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Author Topic: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide  (Read 14152 times)

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Offline tstex

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hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« on: January 06, 2010, 05:51:06 PM »
Guys,

Happy New Yr to all.

Hit the archives and found a nice video on sharpening a chain via a grinder, and some other good info, but was looking for something that shows how to sharpen a chain with a file and guide?  Can you pls direct me to any links or something?

It seems that when currenty sharpening a chain, "the big chippen" just doesn't last long.  Reading your posts, I have learned:

1) Put bar/chain in a vice [not too tight to edges] for making it level and steady
2) Make sure i have the appropriate size file, it is good and cleaned when done
3) Practice, practice and more practice.

The guide give me the proper angle when looking down on the chain.bar, but not when looking from the side to view the bar straight-on [does this make sense?].

Your help would be greatly appreciated and thank you very much.

PS - i have a Stilh 029 with 18" bar, 023 with 14" and a Stilh extention chain saw...mostly cut live oak and native cedar

Best regards,
tstex


Offline Rocky_J

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2010, 06:15:31 PM »
I just uploaded this picture a couple weeks ago, it might help.



If your chain is sharp at first but dulls quickly then you need to quit cutting dirt. ;D

Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2010, 07:39:02 PM »
Thx Rocky_J,

I appreciate your follow-up, but I am having a bit of difficulty getting the perspective from the diagram...I am sure if i saw someone sharpen the chain, I would be both good to go and understand the pictures perspectives - thx, tstex

Offline downeast

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2010, 07:44:17 PM »
With some species you can't help but "hit dirt", or the wood is naturally "gritty" such as Walnut. Eastern oaks for example, will suck ( osmosis for you ) sand, dirt, or grit into the cambium just under the bark that easily dulls chains. Can't be helped with our northeastern trees.

We've used the PFERD ChainSharp or SharpForce system of hand filing for years that does the edge and raker in one pass. Super tool sold at pro dealers for Husky or Stihl. Look it up, or ask. Simple, easy to use, sharpen in the field with a stump vise.


Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 04:09:43 PM »
Hey Guys,

I did a simply Google query and received a couple of video's on sharpening a chain via a rattail file, but got two diff versions on one angle.  Here is my only question if you can pls help me?

To confirm, I use the guide [until i get better] to get the angle when looking down on top of the chain to sharpen...to confirm, the angle looks like a 10 oclock to 4 oclock movement that the file is to the chain and bar.  However, does the file angle down, up or even?  Meaning, if I am now looking and I see the bar from the side and see someone sharpening, what angle, if any, would the file be?

I hope his make sense and sorry for asking such a basic question...thanks, tstex

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010, 05:54:14 PM »
Now you have to pay attention to make sure you know what chain you are sharpening .For example most Stihl chain and Carlton sharpen at 90 degrees or straight across the top while some Oregon uses a 10 degree up . If you get them them confused it makes a world of difference how they cut .

If in doubt my suggestion is to go to whatever chain manufacturers web site and check it out to make sure .

I have some arbor pro I got from Baileys that I thought had a 10 degree up then found out it didn't .The first time I filed it with a compound angle it wouldn't cut hot butter .Made me mad as a wet hen .Then a kindly gent from Canada told me the error of my ways . :-[

Offline Kevin

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2010, 06:03:27 PM »
tstex

What chain and which guide?

Offline Rocky_J

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2010, 07:59:40 PM »
I get the best results keeping the file level with the top plate of the chain. I usually don't buy Oregon chain but even with their chain I still file it level instead of their cockamamie 10 degree angle stuff. Angling it makes the cutting edge too blunt and the tooth doesn't have enough of a hook to cut fast.

Offline gemniii

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2010, 08:10:48 PM »
Also make sure you keep your rakers down.

Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2010, 08:17:15 PM »
tstex

What chain and which guide?

Thanks guys...Kevin, here you go: I have a Stilh 029 with 18" bar, Stihl 023 with 14" and a Stilh extention chain saw...mostly cut live oak and native cedar.

The guide is a device I bought from a Stilh dealer and you put the rattail file in it and tighten down two knobs to bind the r-tail file to the guide...then guide has some diagonal lines on it that when you align these lines with the top of the bar and the chain while the file is in one of the cutting teeth, it looks like the file is about a 30-40 angle...does this make sense?  I have no problem with this, but just if i put either a down, flat/even or up angle while moving the file?

