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Author Topic: Chain sharpener?  (Read 1707 times)

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Offline Ranger8006x6

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Chain sharpener?
« on: July 28, 2021, 01:28:55 PM »
Hi folks. I have a Stihl 026 and I just purchased a MS 261 C-M saw and Iím looking for a chain sharpener. What are your thoughts. I pay $60 or more to have my chains sharpened and would like to do it myself. Thanks

Online doc henderson

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2021, 01:55:45 PM »
that sounds like a lot.  I think I paid 10 or 12 bucks.  I bought a Stihl sharpener about 8 years ago, so I have been doing my own.  it is expensive however.  I think I paid 600$ then.  some get by with a harbor freight one.  I am sure prices have gone up.  I am sure 30% of what I paid was for the orange paint.  I got the rivet press and spinner, but have never used them.  My favorite dealer (Amish) is a 20 minute drive one way, so the time cost was the issue if I dropped off and picked up.  I prob. have over 30 usable chains.  I have a few special chains like the skip chain for my 880 and the 5 foot bar, so I can sharpen at home.  as an aside, when my parents passed, Each of us 3 boys got a decedents IRA passed down.  It grew for a few years, and then as part of the rules, we had to take out a dividend.  the check comes at the end of each year, so I buy something as a Christmas gift from my parents.  that was part of how I justified paying the Stihl price.  It works well, but I am sure there are middle of the road ones that work well, and cost somewhere in the middle. :)
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2021, 02:43:44 PM »
How many chains get done at a time for $60? A decent bench sharpener such as Oregon is not going to be cheap and you will be disappointed in the results until you get the hang of it, practice, practice, practice. And be patient, if the cutter turns blue it is overheating. There are manual bar mounts that take a file but again practice makes perfect.
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Offline axeman2021

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2021, 03:01:20 PM »
I am guessing that I donít sharpen as many chains as you do, so I have a Stihl 2 in 1 hand chain sharper and it works for me.

Offline 421Altered

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2021, 03:35:15 PM »
Welcome!  Several years ago I bought a Oregon grinder and learned to use it.  Like sawguy says, it takes practice to learn to use it and get good results.  I also bought the CBN wheels, not cheap, but worth every penny.  They keep from over heating the cutters, and sharpen much faster, although the finish is rougher.  However the rough finish does not affect it's cutting ability.  If you will do a search on here, there is lots more info on sharpening chains.

Online doc henderson

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2021, 03:42:35 PM »
everyone is correct.  when I got mine, boy I wanted grind that chain and make it perfect and sharp.  then I was throwing sparks (good), seeing the metal turn red and be blue when it cooled (bad).  it looses temper and hardness.  the Stihl guys said it is better to "bump/bounce" the grinder for an instant, and hit it several times as need, take of the bare min. to get a fresh face on the cuter and most important the very leading edge be sharp.  if the chain is overused and dull, it may take several rounds with adjustment of how far forward the cutters are relative to the wheel.  it is good to have a sharpener so you can sharpen them often without feeling like it has to go to the shop and cost money. (the tendency to use until nearly ruined).
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Online lxskllr

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2021, 04:04:29 PM »
You weren't really clear on what you meant by a "sharpener". If you mean a grinder, getting something decent will set you back pretty good money. Depending on how much work you do, it might not be worth it. The 2 in 1 was mentioned above. It's reputed(I haven't used one) to be easy to use, and give good results for about $40.

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2021, 04:19:37 PM »
I agree I think a file system is a good and affordable place to start.  
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Upton44

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2021, 05:10:17 PM »
My stihl dealer charges 8 to sharpen.

Online doc henderson

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2021, 05:11:26 PM »
yes, and it depends on the length at mine.  
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Greenhighlander

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2021, 06:16:32 AM »
Congrats on the new saw .    
Since getting it I have become a huge fan of Granbergs precision grinder .  Once you get the hang of it , it does a really good job and is fast.  The grinder wheels last longer then I expected before needing to be changed too. Using the coolgrind sharpening lube helps with that.    

