Need to sharpen my Craftsman 18" 40cc chainsaw and I've never done it
The manual says to use a 4mm (5/32") round file at 25 degrees but it also
shows a guide.
Googling, I see utube videos, some of which use the guide and others can't
stand 'em; while all seem to use a different guide with a flat file to even
out the depth gauges.
Where do YOU guys get your chainsaw sharpening kits and which ones do you
I use an Oregon bar-mounted file guide. Once you get it set up the way you
want with just the right
angles, about 4 or 5 strokes per tooth with a sharp file is all it takes to
sharpen a tooth.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
You don't need a kit. Go to homedepot and find chainsaw files. Get on the
right size. Then go for it. It's very easy but a little time consuming. Do
one direction then another. Find a starting and ending point and mark it
Use a felt-tip marker to mark the starting/end point. A 5/32 coarse
bit in a Dremel style mototool/drill makes it a 5 minute chore at
most. You can overdo it so take it easy the first time around. I was
amazed at how little effort it took with the Dremel compared to using
a hand file. It was as good as brand new.
My brother was an arborist / tree surgeon until he retired. He just
used a round file, and used the fewest strokes he could (as I
remember) to get it sharp. Steady strokes with the file and feel for
He never let the chains get *really* dull. His experience could tell
him when it was time to touch up the chain a little bit.
If he was climbing a tall pine he would often sharpen the chain before
he went up the tree. A dull saw is as dangerous as a dull knife.
I have been futzing with mine, and learning a lot. See other threads. I,
too, have an Oregon clamp style filer, and once you figure it out, it is
quite easy. But I came upon a EZLap stone that is meant to go on their
alignment apparatus. But, it chucks up to a drill motor, and by aligning it
with the mark on the tooth, and raising it five degrees, you have the same
thing as all the other fancy stuff. I am waiting until Thursday, as I have
to return it to a town 30 miles away and get the right one. The salesman
swore and be damned that 7/32ths was the right size, but it was 3/16". I am
interested to see how this one will do. I have an EZLap 2" x 6" diamond
encrusted knife sharpening stone that I love. I got a new one this
Christmas, the last one I bought in 1974. Seems like they would make stuff
that lasts a little longer. Not bad at $22, and you can sharpen a dull
knife in two minutes.
Point is, chainsaw sharpening isn't very complicated, but once you learn the
basic angles, you can do it in the field with a hand file. And do a really
decent job of it. So, concentrate on the angles, and not the equipment, and
remember: THERE'S A MARK ON EACH TOOTH THAT GIVES YOU THE PROPER ANGLE.
Line up with that, and you'll be pretty close.
Secondarily, watch for rocks, dirt, wire, metal, barbed wire, etc. When you
cut a log, it helps to smack it a couple of times with a really big hammer
to dislodge sand in the cracks. Do your best to keep the blade out of the
dirt. There are a few fine points, but it is relatively simple once you
understand the basics.
Also pay attention to chain tightness, oiler providing oil, checking bar oil
reservoir level often, bar wear, and turning over the bar every so often to
even out wear.
May sound like a lot, but a little tweaking here and there will prevent a
full hour shutdown to do it all, and possible damage or premature wear.
Interestingly, I knew it was dull because sparks were coming out of the
tree limb I was cutting (but there was nothing but virgin wood) and the
bottom half of the limb circle was burnt black.
I think the minimum I need, based on your recommendations, is the 5/32"
(4mm) round file and a flat file.
I see some don't recommend the jig tool that goes with the round file but
what about the jig tool that goes with the flat file?
If you have a file, you have the tool you need. Place it on edge on two
teeth in a row. The top of the raker should be 1/10" below that line. Now,
1/10" is fairly easy to guess. And I always wonder why they make those
spendy devices that fit over the rakers out of aluminum. They file off
REALLLY FAST. Seems like they'd make them out of stainless or something
harder. The height of the raker dictates the aggressiveness of the saw,
i.e. how big a bite it takes. So, even if you over do the trimming a
little, you will have to use less pressure to cut. It's all a dance, and it
can be done with a lot of different variables that all do not have to be
minutely absolutely correct for the thing to function.
If you were seeing sparks, you were hitting something metal, or your saw was
about to do something nasty.
The round file size has to be matched to the chain, that's
not something to upsize or downsize. It won't sharpen right,
and won't cut right with the wrong size.
The "depth gage" for the flat file is also not optional (for
Glad you can find some Youtube videos. It's nearly
impossible to learn except to work with someone in person.
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