Thank you gentlemen,
tstex

Offline Kevin

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2010, 09:49:07 PM »

Offline donny hochstetler

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2010, 10:03:35 PM »
files are cheep use a good one.  I see a lot of people trying to file with junk files oily ,rusty ,ect filing with a dull file is like trying to cut wood with a dull saw  >:( play around  and pay close attention to your different angles, ect on frozen hardwood I file almost strait across, not as sharp but will hold an edge longer, poplar in summer more of an angle, if you know your tooth is sharp and you think it should cut better, shave your rakers till your satisfied 8)proper filing is an art only learned from axperiance ,once mastered you will take pride in it ,your freinds will envy your skills :)and you will no longer be loaning your very sharp saw to your dirtcutting neighbor :o

Offline Ed

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2010, 11:09:47 PM »
I get the best results keeping the file level with the top plate of the chain. I usually don't buy Oregon chain but even with their chain I still file it level instead of their cockamamie 10 degree angle stuff. Angling it makes the cutting edge too blunt and the tooth doesn't have enough of a hook to cut fast.

I'm with Rocky on this one. File straight across, the 10 deg angle is more of a pita then anything else.

Ed


Offline bandmiller2

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2010, 07:30:37 AM »
Very important is how you handle a file,straight full strokes,with enough pressure so a sharp file bites.Short stroking and worse rocking the file will tend to give you a rounded edge.Files are the most underated and abused machine tool.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2010, 08:16:58 AM »
Guys,

Thank you very much.  I think you have answered all my questions and provided me with some additional tips - I look forward to learning well and passing on the info to future cs-users.

The files I purchased were from a Stihl Dealer [i bought two types:  ones for my 029 and ones that would service both my 023 and my extension saw].  Are there better files [brand name & type] that you guys would recommend to get better results?

Here is what I am taking from this post:

* Use guide at this point to get the top angle, use full strokes [only one way from left to right] and perform the same number of strokes per link
* Keep file clean from oil, grease, dirt, i-filings and other debris
* Keep the file flat to the top and forget the 10degree angle
* Sharpen before every use and do not wait until the chips turn to dust
* Keep the bar level secure while using file
* File rakers to spec if/when required
* Take chain to shop every 3-4 uses to resurface/level all the links - toss old chains
* Be more mindfull of not dipping chain into the dirt
* Post here to get good feedback from great guys. :D

Thanks again and be safe,
tstex

Offline Kevin

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2010, 11:09:23 AM »
I'm a firm believer that you follow the manufacturers engineered recommendations.
If you don't know what chain you have then you're off to a bad start.

Offline Rocky_J

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2010, 12:49:19 PM »
Speaking of handling files, something else that never gets mentioned is that files cut in one direction only. You can't run them back and forth like a scrub brush. Pressure on the push stroke then lift up on the return stroke. Otherwise you round over the teeth on the file and it quits filing very quickly.

Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2010, 01:30:33 PM »
I'm a firm believer that you follow the manufacturers engineered recommendations.
If you don't know what chain you have then you're off to a bad start.

Kevin,

Sure, I agree 100% - when I bought the files, the Stihl dealer and I matched the file size to the spec's of the stilh chain...thx, tstex

Offline Kevin

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2010, 02:17:22 PM »
I know but you still don't know what chain you're using so there's really no way to know how it should be filed.
Store clerks make mistakes, if what you know and what they tell you matches then you know it's right.
Don't depend on anyone else for the right answers when it comes to buying parts for your saw, know the answer and match it to their answer.
Can you look at those links I supplied and identify your chain?

Offline jteneyck

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2010, 02:19:30 PM »
Nothing makes a saw perform more poorly than a dull or improperly sharpened chain.  Many people claim they can sharpen a chain correctly with nothing more than a file, but few actually can.  Chains are pretty cheap, and not too expensive to have sharpened by a saw shop, so one good strategy is to buy several chains and drop off half of them at the saw shop when they get dull.  You'll always be using a sharp chain and you avoid the frustrations of learning how to sharpen.  If you want to learn to sharpen then get yourself a good guide and quality files.  I like the Granberg file guide since it allows you to set all the angles necessary to match the chain manufacturer's specs..  And once set up correctly, sharpening is pretty much guaranteed to be successful.  I think Pferd and others make similar guides, and Stihl sells a similar one.  There are probably many good file makers, but Pferd are certainly top quality.  A small step up in cost over the Granberg file guide is their 12V stone grinder.  I think I paid about $70.  It, too, attaches to the bar and all the angles are adjustable.  The big benefit is that the chain is much sharper from the stone grinder than when filed.  This little machine also allows you to set the depth gauges.  The stones cost about the same amount as a file, and probably last a little longer, long enough to sharpen a 20 inch loop about 5 - 6 times anyway.  If you've got a little more money, you could buy the chain grinder from northern tool Note:Please read the Forestry Forum's postion on this company for around $120 and sharpen just like the saw shop.  

