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 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.