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Tutorial: make your own raker depth gauge supported by software tool

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by hannes69, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    If the rakers are adjusted with the same depth gauge for their respective cutters it doesn't matter what brand of chain is involved. The angles will vary a bit by chain brand, style, and obviously the versatility of the depth gauge tool among the different types of chain, but the results will still be consistently relative all the way around the chain and it will still cut straight for the reasons I posted earlier.

    The most common reasons for a chain cutting crooked are unevenly sharpened cutters, uneven bar rails, loose chain, or a combination of all three. In other words, poor maintenance habits. A well maintained chain with proper raker maintenance and well sharpened teeth (even of varying lengths) will not cut crooked without one (or all) of the former conditions being involved.

    To be clear, I'm not talking about severe irregularity all over the chain just for the sake of being extreme to make a point. I'm talking about the types of irregularities any chain will experience over its life of cutting, combined with being ground and filed however deemed necessary to maintain its lifetime effectiveness. Counting file strokes and measuring cutter length simply don't fall into the practical realm of chain maintenance in the real world of anyone who uses a chainsaw on a regular basis and is often faced with hand filing on a stump or a tailgate. The guys I know file a tooth until it's sharp regardless of what it takes and move on to the next one. Two strokes. Four strokes. 10 strokes. Doesn't matter. They touch up the rakers as necessary and go cut more wood...., straight -- unless intended otherwise.

    I guess I just don't understand why so many folks have trouble wrapping their heads around this and insist on keeping the myth alive that all the teeth need to be the same length or their saw will cut in circles. It is simply not the case...., unless such folks have no idea what a raker is and also toss a perfectly good chain after a few sharpenings because it's 'worn out' and 'just won't cut anymore'.

    On the subject of the different styles of chain behaving differently with the formula or the various (or same) depth gauge tools, isn't it again just a case of relativity and essentially the length of the 'saddle' slot (or required position of the slot based on the distance between the tooth face and raker) to effectively achieve the desired result? I use the Husky gauges on all the chains I run. Stihl RM and RS, Oregon LG, Husky, etc. There is definitely some variance in aggressiveness among the chain types, but nothing unmanageable or detrimental enough to make me want to stop cutting and grab another chain or saw. Seems to be a fairly forgiving solution for quite a few chain types with the hard and soft ends obviously providing some flexibility.
    I'll admit to not having enough experience among all the chain types I use to have learned the subtleties of the Husky tool on each one. And I don't use all the different chains I happen to have by design. I've just acquired a LOT of chains over the years and often times the length of a chain ends up more relevant than the brand out of sheer necessity. (I also have a LOT of saws.)

    And to establish my actual perspective on all this, I'm not a professional saw user, but I do have quite a bit of experience running saws. I heat with wood and have for years. Cut a lot of firewood of all types, but very little softwood except some occasional maple. Mostly oak and ash..., and a chain knows when it's cutting oak or ash and lets you know it knows by needing a fair share of attention to keep it cutting right. Not much room for examining subtlety or nuance in chain performance cutting Ohio hardwood. Cutting Doug Fir or Cedar all day would certainly make it easier to distinguish the differences between chain types and the effects of various depth gauge adjustment tools and methods of using them among different chain types.

    All I can say from my experience is I was just pissing up a rope with my chain maintenance until I learned how to free hand file and discovered the progressive raker gauge..., pretty much around the same time. It changed everything for me and my saws and I haven't looked back. I do also have an Oregon grinder which I love, but never really knew how to use until learning how to free hand file (if that makes any sense). Learned how to appreciate what the grinder could actually do for my chains instead if viewing it as the 'lazy way'.

    Anyway, too long winded in this post and I apologize for wandering.

    Different length cutters don't make a chain cut crooked if the rakers are right.

    The end.