Offline Rocky_J

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #20 on: January 08, 2010, 02:33:52 PM »
I disagree with a couple points made by the last poster. Most (all) saw shops around here can NOT grind a chain anywhere near as well as I can freehand file without any guide whatsoever. The majority of them make the 'new kid' grind chains because they consider it a lowly task akin to sweeping the floor. They invariably grind too much, overheat the chain and reduce the temper, never ever touch the rakers and charge too much for grinding off half your chain. But then if you can't file by hand then I guess that's your best option, huh? Keep practicing, you'll get it one day. But in the meantime  the kid at the saw shop whacking on your chain with the grinder won't result in a superior sharpening than proper hand filing.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #21 on: January 08, 2010, 03:03:53 PM »
Rocky brings up a good point poor grinding is hard on a chain.I grind and file if a chain is ground properly and filed between grindings everything is kept even.If I get too frisky with the grinder I can tell when I file it next time you get hard spots.If you waite to take the chains to town you'll be running dull chains.Its not hard to learn to file correctly,file a little and often.Everytime you fuel up is about right unless your using your saw for a ditch witch.You can tell a professional by how sharp he keeps his chain.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline beenthere

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #22 on: January 08, 2010, 03:07:55 PM »
jteneyck
I could agree with your first sentence.
From that point on, I don't agree.  8)

And Rocky and bandmiller covered the points well.

But jteneyck, you can take your chains in to have them ground up, that be fine with me. I only do that when a chain has been rocked or I hit some metal or something else.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline jteneyck

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2010, 03:53:38 PM »
Gee, sorry Rocky, but I expected at least one person to jump on me.  I did't say no one could sharpen a chain correctly with only a file; I said only a few can.  You must be one of those rare few.  Congratulations.  And how long did it take you to learn?  And how many times can you sharpen it before several of the teeth are different lengths, or do you measure each with a set of calipers to make sure they are the same?  I was trying to make the point that there are file guides and grinders out there that make sharpening a routine task that is easily and quickly learned and not an art form.  That being said, any tool is only as good as the guy running it.  Fortunately, the saw shop I go to does an excellent job of grinding chains, factory fresh or better.  (The shop you mentioned must not value their customers much.)  Still, I grind my own because I'm cheap and because I can adjust angles to see how it affects cutting in some particular wood or another. 

Offline Reddog

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2010, 04:08:31 PM »
And how long did it take you to learn?

About a half hour or less.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2010, 04:21:37 PM »
First of all I'm not getting on anyones case .However there are certain things that everybody should know about chainsaws and one of the first is how to file a chain .

Oregon has made a file guide for decades that works well and cost a whole 8 bucks .

It comes with a file and the instructions with pictures even .Anyone that can read and follow directions should be able to use it properly .

An inexperianced person should be able to file a chain with that guide in 10 minutes on say a 20 inch loop of 3/8" chain .I can do it in 5 with or without the guide and with or without a compound angle .

If your going to operate a saw learn how to do the whole thing .

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2010, 04:32:06 PM »
--and another thing .It's best if every tooth is exactly the same length .However if you kiss the ground,hit a rock or generally damage a tooth you will find that being off 20 thou really has little effect on how the chain cuts .

Now having a 25 degree top plate on one,35 on another and 20 on the third will have a great effect .Really screw it up and it cuts in a circle  :D Neat trick,try it some time to impress your friends .

Offline moonhill

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #27 on: January 08, 2010, 05:41:03 PM »
I must be in the few category.   Even after grounding the chain I hand file with no guide.  I count the strokes of the file to keep the cutters about the same length, usually 5 strokes/cutter, 10-12 if it is in trouble.   Use a good file as pointed out.  I tap the file on the bar to clean the filings, I think it helps, on almost every cutter.

Tim 
This is a test, please stand by...

Offline beenthere

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2010, 06:17:45 PM »
.........  And how long did it take you to learn?  And how many times can you sharpen it before several of the teeth are different lengths, or do you measure each with a set of calipers to make sure they are the same?  ...........

Not long to learn, and the last several chains never saw the chain grinder - - only my file. And they were cutting as good or better than new, when I retired them.

Giving others the impression that sharpening a chain as good or better than a grinder is just not correct, IMO, and is misleading to any newbie that is interested in chainsaw work. It is not rocket science.

