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chain sharpening ONLY PLEASE! "Chain Sharpening"

Discussion in 'Chainsaw Stickies' started by Naked Arborist, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. Naked Arborist

    Naked Arborist Hack from way back.

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    Cluttering this up with BS and more BS only serves to water down the tread!

    The best possible thing that could happen to this tread is for people to (NOT) give information in a "that's what I'd do" or " your wrong, I'm right" kind of way. Don't make it harder, especially for newbies, to find the information they so DESPERATELY seek here on AS.

    Anyone who can quote this with quick link references to more good information found on this site will be a HUGE HUGE help to others looking for info here. Diagrams are also a BIG BIG help. Pictures are always worth a thousand words.

    ----The tools needed are hopefully, a keen eye, the most important tool you can own!----
    1. Flat file for the rakers. A flat sided double cut "bastard" type works best. Look it up if you need to.
    2. A good double cut, sometimes called a diamond cut type, super hard file.
    You will need either a round, triangle or square file for the type of cutter tooth you have.
    3. Feeler gauges. 0.005 - 0.025 - 0.030 - 0.040 most used most needed
    and/or (depth gauge but not really needed.) a match pack will work in a pinch. match pack = 0.020 thick average
    4. A looking glass or 3x-5x magnifier helps if you need one.
    5. Optional: file handle/holder/jig/whatever you call it. Ones with angles marked on them help learners stay true on angles.
    Don't really recommend "goofy files" they have there place but you will not need one.

    Cheap files don't last long and wear out FAST! A "rocked chain", burnt blue or purple cutter is hard to cut and ruins files quickly. Basically the cutter tooth has been overheated and it hardened the steel too hard to file. Stone is the way to start re-cutting the tooth.
    The "rakers", bad name I agree, should be called a "depth gauge".
    Do, and I have, spent way too many hours IMHO (well over 40) just messing around with different chain sharpenings. I'm sure many here have spent a LOT more time than that just messing around with different setups for different uses.

    Everyone who sharpens likes just a little different setting on their chain for a given purpose. These slight tweaks come with time and experience. The leading face angle on the tooth is what does the actual cutting and it varies based on chain design and user preferences. Every type of cut ex: rip or cross cut, has an angle that works best. Standard ones are 20 degrees for end grain ripping cuts. Thirty to thirty five degrees for cross cuts. Different angles give different results. It does affect how long the chain stays sharp and how much it will take out of the wood.

    I suggest to most everyone who has sharpened their own chain with little success, who wishes to learn more, go get a new cutter link or chain, the type your using, and never use it. The point is to study different aspects of the depth gauge and the cutter tooth. If you have a good brand name chain cutter and get close to that recommended setting you will find that your chains cut better. Having a prime example handy gives you something to compare your chain with. It helps you find your mistakes if you have made any. It also helps when comparing slight changes and what they look like in the real word as opposed to computers or paper. Just sayin...

    I'm still learning and have pretty much tried over twenty or so different combos on three different types of chain ie: semi-chisel round filed, two different types of cutter teeth and full chisel square tooth round filed. I do have a chain grinder and have four different wheels for it and they can be dressed in so many different ways for a different cutter tooth face. I used to use a square filed full chisel square cutter tooth chain known as a Barracuda many years ago. It was used on a bow saw just for cutting firewood rounds all day long. Have not messed around with them too much in recent decades. Any chain can be square or round cut or stepped cut, a two stage sharpening that leads to an open filet witch is mostly used on a square or full chisel cutter tooth. Now, with all that out of the way I will concentrate on just a basic depth gauge reduction.

    Well now, back to the "rakers" depth gauge. They play a critical role in the chains bite or not and how smooth a chain will run. They also affect the cutting speed, chip length, chip thickness, how much heat a chain produces, the smoothness, how much wear is put on the chains lower links and the bar wear. The "bite or feel" is basically if the chain will self feed into the wood or not. The difference between pushing the saw or just guiding it along. We will not discuss, just yet, a dull or overly aggressive chain or the wear and tear they create on a saw.

