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Author Topic: Chain life n file type  (Read 427 times)

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Offline TACOMATODD

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Chain life n file type
« on: February 06, 2019, 06:18:11 AM »
What can I expect for chain life as for how many sharpenings should I expect to get(roughly) from a 3/8x63 chain x 20" bar non skip 72 links? I have also seen in the Madsen catalog a file that appears to be a flat with round edges that are also cutting, that would seem like it would round and square file at the same time, or at least give the best of both worlds. Any knowledge or or opinions would be awesome.


Trying harder everyday

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 07:32:31 AM »
This question is challenging to answer accurately, but let me take a stab. First, the life of the sharpening depends on several factors, the most significant of which is 'what are you cutting?' Harder woods wear things out quicker, as do dirty woods, rocks, gravel, sand and other things that might be in the logs you cut. There are things you can do to maximize the sharpening life, but it can still vary greatly depending on conditions. For instance, getting a good consistent edge on each tooth, filing a slightly more aggressive angle for softwoods verses hard, having deeper rakers for softwood verses hard, etc. Consistency and accuracy through the length of the chain is important.
You asked about the 'goofy file' as some call them. I have never seen one used, but I am relatively certain that there is no guide available for these, so it is all free hand, and you better have a good hand. I use a 6 corner file for square sharpening and it takes a fair amount of time to get good at that. The file doesn't really make a difference (unless it is just cheap import junk), however, if it is dull, chuck it in the scrap bin and use a sharp one. The difference is on the operators end of the file. Still even the best filer is going to have to  re-sharpen when he/she hits a rock. The number of re-sharps also varies because this depends on how much work (material removed) you have to do to get it sharp. Hitting sand a lot is going to severely shorten your chain life. Most folks touch up with every tank and this is a good habit, that way the chain never really gets bad. Your mileage will certainly vary. Good Luck.
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Offline TACOMATODD

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 08:02:12 AM »
I will try it and see how I do. That is all I CAN do. Cross my fingers and we will see what happens. I will go slow and use a vise until I get comfortable with the process. Laughing to my self just a moment ago, I may just go back to a regular round file if, after a long trial period, I can't get the result that I had in my mind. Unfortunately, the chain may just pay the ultimate price. Such is learning. Should I take the chain off of the saw and lock up the chain by the drivers, or just leave it on the saw and hope it doesn't rock back n forth, even on the new bar? I have LOTS of time to dedicate to this, so time is not part of the equation.

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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2019, 08:42:56 AM »
I like to sharpen on the saw, goes faster, especially when refueling. Google around on the file and see if you can find some instruction. I found some good and useful stuff on Square filing when I was investigating, but nothing beat the 20 minutes I spent with an old hand that taught me the details and what to look for. I saw him 6 months later and he checked my latest work to make sure I 'got it right'. But the chips tell the story quicker than anything. It's all about the chip.
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Offline lxskllr

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2019, 09:02:28 AM »
This might be helpful...


How To File Square Chisel Chain


Looks like a pita to me. I think I'll be sticking with the round file.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2019, 09:16:02 AM »
This might be helpful...


