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For hire in your area: sharpen chains by hand

Huskybill

Huskybill

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With a brand new chain I use a 7/32” file free hand on the gullet first for the exiting chip clearance. Then I use a 7/32” round file with the file n guide so the upper edge of the tooth gets sharpened razor sharp.

On every gas up I make one pass on each tooth with the file n guide.

At the end of the day before I shower and eat, I check the raker depths, looking down the front of the bar I eye ball the raker depth, run the file n guide one last time just one pass. The air filter gets washed, the bar nose and clutch drum get a shot of grease. I check the bar rails.

Practice doing your rakers by eye. I usually make two passes on each raker. The worst worn maybe three.

For grinding the bar rails even I use the 30”x1” hf belt sander. When the rails are even I chamfer the outside corner of the rails. On the inside corner I run the corner of the file and chamfer both inside edges. Not too wide of a chamfer. Just break the corners.
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

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I sharpen chains for my buddy’s dad. He worked in the shop with my dad. Once he seen how my chains cut he always brought me his dull chains.

Its really not making money sharpening chains and doing bar service. How much can we charge.? The new huztl chains are $5 to $7 each. With a huztl bar it’s $9/$12 b&c combo.
 
Cliff R

Cliff R

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Sharpening chains is a skill that you learn and continue to get better at over your lifetime. Just like learning to sharpen a drill bit, for example, at first you'll have troubles, figure it out somewhat, and continue to get better and better at it the more practice you get.

I do all mine by hand, never owned or even thought about buying a grinder. WAY back when I first started running saws and cutting firewood (mid 1970's) I kept 2-3 loops and paid to have them sharpened. That deal didn't last long as they ground a LOT off of them and I'd only get a few outings before I was replacing them.

I learned how to correctly hand file, and lower rakers, and touch up every time I stop to fuel up, or between every outing depending on how things work out. My chains last a LONG time, and they are sharper and cut faster than any sort of machine grind could do for them........Cliff
 
Philbert

Philbert

Chainsaw Enthusiast
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Nov 25, 2006
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Minnesota
If you’re going to go through all of that Philbert why not just grind them probably a cheaper option with more speed and accuracy.
I usually use an Oregon 511A type grinder at home, and touch up in the field with a file and basic guide. The grinder is especially important for refurbishing chains others have sharpened or abused, like some of the disaster volunteer groups I work with.

The auto filer is just something that was introduced recently - perhaps of special interest to folks who think that chains should only be filed, and never ground? For the guy who loves his Granberg jig, but has lots of loops to sharpen? I would love the opportunity to try one, just out of interest.

Sharp is sharp . . .
Yes, no matter how you get there. In my opinion, it starts with knowing what a sharp cutter looks like. If you don't know that, just hitting it with a file, grinder, jig, etc. does not get you there.

Length of the cutters to be uniform is also a myth. As long as the preceding raker is set correctly the cutter will cut independent of the length of the cutter before or following it.
Disagree there. Chain will still cut, but with different length cutters comes different height cutters and different set (kerf width) of cutters. Cut will not be as smooth as if all cutters are the same.

Screen shot 2014-05-30 at 10.11.10 PM.png Screen shot 2014-05-30 at 10.26.09 PM.png

The problem with the grinders is in making the gullet. Lay a straight edge across the side of the chain and you will see that the raker is inboard of the gullet edge. The gullet cuts and the grinders don't make for proper gullet shapes nor are they particularly sharp.
You can shape the gullet any way that you want. That is why I can touch up a chain that I ground at home with a file in the field: I grind as I file and file as I grind.

To properly file the cutting edges and shape the gullet requires multiple passes and positioning of the file. Some guys use a larger diameter file for the gullet. Same thing with the grinder: I usually make multiple passes, but could also change the profile of the wheel to make a desired shape and angle. Like you said, 'sharp is sharp'.

Philbert
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

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I had the Oregon grinder and I don’t think it can match a good file sharpening. The grinder came in handy when installing the chain repair kits after hitting a rock or pipe in the wood. I’ll stick with a file.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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Nov 25, 2006
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I had the Oregon grinder and I don’t think it can match a good file sharpening. The grinder came in handy when installing the chain repair kits after hitting a rock or pipe in the wood. I’ll stick with a file.
Personal preference. I respect that. People need to find what works for them.

Philbert
 
Justsaws

Justsaws

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Liability reasons?? Do tell!
By not adjusting the depth gauge the potential for kickback is reduced. As most shops are not set up to adjust the depth gauge with the exactness that the chain came from the factory it is regarded as best to leave the factory depth gauge as is. The average chain saw sharpening machine is not as accurate before the operator is even involved, and all the guides to help people achieve some sort of unity across the length of chain are also not exact cutter to cutter in regards to as new from the factory, let alone most do not restore the depth gauge to the exact factory shape.

Depth gauge adjusting and replacing broken or damaged links are fading into the past. Spinning chain off a reel in house is getting rare, let alone bar maintenance.
 
MontanaResident

MontanaResident

A Stihl Fanatic
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Apr 28, 2014
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N. W. Montana
In my opinion, it starts with knowing what a sharp cutter looks like. If you don't know that, just hitting it with a file, grinder, jig, etc. does not get you there.
I have been using one of these now for a month. Along with my reading glasses, the details can be seen and appropriate adjustments can be made. Makes a HUGE difference.

 
pioneerguy600

pioneerguy600

Lost in Space
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Dec 23, 2007
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N.S. Canada
I can get 6 cord sawn stove length usually without much issue.
I think its a regional thing Jeff, Maine and NS hardwood is very clean and dust free, I handle my hardwood mostly during the winter, keep it off the ground and no mud or debris on it and I can cut a full day not dulling the chain. One cut through frozen on soil or woods debris and that chain needs attention.
 
Jethro 2t sniffer

Jethro 2t sniffer

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By not adjusting the depth gauge the potential for kickback is reduced. As most shops are not set up to adjust the depth gauge with the exactness that the chain came from the factory it is regarded as best to leave the factory depth gauge as is. The average chain saw sharpening machine is not as accurate before the operator is even involved, and all the guides to help people achieve some sort of unity across the length of chain are also not exact cutter to cutter in regards to as new from the factory, let alone most do not restore the depth gauge to the exact factory shape.

Depth gauge adjusting and replacing broken or damaged links are fading into the past. Spinning chain off a reel in house is getting rare, let alone bar maintenance.
I have been buying bags of presets and replacing broken or bent cutters on chains with life left and just peening the rivets over with a hammer. Some chains I have 4 or 5 cutters replaced lol on a 20 inch chain. Chain isn't cheap in nz so my relaxing time with a beer in the shed is free and a few bucks for some links why not I say. And old chain cuts really nicely too.
 
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