    LOL
     
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  2. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    ^^ I see, I´m not the only one being capable of writing long essays ;)
    But many thanks for clearing things up regarding this. It fits well into this thread and is quite informative. And speaks for the progressive approach once again :)

    I assume this being a rhetorical question, but to emphasize it even more, the answer is YES ;)

    I think the buyable depth gauges are sold as 'universal' or do they claim it is only suitable for the same brand of chains?
    If the chains from different manufacturers behave similarly after sharpening and using the same depth gauge tool, this speaks for similar chain measurements in my thinking. Would be plausible as well, one is learning from the other (or copying / imitating ;) ), maybe a saw chain has found its optimum, not much room to improve. And there is physical reality. The chain measurements aren´t by accident, but by purpose due to physical reality. And you can assume, that the chain designing engineers will come to similar numbers and solutions.
    I personally like to prove some things or let´s say looking for evidences.
    BobL talked in his thread about the 'cutting angle' and that its value decreases to some degree ( ;) ) parallely to cutter wearing when using a FOP. His explanations sounded plausible to me, but as I said, I like to prove :)
    So after proving it, we have 'evidence', we know if the theory is right, and we have numbers, so we know how large the assumed effect is.
    So I found out for me: The assumed effect shows up in reality. Its degree is less than I maybe feared. I found a solution to loosen this effect.
    I try to puzzle some things together. So having measurements of different chains (pitch, brand, cutter profile) would be really nice in this regard.
    Because: 'Numbers don´t lie', we say at least in Germany ;)
    I´m personally a beginner in the chainsaw matter, when I say something in this regard, immediately there will probably show up the argument, that I simply can´t say this or that out of the lack of experience. The numbers can help there, reflecting something objectively rather than my personal subjective impression...
    Or as you could say, 'with numbers it gets a stand and a weight'.
    Of course you can´t explain whole of the world with numbers, if this shows up once again, but dealing with physical / technical matter, they seem very appropriate to me.
     
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  3. lambs

    lambs Stihl crazy after all these years

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    Hannes,
    I like that you've put numbers to it and quantified it. I don't follow it all that well but totally accept your math.

    I don't think I've ever seen a depth gauge explicitly labeled as "universal", but I think mostly they are not labeled as universal even if they are. The FoP is the only one I can recall seeing that seemed to be limited to Carlton chain. Husky roller guide seems to work better with Husky chain than with Stihl. I'm sure others will speak up if I am mistaken.

    In my somewhat limited experience, the various depth gauges that are used by placing them across several cutters are universal, but of course they are not progressive.

    I am thinking about trying a Stihl or Pferd 2 in 1 type file during the next season. I like that it removes some material from the depth gauges at the same time as sharpening the cutters, and although it is not progressive, it at least does some adjustment. I think it would be great for field use but might be difficult to use while wrestling the saw down on the back of a tailgate. For damaged cutters, I'll keep using the grinder and set the gauges by hand.
     
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  4. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    I have three sizes of the Pferd.

    In my opinion on Stihl 3/8RS it makes the chain a bit to aggressive.

    And they do not hold square files.
     
  5. Westboastfaller

    Westboastfaller Addicted to ArboristSite

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    :laugh: You are being very literal here.
    When I said "as a practice", I certainly wasn't referring to filing off half the teeth on one side as a practice.:nofunny: ...er..um ..saying you are saying it a 'good' practise.
    You said "you can" and I'm dissecting the word "can"
    Obviously it can be done under the right circumstances. Odd as it sounds, according to the number spread, filing off half a new type Stihl chain fell under the "right circumstance. Next time you will have more story to tell and not a misleading one.
    I'm saying not every situation with allow the saw to work with uneven cutters *through the FULL LIFE of the chain*.

    Pogo
    @PogoIn TheWoods
    (Reference) BobL's link in the OP here) He demonstrated this, then came to a decision that he would set his rakers with his calipers for more accuracy.

    Its getting obvious that not everyone will experience these situations.
    Much like you said.
    I left west coast production falling last year.
    Dangerous yes, but you are paid for the knowledge & skills. You can not be there if you don't have the knowledge and the skills to keep the bar straight through the cut. (Amongst many other things).