There are reasons for taking chains in for grinder work, but that doesn't mean that most cannot do it easily themselves.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline WildDog

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2010, 07:03:02 PM »
I don't like grinders each to his own, I use a plain file and raker guide. In the field I may touch up the chain up to half a dozen times in a day and the rakers once. I prefer to do it often and only 2 to 3 passes per tooth, I tend to rotate my file in the guide regularly. I am a scrooge "my son says thrill seeker" and get the most out of my chains....I am not perfect, towards the end, the teeth I sharpen from the off side are slightly shorter than the near side. Recently I have been cutting around the house and have had the luxury of my blacksmithing post vice at waste level that I can walk around. I have just about gone through my 1st chain and without getting the calipers out all the teeth look the same length.
If you start feeling "Blue" ...breath    JD 5510 86hp 4WD loader Lucas 827, Pair of Husky's 372xp, 261 & Stihl 029

Offline downeast

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #30 on: January 08, 2010, 07:07:19 PM »
Rocky and others are correct: HAND FILE. For the cost of a couple of store grindings you can buy any one of many high quality hand grinding guides.....or, do it freehand. It is not rocket science ( nor is rocket science rocket science  :P ). Hand file: in the field ( get a stump vise !), in the shop. The time and $$$$ spent setting up the grinder, buying the sized wheels to fit the chain, you could be doing by hand.

Learn to do it, it is not hard especially if I and Rocky have figured it out.  ;D . Most chains including Oregon and Stihl have "witness" lines on the top of the chain showing the correct angle of the file. Easy.

Remember, you don't need to get every chain exactly the same---1 RCH is enough.  :D

I'm partial to the PFERD system since it is the lazy way of also doing the rakers which most rarely bother with INCLUDING shop filers. PFERD ( no, I don't have a piece of the action  :( )
And, even rocking or dirting the chain, 10-15 strokes will get to back to work.

PFERD, better than silicone.  8)

Offline Kevin

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #31 on: January 08, 2010, 07:12:59 PM »
I'll use a grinder to bring back a rocked out chain, I keep a wet rag handy and lay it on the tooth to cool it but you still can't take too much at once.
The new chain came in for my 262 but I filed the old chain twice then ran it through the ginder when it wouldn't cut and it's still not quite where it should be.
I filed it again after using it the other day so we'll see how it goes next time.
For someone new to sharpening they might think they can't sharpen but sometimes the chain is too bad to bring back with even several strokes from a file.

Offline jteneyck

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #32 on: January 08, 2010, 07:24:34 PM »
You may get good results with only a file.  Hats off to those of you who can do it.  I too thought I was pretty good until I started milling lumber.  Any differences in your cutters will show up quickly.  What's acceptable when bucking logs no longer is when milling lumber, at least not for me.  So why not use the technology that's readily available especially when you are just starting out, which was the source of the original question?  The more accurately you can control the angles, and cutter length, the better the results will be.  File guides, grinders, etc. enable you to control angles consistently.  This is true regardless of cutter profile, but especially if you are using square cutter chain, and even more so if you are using square grind square chain.  Check out Madsen's website for more if you are interested.  My cutting got a lot more enjoyable once I could consistenly sharpen chains.  Whatever works for you is the way to go.  To say that a you have to learn how to sharpen with only a file misses the point.  It's the result,  not the route, that matters. 

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #33 on: January 08, 2010, 07:49:53 PM »
Here I go again rambling on that will fall on deaf ears but here goes it .

It's a natural thing to file more heavily on one side of a chain than the other.Left handed,right handed .Some people flip the saw over to compenstate for this .

Now,the old logger way .File right over the top leaning over the back of the saw towards the front .Awkward as all get out at first but works perfect--once you perfect it .Play on words .File left right left all the way around the thing. Easy as falling off the log you are sitting on .

Now on that milling chain,a standard round chisel will out cut a fancy milling chain any day of the week .You are going to plane it any way if it's to be for fine trim work etc .Even if not a chain is certainly smoother than a circle blade any way .Those things wrote the book on rough .

Offline Kevin

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #34 on: January 08, 2010, 08:50:56 PM »
Oregon RD was the best milling chain out of the box, I had poor results with any chain that was reground from stock chain.

Offline jteneyck

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #35 on: January 08, 2010, 08:55:23 PM »
Hi Al,  Not sure what you mean by "fancing milling chain" but I've tried several.  If you mean Granberg's ripping chain, I agree, it doesn't cut too well other than it does cut smoothly.  It also is rather a pain to sharpen.  At the moment I like Oregon RD ripping chain best.  It is full complement with a round chisel profile and has already been ground to 10 or 15 deg. (can't remember), which saves you from having to grind down a regular chain.  I've filed these by hand, which would please many of you I see, but filing 92 teeth after about every 100 ft gets tedious and pretty soon the cut quality started to get poor.  I tried using the simple file cards, but things didn't improve.  Guess I'm not up to the capability you guys have.  But after switching to Granberg's bar grinder I've been able to maintain consistent cut quality.  Not surprisingly, my crosscut chains run real well now, too.  The thing is so quick and easy to use I doubt I'll ever go back to filing except when I can't get near a 12V battery. 

Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2010, 11:02:47 PM »
Guys,

Thank you very much for all your input...

I am going to hit the woods tomorrow morning with both my c-saw and my files/guide.  After I burn some considerable hydrocarbons, I am going for the field-sharpening...I will post back and let you know how it goes.   :D

When I get the big chips again for a long time, well... 8)

Thanks again,
tstex

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2010, 11:50:27 PM »
Hi Al,  Not sure what you mean by "fancing milling chain" but I've tried several.  If you mean Granberg's ripping chain, I agree, it doesn't cut too well other than it does cut smoothly.    

















 
I have copied them all ,Granberg ,Oregon .Nothing cuts as fast as just plain good old chisel .However nothing cuts as slow as cutting straight across grain .

If you can get say 30 degrees of slant going into a rip cut you wouldn't believe how much faster it is .Chainsaw milling is just about as slow as it gets considering more modern ways  of salvaging wood  that would normally end up in a wood stove .

It's an option and I commend anyone who takes the time to do it .However a more easy way of course is with a bandmill .That however has nothing to do with the most basic thing of a chainsaw which is the chain------as much as I ramble on . ;)

Offline ickirby

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2010, 12:53:40 AM »
For someone new to sharpening they might think they can't sharpen but sometimes the chain is too bad to bring back with even several strokes from a file.

That's an excellent point Kevin.  When I'm teaching people to sharpen I think starting with a chain that is wayyy over dull causes 90% of their difficulties.

As far as sharpening yourself versus taking it in to the shop.  I was at a new Husky dealer in Winnipeg the other day and they were charging $8 per loop to sharpen :o... and they had a huge backlog of chains to sharpen for people. 

At $8 per sharpening even if I was buying a new set of files and guides (~$15) everyday I'd still be ahead $25/day.

I totally agree with everyone else it is not a pain to learn at all.  You can be doing a decent enough job of it if you know someone who can coach you 3-4 times properly.  After that you can practice and practice... as soon as I do one absolutely perfectly I'll let you know.  I've only been at it part time for about a decade.   

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #39 on: January 09, 2010, 07:52:36 AM »
Filing is a rite of passage for being a wood cutter.Its surprising how many people don't know how to take the chain off the bar,they take the whole saw to be sharpened.Should be manditory to use a bucksaw for a year then you get a power saw and you'd be DanG sure to maintain it.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline downeast

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #40 on: January 09, 2010, 08:16:56 AM »
Filing is a rite of passage for being a wood cutter.Its surprising how many people don't know how to take the chain off the bar,they take the whole saw to be sharpened.Should be manditory to use a bucksaw for a year then you get a power saw and you'd be DanG sure to maintain it.Frank C.

The chain comes off the bar ???   ::) ::)
What's a "bucksaw"  ???  :o :o

Offline Rocky_J

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #41 on: January 09, 2010, 08:20:25 AM »
But it you take the saw apart to get the chain off the bar, won't that void the warranty?  :P  :D

Offline WildDog

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #42 on: January 09, 2010, 03:38:41 PM »
I tried leaning over from the back of the saw as AL-Smith said, but its to hard on my back so I now put the file in the bech vise and holding the saw in both hands I just move the saw back and forth, its giving my forearms a workout but saves the back. ;) ;)
If you start feeling "Blue" ...breath    JD 5510 86hp 4WD loader Lucas 827, Pair of Husky's 372xp, 261 & Stihl 029

Offline tstex

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Re: [Update] hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #43 on: January 09, 2010, 09:10:11 PM »
Gent's,

I am in the ranch house in the country with a very, very nice fire in the w-burning stove...I am burning some very hard aged-oak cut with my newly hand-sharpened saw...It Cut Great  8)

When I went to town, I took the boxes my chains came in, and this is how I ensure I am buying the right files...got 4 for the 029;  4 for the 023.

When I made my first cut, the chips were as big as the buck-teeth on this kid I knew in the 4th grade [he was a good kid, just had big front teeth :-\].

Again, thank you for all your help and assistance...it was a good day and I feel confident my sharpening skills will soon be keen, thanks to you all...

Be safe,
tstex

Offline Rocky_J

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #44 on: January 09, 2010, 09:29:48 PM »
Good deal.  8)
Remember, consistent repetition is key. Use the same stroke, the same pressure and the same number of swipes on each tooth.

