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Hand filing is for beginners?

catbuster

catbuster

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I have a few grinders. Metabo, Makita, Dewalt, & Milwaukee angle grinders, a few bench grinders spattered around a shop. I’m looking for a surface grinder, but not a chain grinder.

7/32 round files, the odd 13/64 and whatever size file Stihl says to use for 1/4” pitch and 3/8 picco chain (5/32”?) is what I use to sharpen most of my cutters. I have a couple double bevel files, and I can square file, but they’re probably used more for filing rakers than anything else.
 
pioneerguy600

pioneerguy600

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Some of Stihl new chains the round file fits tight and kinda ruff for the first couple of pushes of the file.
Their grinding wheel does not go down deep enough into the gullet at the factory, it leaves a rough sharp ledge that causes a lot of drag/resistance tearing up wood fiber.
 
CR888

CR888

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Just another thought with grinding you’re more likely to do your other maintenance like cleaning rails, flipping the bar, cleaning the clutch cover out, and greasing the clutch bearing. What chain are you using? How do you like them to cut?


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Very true, well at least for me anywayz, whenever I remove a chain at home after being out cutting I clean out bar rails, grease tips and run fingers over edges feeling for burrs. Blast out around clutch/clutch/filter cover with air, fill fuel/bar oil. Fresh clean ground chain goes on to a clean fueled saw ready to go to work. That opportunity to 'look' has prevented issues like loose spark plug, fuel filter come off, air filter leaking, wood jammed in nose sprocket etc. We ask a lot sometimes from our saws cutting tank after tank, a couple of minutes after each day ain't waisted time.
 
CR888

CR888

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Personally- I only ever hand file. When I was learning, it was about the only available option, grinders were in shops- in towns, not garages and home workshops back then.
But, I can also trace a fair bit of family history back to Scotland, have deep pockets and short arms, could peel an orange in my pocket (Darklord will know that saying).
Biggest thing to remember is files are not lifelong items- good chain of around 24-30 inch 3/8 full comp- a file lasts about 5 filings. I am not talking a brush between tanks, I am talking 5-10 full strokes per tooth type full filings, then swap it out for a new one.
Files are cheap and nothing cuts as well as a new one.
One of my grandfather's was Scottish, so I'm part Scott. I heard my uncle use the saying 'short in the arm, long in the pocket' to describe someone who was exceptionally frugal, cheap, tight etc.
 
jrider

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What do you guys think? Is a grinder the only way to go?
I have always hand filed. Im the type of guy who will spend an hour getting an 84 driver chain perfect for the morning. If I get it right my chains will cut much better than stock chain from the factory.
Spending an hour to get a chain just right with a file seems like a waste of time to me. If I’m cutting wood for money- which I am time is money. I pay $5 a chain. Drop me off, pick em up a few days later. If I got one chain done in an hour that basically means I’m only worth $5 an hour. Unless my family is starving, I’m not even getting out of bed for twice that an hour.
 

SEAM

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...on the other hand, I also am a lazy sawyer - the chains on my 034S hasn't been off the bar for quite a while. I just keep hand-filing it whenever necessary and it has been like that for a number of years. Come to think of it, most of my work saws have to endure the same treatment and chains only come off for major reconditioning work (or turning the bar). :surprised3: Never really thought about it that much up to now...
 
OM617YOTA

OM617YOTA

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That's more my style too. During cutting season I sharpen or change chain when needed and not much else. End of the season the saws get broken down and blown out, bars flipped and trued and cleaned, all the chains get sharpened and stuck in tupperware with a slosh of whatever oil I have handy. Everything gets stored in good clean sharp condition, ready to go for next year.

I know a guy who actually uses car wax on his saw cases. Ain't for me, I'll be sipping iced tea while he's polishing his saws.
 
Jethro 2t sniffer

Jethro 2t sniffer

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For us that spend an hour on a chain that's a relaxing bit of shed time to enjoy with some music a beer or three and a fat 1.

Its a hobby for us and the feeling as that chain feeds itself through the wood is a good buzz as you did that just you and the file. No guide just a wooden handle. Can rip the file through a 20 inch loop pretty quickly when needed.

Progressive depth gouge is a must throw away the sadle type
 
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