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Thread: Chain saw

  1. #1
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    Default Chain saw

    I use my chain saw reluctantly a few times a season on various hardwoods that fall in my or my neighbors yard. I have no idea how quickly they dull and when to sharpen. In general do they dull quickly or slowly. I’d say after about 12 hours total on oak and ash I’m noticing a drop off.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Sharpening only takes a few minutes, so it's worth it to do so often. 12 hours is enough operation time that you definitely should give your chain some work. Check the manufacturer's web site or Youtube.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    12 hours? You're as bad as my brother...

    I touch up the chain (1-2 swipes with the file on each tooth) every tankful of gas. If you have it professionally sharpened, I'd say no more than 2-3 hours - depending on the hardness of the wood & any dirt/stones intercepted.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Sharpening a chainsaw is something of an art, it's easy to really botch it. If all you need is a couple of sharpenings/year you might want to take it to a pro, probably your dealer, and while your there get a spare chain or 2 and have him show you how to install it properly. That way when it gets dull you can just swap chains and keep working.

    I've done an awful lot of chainsawing, besides what I did logging back east, and I've gone back and forth between preffering to sharpen in the woods or on the beach and just simply swapping out to a freshly sharpened chain. In the woods can be awkward, especially now that I'm not as limber as I once was. It's always good to have at least one spare chain anyway.

    12 hours is a very long time to go between sharpenings, and to no advantage since you're going to have to file off that much more anyway.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    Sharpening a chainsaw is something of an art, it's easy to really botch it. If all you need is a couple of sharpenings/year you might want to take it to a pro, probably your dealer, and while your there get a spare chain or 2 and have him show you how to install it properly. That way when it gets dull you can just swap chains and keep working.

    I've done an awful lot of chainsawing, besides what I did logging back east, and I've gone back and forth between preffering to sharpen in the woods or on the beach and just simply swapping out to a freshly sharpened chain. In the woods can be awkward, especially now that I'm not as limber as I once was. It's always good to have at least one spare chain anyway.

    12 hours is a very long time to go between sharpenings, and to no advantage since you're going to have to file off that much more anyway.
    That's been my experience and I'm no logger by a long shot. It took me a while to figure out that a few chains were easier to get professionally sharpened than to try to keep one sharp in the field. Elof Granberg was a friend of mine. He invented the various well-known Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mills. Before that, he invented a line of manual and electric chaisaw sharpeners. He has a line of 12 volt power sharpeners that are powered by a vehicle battery with "jumper cable" style clips. These are very popular with professional loggers, I hear. I heard of one outfit that had a guy with one of the Granberg electric sharpeners who did nothing but sharpen chains for their crews on site. The "manual" sharpeners are basically jigs for your file that keep you from botching it.






    Website: https://granberg.com/product-category/sharpeners/

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    If the saw is making sawdust instead of shards of wood its dull. I just replaced the chain on mine, having to fell a tree that came partially uprooted during an April storm.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Chain saw

    I have one of these in my kit and use it to hold my saw to give it a quick lick as soon as I notice the cutting performance dropping off.
    The best way to learn how to sharpen a chain is by doing it. I am only cutting about 5 or 6 cubic metres of firewood a year , so not
    a lot of wood.
    Dont get too precious about angle etc in the early stages, the way the chainsaw cuts is the best incentive for getting it right, or at least good enough to get the job done. Like most things, the more you do it the better you get. Youtube has lots of tutorials on how to do it.




    I havent tried this gizmo yet, but its reviews are positive. It files the raker teeth at the same time.

    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

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    Default Re: Chain saw

    ooooh, I want one of those sharpeners... looks good and better than my hand held round file.

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    Default Re: Chain saw

    I find that the round file alone is good enough. I have no need for guides or pro sharpeners. Each tank of gas is accompanied with ten minutes of filing. It's a chain saw, not lasik eye surgery. If it struggles to cut, the chain is dull. I need to see chips, not dust. Three things: a sharp chain is safer than a dull chain, a sharp chain is easier on the powerhead, and, don't forget to file the rakers.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Mo 'Poxy View Post
    I find that the round file alone is good enough. I have no need for guides or pro sharpeners. Each tank of gas is accompanied with ten minutes of filing. It's a chain saw, not lasik eye surgery. If it struggles to cut, the chain is dull. I need to see chips, not dust. Three things: a sharp chain is safer than a dull chain, a sharp chain is easier on the powerhead, and, don't forget to file the rakers.
    All true, but like any saw, filing/sharpening it correctly is key. For example, there is a relationship between how far the teeth have been filed & how far you have to file back the rakers. Too little on the rakers & no cutting. Too much & the saw will dig in. It's also important to keep both left & right teeth the same length so it doesn't pull to one side. Angle is important so all teeth cut evenly.