Offline wageslave

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #45 on: January 09, 2010, 10:08:31 PM »
I am no expert  and used to think I was good at it freehand until  I started using a chainsaw more than a couple hours once in a great while. I went out and bought one of those clamp on file holders after that. That worked great till I needed to replace the chain. When I put the new chain on I noticed I wasn't getting as good of of a cut. Same exact chain and manufacturer. I sharpemed it twice the same way I did the old one and I still wasn't getting much better of a cut. I then tried to file down the the rakers, I believe thats what they are called, and wasn't getting anywhere. I finally took a die grinder to the top of the rakers , put a stait edge over four in a row, and measured the gap between the the strait edge and the top of the raker. Once I ground them down to the maximum gap spec. The chain cut great. Now I always check this gap once sharpening stops improving my cut. Note: after grinding the rakers I still made sure to round them like they were with the file after. And try to keep them all the same,other wise you get more vibration from the different depths of the cutters.

Offline gemniii

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #46 on: January 09, 2010, 10:09:17 PM »
Glad to read you were succesfull
<snip>
Here is what I am taking from this post:

* Use guide at this point to get the top angle, use full strokes [only one way from left to right] and perform the same number of strokes per link
* Keep file clean from oil, grease, dirt, i-filings and other debris
* Keep the file flat to the top and forget the 10degree angle
* Sharpen before every use and do not wait until the chips turn to dust
* Keep the bar level secure while using file
* File rakers to spec if/when required
* Take chain to shop every 3-4 uses to resurface/level all the links - toss old chains
* Be more mindfull of not dipping chain into the dirt
* Post here to get good feedback from great guys. :D

Thanks again and be safe,
tstex
I'm not certain what you mean about "Take chain to shop every 3-4 uses". 
I've been told they charge up to $10 a chain around here for sharpening.
/edit - On a 55 link chain that's almost $0.20/link  - I get mine done mail order from Baileys at $0.19/link - and I don't even send the chain in :)
As soon as my new chains start getting dull I'm trying to set a pattern.  I've presently got three saws with 4 variations of chain.
The first time I use my Christmas present  - A Grandberg File-n-joint per mfg settings
If it makes good chips, the second and third time file by hand, checking the rakers every other time,
Fourth time Grandberg
Repeat.

I've read many threads of people who file solely by hand, and good for them, but the Fil-n-Joint brings it back with some accuracy.

Also on my milling chain when I went to set the rakers on the 2nd and 4th sharpening per spec (Woodland Pro 30RP - 0.022") I didn't have to give more than one or two strokes and the chain cut like it was going thru concrete and still making fine sawdust.  I then tried a "progressive filing" (see instructions for Carlton Fil-o-plate at Baileys) dropped them down now to about .028 (took about 15 strokes per raker) and it's back to cutting almost by itself with chips.

Taking the chain to the shop to me is a no-go, with the time consumed it's not worth it to me to have a 92 link chain MAYBE sharpened when I can buy one from Baileys for under $20  (hope they bring back free shipping).

As far as sharpening after every use, depends on how much it was used, how fine the chips are compared to a new chain.  But I prefer to sharpen after every "significant" use.

/edit - Also when I do it freehand I hold the file such that it kind of "lifts up" against the cutter, not bear down into the gullet.

Offline miking

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #47 on: January 09, 2010, 10:37:17 PM »
I think that 10% lift does improve the cut. After flat filing for years and then switching to try it out I really think the chain cuts better with it.
Echo CS530, 600 and 680 chainsaws, SRM410U brushcutter, PB500 blower and PP265 power pruner. Also a Stihl 192c for the lil' stuff.

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #48 on: January 10, 2010, 07:53:27 AM »
I tried leaning over from the back of the saw as AL-Smith said, but its to hard on my back so I now put the file in the bech vise and holding the saw in both hands I just move the saw back and forth, its giving my forearms a workout but saves the back. ;) ;)
:D Right .

There is a secret to it .In the bush just cut maybe half a bar width into a log,round whatever and use the cut as kind of a stump vice for want of another term .Get the saw elevated enough it doesn't hurt your back .

That "over the top " is just one method of many .It works better for me because I can see the tooth angle better .

The first person I ever saw do that way was a tree trimmer that just stuck the saw out the window on a bucket truck and filed away .He got it sharp as a razor I'll give him that .

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #49 on: January 10, 2010, 08:10:48 AM »
A friend of mine in the tree service gets real close to the saw you'd swear he was mounting it but it comes out vicious sharp.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #50 on: January 10, 2010, 09:37:20 AM »
Gemnii wrote"

"I'm not certain what you mean about "Take chain to shop every 3-4 uses". 
I've been told they charge up to $10 a chain around here for sharpening."


