the hand sharpening method,it is the simplest way to really control the angles if the saw has been ummm cutting some odd angles,, hmm do not know how that happens,, if more is needed  that is what the kids are for,a couple of them work in forestry management and saws are their lively hood.., or you bring in the big guns the 86 year old father in law who was one of the best loggers in his day..He can sharpen them by feel with a blind fold,, LOl
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6445
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
That new Oregon system looks like a way to sell a lot of new chains to weekend warriors.  Between resharpening every 15 minutes, and taking the temper out of the chain, I would expect that chain life is going to be drastically reduced.  But, then again, Oregon's number one product is chains.  I'll bet that sales will skyrocket.
Walter Jeffries


Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 907
    
  18
I used hand files for years. But then we got an electric bench mounted chainsaw sharpener. It is wonderful. I still use hand files to put the edge back on in the field but it is best to carry a couple of extra chains. A logger friend taught me this.

See:

http://flashweb.com/blog/2009/08/chainsaw-chain-sharpener.html

I have also tried the gimmicky kinds, no joy.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
Ron got a oregon automatic sharpener, chain, bar set up for his birthday..we'll be trying it out..

it isn't for his main saw, but for the smaller saw that had some bar problems going on..so replacing the bar was in the offing anyway..so this was a good saw to try the new  auto sharpener on..

he is having right hand surgery Wednesday, and son working 12 hour days so not sure when it will get installed and used, but I WILL keep in mind to update you on it..
William Lewis


Joined: Apr 18, 2011
Posts: 9
Location: Willamette Valley
No gadgets needed for everyday touch-up, just a good file. Tried numerous types, I'm impressed with the "Save Edge" brand.

For even-ing up the wear on the teeth when you need to take more material off than is practical with a file, I like a dremel tool with a chain saw sharpening bit.

When using any kind of a power grinder, the air in your work area will be filled with particles from the grinder and saw blade. In the right light they can be seen. So be sure to wear safety goggles, the kind that are closed all around the sides, and use a respirator, or hundreds if not thousands of iron and other material particles WILL get into your eyes and lungs.

                  


Joined: Apr 19, 2011
Posts: 114
Location: South Carolina Zone 8
I hand sharpen at my workbench with a rat tail file. That said I keep several sharp chains on hand because when I am cutting and dull a chain I simply replace the chain on the spot with a sharp one and get back to work. If I ever get to working with a chainsaw more than occasionally I will set up a sharpening station with a grinder like my uncle had years ago when he sharpened all sorts of things from knives and scissors to saws (including big ones for forestry cutter heads) for extra money.
Troy Rhodes


Joined: Feb 17, 2011
Posts: 167
    
    1
I've done both, hand filing and a benchtop machine from Harbor Fright.

On the whole, I think the benchtop machine makes my chain stay sharp a little longer, maybe. 

I rotate 3 chains and do them all at once on the benchtop grinder.


Finest regards,

troy
Matt Banchero


Joined: Jun 12, 2011
Posts: 10
Gadgets are kinda fun if you have the time, money and space but if you are going to be out in the woods a regular round file and a little technique is all you need.  I recommend using gloves to save knuckles.  Remember you want a sharp point on the tip of the tooth and a smooth edge along the rest of the tooth.  Avoid making a hooked tip that can fold over on the first use by pulling up slightly on the file.  Only file in one direction, away from the point, or you will ruin your file and dull the tip. 


www.TheTreeHuggingTreeCutter.com
                    


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Ive been using a saw for about 25 years. I used to do it by hand - had some notion of romantic roughnecks. I have a roller guide, a granberg and a friend with a bench mount power sharpener.

I mix it up. I use whats on hand- if in the firld and I hit some mean knots, Ill brush it by hand. If Its a fence hidden in 15 years of cherry knots, Ill stop and use the granberg. ends up that I use a machine on a chain1-2 times in its life, the granberg 10-15 times, and the hand sharpening about 50-70. I sharpen the chain after every tank when im in the field, a touch up. Ill do a granberg once a day (a day is about 3-4 tanks, im getting fat and lazy). it goes to the bench every 20-30 tanks. so after 2 benches, and 20 touch ups, its usually ready for a new chain. I cut alder mostly and some fir and hemlock, cottonwood. if I cant make 6" rip noodles from alder, its not sharp.

maybe I should film the spaghetti shredder....
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3624
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  49
  I've found several sharpening contraptions to be cumbersome so I only sharpen freehand.

  I prefer to avoid sharpening by never getting my saw into the dirt. Right now I'm cutting mostly Alder and Cottonwood and can go all day without sharpening. If I need to cut cedar I leave it until my chain is just about ready for a sharpening since one cedar log will do more harm to a chain than 20 Alder logs do.

    On heavily used chains I like to grind my runners down quite a bit so that instead of taking out thin shavings, I'm taking out chunks. My theory is that there's no point slicing through the same chunk five times. It's possible to completely stall out my Husqvarna chainsaw when I've got it sharpened just right so a soft touch is required. I've gotten extra life out of badly abused chains which have some teeth greatly shortened after filing out damaged areas by doing this. These chains will no longer cut straight enough for cutting large dimension wood but they're fine for limbing and brush removal.


