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Frustrated with Stihl Chain!

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by PAcarver, Feb 21, 2019.

  1. PAcarver

    PAcarver ArboristSite Lurker

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    Stihl MS291 has me baffled. This is the chain: STIHL 3689 005 0081 Oilomatic 26 RM3 81. I have sharpened countless chainsaws in my life using nothing but a file and I have never had a problem until I purchased this saw. I am doing everything right. I am holding a 3/16 file at a 30 degree angle, and perfectly level, yet after a few sharpenings the chain is so dull that it's like trying to cut wood with a butter knife, The depth gauges are fine. I am on my second chain. I got so frustrated with the first one, that I tossed it in the trash. By looking at the tooth it looks like I am removing the tooth's working corner. What could I be doing wrong?
     
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  2. HerbHammer

    HerbHammer ArboristSite Member

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    I had a very similar experience when I got my first Stihl, an ms261. I went as far as buying a second chain bc I couldn't get the one that came with the saw sharp. I ended up buying the stihl fg4 roller filing guide https://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain-saws/filing-tools/fg4rollerguide/

    This made all the difference for me. I don't know what it is about Stihl chain but when I use the filing guide, its perfectly sharp and cuts like butter. I can hand file other saws with other brand chain (oregon mostly), and they are sharp. Hand file my Stihl chain, no good.

    One thing I think might be the case is that Stihl teeth actually don't get sharpened level with, but rather with a 5 deg or so inclination to the file. Its just a guess though from looking at my chain and the way the roller guide is set up. I also noticed that on Stihl chain (at least .325 gauge) there is barely enough space between the raker and the tooth on a new chain for the file to fit. So you need to be careful removing the file after the sharpening stroke to prevent burring up the edge again.
     
  3. Philbert

    Philbert Chainsaw Enthusiast

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    Welcome to A.S.!

    First, pull that chain out of the trash, and take some close up photos of the cutters that you can post here. If you are 'doing everything right', the chain should cut until the teeth are worn away.
    Have you filed semi-chisel chain before - it never looks as sharp as full chisel chain (STIHL RS)?
    Are you hitting the reduced kickback bumper when filing the depth gauges?
    Have you used STIHL chain on other saws (just asking because you mentioned the saw model, which should not matter)?

    With clear photos we can try to help; otherwise we are just guessing in the dark.

    Screen shot 2019-02-21 at 10.44.17 PM.png
    From: "STIHL Sharp Advice foe Chain Saw Owners"

    Philbert
     
  4. sb47

    sb47 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Are you using the rite size file for the size chain. Reason I ask is because I like using the next size up file because it seems the smaller file cuts to deep in the gullet and not actually sharpening the cutting edge of the tooth. If I use the next size up it cuts the underside of the cutting edge better. Works for me. Might give it a try. Or not.
     
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  5. SEAM

    SEAM Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I have used dozens of Stihl chains without any problem but know people that had similar problems - not only with Stihl chains. In most cases the problem was the free-hand use of a round file only (sometimes not even the right size). Without some sort of aid (file holder or filing guide) the file tends to "sink" below the cutting edge after a couple of filing sessions. The user will be filing away happily at the curved portion below the tooth without touching its cutting edge... leaving the chain dull. I recommended them to use a file holder and haven't heard of most of them since.
     
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  6. HarleyT

    HarleyT Tree Freak

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    Yes.
    But who can say anything without pics?
     
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  7. CR888

    CR888 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'm not sure how we can help, the op was 'doing everything right' and determined the Stihl chain (probably best quality chain made on earth) was unable to be sharpened. You NEED to get that faulty chain out the bin & post PICS of the cutters. In next to no time we CAN tell you exactly what the problem is. Don't 'presume' anything, presumption usually leads to poor outcomes. Without pics both the OP & anyone trying to help are definitely wasting their time/band width.
     
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  8. farmer steve

    farmer steve outstanding in my field, 5150

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    Welcome to AS fellow keystoner . Lots of guys here with the knowledge to help you out. As several said pics of the chain will help greatly . I didn't see mention of file brand or how old your files are. I've hand filed hundreds of sthil chains without any problems. Try a new file. Good luck.
     
  9. PAcarver

    PAcarver ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks for all of the replies. Turns out the guy working at the dealer gave me the wrong size files. I should have checked them myself before using them. Anyhow, they gave me a new chain and files for free and a discount on my next purchase.
     
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  10. farmer steve

    farmer steve outstanding in my field, 5150

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    Good to hear that it was an easy fix.
     
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  11. HarleyT

    HarleyT Tree Freak

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    Dang!!!
     
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  12. SEAM

    SEAM Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Glad you got it sorted out! :happybanana:
     
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  13. lil171

    lil171 ArboristSite Operative

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    Not that they shouldn't help you out, especially if they gave you the wrong files. But as well, they sound like a good place to deal with. Glad the outcome was good for you.
     
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  14. CR888

    CR888 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Had you posted up pics we could have easily told you that the wrong size file was the problem. Most can see the difference between a 5/32 & a 3/16 from a good distance. Glad you took the faulty chain out of the bin & got yourself sorted.
     
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  15. sb47

    sb47 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I bought many saws, chains and parts from several dealers and most of them just want to sell you a saw and they don't have a good mechanic to help you out if you have some kind of issue.
    When I was looking for a new saw and I wanted a ms 261c there was only one place that had one in stock. So I drove over, liked the saw and more importantly the mechanic was well informed and knew his stuff and was very happy to spend time making sure I was happy with the saw and his knowledge.
    I have use them ever since, and this guy is as helpful as you could ever ask for. There my new go to place for anything saw related. It was luck that the only dealer that had the saw I wanted turned out to be the best repair and knowledgeable folks you could hope to find.
    Glad you got it worked out. Now let the chips fly!
     
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  16. PAcarver

    PAcarver ArboristSite Lurker

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    It was a new guy working. And yea they're a good place to do business with, good honest people. We all make mistakes.
     
  17. HarleyT

    HarleyT Tree Freak

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    But DANG!!!
     
  18. PAcarver

    PAcarver ArboristSite Lurker

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    At some point tonight or tomorrow I am going to sharpen this chain with the proper file, but something doesn't look right to me. For example, If I lay a file into the groove of a brand new Oregon or Husqvarna chain the file fits like a glove, but with this Stihl chain, the file doesn't seem to want to rest in the groove of the tooth properly. there is for lack of a better term a burr or point on the chain itself that prevents the file from resting in the notch. Take a look at the pics, and forgive me for the quality and angle, these were difficult pictures to take.
     

    Attached Files:

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  19. sb47

    sb47 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I hate to sharpen a brand new chain because it's a very tight fit between the tooth and the rakers. But after just a few strokes it smooths out and works great from then on.
     
  20. HarleyT

    HarleyT Tree Freak

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    Why would anyone "sharpen" a brand new chain?
     

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