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Author Topic: Sharpening chains  (Read 3102 times)

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Offline mrwood

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Sharpening chains
« on: November 04, 2011, 08:09:33 AM »
Ok I burn all slab wood in my OWB. I built a V frame cutting jig to cut multiple pieces at once. But with all the binding that comes with that way of cutting my chains don't last very long. I pay $5 each to have them sharpened. And usually next day so it's a pretty good deal. However I have been looking at one of those bench chain sharpeners. Basically a mini miter saw with a grinding wheel. It is 149 and the reviews say it is the greatest thing since sliced bread. I am trying to figure out a ball park range of how many times you can sharpen a chain before it needs replaced to see if it will pay for itself or if it is just cheaper to pay the $5 to have them done?  I know there is not an exact number of times but any ball parks?

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2011, 09:54:02 AM »
IMHO you will get far better life out of your chains with a box of files and proper filing technique.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline WH_Conley

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 10:03:40 AM »
I have one of those. It is very difficult to sharpen a chain without turning the tips blue. One they get that hot a file just slides over them. I have a handheld made by Stihl. It is basically a Dremel tool with a depth and angle gauge. It works very well and is not near as hard on a chain. The angle lines are pretty handy for us guys that our eyes are not what they used to be. Husky and Oregon make them also, maybe others.

On the plus side of the grinder. One winter I was selling slab wood with a guy up the road. They logged for a living. When a chain would go to cutting crooked or something they would just put on a new one. He saved their old chains through the year and I would sharpen them with the bench grinder. We would just hold a bundle over a dump truck with the loader and cut through, about like what you are doing. Chain get dull, just change them. Tha chains would be about one half gone when he brought them, we could get about 4 sharpenings on the average. The bench grinder is very aggressive, it will work, just got to be slow and careful.
Bill

Offline John Mc

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2011, 12:05:10 PM »
This is my chainsaw sharpener. Works great, and easy to take with you when working away from home.
 


The only time I take a saw to the shop for grinding (or to a friend's who has a grinder) is if I it a rock and need to take a lot of material off to get it sharp. Even then, it's got to be pretty far gone before I'll give up on hand sharpening.

Here's what I use to check the height on the depth gauges. I find they work much better than the gauges that have a "drop down" or "cut out" to set raker height (I can give you part numbers for various sized chains, if you need to get your dealer to order some):
 



With these simple and inexpensive tools and a little practice, you can get better results than what many folks get with a grinder, and often times better than what you find on chains new out of the box.

Husky (and probably others) also sells a roller gauge which works well for sharpening. Some have a built in tool for checking the raker height as well
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2011, 12:40:17 PM »
I have been through the gauntlet on chain sharpening as I am sure many other members have.

Until I had some one actually teach me the proper technics and reasons for them I went through chains like they were toilet paper. My "power sharpener" is a hand held 4.5 volt cordless Dremel tool with the appropriate grinding stone for chain size. Why the low voltage/small tool? because it doesn't have enough power or speed to destroy the chain and yet does an excellent job of sharpening. It isn't any faster than a good file would be for most people but for me it is a lot less painful for the tenis elbow.

I also find that half the battle in chain life is taking the tools you need to use to clear debris and move and raise the log and then just taking bit extra time to make sure you dont cut into dirt and other debris. I find it save dollars and actually will put more finished product in the for sale pile byt the end of the week. I spend at least half the time sharpening and doing maintenance on my chain saw then I used too.        
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.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4. 2018 F150
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Offline mrwood

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2011, 12:59:00 PM »
That is a major problem I have. I don't know how to use a hand file nor do I know anyone personally well enough to take the time to show me. I am sure I can find stuff online but I am a hands learner definitely not a paper learner

Offline Weekend_Sawyer

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2011, 01:00:28 PM »
 I clamp my saw in a bench vice and apply a couple of strokes on each tooth
with the file, always filing away from the engine. It's easy and only takes a couple of minutes.
While it's clamped up I can blow out some sawdust with compressed air, tighten the
chain and walla! ready for the next days cutting.

Jon
Imagine, Me a Tree Farmer.
Jon, Appalachian American Wannabe. ... and it looks like my dream will come true!

Offline WH_Conley

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2011, 01:10:01 PM »
I forgot. The dremel tool type sharpener made by the saw companies are 12 volt, so they are portable
Bill

Offline stumper

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2011, 04:16:43 PM »
I am with John Mc and Weekend sawyer.  Ther is a reason most guys in the woods do it this way.  It works the best.

That said I will admit there is a learning curve.  What I suggest to folks is that they start with a new chain and file it to the best of their ability til it starts to cut poorly (usually crooked), then have it sharpened and start over with the file.  You will eventually learn and you will see that the number of filings increases between grindings.

I will admit that I still have issues with my long bars (32 inch and 36 inch), and I can not get a full use out of a chain.

