Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

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Mr Ron
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by Mr Ron » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:57 pm

On the subject of files, they do wear out; much faster than you think. When sharpening circular saw blades, you use a triangular saw file. One file may sharpen 2 saw blades before it becomes worn out. You can tell when a file is past it's useful life by the sound it makes. A sharp file makes a clean cutting sound while a dull file sounds like it is skating across the tooth, which it is actually doing. The same holds true for saw chains. I used to have a saw sharpening business 30 years ago and I still have all the equipment for sharpening saws and chains. I haven't done it in a while, but the right way to sharpen a chain is by grinding, not filing. Filing is really meant to "touch up" a chain when out in the field. In order to have a chain work well, all the teeth need to be uniform and that means using a machine that can repeat the sharpening process identically on each tooth. Filing by hand can never duplicate a good machine grind. You will mess up more teeth than sharpen them. When I hear commercial sharpeners have ruined chains, it's because the saw user has tried sharpening the chain themselves and botched it up to the point that when they ask a commercial shop to sharpen their chain, the chain has reached it's useful life and needs replacement. Chains can be repaired by replacing links, but it is usually not cost effective to do so. Most people don't think about the depth gauge or "raker" It needs to be a few thousands below the top of the cutting tooth; I believe it to be about .035" lower. If it is above the cutting tooth, it will not cut. The raker has to be filed down and rounded and for that a straight file is needed.

I present this to share my experience in the sharpening business. I still sharpen blades today, but only carbide tipped blades. No one uses non-carbide blades anymore other than for chain saws. There are a bunch of you tube videos on how to sharpen a chain, but be warned; there is a right way , a wrong way and a half ass way. You may get a sharp chain, but it will not stay sharp for long until you do it the right way. That advice goes for everything in life. That is something one learns throughout a lifetime of learning and at 84, I'm still learning.
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

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tornitore45
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by tornitore45 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:36 pm

A Cuisinart is wonderful for kneading bread. Takes one minute.
Very true, because kneading dough is energy intensive and I like the mess contained and off the hands.
I was comparing to mincing an onion with a french knife.

I prefer the Kitchen Aid machine that represent all that marketing driven China products do not.
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

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tornitore45
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by tornitore45 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:46 pm

On the subject of files, they do wear out; much faster than you think.
Well we are talking about sharpening, that task the file against hard steel.
On mild steel, and softer metal files last almost a lifetime in a home shop equipped with machines doing most of the work.

I think I did wear a couple of mill file in middle school shop after making a 3" jeweler anvil, a hammer head, a nut cracker, a pair of pliers, a set of compass, a cube and a 120* square.
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

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pigpen60
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by pigpen60 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:36 pm

I use a guide and a good file and do the same number of strokes for each tooth. Some of my newer chains have a line on the tooth to use as a guide for Filing.

TomB
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by TomB » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:26 pm

Do the files for chainsaw sharping come in different diameters and if so how do you know which to buy?

RMinMN
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by RMinMN » Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:46 pm

TomB wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:26 pm
Do the files for chainsaw sharping come in different diameters and if so how do you know which to buy?
Yes the files do come in different diameters and the box the chain comes in should specify which file to use. As the chain is sharpened the tooth height is lessened and a size smaller file is recommended to accommodate this lower profile. The rakers ahead of the cutting surface determine how deep the cut will be and as the profile becomes shorter those rakers should also be filed down to keep the same depth of cut. Filing them before you start can get you faster cutting on some woods but care must be used so the chain doesn't grab.

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BadDog
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by BadDog » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:26 pm

It's been decades, but when sharpening chains with files I don't ever remember the rakers being touched. My experience with chainsaws growing up was mainly with my grandfather cutting firewood or clearing land. Perhaps he or my grandmother dealt with that when I wasn't around, but considering the time I spent with my grandmother fixing a few pretty badly damaged chains (usually because I messed up and let it get into the dirt or rocks, so I was responsible for fixing), I would have thought she (or he) would have explained and/or shown me how to do that too. They always made the effort to teach me to do for myself, and then expected me to do so. And like applying a steel to a knife, my grandfather always drilled into my head that you keep it sharp by filing any time you notice the cut decreasing, so the VAST majority of the time it was just round files on the tailgate of the truck.

