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Chain Mileage-Hand Filing vs Machine Ground

svk

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Has anyone kept track of how many cords you can cut when you touch up your chains by hand versus putting on a grinder?

The guy who used to sharpen my chains up here was pretty heavy handed. You’d only get 4 sharpenings per chain from him.

OTOH I’ve been cutting for over a year with my two main chains on my 42 cc saws which have seen almost all of the cutting action. One is getting close to the end and the other is probably at 20 percent life.
 
lone wolf

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Has anyone kept track of how many cords you can cut when you touch up your chains by hand versus putting on a grinder?

The guy who used to sharpen my chains up here was pretty heavy handed. You’d only get 4 sharpenings per chain from him.

OTOH I’ve been cutting for over a year with my two main chains on my 42 cc saws which have seen almost all of the cutting action. One is getting close to the end and the other is probably at 20 percent life.
I don't use a grinder I file by hand. I get about 15 or more sharpenings as long as the chain ain't rocked or it hit nails.
 
steved

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My dad only hand files, I wouldn't begin to count the cords he has cut...

I use a grinder to dress heavy damage (stone and nail hits), but mostly hand file...I do probably 8 cord a year, only just got my grinder this year (probably cut the last five years without grinding a chain).

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Ted Jenkins

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Any body with experience knows there are pros and cons to machine grinding to hand filing. Hand filing is much much faster in every way to machine grinding, but there are drawbacks also. If you are not great with hand filing then your only option is pull the thing off and go through the grinding process. If you have four guys working for you who will not sharpen their own chain then what are you going to do. In many situations and hand sharpened chain can last 800% more than a machine sharpened chain. A machined ground chain can be more precisely ground to be close to factory specs. the rakers and cutters can be very consistant with a ground chain. It all depends on the OP as to what fits them. For me my situation is that I am away from electricity and would not be able to easily to carry 50 or 60 spare chains to get throug my cutting days. I set up a vice into a stump as a work station where I have fuel grease and an assortment of files to work from. It takes about 15 minutes from start to finish to file a a well worn chain t dayshus saving time from removing chain and resetting. When I do cut I will wear out a chain in about 2 1/2 days which equals about 15 or 20 sharpenings. There is not a possible machine ground chain that can go through much more than 6 episodes of machine grinding. Thanks
 
ChoppyChoppy

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I bought 10 chains when I got my processor. Including the 1 with it, that makes 11.

I've put on about 2400hrs on the machine and have 3 chains left. On the 3rd bar. I got about 1000hrs on each bar and the chains all depends how the wood is, but if my math is correct, it works out to a bit under 300 cords on a chain.


There was a guy with the same processor on another web forum, was getting 300hrs tops on bars. Not sure what he was doing.

As far as on a saw, dunno. I don't use saws a whole lot. My 362, which I've been using since January has about 11 hours on it.

Not sure how filing a chain is faster than grinding. I've done some chains that I've had to do 3 or even 4 passes with the grinder. It'd take an hr to do that by hand!
If it's not really needing sharpening and just a stroke or two per tooth, then I guess maybe it'd take around the same time.
 
lone wolf

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I try to hand file everything now except for Stihl chains that have been rocked, they are too hard and need to be ground true.
Learn to use easy to sharpen stuff where they get rocked stump cuts usually are trouble. Shorter the bar and chain the faster you can sharpen a chain. Also the smaller chains like on a 241 C sharpen fast. I hate a long B and C when its rocked and you have to file it ,takes too long.
 
sixonetonoffun

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I have an old Foley saw sharpening filer thingy. Keep thinking about making a clamp rail attachment for chains. Just never get past the planning stage.

Still hand filing but seems like I get to a point where the angles are to frenched and grab a new chain.
 
JustJeff

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I bought a chain grinder last year and it was great at fixing chains but I couldn't seem to get quite as good an edge as when I hand file. I sent it down the road and went back to hand filing. For the time it takes to remove a chain and put it back, I can hand file. I don't often rock a chain badly. Just my 2 cents. Lot of guys love their grinders.

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JeffHK454

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I don’t even own chain files..everything I have goes across a 510A. When my saws speed starts dropping off in the field I swap chains and get back to cutting , I usually take a good selection of saws/bars and chains when I cut.

When I’m lucky enough to have some free time I sit down and put a light grind on the dull chains and crank the settings down and fix the rocked out ones.

With all that stuff said the best chains I’ve ever ran were hand filled stuff that I got from a long lost member here..but he knew what he was doing and I don’t.

Edit: I’m absolutely sure you get better chain longevity hand filling.
 
Ted Jenkins

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The question was presented as to whether a hand sharpened chain will last longer than a machine ground chain or the ground chain will cut more. I believe that it is no contest for the hand filed chain. As has been pointed out there are many folks who do not care which last longer. Some want what others do not. I hand sharpen because it probably saves me an hour or two a day. As I have said if I had many to do every day hand sharpening would have not place at all. Thanks
 

svk

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Sorry if I made it confusing-it’s how much cutting/how many cords you can cut before the cutters are down to nubs. I know it’s a lot more by hand filing just wondering how much.
 
JeffHK454

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Sorry if I made it confusing-it’s how much cutting/how many cords you can cut before the cutters are down to nubs. I know it’s a lot more by hand filing just wondering how much.
No, your post made sense I just failed reading comprehension.
 
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JustJeff

JustJeff

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When I bought a new 20" bar almost 3 years ago, I got 2 new Stihl chains.... I'm still on the first one hand filing as I go.... I'll let you know if I ever wear it out. Lol.

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