ArboristSite.com Sponsors


hand filing

(WLL)

(WLL)

Banned
Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
1,912
Age
40
Location
pa
nice pic

Don't use a cutting torch. I know you're just joking. I wouldn't use a hammer either. I'd assume you're joking also, Mike, but sometimes I'm not so sure where you're coming from.

I don't believe I suggested that anyone should do their rakers with an angle grinder, but rather that, under the pretenses of using personal safety gear, and as long as I'm out there sharpening the chipper knives, that I will do it that way. I didn't even suggest that it was a better way to do it, just that it was faster, and even then, only with the larger 24 and 36" chains.

Did I mention 'light touch'? That keeps the wheel from taking off too much, and keeps the wheel from leaving cross-marks across the top of the raker. The top of the raker should be rather smooth when you're finished.

I've never measured how much I take off from a vertical perspective. I do it visually, gauging it horizontally. Since the raker starts out dome-shaped, by touching it with the grinding wheel you can estimate by looking at the newly exposed metal, left-to-right. The deeper you go, the wider the new shine. Just take off a little, and do every one of the rest the same.

The result is essentially the same as doing it with a hand file. If you're grinding wheel is out of round, you will know it by the chatter and this is definitely unsafe.

Under the scrutiny of a raker gauge, I imagine they'd all be fairly close to one another. Since I'm only taking off a fraction, any differences between heights would have to be a fraction of a fraction.
:jawdrop: u use this same construction tool on the chipper ? like 2 birds one stone:censored:
 
Tree Machine

Tree Machine

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Oct 7, 2002
Messages
4,293
Age
56
Location
Indianapolis
u use this same construction tool on the chipper ?

Construction? It's more a metal working tool, at least with the wheels normally run. Chipper knives and chain are metal.

I always on the angle grinder on the chipper knives (1-2 times a week), though usually only once in the life of the big chains (the first filing).

I've been doing it this way for about ten years, so it seems surprising to me that fellow arborists find it surprising.

I guess, don't use a 4" angle grinder if you're not comfortable. There are other ways of going about it. I've shared one way, but no one is encouraged or required to use it, just that it is one of the many ways to manage the birds.
 
Tree Machine

Tree Machine

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Oct 7, 2002
Messages
4,293
Age
56
Location
Indianapolis
Just use a light touch, Lopa. That's all.


Hey everyone. I have fiddled with a number of designs for hand filing a chain while it is NOT on the bar.


I am asking about a chainsaw chain clamp. Yes, I realize every motorized chain bench grinder has one of these, but does anyone know of a stand-alone, commercially available device that will simpy clamp and unclamp a series of driver links?

Many of us will thrash a chain, swap for a sharp one and so on, leaving us, eventually with a box of dull chains. Now, putting a dull chain on the saw, just to sharpen it, so you can take it off and put on another is inefficient, time-consuming and puts a saw out of service.

And don't offer, "Clamp the drivers in a vice", I'm looking for something better. And don't give me "Clamp a bar in the vice, loop the chain on the bar and hang some weight on the chain from the underside." I'm looking for something better, something specifically for clamping tight the driver links. I've done OK with a 25 cm long stainless steel 'piano' type hinge squeezed in a vice, rough, but works well, slower than I'd like and you're dependent on a vice. I want the device to BE the vice, just small, precise and instant squeeze/unsqueeze with the flip of a cam lever.


Anyone.....? :Eye: :Eye:
 
cantcutter

cantcutter

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Aug 18, 2007
Messages
273
Location
lexington
There is plenty of good advice here. I handfile as well with no guide, I think it does a better job. I am of the opinion that if you see a person filing a saw with a guide that that person was never trained well how to run a saw and probably are underskilled.... If they where they would have been taught how to handfile at the same time.
 
palogger

palogger

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Oct 3, 2007
Messages
236
Age
32
Location
Sheffield PA
filing chains off saw

hey tree machine i just read ur post and i have a thing that clamps into the vise and is about 12 inches long with a roller wheel at each end. the drivers of the saw fit into a groove and is tightend by three cam levers, i will try to get a couple pics and post them in the next couple of days. oh and please don't ask me where i got it because i don't know, it was my grandfathers, but i'm sure u could have one built if i can get some pictures up
 
Highclimber OR

Highclimber OR

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
433
Location
Portland, Oregon
Yes I file all my saws by hand. I was taught the technique by an " old-timer'. He told me the ins and outs of hand filing and it works with practice and time. I can file almost anything with a chain. If you wanna know how Message me. This is for pros only as I have only seen a pro file a chain freehand and hope it stays that way.
 