After those days with my grandfather, other than clearing land for my first house (''86?), I've only ever used a chainsaw fairly lightly to fell a few comparatively small dead trees, and mostly to trim branches or fallen limbs. The round chain file alone has served me well for those tasks, but maybe it could have been better (faster cutting) had I spent time focused on the rakers. And maybe they did teach me about checking/adjusting the rakers, and it just didn't stick in my teenage mind for the next 30+ years.

The only chainsaw I've got is a small 12" bar used mainly for trimming trees. My son destroyed the previous chain cutting down a dead fruit tree at a house he bought (it had grown around a metal rod he cut through). 12" chains are cheap, and I'm no longer as poor as I once was, so I just bought a new one. That chain has only had the file to it maybe a dozen times (roughly corresponding to every other use due to typical small time in cut). I doubt there is much tooth missing, but it will be interesting to look at it closer.
Russ
Master Floor Sweeper

TomB
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by TomB » Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:07 pm

RMinMN wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:46 pm
TomB wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:26 pm
Do the files for chainsaw sharping come in different diameters and if so how do you know which to buy?
Yes the files do come in different diameters and the box the chain comes in should specify which file to use. As the chain is sharpened the tooth height is lessened and a size smaller file is recommended to accommodate this lower profile. The rakers ahead of the cutting surface determine how deep the cut will be and as the profile becomes shorter those rakers should also be filed down to keep the same depth of cut. Filing them before you start can get you faster cutting on some woods but care must be used so the chain doesn't grab.
Thanks for answer, but I don't have boxes. I use to live 5 miles from my son who heats with wood, buys logs and cuts a lot. I had in my garage two nails one labeled for sharp chains and one for dull ones. When Jim cam over and I thought about it I would give him the dull ones and a few weeks latter they would come back sharp. Now I've move 250 miles away although I could still bring him chains I would likely forget to get them back. As such I wondered about how to pick a file diameter. I was wondering if there was a pseudo-hole whose diameter would match the file size.

Mr Ron
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Re: Chainsaw Sharpening: Files v. Gadgets

Post by Mr Ron » Sat Jul 06, 2019 2:43 pm

TomB wrote:
Sat Jul 06, 2019 1:07 pm
RMinMN wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:46 pm
TomB wrote:
Thu Jul 04, 2019 12:26 pm
Do the files for chainsaw sharping come in different diameters and if so how do you know which to buy?
Yes the files do come in different diameters and the box the chain comes in should specify which file to use. As the chain is sharpened the tooth height is lessened and a size smaller file is recommended to accommodate this lower profile. The rakers ahead of the cutting surface determine how deep the cut will be and as the profile becomes shorter those rakers should also be filed down to keep the same depth of cut. Filing them before you start can get you faster cutting on some woods but care must be used so the chain doesn't grab.
Thanks for answer, but I don't have boxes. I use to live 5 miles from my son who heats with wood, buys logs and cuts a lot. I had in my garage two nails one labeled for sharp chains and one for dull ones. When Jim cam over and I thought about it I would give him the dull ones and a few weeks latter they would come back sharp. Now I've move 250 miles away although I could still bring him chains I would likely forget to get them back. As such I wondered about how to pick a file diameter. I was wondering if there was a pseudo-hole whose diameter would match the file size.
Just match the rounded portion of the tooth with the file. If the file is too big, it won't fit and if too small, you will see a gap around the file. The file should fit the contour perfectly and always use the same size file. Using a file that is too big or small, will destroy the cutting action of the chain. To find good chain sharpeners, you have to go to timber country where real lumber jacks make their living. You won't find them in the city.
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

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