How I exactly sharpen chains

Arborist Forum

Help Support Arborist Forum:

GoBigRed

ArboristSite Operative
Joined
Jul 3, 2021
Messages
139
Reaction score
233
Location
western washington
A larger diameter file changes the bevel angle of the cutter top plate, and the profile of the side plate.

If you just want a larger gullet, you can achieve that with additional file passes.

The gullet does not just pass / carry chips: it also functions as a chip breaker, when cross-cutting, to reduce clogging.
Philbert
Good info. Thanks brother.
 

Huskybill

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
7,714
Reaction score
6,310
Location
Northeast
Open up the gullet under the top cutting edge the use a smaller file with the file n guide to put a stiffer arc on the cutting edge, then in the field one pass with the file n guide restores the top cutting edge,
 

BerkshirePaws

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2021
Messages
62
Reaction score
188
Location
Dutchess County NY
Good lighting helps. A fundamental problem is that we are usually filing/ grinding on the underside of each cutter. I have used a small mirror to help inspect the edges. Some race chain guys file in fixtures which hold the cutters in a position like rounding the nose of a guide bar, and provides more visibility.

I was surprised that there was not more discussion about the way that this fixture supports the cutters for filing: tilted back so the user can see the progress as they file:

Philbert
Interesting idea the vert-i-file fixture. I'm wondering, is there a fixture to file a chain off the saw?
 

Philbert

Chainsaw Enthusiast
AS Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
18,886
Reaction score
33,805
Location
Minnesota
Interesting idea the vert-i-file fixture. I'm wondering, is there a fixture to file a chain off the saw?
He’s always working on stuff, but no finished product that I know of. Not something that would be too hard to improvise, especially if you are making it for a limited number of chain types / loop lengths.

Philbert
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2015
Messages
1,472
Reaction score
3,392
Location
Australia
here is a chain, full chisel stihl .404 that was sharpened previously with a grinder.
I re did the chain with the basic stihl guide and 5.5mm file, then did the rakers with the progressive raker guide.

Note how the basic file guide holds the file to the tooth and how its a different shape from the grinder, this sets the top plate angle etc.
it needed at least 4 passes to get the file to shape the tooth correctly, and yes the file also rode on the bit in the gullet, so I removed the gullet first with the file free hand, checked the rakers with the progressive raker guide, and took a tiny bit off them so the guide would sit correctly positioned on the top of the tooth and raker, and then did the rest of the tooth.

4chain1.jpg


see the gullet where the excess material has been left from the bench grinder process.
4chain2.jpg


then I free handed with the file out of the guide to tidy up the gullet, and put the file with the file guide to the cutter.
4chain3.jpg

4chain4.jpg
you can see that there is still an area in the middle of the tooth, from the top plate to the gullet that still has the grinding wheel profile in it, but as I continue to sharpen the chain, that will go away.

hope that helps.
 

Huskybill

Addicted to ArboristSite
Joined
May 21, 2018
Messages
7,714
Reaction score
6,310
Location
Northeast
here is a chain, full chisel stihl .404 that was sharpened previously with a grinder.
I re did the chain with the basic stihl guide and 5.5mm file, then did the rakers with the progressive raker guide.

Note how the basic file guide holds the file to the tooth and how its a different shape from the grinder, this sets the top plate angle etc.
it needed at least 4 passes to get the file to shape the tooth correctly, and yes the file also rode on the bit in the gullet, so I removed the gullet first with the file free hand, checked the rakers with the progressive raker guide, and took a tiny bit off them so the guide would sit correctly positioned on the top of the tooth and raker, and then did the rest of the tooth.

View attachment 953231


see the gullet where the excess material has been left from the bench grinder process.
View attachment 953232


then I free handed with the file out of the guide to tidy up the gullet, and put the file with the file guide to the cutter.
View attachment 953233

View attachment 953234
you can see that there is still an area in the middle of the tooth, from the top plate to the gullet that still has the grinding wheel profile in it, but as I continue to sharpen the chain, that will go away.

hope that helps.
You are spot on the way I do it too. Open up the gullet with that fish hook cutting edge, nothing matches the way it cuts bravo.
 