Sharper is Safe

Sharper is Safe

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Messages
6
Location
Midwest
I grind mine

I have Carpal Tunnel, and some Arthritis to boot. Holding files, or even keeping a bar steady in my lap just isn't practical for me.

I also grind chains for beer money. :givebeer: I have seen some chains that had one of the teeth past the manufacturer's wear-mark on the top of the tooth, and the ones both sides of it, still half there. The depth rakers had never seen a file.

No two teeth on the chains I sharpen ever matches on any of the 4 angles that a chain gets sharpened at, unless it is a repeat customer. Don't even talk to me about gullets - these folks would never imagine intentionally removing metal from anything but the cutting edge...oh but the damage to the link straps. - DOH!!

Of course, most of the chains I have sharpened have belonged to Johnny-Home-Owner, who finally had to admit that he simply doesn't understand the process, technique, or science of sharpening a chain. Blowing dust instead of chips tends to be very convincing - not to mention the smoke - LOL!!!

The professional that I have sharpened some chains for, who is a 27-year veteran climber (and frankly, one crazy, climbing SOB) prefers to sharpen his own chains, just like most of the professionals I have read about here. However, he also acknowledges that his time is better spent in a tree, than sitting on the ground, or standing at a bench, grind or filing chains, when those chains have been "rocked" or "chain-linked". BTW, while his manually sharpened chains were among the most even I have ever seen, even his chains had as much as 5 degrees or so of variation, when it came to the top plate. You just can't beat a jig, IMO, but for most pros the difference may not justify the time or expense - I have used his saws, and they run fine, even with the variations.

I can see both sides of this argument, and some shady gray areas between, too, such as my own inability to handle files for the time it takes to sharpen a chain. Mind you, I can, and have sharpened chains manually, with a file, but it just costs me too much in time, and discomfort, to do so, anymore. I can change a chain in three minutes, and sharpen that same chain on my grinder in about 4 minutes, maybe 5-6, if the depth rakers need attention. The jig provides for an accuracy that my joints won't allow, in a speedy fashion.

So instead, I have a dozen chains to fit my 24" Husqvarna, and 5 for my 18" Stihl (that rarely sees the outside of my truck-box). As soon as the chain starts getting dull, I swap it out, during a fill-up. (I also flip my bar, for extended use.) You see, I heat my house with wood (42 face cord last winter), as do some of my friends, and when we go "loggin", we go for all-day excursions. I can drop trees, limb them, and section them into 18 to 22 inch pieces, faster than they can load them into trailers and trucks pulled alongside the work. They used to try to help with sawing, but after 30 minutes, they would look at what the two of them did, and see that it was less than I had done by myself. At that point, they put saws away, and played catch-up the rest of the day. Nowadays, they don't even get saws out, unless I have a problem with mine. (Got some bad gas recently - what a pain.) Anyways, I enjoy the repetitive nature of sectioning logs into firewood sized pieces. Almost therapeutic - yep, I'm an odd-duck.

OK, my point isn't to brag about my wood cutting Godliness, (much - ha ha), but to point out that a properly sharpened saw, up alongside one that isn't, is the eternal frustration of the lazy, or uninitiated. How it gets sharp isn't so important, as knowing how to get it done right. However, I can honestly say that a manually sharpened chain will last longer than one that is sharpened by a grinder, if the person handling the file is proficient.

Which brings me to my question: Is there a master chart somewhere, that tells what angles to grind chains, of all sizes, brands, and types? I have seen some partial charts, but no resource that covers all chains for saws. You see, I keep getting people bringing me these chains, leaving them in a bucket on my porch, with a phone number, but I have no information about the saw. When I call them, I am lucky if they can even tell me what color their saw is, much less a brand name, or model number.

It just seems to me that there should be a way to cross reference the markings on the tooth links to a chart that tells factory specs - because invariably, these chains are a mess when I get them.