How To File Square Chisel Chain


Looks like a pita to me. I think I'll be sticking with the round file.
Lxsklr has found one of the references I used when I learned, I think that is a good one. I was also looking to expand my knowledge on those goofy files and it turns out they are used the same as the 6 corner I use, maybe I should try one some day. Here is a pretty good reference from Oregon which gives and overview of the alternate sharpening methods. LINK There are 3 different files you can use for square cut and if you want to go that way, you might try each one before you decide. Just remember, it is all free hand. The advantage of the round file is the many guides available to keep things correct. Have fun.
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Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 10:56:03 AM »
What can I expect for chain life as for how many sharpenings should I expect to get(roughly) from a 3/8x63 chain x 20" bar non skip 72 links? I have also seen in the Madsen catalog a file that appears to be a flat with round edges that are also cutting, that would seem like it would round and square file at the same time, or at least give the best of both worlds. Any knowledge or or opinions would be awesome.
Chain life depends on the endusers skill and patience keeping the chain out of the dirt and rocks. Or the unseen metal or other debris inside a urban grown tree.
The only time I use  square filed chisel bit chain is for speed cutting in  chainsaw competitions or for chainsaw milling in larger logs with a smaller 90cc class saw.
A properly round filed chain will also hold an edge longer then a square filed one plus round files are alot cheaper in price then a chisel bit file.
Sure if your making a living piecework timber falling by the foot in oversize softwood with stumps at waist height or higher then chisel bit pays.
About the round edge "goofy files" you saw in Madsens catalog. Back in 1984 owner Sam Madsen showed me the differences in the quality and what's available in the goofy file.
The once popular Oberg 150 double ended goofy file were available for years before that summer of 1984 but were no longer available. Timber fallers liked them because they were easy to touch up a square ground chain at the stump with one less corner on the file edge to worry about. They put a flat chisel top plate edge on the cutter's top plate but left a less sophisticated round filed side plate. Not the ideal setup for a speed cutting competition but the best of both worlds.
Sam showed me the quality of chisel bit files that were available and at 35 years ago it wasn't as good as they were in the 1960's- '70's . Looking down the square edge of the file I was shown  the poor quality in them as the edge of teeth on the corner were wavy, not perfectly straight.
At a later visit down the road a few days later at Wayne's Sawshop in Amboy, Washington owner Wayne Sutton sold me a Oberg 150 file one of the last few he had left.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2019, 05:11:05 PM »
I did some more research at lunchtime and found (as usual) that if you do a search here on the FF and search for "Square Chain" you come up a TON of stuff (as usual). There are some really good threads over the years, 2009, 2012, 2014, I think to name a few. great reading there. Also some great links too. I found the Oregon chain guide and printed it. Turns out I think a lot of the misconceptions you hear about square filing may have started in the Oregon Sales Offices (no offense meant to anyone). If you read thru the guide, they have their files sizes and part numbers, as well as guides and depth gauges listed for each chain type EXCEPT the full chisel square, they list no file, because they don't make one. If you read the first paragraph in the square filing section, you (well I do anyway)  get the impression they are trying to talk you out of it. They tell you how hard it is etc. They also introduce the idea that you have to enter from the top down, which we have heard here and several other places a few times. I don't do it this way, too hard to get a proper profile and see what I am doing, and as others have already said, much harder to push the file and keep the tooth straight. What I do is after all the teeth are sharp I make another round and slide the file across the flat of the top plate, from front to back to remove any burr and finish off the cutting edge. I always wondered why Oregon doesn't like square filing, thought it was just a marketing decision on their part. If you do that search I suggested you will see that there are (or were) a bunch here who always square file. Always glad to see I am not as odd as I first thought. I am sticking with my bevel edged file after today's research, I realized that the goofy file is a bit of a compromise and the nice thing about the bevel is that you can see exactly where that file corner is coming out on the tooth with every stroke. This is the key to getting a good square chisel. You won't get that quite as clearly with a goofy file. I should note that I run .325x.050 chain and Oregon does not make square chisel in this size, so I have to hand convert my 20LPX chains when I get them. This takes time, but for me it is worth it, I get much pleasure from a clean, fast cutting chain.
 I also have not seen the problem with the chain getting duller fast. So many people state this, and I do not doubt what they say, but I can say that this has not been my experience. Maybe I touch up more often than some do (every tank). All I know is what works for me. I am not trying to get anyone to change, just sharing my experience. Also, this stuff fascinates me and I am always looking for a sharper, faster, easier cutting chain because I am lazy.
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Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2019, 05:40:09 PM »
I agree with you  oldgreenhorn , there's nothing like a square ground or filed chain. They make beautiful chips and the chain cuts the way it was designed to do.
Square chisel bit chain is nothing new, it's  been around for 60 years or more. A few companies held patents on it way back then and there was a few court battles over it , may be why Oregon sawchain could have their own view on it in the recents few decades.

About the time I finished up chainsaw milling I experimented with some .404 chisel bit chain off a roll I got and I was very impressed with. Of course I was milling clean oversized spruce logs,  but they were still frozen. I found I could mill quite a bit longer then with it then my round filed 10 top plate chain before a touch up.
It wasn't so much holding an edge longer it was because the way the top plate and side plate equally shared the cutting process and was still very efficient cutting after losing a keen edge.
But I find in dirt and gravel etc a round filed chain with not too much side plate angle , same with the top plate it can take  more punishment.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline TACOMATODD

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2019, 08:53:51 PM »
Folks, I DO believe that you all have made the decision easier for me to make when all the pros n cons to all are considered. Round filing it is! Thank you very much for ALL info presented before me. Sounds like a judgement in a criminal court case don't it.
Trying harder everyday

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Chain life n file type
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2019, 09:06:09 PM »
Well, making a decision is half the battle. Finding what works for you is what's important. Now you just have to take the time and learn and practice so that it really works. Best of luck.
Can You help out the Coleman Veterans Memorial by chipping in a few bucks? Go here for the full story: Can you help this year? in General Board



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