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Chain saw cuts crooked

Discussion in 'Homeowner Helper Forum' started by tallyho8, May 23, 2009.

  1. tallyho8

    tallyho8 New Member

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    I sharpened the chain on my Husky and now it is cutting the log to the left instead of a straight cut. I am sure this means I sharpened it unevenly and one side of the chain needs to be sharpened more, but which side?
     
  2. jburlingham

    jburlingham Addicted to ArboristSite

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    If its pulling left, theory is that the left cutters are taking a better bite then the right hand cutters.

    you can judge which have been sharpened more by the length of the cutter, the longer the cutter the less it has been sharpened. if you have a method of comparing ( nut and bolt works) you can just even them up.
     
  3. tomtrees58

    tomtrees58 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    turn the saw around thats works tom trees:dizzy:
     
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  4. mowoodchopper

    mowoodchopper Polar Bear

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    Get the cutters all nice and sharp, then if still cuts crooked check depth gauges and set to each cutter, if that does not do it check for uneven bar rails, if that does not work take the saw out side and back over it with your pickup!








    Just kidding, about the pickup!
     
  5. Sharpie

    Sharpie ArboristSite Lurker

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    I always found that saws start cutting a curve when the bar groove is starting to become wore, the chain starts to tip over. When it gets bad enough it will tip over so bad that the saw will stop cutting. How old is you're bar?
     
  6. outofmytree

    outofmytree Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Couple of quick tips that may help

    1. When sharpening the chain, place it in a vice which pinches the bar but allows free rotation of the chain. Rotate the chain with your file, not your fingers! Find the tooth in worst condition and file it untill it is sharp and count the strokes. Apply the same number of strokes to every other tooth. This will give you relatively even tooth wear for the life of the chain.

    2. Regularly remove the bar and replace it upside down to avoid uneven wear. We do this weekly when the saws get a thorough clean.

    If you want to sort out the existing chain then it is simple enough to make a jig. What you might call a guide. Measure the length between tooth tips on the "sharp" side and mark this on a piece of light gauge steel. Cut the steel to length with a pair of tin snips and bend the corners down. Hey presto you have an instant length guide. Use this guide to file the teeth on the "blunt" side and the chain will be close to "even".

    Oh, I should have mentioned, the "sharp" side will have a greater gap between the tips of the teeth so it will be easy enough to figure out which side needs more filing. The guide will only be useful this once as the gap between tips increases each time you sharpen the chain.

    Good luck!:greenchainsaw:
     
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  7. Crofter

    Crofter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Some good advice but some questionable too. Flipping the bar every time is no guarantee of evening out wear. If the bar was crooked when you flipped it, it will be crooked when you flip it back unless you dress it square in the mean time.

    Maybe you need to clarify how the tips of the cutters get further apart when you file them back; unless I am confused, filing makes them each shorter but they all move rearward.

    Most of us are stronger on filing one side and so giving an even number of strokes to each cutter usually results in one sides cutters getting shorter than the other unless you use some method to compensate like grunting harder on your weak side. Still you have to eyeball or measure cutter length on an ongoing basis and correct before it gets to far out of whack.

    I have seen guys go through the motions of sharpening a chain and not hold the file up enough to touch the edge of the top cutter at all. All they sharpened was the lower part of the side cutter and really it is only the top quarter of the side cutter and the top plate that does any work. My guess is this is likely the cause of the crooked cutting iby the original poster.
     
  8. outofmytree

    outofmytree Addicted to ArboristSite

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    You raise some good points Crofter and I should clarify my answer so it is clearer to those who are new to chainsaws and chain maintenance.

    By reversing the bar you do not guarantee even wear, you simply make it more likely. It is much like rotating tyres on your truck. Preventative maintenance rather than a guaranteed cure.

    The way you file is very important to the result. Hence the need to seat your bar firmly in a vice. Smooth strokes, away from your body, at a consistant pressure and speed are vital.

    The difference in tooth spacing over time is a result of a combination of uneven sharpening, heat, pressure and stress. I suggest that anyone who thinks their chains are evenly worn go and measure the gap between teeth. Use a micrometer if you want best results.

    The gap between teeth will be greater if you file 4 times on 1 tooth and once on the next tooth then 3 times on the 1 after and so on. Even filing is, as I said above, very important. Using a jig or guide is the surest way to make the gap relatively even and thus ensure the chain is cutting at its best. Of course if the saw still turns then the bar is the most likely cause. I do find in almost every case that it is the chain that is the problem with my own saws but perhaps that is because I rotate the bars so frequently.

