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Author Topic: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?  (Read 4809 times)

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Offline Ward Barnes

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How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« on: April 02, 2012, 06:08:45 PM »
Howdy Folks:

I have reached the point in the cutting of a wind fallen oak that is about 9 feet from the root ball.  At this point the tree has a bulge in the trunk that is 6 inches larger then the rest of the trunk that is 22 inches in dia.  Cutting into this bulge is some kind of tough.  My chain is sharp and the rakers are at their proper height and the chain is pulling chips.  The problem is in the speed of cutting through this area.  Would the purchase of a new chain to use in these cuts make sense?  In other words how does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?

MS 390 w/18 inch bar and yellow Stihl chain (33 RSC 66).

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
7 year old Stihl MS 390.  New Stihl trim saw MS 250.  Kubota BX 2200 tractor.  2005 F150 4X4.
Dull chains cause accidents.  Accidents cause shorter life spans.
You don't sharpen a chain when it gets dull.  You sharpen a chain to keep it from getting dull.

Offline beenthere

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2012, 06:13:55 PM »
Ward
I find a hand sharpened chain is better than the ones I've purchased new. 

So... don't know what ta tell ya.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline DDDfarmer

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2012, 07:46:30 PM »
Never found a new chain out of the box all that great until sharpened.
Treefarmer C5C with cancar 20 (gearmatic 119) winch, Husky 562xp 576xp chainsaws

Offline sparky1

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2012, 07:56:03 PM »
Ive never sharpened on myself, but when I have a guy sharpen mine there better than new.
Shaun J

Offline Ianab

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2012, 08:06:14 PM »
I agree with the others, a properly resharpened chain should even work a bit better than a brand new one.

It's sorta the way I judge my sharpening ability. I can get a chain to cut as "good as new", a real expert can get it to cut better.  ;)

It may be the part of the log you are cutting has a large knot or some other sort of crazy grain or reaction wood. Something is obviously happening there to have formed the bulge? This means you might end up ripping though an old dead knot from the end grain. This of going to slow you down no matter what saw and chain you are using.

As long as the saw is still sharp, you are still pulling chips, the bar is still lubing etc, just keep gnawing at it.  :-\
But when you get it cut, have a good look at the grain in there, I bet there is something weird about it.

Ian
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Offline lumberjack48

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 09:08:54 PM »
I sharpened a new chain before i used it. The sharpest chain, best cutting chain out of the box is a Carlton chain.

Your cutting though a burl, they can get real hard, wood grain is twisted or timber bound.

They will take the edge off the cutters, I've had to touch the chain up a couple times when cutting a big burl.
Third generation logger, owner operator, 30 yrs felling experience with pole skidder. I got my neck broke back in 89, left me a quad. The wife kept the job going up to 96.

Offline lonewolf

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 09:53:46 PM »
Bet your bar is worn out!! A worn bar allows cutters to tip left or right of center. Basically your chain isfighting itself. I sharpen every chain right out of the box and take the rakers down also. Don't buy your saw chain from the local box store. They sell u stuff with so much anti - kick and safety b.s. on it I wouldn't use it for ice sculpting.
"EARTH FIRST"  WE'LL LOG THE OTHER PLANETS LATER

Offline Ward Barnes

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012, 06:44:50 PM »
Bet your bar is worn out!! A worn bar allows cutters to tip left or right of center. Basically your chain isfighting itself. I sharpen every chain right out of the box and take the rakers down also. Don't buy your saw chain from the local box store. They sell u stuff with so much anti - kick and safety b.s. on it I wouldn't use it for ice sculpting.
 

Lonewolf:  I agree on not buying chains from a big box store.  I work in one and would shudder if I had to buy one of ours.  I even had another employee argue with me in front of a customer when I suggested to him how often a chain needs to be sharpened.

Speaking of BBS's (Big Box Stores) we accepted a return on a chain saw that had a broken bar.  Gave him a new saw.  Humm... How do you free a stuck bar?  Use the rest of the saw as a lever.

As far as the bar being worn you are probably on target.  The bar has been on this saw one year and has seen a good deal of use including a stint with Operation Blessing after the tornado came to town last April.   Recently I had the bar catch in the wood and had to use a screwdriver to open the bar track to get the chain moving again.  Maybe I can get my Stihl dealer to give me a new saw.   :D

God Bless, Ward and Mary

7 year old Stihl MS 390.  New Stihl trim saw MS 250.  Kubota BX 2200 tractor.  2005 F150 4X4.
Dull chains cause accidents.  Accidents cause shorter life spans.
You don't sharpen a chain when it gets dull.  You sharpen a chain to keep it from getting dull.