Offline Old saw fixer

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2021, 01:14:01 PM »
Doc, did you get the Stihl USG sharpener?
Stihl FG 2, Stihl 036 Pro, 017, HT 132, MS 261 C-M, MSA 140 C-B, MS 462 C-M, MS 201 T C-M
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Offline JJinAK

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2021, 01:33:45 PM »
All good advice on here so far.  I think I will add that learning to hand sharpen helps you to "understand" the chain a bit more.  I recently bought the Oregon 520-120 grinder and I like it.  There is definitely a learning curve, but I found it helps to apply some of what I learned when filing by hand.  What to look for on the tooth, stuff like that.  I have handed down a saw to my oldest son, and I'm teaching him to start with filing by hand.  He's getting pretty good at it, and he's learning about top plate length, gullet depth, and such.  I haven't yet tried the CBN wheels, but it's on my list.  I also agree with the others that $60 to sharpen chains is steep, unless you're getting a dozen of them done at a time.

JaJ
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2021, 01:48:50 PM »
I've seen very skilled people hand sharpen a chain by eye and its be as good as anything I've done with a machine, or by hand.  I've also seen people sharpen by hand and ruin a chain, and I've seen people sharpen with a grinder, a Dremel, all kinds of gadgets and either do a good job or ruin a chain, take your pick.

My personal preference is hand file or use the Stihl 2 in 1 for quick field sharpening, and then, after a few touchups, (or a bad rocking), I reset and normalize all the angles, lengths, rakers, etc with a "real" grinder, (not HF, I've had one, and threw it out).  I use a Stihl USG grinder for that, such as used and ordered by my local dealer, and have sharpened many, many chains and it still operates as good as new.

So I prefer using both techniques.

Here's a good video, it's for a Stihl grinder, but the technique works, would apply to any decent grinder.




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Online Tacotodd

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2021, 01:57:24 PM »
Yeah, Iíll take my hand sharpening over machine. The cost, time involved, and taking off the bar, putting back on, and other stuff that I havenít thought of yet.

Itís also a good time for personal assessments like: hydration, hunger, what have I REALLY got left to do, stuff like that.

It took me a year of trying quite frequently (2x week) to become good at it but Iím happy that I did. And thatís just normal old round filing (Iíve yet to try my hand at square, thatís completely different).
Trying harder everyday.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #15 on: July 29, 2021, 04:09:49 PM »
   I am a big fan of the 12V handheld sharpener using little stones like the one listed here. It has an angle guide to cut the tooth angle you need.

Amazon.com : Oregon 575214 Sure Sharp 12V Handheld Chainsaw Chain Sharpener/Grinder, red : Garden & Outdoor

   I have tried Oregon and Sthil and both make good 12V sharpeners but I find the Oregon sharpeners have a better design because the switch is on the box for one-handed use while Sthil puts their switch on the cord and it takes 2 hands to turn on and off. Also the Shtil models use only Sthil stones that are threaded. The Oregon sharpener uses either the Sthil stones or unthreaded stones from any provider. I keep my sharpener in an old ammo can with my other tools and sharpen my chains on the saw in the woods any time they get dull or I nick a rock which is real common in WV. 
Howard Green
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Online HemlockKing

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #16 on: July 29, 2021, 04:12:14 PM »
I use whatís called a North Carolina chain sharpening machine. Basically
My arm. A bare round file, and little effort and sometimes
Cussing. It works good. Sometimes
Pouring coffee down the intake helps 
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Offline snobdds

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2021, 11:18:04 AM »
At one point in my life, I thought I needed the proper tool for sharpening a chain.  This only lead me down a path of owning every single chain sharpening tool known to man.  Even after all this investment, my chains were still not as sharp as I thought they should be.  It was so bad that there was a point I would just buy new chain instead of sharpening it.  I must have a couple thousands of dollars in stihl chain, enough for my lifetime and my kids life time.  Then,  I saw some famous woodcutter on Youtube about hand filling.  I tried it...now at first I was not very good.  But I'm stubborn.  I kept at it and after about the 6th time doing it, I started to see nothing but big chips, no dust. 

My cabin has a lot of rock, even when I try not to hit rocks, I do.  It gave me lots of practice to fix rocked chains.  I can now sharpen a chain in about 5 minutes and I enjoy the rhythmic motion.  I look forward to getting up early at the cabin, getting some coffee and going down to my little shop to sharpen chain for the day.  It's a great way to start the day. 

Offline barbender

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #18 on: July 30, 2021, 08:22:23 PM »
I'm with YH, proper technique is key whether hand filing, machine grinding or something in between. Except that HF "thing"- I don't think any technique can make it sharpen a chain correctly😬
Too many irons in the fire

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Re: Chain sharpener?
« Reply #19 on: July 30, 2021, 08:38:20 PM »
Just for the sake of discussion; what does the HF grinder do poorly? What I'm wondering, is could it be supplemented with more "premium" parts to make it acceptable?


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