    Try to keep your depth gauges even and in there original shape. A flat raker is not going to cut as smoothly as an original shaped one. Thinning them is of no help for a work saw. Leave that for the race guys. The best advice is to keep them even, shaped well and not reduced too much. Cut to low tends to bite very hard in hard dry wood.

    Do know this for a fact BobL has pretty much nailed it down for the average starting place to be six degrees "Angle of Attack" on the raker. It is only a general starting point and can be adjusted to your likings and the type of wood your cutting. For those without an angle gauge this is roughly about 0.025-0.030 on a new chain with all of the cutter tooth remaining. This will change up to 0.060-0.075 on a well worn down cutter tooth and ground down depth gauge. These numbers cut just the same depending on how much of the cutter tooth remains. These are just general numbers to go by and they are (((NOT ACCURATE))) when measured on an elliptical bar rail as most bars have this feature. They are much closers to the real numbers when measured with the chain flat straight even. If you have and old scrap bar around file a section flat and then measure your chain on your bar then on that flat one. You will find slightly different measurements. I rarely use depth gauges and do not like them, just a preference. The problem is they do not account for the hump on the bar rail and become too shallow as the cutter teeth are worn back shorter. Many Many people use them with great success. It is not good to file the raker with them on the chain. Most people end up filing them down over time. One good point about that is they are more accurate on a worn down cutter tooth. To each their own...

    I have ground off rakers completely and DO NOT :msp_scared: recommend that you ever do that. I do use worn out chains with no rakers for a specific job. I only use an old beat up worn out chain like that for one job only and then it is done and off to the scrap pile. The job it is used for wipes out the chains cutters anyway if it has any left :confused2: when done with it. Chains with no rakers can be used but be warned they tend to be a PITA to control in the cut. They are very hard on the saw engine, clutch, drive sprocket and especially the bar. It will cause galling on the bar. A lot of wear and tear on everything.

    No depth gauges are anything but smooth to run and put out a lot of vibration. The cutter tooth tends to load and unload in a radical way causing chain chatter. Try one if you dare but make sure your prepared to throw it away when it bites too hard and locks that razor sharp chain up all the time cutting in a horizontal position. I'm not talking about bucking fresh cut softwood firewood with a short sixteen to twenty incher :) Try cutting some standing dry dead seasoned oak or harder dry wood with no rakers and a twenty eight inch bar, good luck! The raker is a VERY VERY important intricate part of the chain and should be treated as such.

    A well thought out chain sharpening plan will pay off big in the end. You will have less wear on everything including the beating on your hands from the chain. If you do not think a chain can beat you up try running a 60-95cc saw for eight or ten hours a day. Go for 15-20 tanks of gas with an out of whack chain and let me know what your hands feel like the next morning :confused: try it out sometime. Then go see what your "new bar" looks like lol.

    Most cutter teeth these days have a witness mark on them that marks the angle for the cutter tooth face. As far as tooth cutter angles go, try to stick with the recommended cutting angle or just start out with thirty degrees if your chain is not marked and no information is available. Little more than a good file is all that is needed to get a chain razor sharp. It does take time and patience to learn to sharpen free hand. A good filing jig may be needed if you tend to rock the file while sharpening. Hold it study, use light even pressure, use the whole file length and keep it straight. Clean your file after every tooth by wiping it with a rag or tapping the end on a hard surface usually does the trick. DO NOT push down toward the driver links or you will not sharpen the upper tooth that does all the work. Most people tend to sharpen the tooth back away from the raker and lift up slightly on the last pass or two of the file. When you see the top chrome start to pop up or peel off your right on the sweet spot that does the actual cutting of the wood. Keeping all of the cutter teeth the same length is key to getting a smooth well cutting chain. It should be straight, even across the face and very very SHARP!

    If you can see the leading cutting edge your chain could be sharper. If it reflects light off of the leading edge it could be sharper. If it does not shave notebook paper, it could be sharper. If it does not feel like a new razor, it could be sharper. No such thing as a "too sharp" chain on a saw. Get the point, good.
     