Offline John Mc

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 10:41:41 PM »
You know, if you run across another good burl, people who are into turning wood often are looking for those. The odd grain makes for some interesting pieces. I've seen some great wooden bowls made from burls.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Al_Smith

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2012, 02:05:14 PM »
Now this deal of filing a chain that perplexs some people goes like this .You will never get any good at it until you do it .

You don't have get fancy and change the angles as some seem to think .You don't need a race chain to cut firewood .

Just follow the factory prescribed method which can be found on any chain manufacturs web sites .Get that down pat then worry about enhancements if you so desire . Ya gotsta walk before you run now . ;)

Offline angelo c

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2012, 12:17:57 PM »
Any chance the log you are cutting is under a large amount of tension and you are on the compression side ? Just a thought.... 
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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012, 08:24:44 PM »
I always file the rakers a bit below specs and my chains cut like a champ!!
Tuning the saw with the jets to get maximum RPM helps enormously too.
Pete
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Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2019, 11:57:55 PM »
When I install a new chain, I sharpen it BEFORE I take the saw out to the bush or wood pile too cut wood. That is how i was taught to do it. YES it is now a habit but it works for me.
If you ain't livin on the edge you are takin up way to much room. Of course at my age if I get too close to that edge any more theres a good chance I may fall off.
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Offline mredden

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2019, 02:02:23 PM »
Howdy Folks:

I have reached the point in the cutting of a wind fallen oak that is about 9 feet from the root ball.  At this point the tree has a bulge in the trunk that is 6 inches larger then the rest of the trunk that is 22 inches in dia.  Cutting into this bulge is some kind of tough.  My chain is sharp and the rakers are at their proper height and the chain is pulling chips.  The problem is in the speed of cutting through this area.  Would the purchase of a new chain to use in these cuts make sense?  In other words how does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?

MS 390 w/18 inch bar and yellow Stihl chain (33 RSC 66).

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
You are in Virginia? Coastal area? Is it Quercus virginiana (live oak)? That's not just "oak." It's the hardest commonly encountered wood in north america. It's twice as hard as other oaks. It also has a tendency to twist and bulge in its trunk (though almost always shorter than nine feet)

Nasty stuff if that's what you've gotten into. Sharpen, sharpen sharpen, It dulls your chain fast and leaves the cutters coated in a brown sap that dries and hardens to the cutters quickly.



A month ago, I scoffed at those who claimed to sharpen better than new. Then, I repaired a barb-wire-damaged chain using a guide, calipers, magnifier, metric scale and progressive raker gauge. I spent the time (for once) to do it right on all angles. I found a lot of problems with my previous sharpenings of that chain. A LOT! After getting all but six cutters the same length and despite having those six straight cutters (3 each side) that are considerably shorter than the others, this chain cuts at least as well brand new. That made me resharpen all my chains with discipline. They do cut better than new.


Everything I had sharpened before then had been poorly done - at best. No more free hand even in the field.

Offline esteadle

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2019, 08:45:14 PM »
There's a good discussion of Red Oak and White Oak vs. chainsaws over on ArboristSite here:
Is oak hard on chains? | Arboristsite.com


I'm leaning toward the comment that says: 

Is the soil around there predominantly sandy or sandy loam?

Usually Oak isn't too bad on chains, frozen or not, unless the local soil has gotten into the bark, then it's game on, and time to grab a loop of semi-chisel. High silica soils can also make for trees that eat chains. I can go 5 Miles from here and get double the time between touch ups, but head into our woodlot, and the sparks fly from the silica


This is my experience too. Red oaks around SW PA can pick up a lot of minerals, especially near the butt of the log. I had a job late last year on a 45" 20' windfall. I started at the top and worked my way down, and I could feel the saw getting duller as I pressed into the core of the tree. As I got into the last 10' of the butt, I had to file my brand new chains on every tank of fuel.

When I pulled it out and looked closely at the chain, it looked like I had put it into the dirt (but I hadn't). The top face of the cutters were ground down almost 25% of the way to the back of the cutter, and I had to file so hard to get them sharp again, I lost a good portion of their service life. I can often get a cutter sharp in 3 strokes, but I was taking 10-15 or more and rotating the file as well, just to get them back to usable. And that took so much back, I had to file rakers each time too. 