    What seems to be a little over half the chains life, I DO run them as they are sharpened. No effort in maintaining even cutters. This is without any issue with likely the worst conditions: example: 36" bar with all the teeth in the cut .030", round chisel, aggressive hook filed under the leading edge & not up into the corner 10°. , Oregon LG 75
    Oregon LG 73 & 75 makes up for most of 29 yrs of different industries & activities.
    *Note: The few times I've had to put back on a Stihl chain that was replaced, I was able to run it down without the same binding in the bigger cuts created by a chain pulling to the side as the felling dogs will hold it straight.?? Other scenario would be when its slight and it won't bind in a full cut but because portions of a big bucking cut will be done with the tip only then the early signs will be that of a cut not lining up. Perhaps its out an inch on a 5-6 ft buck.
    Perhaps there was heavy rain for a few days and I neglected my gullet depths and rakers need work. I will fix everything that needs it except the teeth length and gas up and think I'm going to be in business. The first tree I try to cut ends up the last. Its not even close to working. It goes in the garbage. I could put it on someone's square grinder and even the teeth but the drivers have some wear by that time and it's going to start throwing chain. Either one or the other will happen about the same time.


    I'm sure we have a long ways to go.

    Wait for some more numbers.
     
  6. Westboastfaller

    Westboastfaller Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Screw the math!
    Experience stands,
    can't concentrate now.
     
  7. Westboastfaller

    Westboastfaller Addicted to ArboristSite

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    The Stihl chain tested here was 6.0° cutting angle.
    at .160" cutter wear (half a chain)
    This new chain had 6.3° cutting angle
    A different of 3 points of a degree.

    63 points in 6.3°
    63 points = 100%
    6.3 points = 10%
    3 points = 5% +/- error approx

    Some of the higher point spread in the beginning of the thread were 1.2° & 1.5°
    This is 20% & 25% +/- error..lol
    That's over an angled raker stroke and under a free hand solid flat one. Not by too much though.
     
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  8. Westboastfaller

    Westboastfaller Addicted to ArboristSite

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  9. Westboastfaller

    Westboastfaller Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Hannse's look good. The factory gauge on the low pro is out about 1.9 ° in .240" (under 1/4") 30% maybe?
     
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  10. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    Hear! Hear! (if only temporarily) LOL

    The math is all cool when considered in the proper perspective. A given depth gauge tool will perform a certain way with a given chain type. The physics can be measured and absolutely established given any number of variables plugged into a formula. What is not possible to calculate are the actual differences in cutting results relative to the same variables being considered to determine cutting angles over the life of a saw chain. And if may so boldy suggest, the cutting performance of a chain has more to do with how sharp it is over anything else except the raker height. The cutting characteristics will change due to the sharpness (and varying shape) of the teeth way before the cutting angle comes close to playing any role at all..., conceivably even in a single cut depending on wood and conditions.

    A dull chain with a perfect cutting angle and every cutter exactly the same length isn't going to cut crap. A sharp chain with imprecise cutter lengths and even modestly maintained rakers will outcut it every day all day long. No math necessary. Just common sense. The math needs to be kept in check when practical reality presents so many more non-calculable variables affecting how a chainsaw cuts..., most of which have significantly greater impact than the hairs being split here in 'the math', particularly as pertains to our friendly argument about the actual practicality of the math. For me the math simply explains more interesting aspects of the progressive approach and combines the novelty of a cool software calculator thrown in for additional convenience and flexibility when comparing the effects of different variables...., as intellectual exercises on paper.. , not to conclusively determine anything quantifiable regarding how any of it realistically plays into how a chain cuts. More aggressive, less aggressive, the same..., all reasonable subjective conclusions, but compared to what? A piece of paper?

    That said...

    What additional numbers are needed to move this into the next stage of calculations? Those from varying chain types like above, I presume? Forgive me if I've simply skimmed past that earlier and should already know the answer. (I was probably busy typing this and missed it!)

    Also, what other progressive style depth gauge tools are out there and readily available aside from the Husky version? I'm currently not aware of any others aside from the Husky and Hannes's. FOP's are scarce as hen's teeth for general use (the regular 3/8's model anyway) and ridiculously expensive if you can find them on the bay. The reason I tuned into this thread was for the 'grow your own' part. Would be cool if we could get a few prototypes from Hansse's idea into the conversation from different guys for some real world results. Different material types and ideas. Tips and tricks for making them quickly and easily. Maybe a vid or two mixed in to get the whole conversation out of the laboratory and onto some work benches and into some wood.

    But the coolest part of this thread so far? No one gets up your butt about long winded posts with tl:dr responses. (At least not yet.) LOL
     
  11. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    tl:dr






    Read every word.
     