    A chainsaw chain is moving very fast & having it pull or dig can be extremely dangerous. Not trying to be a wimp - just trying to go for safety.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    I have the Stihl gizmo Stilleto posted a picture of. It is good, keeps the tooth/raker clearance right as well as showing the right tooth angle. I find I need a vice to use it accurately so carry the saw into the garage to use it, I really only use a chainsaw at home.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    I do it freehand, about 4 swipes every 3rd tank of gas. It isn't hard. Just copy the angle that is marked on the top of the tooth, plus the up-and-down angle as well.

    The saw should be working hard to make a simple vertical cut in a log about half as wide as the bar, without you having to lean on it. It's own weight, plus the sharpness of the teeth, should result in its biting in enough to make it labour a bit. If you have to push, or lever it, the teeth are too dull.

    That's in ash or green maple.

    Use the correct file. And if the file isn't "biting" get a new one.

    And don't lend your chainsaw. Offer to come over and do the cutting instead.

    Dave

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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Lots of info out there, but find what works for you and stick with it. I'm of the "sharpen often and use basic tools" school, using a properly sized round file and a plate guide that clamps to the file kinda like the bottom one in post #5 but without the thingie that clamps to the bar. Oregon Chain Saw (formerly Omark) made mine and it has some basic reference angles stamped on it. I can touch up my blade in a few minutes...which I need to do as I'm off to help a friend drop a little scrub oak

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Glad we had this little chat. I did have sawdust not chips. I have the files. I bought a dozen thinking I’d sharpen my bandsaw blades. Total waste of time. But they are just right for the chain saw. Five swipes per tooth and I’m back in buisness. This forum let’s us education majors pick the brain of such manly men.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Boater14 View Post
    Glad we had this little chat. I did have sawdust not chips. I have the files. I bought a dozen thinking I’d sharpen my bandsaw blades. Total waste of time. But they are just right for the chain saw. Five swipes per tooth and I’m back in business. This forum let’s us education majors pick the brain of such manly men.
    There's a pretty amazing wealth of (obscure?) knowledge here.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Chain sharpening has always been a bit hit and miss for me. I probably leave it too late, (because I hate it) and so have to file off more metal, which gives me more opportunity to mess it up. Sometimes it goes well. Other times when I'm done, the saw wants to cut circles. I must be getting the angle wrong on one side, or more likely wrong on both sides, and different on each. Frustrating.

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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post

    And don't lend your chainsaw.
    Dave
    There's an old saying in this part of the world, Never lend your wife or your chainsaw, they will both come back fu..ed, if they come back at all!
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Chain sharpening has always been a bit hit and miss for me. I probably leave it too late, (because I hate it) and so have to file off more metal, which gives me more opportunity to mess it up. Sometimes it goes well. Other times when I'm done, the saw wants to cut circles. I must be getting the angle wrong on one side, or more likely wrong on both sides, and different on each. Frustrating.
    Phil,

    The top of cutters slope lengthwise. As they get filed they get shorter and lower. If one side is lower than the other it will take off less wood. That's why you cut curves, the cutters on one side are shorter, therefore lower, on one side than they are on the other.

    It does help to keep the angle the same on both sides too.

    So, try to keep the cutters the same length. You can get a cheap Vernier gauge for checking that.

    It's just as important that the rakers (depth gauges really) are the same height. If they are higher on one side than the other you'll be removing less wood on that side, resulting in a curved cut and the bar binding in the kerf. If you lay a straight edge across the tops of 2 cutters the top of the raker should be about the thickness of a credit card lower than the tops of the cutters, more than that for a bigger more powerful saw. Experiment.

    Also, it's 10 times easier to file the cutters if you can put the saw in a vice while you do it. File one side then turn it around and do the other side. That works for me anyway, and despite the fact that I have sharpened more chains than 99.99% of the population I still use the Vernier gauge every 3rd or 4th filing.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    Phil,

    The top of cutters slope lengthwise. As they get filed they get shorter and lower. If one side is lower than the other it will take off less wood. That's why you cut curves, the cutters on one side are shorter, therefore lower, on one side than they are on the other.

    It does help to keep the angle the same on both sides too.