One last note: I think Grinding chains gets a worse rep than it deserves, because every minimum wage idiot working at a hardware store is taught (incorrectly) to sharpen chains for the unwary customers. My brother was paying 8 bucks a chain, and replacing the chains after 10 sharpenings, because the teeth were at the manufacturer's wear-marks.

I can't even imagine the hot metal sparks that were flying in the back room of that hardware store...and the NOISE!!! :dizzy:

I have chains that I have sharpened 50 times, that are at about half-life, and those are the ones that found the wire-fence in the 50-year-old trees in the farmers wind-break fence rows. Lesson learned - leave 5 foot stumps on farm fence rows - wire that is long gone from sight, is still hard and mean inside those old trees.

Thanks in advance for help finding that chart,

SiSafe
 
youknowwho

youknowwho

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Dec 27, 2006
Messages
27
Location
Sudbury
From my past experience this question seems rediculous.

Ive been hand filing saws for 15 years with no gauge or guide, From my experience, It has to be done. I get saws sharper than new.

I sure could not have got by with machining my chains, how does one use that stuff when its not there?

A few years ago I would have said that a arborist that cant file a saw with just a round file and flat file, might as well quit.


Thats how i would test ones knowledge,
 
oldirty

oldirty

Banned
Joined
Dec 11, 2006
Messages
3,697
Age
43
Location
the merrimack valley
From my past experience this question seems rediculous.

Ive been hand filing saws for 15 years with no gauge or guide, From my experience, It has to be done. I get saws sharper than new.

I sure could not have got by with machining my chains, how does one use that stuff when its not there?

A few years ago I would have said that a arborist that cant file a saw with just a round file and flat file, might as well quit.


Thats how i would test ones knowledge,

man i hear you. how can you consider yourself proficient if you cant sharpen a chain right there on the spot in the field? i look at some of the guys edge's and cant say that i am impressed. they like to ask me how i keep my edges so fresh and i tell em how but no one really wants to put the saw in a figure 4 leglock and grind from right in front of you. theyd rather sit over the top of the saw and screw around from there.

to be honest the results of hand filing come from your technique.

and to be honest my technique is the bomb. nothing but fresh edges on my saws man and they cut true till they get rocked or nailed.



oldirty
 
Highclimber OR

Highclimber OR

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
433
Location
Portland, Oregon
From my past experience this question seems rediculous.

Ive been hand filing saws for 15 years with no gauge or guide, From my experience, It has to be done. I get saws sharper than new.

I sure could not have got by with machining my chains, how does one use that stuff when its not there?

A few years ago I would have said that a arborist that cant file a saw with just a round file and flat file, might as well quit.


Thats how i would test ones knowledge,

You said it all man, that is a good indicator.
 
yibida

yibida

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
55
Location
Melbourne
Practice with a file.

ive used a round file by hand for years but its a practice makes almost perfect talent, just dont use anything that hardens the cutters ( electric sharpening stones), they will bite too much and without a cooling compound make your cutters brittle so that they loose thier edge in 15 minutes use, thats why mower shops luv em! Static jigs and guides are a good way to get started if your new to a cutter chain but a stump vise with a new file and a good eye are hard to beat on the job.:)

P.S.I know senior folk use the term "rakers" but they rake not a thing, depth gauges are at an exposed depth to the cutting edge to control chip thickness & size.
 
Last edited:
Mitchell

Mitchell

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
464
Location
Victoria
might have been said

the post is to long to read it all but a few thoughts of mine include.

First off, I used to swear by and insist my students filed according to the "best way." The highlights included grinding the gullets down into the chain, generally using 35 degree angle and 15 degree off horizontal, extra steep angles if it was a cross grain use chain, flatter if it was going to be a ground chain or used more for ripping angles, rotating the round file as it ran through, slight up and back pressure on the file to finish the tooth, get the tooth point to pin pricking sharpness....

After years of meeting other competent sawyers and there seemingly bizarre filing techniques, I realized there is no best way. I then would teach someone what I did and say do it any way you want I don't care so long as it cuts.

One thing I have noticed however, is most sawyers hold unto bagged files. I find one slightly rocked 28" skip will require one file. Pitch it after that. A new file will touch a 28" chain up in a couple minutes, a used one can take 10 to 15.