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Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
the oregon company is coming out with a 40 volt 14" bar battery operated chain saw that I hope to try to use soon, it has the eversharp built right in, if I get the chance to try it I'll let you know soon how well it works...a great idea for a 60 year old woman.
Richard Nurac


Joined: Sep 22, 2011
Posts: 49
Location: north Georgia
I use my chainsaw occasionally (about 5 hours a month) on a mix of 4" - 10" diameter hardwoods and softwoods. I take care to avoid dirt and stones, so sharpening is not often required. Having tried hand sharpening, and not being too good at it, I took the plunge and bought a good quality bench model chain grinder. Since I only sharpen one type of chain, the settings on the grinder are unchanged and it does not take very long to sharpen the chain. The only caution is not to allow the grindstone to overheat the cutting edge, so I make several passes with a light touch.


[Thumbnail for 051512  chainsaw sharpener b.jpg]



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Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
update on powersharp

OK first we have a 16" powersharp bar/chain combination on a Stihl chainsaw..works like a charm..you can get around 25 or 30 sharpenings before you have to replace the chain.....and most chains will only allow you to sharpen them about that many times before they'll need replacement too..maybe a little more.

My son and husband both have used it several times and my nephew used it last week and they all really liked it.

I just finished a 2 week testing on the Oregon Powernow with built in power sharp..this is built into the main body of the saw and you run the saw and pull the lever for 3 seconds or thereabouts and it sharpens the chain..I went through 2 chains and powersharp stone sets cutting around 10 cord of firewood (facecord)..over the two week period..but there was still live in both chains ..esp the second one which I only sharpened a couple of times before I sent the saw back..so I got maybe 10 days, of around 1 facecord a day per chain..and probably had more life in the chain.

I found it extremely easy for me..I have polyperipheral neuropathy in my hands as well as severe arthritis..I have very poor grip and cannot hold small things like files..and I'm also allergic to metal esp nickels..so I break out with handling metals...so for me..the power sharp was a godsend.

I highly recommend it if you don't mind spending a slight bit more for the time saving and convenience..

If you have time to stop your work and sharpen the chain..then by all means it isn't for you..enjoy hand sharpening your chain..but myself..I plan to buy a powersharp bar/chain for my husband's Husqy..as soon as I can arrange for it..it was THAT convenient for us..

they are developing a lot of new sets of the powersharps and other 40 volt tools to use with the 40 v line..was told they have stringtrimmers and hedgetrimmers in testing..see the thread on the saw or my blog for more info on that.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i also thought that I should mention that the powersharp comes with it's special stone and special chain that are designed to work together..and they really do work well together..that chain gets vicious sharp in just 1 to 3 secons with the powersharp, and it cuts very well..better actually than the 3 saws we have without the powersharp..although the battery powered saw didn't have quite the power of the gas saw, it did cut veyr efficiently for a battery saw.
Dale Hodgins
pollinator

Joined: Jul 28, 2011
Posts: 3624
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
    
  49
This thread is all about my experience with chainsaw troubleshooting and chain maintenance. http://www.permies.com/t/13731/woodland/chainsaw-troubleshooting
andrew curr


Joined: Dec 18, 2012
Posts: 285
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
    
    1
one brand of chain has the angle inscribed on top of the tooth i find this usefull
we have very hard wood here!
i think it is usefull to use a saw set evry few sharpens ,also usfull to sharpen both sides evenly


we have to forest our farms and farm our forests
james beam


Joined: Jul 13, 2012
Posts: 190
Location: AR ~ozark mountain range~zone7a
    
    6
I would say to anyone that is filing your saw chain in the field, keep your safety glasses on. The metal filings are as light as dust which blow around easily, and for those that don't know... those metal dust filings will cause eye irritation & worse.

I would also say to those that don't know, never replace your 'safety chain' with professional chain unless you really are a professional & know what kick-back is. Also if your saw came with 3/8 LP (Low Profile) do not replace that chain with 3/8 (regular, or professional)...as the drive links are different and will bind up if you didn't replace the sprocket(s). 3/8 LP nor 3/8 regular are interchangeable neither will interchange with .325 saw chain either, each size chain is set-up for the intended purpose of the saw, changing the saw chain can cause serious safety issues & mechanical problems too.

Some people file down their regulators to get a bigger bite, this is not a homeowner modification and should not be recommended for homeowners, for many reasons, safety being the strongest. ALL saw chain mgf. & chain saw mgf. make a big deal about reminding chainsaw users about using this type of tool safely & still remain very efficient. Hopefully from my picture, you can see the proper depth regulator height of a regular 3/8 saw chain...what I'm trying to show in the picture is that the depth regulator height should 'meet/break at about half the thickness of the chisel cutter thickness'. Some people use a saw chain guage to file these regulators to the proper height.

