Chainsaw question, no laughing

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Shygal, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. Shygal

    Shygal Unreality star Supporter

    May 26, 2003
    New York
    Hey all,

    I have a small chainsaw that I use for limbing and cutting small pieces of wood, etc. I know the chains need sharpening eventually, so here are some dumb questions.

    1. How do you tell when it does need sharpening?

    2. How do you sharpen one, anyway?

    3. Is it easier to just buy a new chain than to have someone that doesnt know what they are doing (me) try to sharpen it?

    4. What about having someone else sharpen it, what is a reasonable amount for them to ask for?

    Yeah Im a chainsaw newbie :eek:
  2. bare

    bare Head Muderator

    May 9, 2002
    You know it needs sharpening when you start thinking it would be easier with a hand saw.

    You can find instructions on-line to properly sharpen your chain, although, to my mind, you'd learn how to do it the right way by watching someone do it the first time.

    I always keep an extra chain around for those times I don't want to take the time to sharpen it right, or more likely when I can't find the flippin' file, but they're relatively expensive, compared to sharpening them.

    I can get mine sharpened in the saw shop for two dollars, but they take off way too much steel.

  3. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Feb 24, 2003
    Sorry don't realy know how to tell you how to sharpen one,but I've done it all my life.Sharpen it when I get home at night and when I eat Lunch.

    Best you pay to have it Sharpened.At least until you have someone show you.

    big rockpile
  4. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

    May 22, 2003
    Zone 7
  5. mary,tx

    mary,tx Well-Known Member Supporter

    Dec 4, 2002
    When the chain is sharp, it will throw off good sized chips gouged from the cut and will cut easily; when the chain is dull, it will throw off sawdust and will take longer to cut. If you have to apply much pressure to the saw for a reasonable cutting speed, sharpen the chain. This is for normal green wood or wood that is not aged too long. Old dry cedar or crepe myrdle and other wood that is tough as steel will not exhibit the same ease of cut.

    You can get a file to sharpen the chain with a guide attached to a rat-tail file. Simple to use, just be sure to wear gloves since flesh cuts easier than wood. Simply take the burr off the concave (inside) part of the tooth so it looks like a clean sharp round chisel. The top and outside of the tooth will be flat--do not file the outside (except perhaps to take off a rolled out burr from abuse).

    Keep your chain out of the dirt. Dirt, gravel, and metal dulls your chain qucikly if not instantly. Prop your work up off the dirt rather than skimming the dirt at the end of a cut when the log is on the ground.
    Dale (DH of mary, tx)
  6. deviator12000

    deviator12000 Member

    Aug 8, 2004
    I use my dremel and a sharpening bit that costs only a few dollars at Walmart.
    I set my vise so the chain sits in it, then hit all the links going one way, then all the links going the other way. I put a mark where I start. I think the most important part of chain sharpening is to always keep the same angle. Secondly is not to go to deep, as it doesn't take much to sharpen the link. I tried the file method, too slow for me. I didn't want to spent 45 minutes to over an hour sharpening one chain as I have about 15 chains. I have two screws in the garage wall==one for used chains, one for sharpened chains.
  7. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Nov 7, 2002
    South West MI
    I always start the season with 3 chains. An old old but still good one ,last years and a new one. I buy files for a buck fifty to fit the chain and hold the saw in the vise. Kinda tough to teach with my limited typing ability. Google and you will probably find lots of info.

  8. BrushBuster

    BrushBuster Well-Known Member

    Mar 30, 2004
    and sharpen both sides evenly or else it will pull to one side making it hard to saw straight through. if it's not to bad i usually hit each tooth about 3 strokes each with a good file. make sure it's the right size for your chain.
  9. If you have any saw shops in your area they do sell little "kits" that will help you to sharpen it. Cutting with a dull chainsaw is very dangerous, this is how you can get kickbacks. If you would like to have some one show you ask someone at the saw shop. You shouldn't have to buy an new chain if, it is new and hasn't been sharpened yet, you can get a lot of life out of a correctly sharpened chain.
  10. Get the proper size of file pick up 2 or 3 they are fairly cheap and somewhat disposable. do a net search and i think mother earth news keeps an article on how to hand sharpen on the saw. it is best to touch it up before it gets real dull. my chains run 20-30 sharpening at a shop is 3-4 a file is a buck. you cna also do the dremil after you are sure the angle is gonna be right but start with a shop done job as the angle is done by a jig and is correct then keep hand dressed by file to get a long life untill needing another shop job. i always keepo a spare chain in case you hit a chink of iron or rock and kill the blade amazing some of the things that get swallowed by trees
  11. goggleye57

    goggleye57 Active Member

    Jun 14, 2004
    I agree on the dremel tool. Easy to use and sharpens fast. Find out what kind of chain you have (.325, 3/8" or whatever) and go to a good chain saw shop and ask them what size dremel grinder to buy, buy your first ones there, my experience is they are just as cheap there as at Wal-Mart kind of places. I bet if you bought the grinding stones there they would even show you. I also agree that you should start with a good strait blade that has been sharpened last time on a regular chain saw grinder. Every once in a while have a pro sharpen them and have them check the depth of the chain.. Or buy a cheap depth gauge and file them off yourself. Not that hard if you see it done once. :)