Vert-i-File Chain Sharpening Fixture

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Philbert

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When sharpening chain, the position of the file, relative to each tooth, determines the cutting angles. Many fixtures, jigs, and guides have been designed to help position the file accurately and consistently. The Vert-i-File takes a different approach: it positions the chain, relative to the person doing the sharpening, allowing them to guide the file horizontally, and to see the cutting surfaces as they are being filed.

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This simple change improves the ergonomics of sharpening, by presenting the chain at a comfortable height, and eliminating the need to reach across, or around, the powerhead or the bar. It also eliminates common angle variations between Right and Left side cutters, since they are both filed in the same position.
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The Vert-i-File positions the chain for filing, either mounted on the saw, or on the guide bar with an optional chain-tensioning accessory. It works with any pitch, gauge, brand, or sequence of chain, as long as a suitable guide bar is provided. Once the chain is presented at the fixed, 30* angle, it’s still up to the user to position the file relative to the cutter top plate, create any ‘down angle’, define any ‘hook’, etc., allowing significant flexibility, and user preference. But, because the filed surface is on top, they can see the effect of each file stroke: it’s not hidden in the underside of the tooth.

The clean, simple design of the Vert-i-File is also appealing. Constructed of welded aluminum, it is compact (about 11-1/4" tall, and 4-1/2" front-to-back), light weight (about 12 ounces), and appears pretty durable.
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For more info www.vert-i-file.de
[email protected]

Philbert
 

Philbert

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The saw is secured to the angled surface with a single bolt through the alignment hole that is common in many laminated guide bars. If the bar does not have this hole, one has to be drilled, or another bar used for sharpening. The company also recommends drilling a mounting hole more towards the midpoint of the bar, for longer guide bars, or with heavier saws, to better balance these on the fixture.
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The Vert-i-File is normally mounted in a bench vise. I like to file outside, so I mounted mine in a 'Jawhorse', portable work holder, and also mortised out a simple block of wood that I can clamp to any work surface.
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Philbert

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The chains I filed mostly needed 'touch-up sharpening': a few to several strokes on each tooth, but no real reshaping of the cutters. Holding the file horizontal is pretty intuitive, and has a very short learning curve: it probably took me more time to think about it than to do it. File the teeth on one side; flip the bar and saw; file the other side. Being able to see the progress of each file stroke is also a bonus: easy to see when the edges are restored and you are done.
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Use with guides? A lot of people are accustomed to using some type of filing guide when sharpening. In theory, some of these guides could still be used with the Vert-i-File, such as those that attach to the file to control depth. But they would interfere with the clear view of the sharpening process, which is a key advantage of the device. File guides that normally rest on the chain, or on the guide bar, could be problematic due to the bar's orientation when fixed to the Vert-i-File. The positioning, and stabilization of the cutters, are likely most suited to using just a file and a handle.

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Thanks for sharing Philbert, very interesting and a unique perspective towards sharpening . I’m always intrigued at what sharpening systems are on the market, especially with my profession. I will watch this thread with keen interest. Happy sharpening mate.
 

livemusic

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Anyone else have any feedback on this? I went to their website and it looks like they have another product now, a chain holder gizmo that you place in a vice and don't need the entire saw, just the chain. But the original product, you use the entire saw and you don't have to take the chain off. Wonder if they are sold in USA, too.
 

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The Vert-i-File products are mostly distributed by their designer / inventor: a gentleman from Germany who retired after a career at Dolmar, and started a chain sharpening school to train companies, end users, etc.

The original product (earlier posts, above) sharpens the chain right on the saw. The newer fixtures are mostly intended for shorter loops, such as those used on pole saws, etc., which would not easily fit on a fixture, or which might be awkward to bring into a shop while mounted.

I do have a sample of the newer type (with guides for a variety of chain DL counts), but have not tried it yet. It looks like it will be a convenient fixture for precise shop sharpening of these smaller loops.

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Both versions offer a couple of unique sharpening advantages, in addition to fixturing the chain for filing:

- They position the cutters at an angle to allow horizontal filing, which is more intuitive than consistently estimating an angle;

- *They let the user actually see the progress as they file (instead of filing the cutter from below).*

I thought that these ideas would have generated more discussion from the earlier posts, especially being able to see the edges as they form.

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Philbert

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This photo from the Vert-I-File website shows the newer model in use. You can see how the guides easily adjust for different loop lengths. Spacer washers accommodate different gauge chains.

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He also sells some other chain sharpening products that he designs, including one that positions chains for square filing.

The site will translate from German to English if you tap the icon in the upper Left corner (‘AA’) if the translate option does not appear.
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livemusic

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Thanks for the info Philbert and Braintree, looks to be some good 'kit.' No distribution in the USA? I wonder if they ship.

Thanks for the tip for translation, never would have figured that out.
 

Philbert

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Here is a square filing jig from them

The square filing jig clamps and positions the cutters at 45° in 2 axes, letting the user clearly focus on filing straight across from the underside of each cutter (‘inside-out’). This lets them observe the progress of each stroke.

Filing inside-out also avoids hitting the hard chrome coating on the outside of the teeth, which is believed to extend the life of the expensive files.

It is intended for use with double-bevel, chisel bit files (translates as ‘trapezoidal’ file).

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Scrapcan

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Philbert,

What was your shipping experience like? I like the idea of the small loop fixture and the square file jig.

I have shied away from square filing on the saw and cannot justify a grinder. This could be a way for those like me to get into the game.
 

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What was your shipping experience like?
During COVID it was terrible! All the parcels from Germany that normally travelled in the bellies of passenger jets were grounded. I had problems with other other German vendors as well.

This last one arrived in about a week or so (?), back in November, so it seems things have been worked out. Very good communication with the seller.

Be sure to post your comments and experiences with these fixtures here, or in a dedicated thread for the SQ-45, if you try them!

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Scrapcan

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Philbert

When filing on the vert-I-file jig with bar/chain on saw for you have to flip the saw to file both sides of chain?

Many years ago in the late 1980’s early 1990’s I worked for my uncle that was a Stihl dealer ( other brands before that). We sharpened lots of chains, never had a grinder, generally used a granberg style jig with a bar clamped in a vice. But on occasion we did our personal chains by hand so I could learn to round file. I used the same bar in a bench vise but used it with bar at an angle tip up in the vise and the vise angle up an away from my standing position. It helped me as you can see the cutter corner, the burr, and the top plate. Did one side then rotated the vise the other direction and did the other side.

This created a flat(ish) file stroke across and in front of my body.
 

Philbert

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When filing on the vert-I-file jig with bar/chain on saw for you have to flip the saw to file both sides of chain?
Yes. But it is very easy to do.

Note that many people will flip a saw clamped in a conventional vise for filing, to ‘do’ the other side. This is a commonly taught ‘trick’ to overcome inconsistencies between filed Left and Right cutters, due to Right / Left hand ‘biases’, muscle memory, etc.

Philbert
 
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