There is a Stilh dealership 10 miles from here where they sharpen chains.  Only two people allowed to do so:  the owner and part owner thats been there for 25 yrs.  I asked to go look at their set-up and he explained how all the angles are set, how to and how not too/etc, had a bunch of calipers too...I even brought in a chain one time and he said, "you can buy your chain from me or anyone else, your choice, but this chain is beyond sharpening"...BTW, they charge $4/chain off, $6 on...I would not pay $10/chain either and I do not see too much difference bewteen .20 & .19/link and postage?...was this a typo?


"As far as sharpening after every use, depends on how much it was used, how fine the chips are compared to a new chain.  But I prefer to sharpen after every "significant" use."

You make a good point here. I should have better qualified the duration of my chain-saw usage each frequency.  When i fire-her-up, it is usually a good long session because I can only work on the weekends and save the work up for a good work-out.  That is, until a 70MPH microburst drops a scaffolding branch on the chain-link fence and flattens it to the ground.  The diameter of the s-branch was 22-26"...nice time.


It was 12-13 here this morning [9 yesterday morning] but the woodburning stove had the farm house in the mid-high 70's...nothing burns better than aged, hard oak.  Maybe cutting this type of wood [which i have seen spark within 3-4 minutes of cutting with a brand new stihl chain and absolutely no foreign materials or debris] is what makes these chains dull so fast...this is why I needed to sharpen much more often...the oak burns long, blue flame and puts off heat like coal.   ;)

Thank you again gentlemen for your feedback.

Be Safe,
tstex

Offline moonhill

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #51 on: January 11, 2010, 06:56:48 AM »
Most of my chains are filed down to a nub, some the last bit of the tooth is bent or broken.  At that point I know it is done.  It is still cutting sweet up till that point.  I often will say to myself to save that chain I may need it to do some grubbing.  I have never changed a chain out for some dirty work, I don't know why I keep the chains, they are all over the place.  I should collect them in a five gallon bucket and sell for scrap.   

I posted this a while back, I file with my bar pointing up.  I would think this could be done in a vise as well. 

Tim
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2010, 07:47:58 AM »
Tim,aint it the truth I've got old chains everywhere and can't bring myself to throw em,I've never used my saws for a ditch witch.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline OneWithWood

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #53 on: January 11, 2010, 10:35:35 AM »
One of the things I learned in the cutter training classes (GOL) was that all chains need to be touched up with a hand file when new out-of-the-box or coming off the grinder.
 Once you have used a saw with a truly sharp chain you will understand and never go out in the field without a file or two or put on a chain that has been through a grinder without touching it up with a few quality strokes.
One With Wood
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Offline moonhill

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #54 on: January 11, 2010, 12:26:42 PM »
I was poking around with a poker in the wood stove and found a warn out chain is the hot coals.  Must have been in the sawdust on the floor. 

When I am cutting young trees on the blueberry field I want the stub as close to the ground as possible.  One example of grubbing. 

Tim
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Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #55 on: January 11, 2010, 07:25:45 PM »
Guys,

One last thing, and I am sure some of you have thought of this already.

I am determined to get this hand file sharpening down and since the Stilh guide I have doesn't allow me to use the full length of the file during strokes, I came up with a "guide board".

What i did was draw a straight/bolded line down a 3/4" piece of plywood where I can comfortably access all angles of my chainsaw and it is stabilized.  I then took the guide and lined up the proper angle w/ the bolded line and drew a 30 degree angle about every inch for sharpening one side of the chain; then I did this the other way to get the angle back to sharpen the other chain...I simply put the bar on the straight bolded/line with a movable block on the end to support the end of the bar.  Now the bar/chain is stable w/ the proper angle that shows me how I need to run the file...Then I go back the other way and have the lines below to get the angle on the other teeth...really works well.  When i do this enough, I feel I will intuitively get the angles down...does this make sense?

On some of my 029 chains, the angles are on the teeth, but not on my 023 or my extension....anyway, thought if you were going to do some "file sharpening in the shop", the template would help those that are not a pro at this yet.

Be safe,
tstex

Offline ickirby

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #56 on: January 11, 2010, 11:39:02 PM »
What i did was draw a straight/bolded line down a 3/4" piece of plywood where I can comfortably access all angles of my chainsaw and it is stabilized.  I then took the guide and lined up the proper angle w/ the bolded line and drew a 30 degree angle about every inch for sharpening one side of the chain; then I did this the other way to get the angle back to sharpen the other chain...I simply put the bar on the straight bolded/line with a movable block on the end to support the end of the bar.  Now the bar/chain is stable w/ the proper angle that shows me how I need to run the file...Then I go back the other way and have the lines below to get the angle on the other teeth...really works well.  When i do this enough, I feel I will intuitively get the angles down...does this make sense?

