ArboristSite.com Sponsors
www.harvesterbars.com


Stihl sharpening gadgets worth getting?

FNEC

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
26
Location
United Kingdom
Hi,
I had bought an electric sharpener at first and then realised that I needed to change the disk as it was too small for my chains (I didn't know about chain characteristics at first), so I stopped using it and just got a some files and holders to do them by hand which I have some success with, but keeping the 30deg through the stoke is toughest thing to keep consistent. I have 3 different chain sizes in use so that would need 3 disk sizes if I reserrected the electric sharpener, thought o be fair the pole saw used so little and chain so small I can do the chain manually on that one....its so ickle....

Question is are any of the no electric gadgets worth using on manual work/ease use?
STIHL FF 1 File Holder Guide
STIHL FG 4 Roller Filing Tool

to name two of them.

Is the electric sharpener frowned upon? If I got the right disks it would be a quick end of day way of getting them ready for next use and just use the hand file for a top up during the day? This is my use to give an idea of how much I use tham...which is not that much.
- I run a small property maintenance company with a majority of gardening work, certainly through the majority of the year. For anyting neeeding cut, I mostly use a 201T (essentially the only kit one needs until the bar is not big enough...ha, carry on all jobs just in case and even if the going gets tougher it goes a long way) and for limb tidying the pole saw (HT133 - for all the size of the bar and chain crikey it rips through chunky limbs). Therefore the MS261 only comes out when really necessary, although working with my cousin on some jobs now as a pair means we will tackle a few things one person would normally not, it may therefore see a bit more work.

Thanks.
 
Walkdog

Walkdog

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
Feb 7, 2019
Messages
29
Location
Bay Area
Sounds like you might like the Pferd CSX 2-in-1 files. They do a great job quickly sharpening cutters and maintaining depth gauges. An occasional gullet clean out and raker beveling will make for chain that cuts better than new
 

FNEC

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
26
Location
United Kingdom
Walkdog, ahhhh yes seen those 2in1s and as with many things like that, thought gimmick! Nice to hear about actual use. I just looked up Amazon and it has a 91% 5 star rating from 336 reviews......that says a lot! Stihl have an identical looking one, so I suppose go for the cheaper of the two as the do the same thing. Pricey but 'time' is worth money too....
 
hseII

hseII

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Dec 20, 2013
Messages
4,907
Location
Georgia
Walkdog, ahhhh yes seen those 2in1s and as with many things like that, thought gimmick! Nice to hear about actual use. I just looked up Amazon and it has a 91% 5 star rating from 336 reviews......that says a lot! Stihl have an identical looking one, so I suppose go for the cheaper of the two as the do the same thing. Pricey but 'time' is worth money too....

They are exactly the same thing, only in different colors.

Pferd makes the orange & white ones for Stihl.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
MaddBomber

MaddBomber

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Mar 13, 2009
Messages
392
Location
NorthEast
In my experience, the perfect angles aren't as important as clear gullets and crisp working corners. Sharp top plate is obviously the main point.
Filing by hand is the way to go. After a couple thousand boardfeet, you'll start to get the feel of each chain. You have the freedom to quickly adjust for different wood. Dry vs green, oak vs pine.
Trust me, production loggers cutters aren't uniformly 30°. One chain will have different angles... One cutter may be 35°, some other may be 28°. That's not going to make much difference unless racing. But shaving 1/10th of a second per cut is not practical.
That being said, for weekend maintenance and sharpening, the 2 in 1s are great! Ive not had much luck with Dremel stones and guides. However nothing beats a dedicated chain grinder for quick and easy uniformity. But that's only practical when running one pitch of chain.
CAD is the study and tuning of saw chain. That's where the time and effort is mostly spent. So get after it.
 
MontanaResident

MontanaResident

A Stihl Fanatic
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
3,741
Location
N. W. Montana
Those gadgets are useful (some not so much) til one learns to hand file with just a file. Took me several years, but was happy that there was something to help me keep the chains sharp while I learned.
 