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  12. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks!
     
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  13. Westboastfaller

    Westboastfaller Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I suggested that, back a page or two
    that some of these gauges are best suited for tall cutter chain.
    That's a low pro but the point is you can use the gauge on it fine. Its just got a small window that you can cut in before it won't work. Opposed to Oregon Lg chain that has a larger window before a very f*en sharp chain can no work
    You need to keep the cutters straight from the start on that one example.. Unless one is going to use a different method then its even teeth and free hand at the back.
    Um ...no 29 pro yrs.
    The math IS backing up what I assumed. That they absolutely DO NOT balance the depths with uneven cutter. I wouldn't assume anything had I been able to run them with out issue.

    I don't know why you want to throw sharp chain in the mix.
    and a bunch of other stuff. Quit deflecting.
    Some of the numbers are from the full size chain and we are talking 20% diferences and you are playing it down.


    Part 2)
    Yes we worked out a good combo for softwood using the measurements you suplyed off the .325 gauge. It worked out when taking an additional .050" out of the saddle for about a perfect even flow with tight numbers.
    Best is to start with most popular chain. I'm most interested in seeing the 3/8, 7/32. Guys are just going to have to target what they use. He can suite it very close now we know the basic thickness I think.
    I see it as a custom thing.
    Certainly not one gauge for all. I know you would agreed with that.
     
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  14. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    I consider sharp teeth / correctly sharpened teeth as prerequisite for cutting wood, as well as the 'right' raker depth / cutting angle. The cutting angle has definitely a wide working range, but it has its limit. Too high and the chain may be very uncomfortable/rough at least with very hard wood, way too low you loose a large amount of cutting speed. But let´s say simple: when not making a philosophy out of it (like I do for example), with a well sharpened chain you can cut any sort of wood when having a cutting angle in the range of 2° - 8°, some times better some times worse ;)

    That reflects some of my thoughts when doing the starting post. Combining some well known aspects to something new and make something out of it. And see it always as a work in progress, something to detect and something to develop. And of course the discussions concerning all of this and even more.

    Yes. The two chains I have measured are reflecting common types (3/8 normal and 3/8 low profile) but that covers not the whole range of applications. And I consider it as 'dangerous' to make general conclusions out of a very small sample.
    So some thoughts:
    - at least measurements of .325 and .404 pitch chains should be made to make some general conclusions
    - it would be fantastic if someone has personal 'professional' measuring equipment or access to that during the job to make some better measurements that I have done.
    My measurements where made with a digital caliper, use of common sense, use of much time, repeated measurements making mean values, use helping tools like straight edges, 90° bent metal,... I did these measurements as perfect as I could, but you can´t compare that with e.g. using real 3D laser measuring tools. Maybe we don´t need this kind of accuracy... You´ll see, when changing some values here and there in my calculator, that there is no earthquake effect on the result. So maybe it is sufficient to make some good caliper measurments and that´s it.
    Maybe when I find the time, I will experiment with making good photos (2D projections) and then do the measurements digitally on the computer monitor, I haven´t tried this technique yet, but theoretically it should work.
    - now we have numbers for the Husky gauges (many thanks once again ;), it would be interesting to have the numbers for the Stihl progressive gauges (they are essentially the same like the Husky ones and my type 1)
    - chain measurements of different manufacturers / brands. I assume that they maybe are very similar, so the depth gauge tool would be universal, but I don´t know. So some Stihl, Husky, Carlton, Oregon chains (I think that are the common manufacturers, have I forgotten some?)

    The mentioned Stihl ones. They are called FL1 - FL5. I linked to a product video within this thread.

    Yeeeeeeaaaaah! :) I took BobL´s thread as prerequisite, I didn´t think about it, that there would be long basic discussions dealing with constant depth gauge vs. progressive depth gauge and so on. My concept was mainly adressed to people knowing BobL´s thread (or sharing its knowledge) and follow this way consequently. So find out the numbers. Find a way to make this gauge DIY. Find a way to customize it to personal needs. Make some pre-work, but then make it a multi-people-project. So some discussions, make changes on the software, make some gauges, make some measurments, try it out in the forest,...

