sharpening chainsaw blade

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Joe in MO, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. Joe in MO

    Joe in MO Active Member

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    Here's the dumb question of the day: Do you sharpen the chainsaw blade by using a rat tail file? Or is there a another or better way?
    Thanks for your help.
    Joe
     
  2. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

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    You will need a special file made for your size of chain. Any chain saw dealer should have an assortment and be able to help you out.
     

  3. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

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    If you have a dremel tool there is an atachment you can but for sharpening chain saw blades. DH has one and says it works really well
     
  4. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Do search in shop forum and there may even be a really old thread here in homesteading. Rat tail files are tapered. Regular chain file is even and are sized for particular chains. You can get a jig that clamps to bar and holds file at correct angle/height for your chain. It would work great except groove in bar tends to get bit slop in it allowing chain to tilt when filing.

    Personally I never liked the dremel type sharpeners, neither the 12v nor the 120v ones. Very easy to burn the edge of the chain and most no way to get a precise angle, its all just guess using little angle plate included.

    Now there are off the saw home setups with larger stone wheels sort of small cheaper versions of what the shops use. These have their own little vise setup to hold the chain and can give very precise angles. Doing it yourself instead of some pimply kid in hardware store means you can just touch up the cutters rather than take bunch metal off like kids tend to do. Also if you damage one cutter severely, dont be stupid and grind all other cutters down to match it like they tell you in the books. Sharpen damaged cutter if possible or grind cutter part of it completely off to where it just looks like a connecting link, then just touch up the other cutters. You wont know that damaged cutter is shorter or even completely gone.
     
  5. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Chainsaws don't have a blade. They have a chain. Lawnmowers have blades.

    Filing a chain saw is best done with a round file. Purchase your round files from your chain saw shop as most of the junk sold at hardware stores isn't up to the task. There is a knack to filing correctly, getting the right angle and such.

    If you use a professional grade logging chain (such as Oregon 73 LG), you'll have to occasionally file down the rakers with a flat file. Again, there is a knack to this. If you file the rakers down too far, it will be subject to extreme kickback.

    If you want a chain that cuts much slower, use one of those dremel tools or other such method of machine filing. These can never come close to the excellent cut that proper hand filing results in.
     
  6. RedneckPete

    RedneckPete Well-Known Member

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    I'm with those that recommend hand sharpening.

    A Dremel tool will not produce the clean edge that a hand file will.

    Purchase the proper file, they only cost a couple of bucks each. Each file is good for three or four sharpenings.

    First thing, tighten the chain on the saw so there is no slack left on the bar. Then clamp the bar in a vise, so that the back handle sits against your gut, and that bar points away from you. Use the chain brake to hold the chain. Hold the file with tow hand, one on the handle and one on the tip. Fit the file into the curve of the cutting link and with the correct angle pull and push the file accross the link. It helps to turn the file a little as you cut. Make sure you do not push the file down towards the bar. This will undercut the cutting edge without ever sharpening it. If anything hook the file into the link and use gentle upward pressure in the cutting stroke.

    If you have never done this before, it is best to get someone to show you how.

    The only time I will bring in a chain to be sharpened is if I hit a piece of steel with the saw and the chain needs open heart surgery.

    Pete
     
  7. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    I do a good bit of chainsaw work over the summer on fencerows. I use one of the 120v jobbies I bought of eBay. Extremely pleased with it. Essentially a down-sized version of what shop use. With it I can take off just enough of the edge to sharpen it. I can sharpen a chain at least a dozen times. With the shop after three sharpening you don't have any teeth left. Takes me maybe 4-5 minutes per chain. Sharpener is almost foolproof. It is Nick (the) Grinder.

    My neighbor has an active small engine repair business out of his garage. He was sharpening chains by hand. I loaned him my Nick Grinder to try and he bought one for himself.
     
  8. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Really this is way to go for average person. Takes lot of practice on a lot of chains to sharpen properly and economically freehand with just a file. Most people will never use a chainsaw enough to develope this skill beyond touching up a chain once in a while in the field. The extra chain life gained will pay for one of these little bench sharpeners even if you only do your own firewood. And the joy of having a properly sharpened chain each and every time cant be described. I got myself one of the Oregon versions some time back when some catalog had big sale on them. Never regretted it. The Oregon version had aluminum housing and seemed bit better made but regular price is considerably more than those like Ken mentions. If Ken says they hold up ok, then I believe him.

    By way if you can only afford a file to keep chain sharp, buy quality files the proper size and I suggest you remove chain from saw and clamp it in a small bench vise to keep it steady and level. You will get better accuracy than trying to sharpen chain while on the saw. And get one of those $2 gauges to check raker teeth and lower with a flat bastard file when necessary.