    As to the cause of the chainsaw in question "turning" when cutting, that is a little trickier to say without seeing the chain, bar and saw first hand, hence my "suggestions" rather than bald statements of "fact".
     
  9. Crofter

    Crofter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Laughing, still dont agree on the increase of distance between cutters. Yes if you shorten one cutter the distance from its tip to the one in front will be greater, BUT the distance to the one behind it will be less and the average will still be the same. The only way you can increase the average distance between cutters is to incur wear in the rivets.

    Anyways we agree that it is important to keep fairly equal lengths of cutter and raker, sharpness and shape side to side on the chain, and the bar rails square.
     
  10. Philbert

    Philbert Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Tallyho,

    As noted, 2 probable causes: 1) uneven cutter lengths on the right and left side, or 2) worn bar.

    If you sharpen with a file, make up some type of simple gauge to measure cutter lengths on each side. Could be a pencil mark on a piece of cardboard, or a pair of dividers, or you could buy a cheap micrometer.

    If you sharpen with a grinder, refer to the grinders' manual to center the vice, or adjust the back stop after grinding one side of the chain so that the cutters on second side is the same length.

    Similarly, check to see that you are filing or grinding the teeth to the same angles.

    As for bar wear, check out the bar maintenance sections of these guides:

    http://www.stihllibrary.com/pdf/SharpAdvice110606.pdf

    http://www.oregonchain.com/tech/manual_maint.htm

    Philbert
     
  11. mowoodchopper

    mowoodchopper Polar Bear

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    :clap: For sure you have to get that top edge of the cutter, side less important!
     
  12. howellhandmade

    howellhandmade Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I could be wrong, but I think OMT is talking about the distance between the cutting edge of one cutter and the rear of the next in front. Making one cutter shorter than another will result in a different measurement in the distance described.

    Jack
     
  13. TraditionalTool

    TraditionalTool Addicted to ArboristSite

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    First a simple question. Did you alternate the direction you filed on every other tooth?

    Typically when you file, you want to file in one direction, turn the saw around and file the alternating teeth which you skip on the first pass. Every other tooth will face towards or away from you (i.e., which way the bevel is facing). This could possibly cause the results you suggest, that one side would pull if you filed all teeth on the same side. The side that is pulling is the side that has more tooth sticking out. On handsaws you can use a stone and lightly take the burr off, but a chain is different and the top is primarily what dictates how the chain will cut.

    Make sure you file the teeth with the bevel away from you, and when you flip the bar/chain around to the other side, you will still be filing the bevel that is away, but those will be the alternate teeth in between. In order to keep track of the teeth, mark the tooth you start on with a magic marker. When you flip the bar/chain around to the other side, you will need to change the file direction to point with the bevel. At least I recommend you file with the bevel, it's easier.

    The other thing that will make a chain grab is if you file a higher angle on one side, so you need to be careful when you do the filing so that the angle is the same on both sides, be it 30 degrees or 35 degrees, etc...different people prefer different angles. But let's say you file at 30 degrees on one side and 35 degrees on the other side...the 35 degree side will grab as it has the higher angle.

    Teeth that have hit a rock or hit the ground, you need to file until the rounded portion is off the tooth.

    Lastly, you need to also make sure that the file your using is the correct size and in addition that you position it in the same spot for all the teeth so that the top corner of the tooth is similar on all teeth. It is the top that determines how the chain cuts, unlike handsaws where they get jointed and set, that doesn't get done on chainsaws.

    Regards,
    TT
     
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  14. Crofter

    Crofter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Jack, I agree that that is what he was describing. The rear of the teeth should remain a fixed reference point for measuring the following cutter length.
    it is simple enough to make a jig. What you might call a guide.
    "Measure the length between tooth tips on the "sharp" side and mark this on a piece of light gauge steel."

    This confused, me, Sorry
     
  15. Crofter

    Crofter Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Traditional tool, imagine how much easier it is to put a chainsaw chain back in shape compared to all involved to do a real good job on a wonked up crosscut saw. My respect goes to the old woods man that could keep one of them cutting well and supply the power.
     
  16. squad143

    squad143 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Sounds like you sharpened the right cutters more than the left ones. (I'm guessing that you did not alter the raker height). As you sharpen a chain you decrease the height of the actual cutter. By filing more of the right cutter, the left side is taller and will do most of the cutting causing your cut to the left. Examine the long side of your cutters (left & right) by holding them next to each other. They should all be the same length (and therefore the same height).