    So, try to keep the cutters the same length. You can get a cheap Vernier gauge for checking that.

    It's just as important that the rakers (depth gauges really) are the same height. If they are higher on one side than the other you'll be removing less wood on that side, resulting in a curved cut and the bar binding in the kerf. If you lay a straight edge across the tops of 2 cutters the top of the raker should be about the thickness of a credit card lower than the tops of the cutters, more than that for a bigger more powerful saw. Experiment.

    Also, it's 10 times easier to file the cutters if you can put the saw in a vice while you do it. File one side then turn it around and do the other side. That works for me anyway, and despite the fact that I have sharpened more chains than 99.99% of the population I still use the Vernier gauge every 3rd or 4th filing.
    That description shows that you most likely have sharpened that many chains! Excellent.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    I loosen the bar and tighten the chain, then re tighten the bar..THEN file the chain,freehand. Then re adjust chain tension....frequently.Otherwise the cutter wags around while filing. Not as frequently, but often, I remove the chain from the bar and flush out the metal filings from the bar channel.
    Sometimes I file the edge of the bar square.
    Lotta filing on them things.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    I thought I was doing ok sharpening with just the file, but one day I inherited a nice file guide and so with some skepticism gave it a whirl... well suddenly my chainsaw was cutting like new, so now the guide is always used.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Keeping the rakers filed is as important as keeping the cutters filed. I have the simple raker gauge that I got with my first new saw thirty years ago.
    I file about every third tank full. I like the tailgate of the truck for a bench. It shouldnt take more than two or three swipes with a sharp file, just enough to show bright metal.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    The cutters are chrome plated. That's because chrome is harder than steel. They could be of hardened steel throughout, but then they would eat files.

    If you look carefully at the tops of the cutters you may find that several of them have the chrome peeled back. If you don't file back to good chrome it will not be truly sharp. The thing is though that you still need to keep the cutters the same length/height so you may not want to take the most damaged cutter back to good then match the rest of them to it, that would be too wasteful. Just pick the one tooth you want to bring back to good then match the rest to it. It won't be too big a deal if some are not perfect.

    Depending on what you've been cutting and how long it's been since the last filing you may find that all of the cutters are in really bad shape. That's when it's more efficient to get out a new chain and give that one to a shop, if there's enough left to make it worth it that is.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Boater14 View Post
    I use my chain saw reluctantly a few times a season on various hardwoods that fall in my or my neighbors yard. I have no idea how quickly they dull and when to sharpen. In general do they dull quickly or slowly. Id say after about 12 hours total on oak and ash Im noticing a drop off.
    I'm new to chain-sawing but YouTube has taught me everything I need to know, so far, from sharpening to falling.
    Easy, if you know how.
    Kind of like math...

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christie View Post
    I'm new to chain-sawing but YouTube has taught me everything I need to know, so far, from sharpening to falling.
    Easy, if you know how.
    Kind of like math...
    I hope maybe you are joking? There is so much 'bad' youtube stuff it makes me shudder watching some of them. There is a lot of good stuff too, but if you don't know ...

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    My chainsawing days are over, a least in the bush, unless there is remarkable change in my sense of balance. When I bought my first chainsaw, I bought a guide which I have always used. It got misplaced a few years ago but I found it last year. These electric sharpeners look interesting but I won’t make enough use of one to justify the outlay.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by J P View Post
    I hope maybe you are joking? There is so much 'bad' youtube stuff it makes me shudder watching some of them. There is a lot of good stuff too, but if you don't know ...
    JP, you cynic, I am able to discern good from bad informational resources.
    I put the videos into action and have had nothing but success.
    My drops have been within +/-5 degrees every time including my first fall that was leaning toward the house.

    Like I said: like math, it's easy if you know how.

    Cheers

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Tom,

    There are things to look out for that are often overlooked like that big dead branch that was just ready to fall and only needed the slightest push, or that same branch on another tree, or the rotten top that snaps off just as the tree starts to hinge, or the butt that kicks up when the log seesaws over a rise in the ground or a rock or another tree. Then there's this;



    What I'm saying is that you won't learn everytthing you need to know on youtube, expect the unexpected, it will happen.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    Tom,

    There are things to look out for that are often overlooked like that big dead branch that was just ready to fall and only needed the slightest push, or that same branch on another tree, or the rotten top that snaps off just as the tree starts to hinge, or the butt that kicks up when the log seesaws over a rise in the ground or a rock or another tree. Then there's this;



    What I'm saying is that you won't learn everytthing you need to know on youtube, expect the unexpected, it will happen.
    Ya, I learned all that on the videos too.