I bought some grinding stones but have never used them are they going to temper the steel as some suggested?
 
Sharper is Safe

Sharper is Safe

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Nov 30, 2007
Messages
6
Location
Midwest
After years of meeting other competent sawyers and there seemingly bizarre filing techniques, I realized there is no best way.

I bought some grinding stones but have never used them are they going to temper the steel as some suggested?
I agree - the best way, is the way that works best for you, as long as it gets them properly sharpened, and therefore safe. Safe is the only criteria that concerns me, and only a sharp chain is a safe chain, especially when dealing with novice Sawyers. Too many people buy a chainsaw, fire it up, and go right to tearing up the woods, or their yard, with no idea about the care and feeding of their saw, or it's chain.

Grinding stones (wheels) DO have the potential to overheat and change the temper of steel - which, like any sharpening method, is part of the learning process. There are four things that I do, to keep my steel from getting overly hot, and therefore keep as much of the life in my chains, as possible.

1. Careful, accurate setting of the angles on the grinder jig(s).

I keep a log for my clients - they get the same angles on their chains, every time they come visit - and those angles are different, for different chain sizes, types, etc.. (One of my Arborist friends has special settings he likes for his climbing saws, devil may care about factory specs on the boxes they come in.) This allows me to take the very least amount of steel possible off of the working edge of each tooth, while still making every one (almost) identical to all the rest, because I know what the grinder settings were, last time. I can always tell if they sharpen them with a file, or take them somewhere else, between visits with me. They are always amazed that I can tell - and usually a bit sheepish, when it was the local hardware, where the moron just grinds depth rakers (gauges, whatever the favorite term is,) about halfway to the chain. (The scary part? - the hardware guy is 60, and is CONVINCED that they are nothing but an annoying safety feature - he tells me that holding the saw bar off the work is the way sawing SHOULD be done - that guy scares me.)

2. Setting the "depth" gauge on the grinder slide to barely allow the wheel to touch the chain. (The grinder depth gauge is the dial that turns, and moves the chain left to right, upon the slide rail, thereby determining position of the chain, when the cam locks the chain in place. This "jig" allows for the length of every tooth to be as close to exactly the same, as is mechanically, and I would argue "humanly possible" - but your mileage may vary. All I know for certain is that it works very well for me.)

3. I use a gentle motion when bringing the wheel into contact with the tooth.

The idea is to take only enough steel to make the entire surface of the tooth that gets ground, shiny and bright. Taking more leads to over-heating, and a greatly reduced chain life, since you are grinding away the working edge of the chain. On large-toothed chains that happened to get "rocked", like the "72L" in my Husqvarna, I may bring the wheel into contact, and away from a tooth several times, before making the final "polishing" stroke, that gives it the even, highly polished, and razor sharp finish that I require of all of my cutting tools.

(When I go camping with my Scout, I shave with my hunting knife - for real. Drives his Scout-Master nuts - LOL!!! Then again, I like to sharpen my knives to a barber-shop sharpness, using corrugated cardboard as my "stone".)

Taking a moment to let the tooth cool can't be a bad thing, and may be the magic between razor-sharp durability, and the trash heap, when using any tool that is not manually powered, including the dremmels I have seen people plug into the power adapter on the dash of their truck. In general, I move my chains across the slide with my bare hands. If a tooth gets hot enough to cause discomfort, I slow down a bit, just to make sure I don't over-do it.

4. Finally, dressing the wheel keeps the "pores" of the wheel from filling up. If a grinding wheel gets loaded with carbon, steel flecks, oil, tree sap, wood dust, and whatever else may be on the chains I service, that stone does not "cut" as efficiently. That means pressing harder to do the same work, which in turn leads to over-heating. Dressing the wheel DOES seem to take some of it's life away - but I'd rather buy a 20 dollar stone wheel that will sharpen a few hundred chains, than a 20 dollar chain, that might get trashed in the field, tomorrow, by a stray piece of fence wire, a careless moment in the dirt, or some other unforeseen moment of brain-deadness - or might last a hundred sharpenings. (I've never counted - I wonder how many times I have sharpened some of my chains, over the 4 years I have owned the grinder? I have yet to wear one completely out, but I have many of them....hmmm...)