I figured it was one of those logs where some old timer "fixed" it by pouring concrete into a hole, but when I finally got the pieces apart, all I could see was a greyish-brown cast in the center of the log where it must have been pulling in silica. A couple of embedded rocks were closer to the root ball, but I never hit those with the saw. 

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Offline mredden

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2019, 10:21:28 AM »
There's a good discussion of Red Oak and White Oak vs. chainsaws over on ArboristSite here:
Is oak hard on chains? | Arboristsite.com


I'm leaning toward the comment that says:

Is the soil around there predominantly sandy or sandy loam?

Usually Oak isn't too bad on chains, frozen or not, unless the local soil has gotten into the bark, then it's game on, and time to grab a loop of semi-chisel. High silica soils can also make for trees that eat chains. I can go 5 Miles from here and get double the time between touch ups, but head into our woodlot, and the sparks fly from the silica


This is my experience too. Red oaks around SW PA can pick up a lot of minerals, especially near the butt of the log. I had a job late last year on a 45" 20' windfall. I started at the top and worked my way down, and I could feel the saw getting duller as I pressed into the core of the tree. As I got into the last 10' of the butt, I had to file my brand new chains on every tank of fuel.

When I pulled it out and looked closely at the chain, it looked like I had put it into the dirt (but I hadn't). The top face of the cutters were ground down almost 25% of the way to the back of the cutter, and I had to file so hard to get them sharp again, I lost a good portion of their service life. I can often get a cutter sharp in 3 strokes, but I was taking 10-15 or more and rotating the file as well, just to get them back to usable. And that took so much back, I had to file rakers each time too.

I figured it was one of those logs where some old timer "fixed" it by pouring concrete into a hole, but when I finally got the pieces apart, all I could see was a greyish-brown cast in the center of the log where it must have been pulling in silica. A couple of embedded rocks were closer to the root ball, but I never hit those with the saw.
There are several types of white oak and several types of red oak. The different types have different hardness. Then, there is Live Oak which is a different animal altogether.
-

Here are just a few :
Southern Red Oak - Janka Hardness 1,060 lbf
chestnut oak - 1,130 ------------ a sub variety of white oak
Black Oak 1,210 lbf -------------  a subvariety of red oak
Northern Red Oak 1,290 lbf
Eastern White Oak - 1,350 lbf
Pin Oak - 1,500 lbf-------------- a sub variety of red oak
Live Oak - 2,680 lbf some say it's white oak, some say it needs its own separate classification
-

Of course, dirt, gravel, sand and metal also appear. I only know that the red oak down here mills like butter even when dirty. You can barely mill clean live oak - (and its limbs are dirty, dirty, dirty with layers of fern and decayed fern.) I can mill only one 8 footer one pass then have to re-sharpen.
The amazing thing is that fighting ships like the USS Constitution had naturally curved Live Oak limbs for the "ribs". Hewn by hand!

Offline Bthomasb3

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #16 on: March 15, 2019, 08:29:25 PM »
I just bought a new 362 cm and it has that goofy stihl chain with double rakers on it.so i cut a couple loads of firewood with it and was starting to get disappointed a little,i thought it should cut better.Then i hit dirt dangit so i sharpened the chain and hit the rakers a bit and its like a different saw it cuts so much better that before.so i would have to say i learned today that a new chain needs some work!

Offline medved

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #17 on: March 17, 2019, 05:41:58 PM »
Just picked up a new saw and hadn't used a factory new chain in a while. Boy did I forget how lacking the factory tune is on those chains! Some very light touch-up had this saw throwing chips and screaming through some tough madrona.

Always curious why they come this way, figured there must be a reason...

Online lxskllr

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #18 on: March 17, 2019, 05:59:34 PM »


Always curious why they come this way, figured there must be a reason...
Might be good enough is good enough. They go through factory processing, then either wrapped on a reel, or get stuffed in a box where they rattle around as they get the deluxe world tour. The sharper it is, the easier it dulls. They probably aim for a competent edge with all angles correct, and figure the end user can touch it up as they see fit.

Offline medved

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Re: How does a properly sharpened chain compare to a new chain?
« Reply #19 on: March 17, 2019, 09:37:07 PM »


Always curious why they come this way, figured there must be a reason...
Might be good enough is good enough. They go through factory processing, then either wrapped on a reel, or get stuffed in a box where they rattle around as they get the deluxe world tour. The sharper it is, the easier it dulls. They probably aim for a competent edge with all angles correct, and figure the end user can touch it up as they see fit.
Duh, makes perfect sense, sharp edges are more fragile!
I don't mind, I love sharpening  :)


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