    Why are you two so opposed to learning on YouTube?

    All my kids taught themselves how to play all their musical instruments on YouTube.

    I've repaired several computers using YouTube.

    Then, we all gained experience, lots and lots of experience.

    I've saved thousands of dollars repairing my car from YouTube tutorials.

    Open your mind, you may be surprised what you can learn and where.

    Or maybe you won't.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Christie View Post
    Ya, I learned all that on the videos too.

    Why are you two so opposed to learning on YouTube?

    All my kids taught themselves how to play all their musical instruments on YouTube.

    I've repaired several computers using YouTube.

    Then, we all gained experience, lots and lots of experience.

    I've saved thousands of dollars repairing my car from YouTube tutorials.

    Open your mind, you may be surprised what you can learn and where.

    Or maybe you won't.
    Because anyone who has worked in the woods knows just how dangerous it is. Of course one can learn from videos - but many I've seen downplay the crazy **** that can happen when dropping 2000 lb 100 ft. tall objects that have natural defects. Watch some of the "logging fail" videos.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    I did not criticize you for learning on You Tube Tom, I simply warned you that you and anyone else who is paying attention may not know as much as you think you do. I consult YT and the computer in general all of the time, it's a great resource, I love it. Keep your head up when dropping a tree, especially a leaner. They are full of surprises. Have you ever experienced a "barber chair"? Or how about finding out that the tree you're dropping is hollow, despite it's looking perfectly healthy. That happens a lot in this part of the world, root rot being so common.

    Dropping trees is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, full of surprises it is. Note how the guy in the vid cleared an avenue of retreat before starting. That may have saved his life. He looked marvelously fit, eh? Oh to be that young again.

    Open your mind, don't be so quick to go on the defense.

    I'll consult with you next time the computer plays tricks on me.
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 05-14-2018 at 07:33 PM.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    I did not criticize you for learning on You Tube Tom, I simply warned you that you and anyone else who is paying attention may not know as much as you think you do. I consult YT and the computer in general all of the time, it's a great resource, I love it. Keep your head up when dropping a tree, especially a leaner. They are full of surprises. Have you ever experienced a "barber chair"? Or how about finding out that the tree you're dropping is hollow, despite it's looking perfectly healthy. That happens a lot in this part of the world, root rot being so common.

    Dropping trees is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, full of surprises it is. Note how the guy in the vid cleared an avenue of retreat before starting. That may have saved his life. He looked marvelously fit, eh? Oh to be that young again.

    Open your mind, don't be so quick to go on the defense.

    I'll consult with you next time the computer plays tricks on me.
    There's a reason Widowmakers are called what they are. A friend who had 30 years experience in the woods died cutting one down less than carefully.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Oddly enough the video that had the most impact on me was not a chainsaw video but one done by a group that clears trails in wilderness areas where power tools are not allowed. They use those old two person saws. Woman crew chief explained how an innocent looking felled tree had a trunk and large branches under tension. She also stressed clearing an escape route. I do that. All of our power tools can do harm but I think the chain saw can do the most in the shortest time. I have a nice gas powered hedge trimmer I use on the forsythia. Two hands on it at all times. I have a lot invested in guitars.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Chain saw

    A video doesn't have much impact compared to the way the ground shakes when a 15" diameter oak hits. The memory of that, plus a little imagination, makes one VERY careful.
    I will beg you for advice, your reply will be concise, and I will listen very nicely and then go out and do exactly what I want! (Apologies to Lerner and Lowe.)

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    Default Re: Chain saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    I did not criticize you for learning on You Tube Tom, I simply warned you that you and anyone else who is paying attention may not know as much as you think you do. I consult YT and the computer in general all of the time, it's a great resource, I love it. Keep your head up when dropping a tree, especially a leaner. They are full of surprises. Have you ever experienced a "barber chair"? Or how about finding out that the tree you're dropping is hollow, despite it's looking perfectly healthy. That happens a lot in this part of the world, root rot being so common.

    Dropping trees is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world, full of surprises it is. Note how the guy in the vid cleared an avenue of retreat before starting. That may have saved his life. He looked marvelously fit, eh? Oh to be that young again.

    Open your mind, don't be so quick to go on the defense.

    I'll consult with you next time the computer plays tricks on me.
    According to this article, logging is the single most dangerous occupation in the US.
    Rattling the teacups.

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