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  2. Naked Arborist

    Naked Arborist Hack from way back.

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    Touch up your chain often and in reality you will get more done, have less wear and tear on you and the saw. It will be quick and easy once you learn how to do it. you will enjoy cutting more. Your arms, wrist and back will Thank You for it. Hell, your whole body will Thank You for always cutting with a razor sharp chain.


    ----Dull chains just SUCK! :tongue2:----
    Do you like that extra push and pull on your saw all day long?
    Do you enjoy the smell of half burnt melted wood while cutting it?
    Dull kills your chain, saw and bar.
    Dust is a fire hazard.
    Dust clogs bar rails. That's why your outer bar rail is purple lol. Did you think it was a mystery? lol
    Dust clogs your eyes, lungs and your air filters.
    Most saws even :chainsaw:s were designed to cut chips not dust.

    Usually you can get at least 10-15 quick touch ups on the saw to keep it razor sharp. I'm finding I get that and 3-4 grinds also out of a good quality hard cutter tooth. For me the rakers only need be touched up 5-8 times over the chains life. I tend to cut a bit more than needed off the raker to save time by not doing them every-time. That said I rotate my chains around, using 2-4 at any given time with the same bar and sprocket. For me running chains in sets leaves less wear on everything. This makes for a nice quick-change when needed to get right back to work.

    ...........................**** Could someone work up a bar maintenance plan and post it on AS? ****........................................

    Even though I do my own bars someone here should be able to do a work up on them better than me. I'd like to learn a tip or two on keeping them "right as rain". Besides I'm out of time today.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    BB
    Keep it out of the dirt.
    Never loan a saw with your "new" chain on it unless you REALLY like them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
  3. J_Arena

    J_Arena ArboristSite Operative

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    THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN^^^^^ Everybody has their own opinion and they will express it!

    Here are 34 pages of info from this site.......... http://www.arboristsite.com/search.php?searchid=1555292
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
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  4. RandyMac

    RandyMac Stiff Member

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    tl;dr
     
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  5. stormpetrel

    stormpetrel ArboristSite Member

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    Noob opinion? this is just what I need to learn more......thank you!!!!!
     
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  6. Zombiechopper

    Zombiechopper Addicted to ArboristSite

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    wow. that's a mouthful.

    Another sharpnin thread? How are we gonna keep em all straight?
     
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  7. Fish

    Fish Account Hold

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    A "Rocked Chain" is one that has hit rock or steel, and takes sometimes too much time to
    repair with a hand file.

    A cutter that is burned, or blue, is from using a grinder that has overheated the steel.
     
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  8. RandyMac

    RandyMac Stiff Member

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    stickie!!!!!
     
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  9. GrassGuerilla

    GrassGuerilla Olympic Piss-reving wanna be.

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    K.i.s.s.

    I frequently cut dirty wood, so I prefer a round semi-chisel chain. I think it's ideally suited to noob sharpeners as its simple. My first rule of sharpening is simple; dont wait till its DULL. each time you stop for fuel/bar oil, touch up the cutters. When I do it, I tighten the chain up snug.
    Idea being that it keeps the chain from chattering while filing. Consistant even pressure, full length of the file strokes (usually just 1-2 since we never let it get dull). Either a vice or stump vice is very helpfull. File from the inside of the edge out, only cutting on the push stroke. I find it helpful to turn the saw upside down to do the "odd teeth" as opposed to filing weak (or left handed). Using the same hand at the same angle makes it easier for me to remain consistant with even pressure.

    Stihl makes a depth gauge for setting raker height that is fairly idiot resistant. That said, I only use it about every 3-5 touch ups. The Husky depth gauge is good also, although not as noob friendly. However the Husky one gives the option of Hard or soft, the latter dropping the depth of cut slightly (a decent option for a little more aggressive chain.)
     
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  10. D&B Mack

    D&B Mack Sawin Wit It!