Offline T Welsh

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2011, 05:24:23 PM »
mrwood, when you buy a new chain in a box there,s instructions on how to care for it, follow the instructions and see where it gets you! teach your self by trial and error. as for a power grinder,I would not go that route, you will end up grinding metal away fast and blueing the chain,it takes a lot more set up time to do a chain on a grinder properly than it does to touch it up on the saw. Tim

Offline shelbycharger400

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2011, 05:56:51 PM »
with a 16 inch chain, i can use the dremel and in just a few minutes its ready to go.
chain is cheap, my time is not , id rather be cuttin, then not.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2011, 10:51:57 PM »
Mrwood - I grew up in NW Ohio. If I were still out that way, I'd be happy to show you. There are a few videos on Youtube... the problem is, you need to know a bit about it to recognize who knows what they are talking about and who doesn't. (I'd pick a few out for you, but don't have time to wade through them right now.)

Like most things, it does take a while to get the hang of it, but it's worth learning. Before I got good at it, I was always pushing things a bit to far before swapping chains or taking it somewhere to get sharpened. Now I follow the words an old-timer once told me: "You don't sharpen a chain because it got dull, you sharpen it to keep it from getting dull." (basically, don't wait till performance really starts to suffer to touch up your chain).

I don't think it's any easier to learn to use a grinder properly than to learn to hand file with an appropriate guide or file holder (and you don't tend to do as much damage while learning when you screw up with a hand file.)
 
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2011, 12:39:27 AM »
John Mc

You are 100% bang on. the guy that taught me to sharpen was a professional faller still falling full time at 62 years old. I was in my early 30s at the time.

One other thing he taught me for filing was to use long, slow, steady, strokes and to rotate the file at least a quarter turn per stroke. Rotate so that you turning away from the cutting edge on the top surface of the tooth.

He said that rotation made a pattern on the inner face of the tooth that helps to clear the saw dust away from the cut surface. I can tell the state of my chain by the consistency of the "shavings" coming off the saw while cutting and i am sure most members on here can. It just takes practice. A well sharpened chain will abut pull it self into the cut.

When I have to start "pushing" to get the saw to "grunt" a bit its time for a touch up. Saw will still be cutting good but it wont be cutting easy, and every saw has a different "comfort zone".   
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.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4. 2018 F150
2007 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 almost Super
2 Logrite 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built myself

Offline Weekend_Sawyer

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2011, 09:36:52 AM »

  Only sharpen in one direction, away from the engine. Don't hurry it, A nice even slow cut works much better than sawing away at a tooth with a file and when your file is worn out throw it away, nothing more aggrivating than trying to sharpen with a dull file.

 From one of the logging suppliers (probably Baileys) I bought a small clamp with a pointed base that can be hammered into a stump to clamp your bar for sharpening in the woods. Works pretty good when I dull my 2nd chain and have to sharpen in the woods.   :D

Jon
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Jon, Appalachian American Wannabe. ... and it looks like my dream will come true!

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2011, 10:53:16 AM »
Yup! Weekeend sawyer you have identified another of things that we more experienced sawyers take for a granted.

Another one that your post reminded me of (dull file) if you have to use more then 2 or 3 strokes per tooth (4 if you have hit dirt) you probably need a new file
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.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4. 2018 F150
2007 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 almost Super
2 Logrite 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built myself

Offline island

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2011, 07:46:07 AM »
Does Dremel make an attachment?Where can I buy one.

Offline DandB Mack

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2011, 03:02:16 PM »
Does Dremel make an attachment?Where can I buy one.

Yes, just about any hardware store that sells dremel bits.

Offline shelbycharger400

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2011, 09:57:06 PM »
i think i bought my dremel at menards.   i bought it in the kit with the circle cutter and such
i had a bunch of bits prior to buyin one.

i use mine for sharpenin saws, grindin stuff, cutting sheet rock ect ect.   dont waste your time with the battery powered ones , just get the corded one.   the only battery powered one that is worth buyin is the one that comes with gator clips for a 12v car battery.

Offline Bandmill Bandit

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2011, 10:12:37 PM »
Dremel now has a couple of good battery powered units to. Pricey but they are good units. I like the liittle on I have for chain sharpening but I think I will pick up the 12 volt one pretty soon. Know a few people that have it and that like it alot.


http://www.dremel.com/en-us/Pages/default.aspx

 
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.
2001 Dodge 1500 4x4. 2018 F150
2007 Woodmizer LT40HDG28 almost Super
2 Logrite 36 inch cant hooks and a bunch of stuff I built myself

Offline lumberjack48

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Re: Sharpening chains
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2011, 07:15:17 PM »
Get a file guide like john Mc  showed,  a raker gauge like he showed or a Carlton file-o-plate to keep the rakes correct.
Buy a dozen files and a small flat file to cut rakers

The main thing is to look at the top edge of a cutter, if theres a shinny edge on it, its dull, file on till the shinny edge is gone.

When i stopped at the pub there would be a line of guys who wanted me to sharpen their saw. Will i quit doing it, when we went out i handed them the file, people like to learn, nobody will take the time to show them what to watch for and the dos and the don'ts.

Take your time, don't be hard on yourself, it will probably take about 3 chains and i believe you'll be filing with a smile.   

Another thing, be careful cutting slap wood its very dangerous, especially with a dull saw or low rakers

I would be glad to help, just drop me a email
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.


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