FNEC

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
26
Location
United Kingdom
In my experience, the perfect angles aren't as important as clear gullets and crisp working corners. Sharp top plate is obviously the main point.
Filing by hand is the way to go. After a couple thousand boardfeet, you'll start to get the feel of each chain. You have the freedom to quickly adjust for different wood. Dry vs green, oak vs pine.
Trust me, production loggers cutters aren't uniformly 30°. One chain will have different angles... One cutter may be 35°, some other may be 28°. That's not going to make much difference unless racing. But shaving 1/10th of a second per cut is not practical.
That being said, for weekend maintenance and sharpening, the 2 in 1s are great! Ive not had much luck with Dremel stones and guides. However nothing beats a dedicated chain grinder for quick and easy uniformity. But that's only practical when running one pitch of chain.
CAD is the study and tuning of saw chain. That's where the time and effort is mostly spent. So get after it.
I meant keeping a consistent angle across the stroke of each tooth (whether 25-35). I suppose practice makes perfect...ish and the fact that I am bothering to run a file at all across the teeth than run a blunt chain is a step up...ha.
You make other valid points on its not all about 'the tooth', there is sooooo much going on that it is the 'sum of all the parts' that makes for good cutting. Bit like a golf swing you can perfect one part but but you need it all to come together for the optimum swing. I am working on all facets, but just the Stihl bar and chain manual is like war and peace...ha.
 

FNEC

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
26
Location
United Kingdom
Well this makes up my mind for using my Portek electric grinder.....

Serioulsy they say this -
3.2mm wheel fits: 3/8” low pro, .325”, 1/4”
4.5mm wheel fits: 3/8”, .404”

Thats utter sh*te!
Stihl 1/4 is 3.2mm yes, but 3/8lpro is 4mm, .325 is 4.8mm and the 3/8 is 5.2mm what a good way to trash the profile of your cutters on anythign other than a 1/4...... Suprised they only offer such few sizes and that they don't even match a leading brand sizing?! Seems silly and loss of business.

So I either keeping working on my technique or get a 2in1. Might just get the 2in1 for the 18" MS2621 due to the extra teeth for speed etc. Whatever I have been doing on my 201T seems to be good enough using handle file so not point spending the extra £34 odd quid on it as well.
 
Philbert

Philbert

Chainsaw Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
17,253
Location
Minnesota
There are lots of ways to sharpen. Everybody has to find a way that works for them.

. . . keeping the 30deg through the stoke is toughest thing to keep consistent. . . .
Question is are any of the no electric gadgets worth using on manual work/ease use?
STIHL FF 1 File Holder Guide
STIHL FG 4 Roller Filing Tool

If you like hand filing, and like hand filed results, you could take a look at one of those. There are literally dozens of different file holders out there, each with its advantages and disadvantages. That's personal preference, not necessarily 'better'.

But if you want to get really sharp, and really consistent , filed cutters, you should check out the Granberg style file guides (sold under many different names; including STIHL 'FG1', 'FG2', and 'FG3'). These have a slight learning curve for mounting (the directions stink), but once understood, provide very good results. Check out some of the instructional videos and tips in the thread below. The used standard files and work with all brands and all pitches of chain. Some guys use these only in the shop, some use them in the field as well:


. . . Is the electric sharpener frowned upon? If I got the right disks it would be a quick end of day way of getting them ready for next use and just use the hand file for a top up during the day?
Serioulsy they say this -
3.2mm wheel fits: 3/8” low pro, .325”, 1/4”
4.5mm wheel fits: 3/8”, .404”
...... Suprised they only offer such few sizes and that they don't even match a leading brand sizing?!
However nothing beats a dedicated chain grinder for quick and easy uniformity. But that's only practical when running one pitch of chain.

There are a variety of electric grinders; some are of better quality, have more power, adapt to more angles, etc. I have used several. And yes, I use only 2 thicknesses of wheels for 1/4, 3/8 low profile, .325, and full sized 3/8 pitch chain, plus a third wheel dedicated to depth gauges (all pitches). I know that does not make sense, compared to filing, but check out the chain manufacturers' recommendations. Swapping wheels on my Oregon grinder takes one bolt and only seconds, On some of the other grinders I have used, there can be multiple screws holding the guards in place, and a few minutes to change.

Good quality wheels and good technique are important for getting good results with a grinder. Most overheating is the result of cheap wheels, impatience, and not dressing the wheels frequently.

Some people claim that grinders take off 'too much', but they only take off as much as the operator decides. I normally 'grind in the shop and file in the field', but that requires careful attention to the cutter profiles that you grind and that you file - they should be very similar: 'grind as you file, and file as you grind'. I usually touch up the cutters using a basic STIHL / Oregon / etc. file holder, and 'even out' the chain with the grinder. But the Granberg style tools can do that too.