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    http://www.arboristsite.com/chain-sharpening/
     
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  11. nmurph

    nmurph ArboristSite.com Sponsor

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    ...the top plate digs in and pops the chip loose. It's the side plate that actually severs it from the wood. Otherwise, I think it is a pretty good basic summation.
     
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  12. Trx250r180

    Trx250r180 Saw polisher

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    heres a couple pics i took of square sharpening start with a factory cutter View attachment 267463

    heres one sharpend on a silvey View attachment 267464

    heres a pice of paper i tried to cut with a factory cutter View attachment 267465

    heres one that was cut after i sharpened on the grinder ,there is a difference over factory View attachment 267466

    the sivey grinder that was used ,note rh cutters go on rh side ,lh on lh side and the motor is reversable ,you want to cut from outside in on square ,opposite of round View attachment 267467
     
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  13. Trx250r180

    Trx250r180 Saw polisher

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    pics of the diamond tip dressers for shaping the wheel View attachment 267468

    the freshly dressed wheel ,note it will get some black buildup from grime off chain ,that will over heat your cutters ,so may have to redress depending how dirty your chain is View attachment 267469
    this is a gray stone ,ive found 4 colors availible ,i have a salmon one also ,the gray seems more forgiving reshaping round into square or rocked chains ,not creating a lot of heat View attachment 267472

    heres a pic for Fish View attachment 267473

    a stihl chain with 2 sharpenings on it ,note the steps in the gullet ,those i remove with my oregon round grinder View attachment 267474
     
  14. Trx250r180

    Trx250r180 Saw polisher

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    Last edited: Dec 13, 2012
  15. Derrick Johnson

    Derrick Johnson ArboristSite Operative

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    Looking to start hand filing square ground chain. If anybody could post technic or photo of the best way to go about it that would be great, also looking for what files to order and were. Sorry I didnt get to read the whole thread, I'm at work at the moment. Hope to get some hits so I can start making some filings this weekend...

    THANKS
     
  16. deerjackie

    deerjackie ArboristSite Operative

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  17. CTYank

    CTYank Peripatetic Sawyer

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    Except for square-filing and cutting metal/stone, I've found nothing better or simpler than Granberg "File-N-Joint".

    To accommodate chains from 1/4" to 3/8" and possibly bigger, no matter the cutter type or specified angles, there is no other hardware required than correct file. No loose do-dad gauges waiting to be scattered in the woods. No stump-vise, no need to remove chain from bar.

    Typical touch-up takes a couple strokes per cutter, removes next to zero metal, and can be extremely precise.

    IMHO all this other stuff is noise, doesn't really communicate anything to me. Anything like free-handing, sorry.

    Mine goes in my tool bag with necessary files for touch-ups in the woods. Good excuse for a short breather and productivity-booster. Gotta love K.I.S.S.

    For metal/stone damage, I ask friend to remove most of the damage with HF grinder, then file as possible. :msp_smile:
     
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  18. lfnh

    lfnh Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Up loaded the Carlton Sharpening - the Complete Book in pdf form.
    Sadly, Carlton and Windsor have been assimilated and a lot of good information that was always there is no longer. This is Carlton's work. Not anyone else's. It is the only place outside of AS that has a writeen and drawings of saw cutters Dolphining as they call it that I have read. Others call it Porpoising. Art Martin knew about this stuff along with others like Crofter Gypo Tzed250.
    Hopefully, this will get downloaded and saved so it doesn't get lost like so much of the good photos and drawings did in the linkbucks mess.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. brucew44guns

    brucew44guns ArboristSite Member

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    Ashamed to admit after 40 years of owning a saw for firewood. I have taken countless chains to the saw shop to get sharpened. But I bought some "Saved Edge" files, some handles, and I've practiced, with the help of AS and even some YOUtube videos. I find I get some darned good results, and keep 5 or 6 bucks in my pocket every time I sharpen.
     
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  20. kz1000

    kz1000 fixumologist

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    You got your wish, 4000+ viewers and 19 answers. A lot of times, you learn more from the peanut gallery than you ever will learn from the "supposed scholars.
     

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