Joined
Feb 23, 2015
Messages
1,472
Reaction score
3,392
Location
Australia
You are spot on the way I do it too. Open up the gullet with that fish hook cutting edge, nothing matches the way it cuts bravo.
On some of my chains, I go for much less hook, as the wood is so hard, the higher hook just gets damaged so quickly, and i put very little wood in the trailer, and it takes quite a lot of filling to remove quite a bit of tooth, to get past the damaged area to give a good sharp point again.

but for softer wood, or green wood, its a lightsabre :)


edited to add
Less hook for hard timber, cuts well, smooth cut, and edge lasts well, and puts lots of wood in the trailer before re sharpening, usual disclaimer about hitting hidden things that break or damage teeth :).

chain3.jpg

chain4.jpg

This cuts fine in green gum too, but if I was to spend a day on pine, I would either reprofile the cutter, or run a different chain with more hook.
 

Del_

3% Neanderthal
AS Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Messages
29,363
Reaction score
13,098
Location
Pale Blue Dot
On some of my chains, I go for much less hook, as the wood is so hard, the higher hook just gets damaged so quickly, and i put very little wood in the trailer, and it takes quite a lot of filling to remove quite a bit of tooth, to get past the damaged area to give a good sharp point again.

but for softer wood, or green wood, its a lightsabre :)


edited to add
Less hook for hard timber, cuts well, smooth cut, and edge lasts well, and puts lots of wood in the trailer before re sharpening, usual disclaimer about hitting hidden things that break or damage teeth :).

View attachment 953251

View attachment 953252

This cuts fine in green gum too, but if I was to spend a day on pine, I would either reprofile the cutter, or run a different chain with more hook.

Great photos and information that you're posting here.

Are some of the teeth on that chain chipper and some chisel?

Thanks.
 

BerkshirePaws

ArboristSite Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2021
Messages
62
Reaction score
188
Location
Dutchess County NY
Short or long strokes?
Long and slow and then I finish up the depth gages with short fast strokes. 😋
But really, how many chains should I be able to sharpen with a file? Three? Thirty? Just wondering if I’m trying to overwork a file. For most part I’m using Oregon files.
 

Philbert

Chainsaw Enthusiast
AS Supporting Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2006
Messages
18,886
Reaction score
33,805
Location
Minnesota
But really, how many chains should I be able to sharpen with a file?

Depends on a lot of factors. Think of a file like a piece of sandpaper: when it stops cutting, it’s time to replace it.

You can optimize the life of a file, by keeping it clean, and by protecting the brittle, sharp cutting edges when not in use. Don’t let it bang around on a work surface, or in a tool box. Wrap it in a soft rag or piece of paper, or slip it into a plastic soda straw. It is a cutting tool.

Philbert
 

Okie294life

Small engine jackwagen.
AS Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Messages
538
Reaction score
240
Location
Arkansas
Well, as they say, different stokes for different folks. I have not used the hooskie. But I get a good hook with the Pferd system. But each Pferd unit is built for a specific file size. If you use the wrong unit, you will not get good results. The 13/64 size is optimum for the RS chain. RM chain requires a smaller file.
I like this file have it in stihl flavor. Since I’m one of the 90% that won’t ever learn how to file a chain correctly it’s awesome. I Have a hf grinder, but I’ll probably never use it again.
 

rogue60

ArboristSite Guru
AS Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2012
Messages
813
Reaction score
2,673
Location
Australia
here is a chain, full chisel stihl .404 that was sharpened previously with a grinder.
I re did the chain with the basic stihl guide and 5.5mm file, then did the rakers with the progressive raker guide.

Note how the basic file guide holds the file to the tooth and how its a different shape from the grinder, this sets the top plate angle etc.
it needed at least 4 passes to get the file to shape the tooth correctly, and yes the file also rode on the bit in the gullet, so I removed the gullet first with the file free hand, checked the rakers with the progressive raker guide, and took a tiny bit off them so the guide would sit correctly positioned on the top of the tooth and raker, and then did the rest of the tooth.

View attachment 953231


see the gullet where the excess material has been left from the bench grinder process.
View attachment 953232


then I free handed with the file out of the guide to tidy up the gullet, and put the file with the file guide to the cutter.
View attachment 953233

View attachment 953234
you can see that there is still an area in the middle of the tooth, from the top plate to the gullet that still has the grinding wheel profile in it, but as I continue to sharpen the chain, that will go away.

hope that helps.
Yeah that's aggressive .404 need a saw with balls to pull that in some our hardwoods.
Apart from hook you can also add durability by bringing the top plate angle forward can mix and match.
 
Top