Philbert
 

Okie

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 7, 2015
Messages
1,292
Location
Oklahoma (USA)
If you use a chainsaw very much just keep on practicing your hand filing and you will eventually find you can wean yourself away from them expensive file guides. You really have to keep a heads up on file guides, using the wrong one (for the chains teeth) or having the wrong size file in the file guide is not a good thing.
It's really nice to have a log down such as a white pine and close by to actually test your sharpening skills right after you have sharpened a chain and watch the size of the chips. (instead of having to wait for few days to test and then later just see dust instead of chips). Seems most generally that after sharpening a chain if it won't cut hot butter you used the WRONG SIZE FILE or the rakers (chain depth gauges) are too high. Do not file down the rakers until you know for sure that is the problem. (filing down the rakers (depth gauges) is not good when you have filed the teeth wrong)
 

FNEC

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
26
Location
United Kingdom
I have the right files for the right chains and have done my homework on the things I should be looking out for. I was just looking for something that was a little more consistent in its action across the teeth. I can and do get the chain sharp, with a more user proof tool it maybe attained a little easier or faster across say the 18" chain but practice makes perfect. I always wondered why my 201T worked way better than my 261 but now realised there are lots of issues with the 261 beyond getting a keen edge....the bar was past its best (badly splayed) and chain not functioning as it should (it came on it second hand). I am replacing the sprocket, bar and chain to start afresh. Also going for a semi chisel RM rather than the RS.
I moved to the separate files after I realised the electric sharpener had soooo the wrong disk on it and the chains needed different sizes too.
 
Philbert

Philbert

Chainsaw Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
17,253
Location
Minnesota
I moved to the separate files after I realised the electric sharpener had soooo the wrong disk on it and the chains needed different sizes too.
If you are concerned about the exact size of the grinding wheels, you can always dress the edge profiles to match the diameter of the files.

Philbert
 

FNEC

ArboristSite Lurker
Joined
May 23, 2020
Messages
26
Location
United Kingdom
If you are concerned about the exact size of the grinding wheels, you can always dress the edge profiles to match the diameter of the files.

Philbert
If I was using the chains everyday and/or had multiple chains per saw needing done then I'd save time using the grinding wheels, but its not the case, so getting more profecient on the file will suffice for my needs. If I found I was using them more then first port of call might be the 2in1 for ease and time saving. I have a few things I could be putting £35-40 towards tight now than even that. New bar/chain cost on the 261 will make an immediate difference to the 261 and my dewalt tools need some new batteries as more important $$$ use right now. Maybe Santa will be good to me....haha
 
SteveSr

SteveSr

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Messages
1,855
Location
Raleigh, NC
Walkdog, ahhhh yes seen those 2in1s and as with many things like that, thought gimmick! Nice to hear about actual use. I just looked up Amazon and it has a 91% 5 star rating from 336 reviews......that says a lot! Stihl have an identical looking one, so I suppose go for the cheaper of the two as the do the same thing. Pricey but 'time' is worth money too....
I hate to be the dissenting opinion but I have the original Pferd Chainsharp 2 in 1. I don't use it any more. The issues that I have found are that it is too easy to take more off the rakers than your are supposed to because the FG flexes a bit. This may also be my technique. The bigger issue is that the files, for the most part are proprietary and considerably more expensive than plain files used with a file guide. The next issue is that the files will experience significantly different wear rates. The round file with significantly more wear. The third strike is that the round file should be periodically rotated to even out the wear on the file. This is easily done with a regular file guide. Not so easy with the current version of the 2-in-1. For the most part I just use the $25 Stihl "orange wrap pouch" kit with separate files and guides for each function.
 
Philbert

Philbert

Chainsaw Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
17,253
Location
Minnesota
For the most part I just use the $25 Stihl "orange wrap pouch" kit with separate files and guides for each function.
Me too. But I am boring. They work on any brand and any sequence chain, as long as it takes that file size. Usually use the Oregon version of these, as they are less expensive.

The bigger issue is that the files, for the most part are proprietary and considerably more expensive than plain files used with a file guide.
I use standard round files in ours. The special depth gauge file, however, is about $14 at my STIHL dealer.

Philbert
 
Top