Yes as the saw chain is used, the chisel edge resharpened many times, the depth regulator height must also occasionally be file down to allow the chisel cutting edge & 1/2 of the chisel cutter thickness to protrude above the depth regulator. By allowing 1/2 of the chisel cutter thickness to protrude above the depth regulator, the bite of wood removed will also be a similar thickness... if the depth regulator is not filed to the proper height, the chisel cutter may be perfectly sharp, but the regulator height will be too tall & not allow the chisel cutter to engage the wood. And if the depth regulator protrusion is filed below the 1/2 thickness of the chisel cutter, the chisel edge takes a larger bite, slowing the engine down, shock loading the clutch, and unnecessarily causing dangerous kick-back situations.

When you install the proper new chain on your saw, with the engine off, look down the row of cutters much like my picture shows, you should be able to see on your new saw chain where the depth regulators height should be maintained for the life of the saw chain. The regulators generally break at 1/2 the thickness of the chisel cutter.

As Matt mentioned some good tips earlier, while sharpening a chisel saw chain, remember that the pointed corner is the highest protrusion of the chisel cutter, that means it must be sharp, and that pointed corner does most of the work, it also takes most of the wear. If you get into some rocks or mineral while sawing, that pointed corner will show the worst wear, and you can resharpen the chisel cutter, but if you don't file enough, till the pointed corner is also sharp, then your blade will be somewhat dull.

Generally try to resharpen both right & left hand cutters equally, but if you have some damaged cutters, it is more economical as far as overall saw chain wear, to not file every cutter to equal the most worn one. Saw chain resharpening takes experience in the field, some things work, some don't. Generally it is easier to resharpen a slightly dull blade, than to continue forcing a dull blade to the point of drastic resharpening.

That's why we keep our old worn out chains...for the really dirty jobs.

james beam;)



[november2013 016.JPG]

Matt Stern


Joined: Jul 15, 2011
Posts: 15
Location: Williams, OR
I've been using this manual sharpener from timberline http://www.timberlinesharpener.com/, and have been pleased so far. It may be a bit pricey, but I did some math, and if I get 40 sharpenings out of the carbide file, and pay 120 bones for it, each sharpening costs me about 3 bucks. That's less than half what it costs to have a shop in town sharpen it, and I don't have to drive into town! It takes me about 10-15 minutes to sharpen a chain, and it packs away into a nifty little case travels well in the field.


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Jim Dickie


Joined: May 14, 2010
Posts: 21
I've been using a chainsaw for about 15 years, including two summers cutting wood full time, and only ever filed manually with round and flat files. I always wear leather gloves, and it only takes about 5-10 minutes. As others have said, if you're careful and avoid dirt and rocks, there's no reason you can't cut all day (6-8 tanks of gas) without filing your chain. If you're just cutting firewood for yourself and doing a bit of routine property maintenance, a chain should last you for several years.
Nicholas Mason


Joined: Dec 05, 2011
Posts: 83
Location: Colton, Or
    
    1
I like to sharpen my saw free hand, but I found that the Husqvarna roller guide mentioned by Ran Prieur was a really good way to teach me how to do it free hand. I have found that its easier to keep the correct angle, but at the same time you can see and feel the in comparison to the chain. So you learn muscle memory and bridging the gap between be proficient free hand and using a gadget.


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allen lumley
pollinator

Joined: Mar 16, 2012
Posts: 2242
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
    
  37
Mike E. & Permies cloud : Mike, as an old hardware store clerk, (and not a big box store ether! ) you and I would have been talking about two different things if
you came in asking for a rat tail file! Somehow this has become an acceptable alternate name for a chain saw file, BUT it is borrowing the accurately descriptive
name of the type of round file that tapers to a point, and is wrong!

I am sure that you are only repeating what you have heard said, probably over a couple of beers. Your best revenge is to buy and store in your tool kit a blister
packed rat tail file and the next time offer to show the word bending, shape shifting, identity thief, exactly what a tail tail file is !

A long time ago, faced with a O'dark thirty deadline, a soft tire, No air and a Datson rim with a good tire and an almost close to bolt pattern, I had to hog out the
holes large enough to bolt that rim onto my pick-up ! today I would never try it but it bought me the time to get the job done ! Big AL


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C. Kirkley


Joined: Aug 28, 2013
Posts: 11
I would also say to those that don't know, never replace your 'safety chain' with professional chain unless you really are a professional & know what kick-back is


I want to second this. I recently bought a new saw with a 20" bar. It came with a ripping blade but I had been using low kickback blades since the beginning. I did take the change seriously and looked at a lot of info on kickback, however, when I got the saw ready and started cutting with it, it became very apparent very quickly that this was pitbulls compared to puppies and that kickback can kill you. Many people can't say that anymore because they are dead. Just sayin'!

For sharpening, I use a cheap set of round files and a cheapy guide that came with them. If you take it seriously that you need to maintain the factory blade angle and make the raker height uniform, you'll do ok. I was told a long time ago that it was difficult to sharpen a chainsaw blade correctly but I seem to do ok without being anyone who is extraordinary. Just stick with the program all the way around, then turn the saw around and do it all over again.
 
 
subject: sharpening a chainsaw
 
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