Your method sounds like it could very well work but one thing to caution you on is making sure that your block allows you to have the proper depth control of your file.  I may not quite understand your description so if I'm wrong just ignore me.

The depth of your file in the gullet of the tooth will determine your top plate cutting angle.  This angle will effect how fast your chain will cut but if you get it too sharp (narrow angle / deep file depth) then the chain will dull very quickly and damage very easily in dirty conditions.  [edit]Also I see a lot of people who think they file very well free hand that file too deeply and end up damaging the tie straps (small connector links of the chain) on their chain and incidentally I have seen a couple of these weakened tie straps break.[/edit]

I would recommend that you keep using the Stihl file guide and if you don't get used to it very soon just try a few different styles of file guide until you find one that suits your needs better.  There are at least a half dozen different styles and I'm sure you'll find one you like.  I personally use the cheapeast and most easily accessible style to me the Oregon brand.

P.S. I don't want to anyone saying I am what I file with because I may be easy but I'm not cheap.


Offline madhatte

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #57 on: January 12, 2010, 01:36:12 AM »
I get the best results keeping the file level with the top plate of the chain. I usually don't buy Oregon chain but even with their chain I still file it level instead of their cockamamie 10 degree angle stuff. Angling it makes the cutting edge too blunt and the tooth doesn't have enough of a hook to cut fast.

I always understood that the 10 degree thing was just for round-filing square chisel chain, and was done in order to approximate a working corner?  On semi-chisel chain, I am unaware of any manufacturer recommending any angle other than flat.  Given the idea of approximating a working corner, wouldn't it be better to file into the cutter rather than out? 

Offline tstex

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #58 on: January 12, 2010, 08:43:25 AM »
The block(s) I use comfortably fits right under the end of the bar/chain and prevents the entire saw from moving down as I file the chain.

Regarding the file angle, [up/down], I believe many of the folks here stated to file even/flat/straight across the top was the way to go.  Even with a guide, IMHO, it would "stihl" [ :D] be a challenge to get the 10 degree angle.  However, with he guide I do see where the depth is easily managed.

Re guides, the Stihl guide i have only allows me to use the middle portion of the file, thus wasting not only the top and bottom, but also doens't allow me to make full strokes as I did with my template going freehand.  Is there a guide that allows you to use the full length of the file?

thx,
tstex

Offline downeast

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #59 on: January 12, 2010, 09:23:44 AM »
(shouting  ::) )
PFERD

For hand filing ( all real men do  :o    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK....."  ) get the Pferd tool. Repeat: get it. Get it now, that's an order. ;) It will keep the height correct, do the rakers, give you the new ( if it's a Stihl chain )chain feeling, and, save you $$$ going to the dealer for sharpening  :-\  . Just be sure to replace both files often---the round and the flat. smiley_tom_dizzyguy03

Offline beenthere

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #60 on: January 12, 2010, 10:39:24 AM »
...........  Is there a guide that allows you to use the full length of the file?

Yes

 





And for all the comments about filing, be it by hand or by sharpening wheel.....one still has to know what the tooth should look like when it is filed correctly, and and then adjust the sharpening method to make it correct, if necessary.  Same goes if sending the chains out for sharpening. If they come back and are not right, don't want to have to find that out when in the woods cutting.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline farmer mark

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #61 on: January 16, 2010, 10:46:24 AM »
Not sure if some one else covered this but.  On oregon chain box said file @ 10 degrees.  UNLESS using file guide then file flat across.  Not sure why but does seem to work better.  Only took about 5 years to read fine print on box

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: hand-sharpening w/ file & guide
« Reply #62 on: January 16, 2010, 11:25:24 AM »
Well this will probabley sound like nonsense but I just checked out three chains Oregon ,Arbor Pro and Stihl .

The Arbor pro and Stihl had thicker tops plates and a less square transition from top to side plate on the underside of the cutter than Oregon .In addition the side appeared to be slightly thicker near this transition than Oregon .

The Oregon as has been stated is designed to use a 10 degree up while the other two are straight . It would be my assumtion that possibley this 10 degree would form a better working corner on that slightly different chain design .

One must keep in mind the side of the cutter is what does the work and the top plate removes the chip but the key to it all lies in the corner of the tooth .If that corner is not correct the chain will not cut as well as it should .

To reiterate from my own experiance a chain that's supposed to have a compound angle will cut okay straight .A chain that's supposed to be straight doesn't do well with a compond angle .One of lifes little lessons I learned along the way .


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