    Yes, yes, yes and... yes :)
    I like the academic world and the lab, I like theoretical discussions, but in the end, the most important part is going out into the world and simply MAKE it and not talk about it. That is my approach with my gauge type 2. I thought "this is so easy to make, there will at least some guys make this soon and simply try it". It is really not rocket science, it is making a rectangular slot in a stripe of metal sheet...
    All the theory has no self purpose, it should end in practical application.
    And it was meant from the very beginning by me not as a one man show thing. I can do math and programming, I own a chainsaw, I can use it for my needs. But I have not much of practical experience in this matter. And I don´t own many different chains. And my personal time is not endless.
    By cooperation this little plant can grow bigger :)

    I love long winded posts :) Here one more ;)
    I use them by purpose as a natural filter: People not interested leave the thread, people very interested should love these kind of posts :D
     
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  15. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks for helping the German guy sometimes with this nasty internet slang ;)
     
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  16. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    You're welcome.

    I'm sure you know by now it means: To long, didn't read.

    It is great to see the theoretical and the practical discussing depth guides, sharpness, etc.

    In case you didn't know some of the guys in this thread are known to have very, very fast cutting chains. I'm not sure which guys are the fastest, but I've seen some impressive videos of the get togethers/races they attend.

    All of the fastest are square ground. I play with square some too.
     
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  17. lambs

    lambs Stihl crazy after all these years

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    The above (see my red highlight) was not my quote.
     
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  18. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    Still a subjective opinion that isn't quantifiable. And I'm not suggesting it is wrong, inaccurate, or anything else. Just not measurable.

    I don't believe that was ever suggested, just that if the raker was appropriately adjusted relative to the length of the tooth, a suitable enough cutting angle would still exist for each tooth to grab a chip and the chain would still cut straight. Smaller cutting angle, a slightly smaller chip.., until of course, the point of diminishing returns is reached due to extreme differences in the length of the cutters..., at which point, why bother? Grind off the used up tooth and proceed with the rest of the good ones or toss the chain.

    Yeah, I know. Silly me. LOL

    I don't consider providing additional considerations to the overall scope of the discussion as deflecting anything, just illuminating more practical aspects to evaluate in determining how much effect all the cutting angle theory actually has on the end result of a chain's performance.., especially considering how many other factors are also involved, not the least of which is the overall sharpness of the chain . Not even a devil's advocate position there. Just a pragmatic one.

    Not sure what I am playing down. I'm just not as thoroughly wrapped up in the numbers as you appear to be. If 20% differences are intolerable for a given chain, so be it. If it still cuts, I'd keep the tooth sharp and keep cutting with it. But that's just me. If all your cutters need to be the same length, then grind it off or toss the chain as previously suggested. The latter would be ridiculous, of course..., at least in my world.

    All I know for sure is in the time we've spent sparring back and forth we both could have sharpened a LOT of chain and touched up a LOT of rakers and I'll bet both our saws would cut great in spite of each other's positions, which aren't all that different anyway except maybe for the semantics. I enjoy the dialogue and am learning from it.

    Now there ya go throwin' a file into the mix! LOL

    Pretty sure I have some new LG for measurements along with some 3/8 Husky. (May be the same chain, actually.) I also have some .404 on a partial reel but I'm not sure what it is. A digital caliper will be used here as well for any measurements so we'll be talking only so much actual precision. Should hopefully be at least close enough to establish somewhat of a baseline for each type that I can come up with in comparison to the Stihl.
     
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  19. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Ok :) For them this topic should be of some interest...
    Here in Germany the square filing has no culture. Only full chisel and semi chisel chains are used, both of them are round filed.
    I never tried it, but there are many things left for me in this life :)
     
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  20. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    :)
    These measurements are very important and of great interest for me (and hopefully for some others!) I used a digital caliper as well, I took the time, I trust the numbers.
    For integration into the calculator I would need all the measurements shown in the 'chain' tab. And additionally the cutter length of the new chain is useful to limit the results in the calculator. I assume a rest cutter length of 80 mil as a minimum and don´t show results below this value to get meaningful numbers.
    So to stay compatible with the software I would need totally 8 measurements of one chain when maintaining the two gauge types.
    Many thanks in advance for your help!
     

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