By the way, I have seen chains over-heated in the tree itself. Novice Sawyers that sharpen their own, usually don't read the manual very well. Even among the ones that do, most don't absorb, or comprehend the reason for setting the cutting depth on a chain. Running a chain that isn't throwing chips anymore, because the depth has never been adjusted on the chain leads to forcing the saw, with one's body weight, or brute force. :chainsaw:

Blue chains are a sorry sight - sorry indeed.

Hope you found that information useful. As I said earlier, I don't use a file, because I have problems holding the files in position, long enough to get the job done, and then afterwards, I suffer a lot of discomfort.

In my mind, whatever method you use, that gets them sharp, and safe, is a good method. There's nothing more dangerous than a dull tool - unless it's a dull worker...but staffing is another thread. :dizzy:
 
Mitchell

Mitchell

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
464
Location
Victoria
rpm

hey sharp

I have a dremmel tool, low and high speed corded drills and cordless ones. what rpm would you recommend or does it matter? Very informative post thanks for taking the time to write it.
Scott
 
Last edited:
Bruce Hopf

Bruce Hopf

Banned
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
806
Location
North of Sebringville, Ontario, Canada
Hand Filling

Boy am I ever glad that isn't my chains that your trying to sharpen. I have a chain, that a customer of mine brought into my shop, to sharpen. He always free hand sharpened it, and wondered why it won't cut right. He has made such a mess of the chain, that I won't touch it, with my grinding machine..
Not one tooth is the same, not one raker is the same. One side the pitch is more aggressive on one side then the other. The chain is less than 1/2 used, and it is ruined, FUBAR. It will take too much grinding to get it right. Sad thing too. His guide bar is also ruined, FUBAR too. The bar isn't that old either. One side rail is thinner than the other.
Cutting down the rakers with an angle grinder, you still can't get every raker the same, I don't care how good you think you are. Without some kind of guide, you are just throwing away your money in your chain, and guide bar.
I see this every day I open up the shop doors, and a customer can't figure out why his saw doesn't cut right any more. When I see guys like this I just go to my self, CaChing, Just Sold Another Bar And Chain To Another Fool.
Sorry, but it's true.
Bruce.
 
gavin

gavin

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Messages
183
Location
canada
Boy am I ever glad that isn't my chains that your trying to sharpen. I have a chain, that a customer of mine brought into my shop, to sharpen. He always free hand sharpened it, and wondered why it won't cut right. He has made such a mess of the chain, that I won't touch it, with my grinding machine..
Not one tooth is the same, not one raker is the same. One side the pitch is more aggressive on one side then the other. The chain is less than 1/2 used, and it is ruined, FUBAR. It will take too much grinding to get it right. Sad thing too. His guide bar is also ruined, FUBAR too. The bar isn't that old either. One side rail is thinner than the other.
Cutting down the rakers with an angle grinder, you still can't get every raker the same, I don't care how good you think you are. Without some kind of guide, you are just throwing away your money in your chain, and guide bar.
I see this every day I open up the shop doors, and a customer can't figure out why his saw doesn't cut right any more. When I see guys like this I just go to my self, CaChing, Just Sold Another Bar And Chain To Another Fool.
Sorry, but it's true.
Bruce.
couldn't disagree more with everything you said. with practice and a good eye hand filing can be pretty much perfect.
 
Bruce Hopf

Bruce Hopf

Banned
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
806
Location
North of Sebringville, Ontario, Canada
couldn't disagree more with everything you said. with practice and a good eye hand filing can be pretty much perfect.
Do yourself a favor some time when you have time. Take the chain off of your chain saw, and examine it very closely, from all angles of the chain. Go from tooth to tooth, on both sides of the chain. I guarantee you that you will be quit surprised.
Then closely examine your guide bar. Take a square, and inspect it for abnormal ware. You will probably see that one side of the bar will be lower than the other, and one rail will be probably narrower than the rail on other side.
Then you will see how pretty much perfect you can be. I have a scarp barrel 1/2 full of chains, and bars as proof that I know what I'm talking about. I too used to hand file my chains, and thought I was doing a excellent job, until one day I examined my chain, and bar. That changed my mind in a hurry, before I had to replace everything, Bar, and Chain. Bruce.
 
Top