    If your left and right cutters are the same length and you altered the raker height, then chances are you took more off the left hand raker, making that side take a bigger bite.

    I doubt your bar is the problem. If it was, chances are you would have had the problem before you sharpened your chain.
     
  17. TraditionalTool

    TraditionalTool Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Yes, the chain is much easier in that regard, I agree. The large crosscut saws of lore, were a chore and required a special cant file. You have about 3 or 4 different angles to file, as well as the gullet on top. They do cut well when sharp though.

    Your correct that the crosscut that is wonked up is not easy to get back, but it's only metal. You can change a saw from rip to crosscut, or from crosscut to rip, but to do so require a fair amount of metal to be removed, so in that regard it is often easier to stamp new teeth rather than use one's file up, if you have a retoother (I do have several Foley machines, but only really use the retoother). Another reason that chainsaws are easier to sharpen is that the file is uniform and not tapered.

    It is most humbling to shape teeth on a handsaw, and to shape linked teeth wouldn't be anymore pleasurable, IMO, even worse as the gullet is large on a chain link. Thankfully we can buy chain inexpensively...to the point that some folks just toss the chain and replace it with a new one. We are such a bunch of lazy people in the modern world. :monkey:

    I will say this, and I really do mean it when I say this...kudos to tallyho, who started this thread. I say that because the majority of folks will never sharpen their chains. The majority of folks will never understand what is needed to property file their chain. My hat is off to you, I always encourage people to know how to sharpen their saws with a file, it is the lowest common denominator and you can do wonders with a $2 file. It is true that you can have an easier time using a grinder, but the basic skill of sharpening a saw with a file is a skill that every person operating a chainsaw should posses. A dull chain is dangerous, as any dull saw is.

    NEVER, and I repeat NEVER use a file without a handle on it. Even though chainsaw files are not as small as say a 4 xx-slim, it is not a wise idea to use a file without a handle, even if you pick up a scrap twig, always use a handle on the file.

    Do your best to keep your chain sharp, since it is dangerous to use a dull chain and it's hard on the saw as well if the chain is not sharp. It's a good habit to get into to touch up your chain before you go out for the day to use them.

    DISCLAIMER: I don't claim to be an expert sharpener, but I have sharpened my share of handsaws. I admit to replacing chains on other chainsaws I've used, without sharpening the old one. Mostly because people don't have files in most cases. I bought a chainsaw recently of my own and ordered some files. I will sharpen my chain. It only takes a couple minutes to sharpen a chain. Time well spent, IMO.

    Cheers,
    TT
     
  18. oregoncutter

    oregoncutter ArboristSite Operative

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    Lot's of good advice from folks

    It may have been mentioned, but when I have taught people how to take care of a chain I have found it helps them alot if they start out using a filing guide for their cutters, and a gauge/guide for filing down the riders.
     
  19. outofmytree

    outofmytree Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Apologies one and all for this poor piece of typing. In my defense it was late over here!

    I meant measure from the BACK of each tooth to the TIP of the next tooth. The jig I suggested using only works if you use it from the rear of the tooth to the front of the next.:)
     
  20. randyg

    randyg ArboristSite Operative

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    Sure you don't mean back of each tooth to the tip of same tooth? Measure length of each tooth in other words?
    ______________________________________________________________

    The longer teeth are also the taller teeth. They will therefore cut more than the shorter teeth.

    If the groove in the bar is worn, chain is more likely to tip to give crooked cut.

    A new chain on a bar with a worn groove will cut fairly straight, but if the chain gets un-evenly sharpened or dulled on one side, it will now definitely tip on the bar and cut crooked.

    An un-evenly sharpened chain on a new bar will also cut fairly straight untill that groove starts to wear a bit.

    If teeth are all same length, and angle on top plate appears uniform, problem could lie in the stroke of the file. When the file tips up and down like a see-saw kinda rockin up and down with the tooth as the pivot point each stroke, the edge really suffers. And if you always hold the file in same hand that rockin motion will probably be more exagerated on one side of the tooth or the other. All the teeth on the sharper side will cut, as the duller side will rip fibers instead, causing the chain once again to tip on the bar and cut crooked.

    _________________________________________________________

    If that saw cuts to the right here in the northern hemisphere, would it cut to the left in the southern?
     

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