There are two major things you do when sharpening a saw chain. Sharpening it
and filing down the "depth gauge" if needed.
For Stihl chains, they have the following "Depth Gauge Tools" available...
[Used for checking top plate angles, cutter length and for filing correct
depth gauge setting. Available sizes: .018", .020", .025", .026", .030",
How do I know which depth gauge tool to get for a specific chain?
I'm using the Rapid Super L Full Skip Klassic (RSLFK)
Here are their various chains...
remember from some where that 020 works for .325 chain, and 025 works for
3/8. The other 030 is for .404 chain.
Larger number makes for a much more agressive cut. Smaller depth number
makes smaller chips and cuts slower. I personally use 025 for most
On Fri, 07 Oct 2005 20:42:16 GMT, "Stormin Mormon"
What I do ( not recommended for weekend warriors ) is take the rakers
( depth gauges ) down with a Dremel Moto Tool. WAY down. Then my saw
is Super Agressive. But you take a chance doing this. It could
*bite* the wood and pull the saw out of your control, or it could
stall out the engine.
Certainly, I know how to finess this arrangement for maximum cut and
rpms by now. My saw cuts like a skip chain, with only 36 cc
displacement. And the chips fly. Into my face sometimes so I wear a
I mention now, I am *advanced* level woodcutter. Doing this kind of
thing is not for beginner or even intermediate level. I do it because
I cut BIG TREES that are double my bar length in diameter.
I got this idea from a fellow woodcutter in an arborist forum. Oh I
-used- to cut with all the training wheels on the bicycle, but after a
while, that got old. Speaking of accidents waiting to happen, have
you read about commercial woodchippers and people being pulled into
There isn't any PART of woodcutting that isn't dangerous. Have you
read about people sawing off their fingers and hands with table saws (
radial arm and otherwise )? I know a fellow who lost 1/2 of his hand
with a TABLE saw.
Maybe you should tell Norm Abrams to put the dang saw blade guard back
on his. Watching him cut without one makes _me_ nervous.
Well being as this is a 32" bar and a Stihl 460 with *lots* of power, I
think I will stay with the recommended .026 inch for now (found this toward
back of my manual when I finished reading it today.)
The instructions also say the depth gauge can be lowered an additional .008
inch for cutting softwood in mild weather season - no frost.
So I guess the type of wood and outside temperature are factors?
If I were to lower the depth gauges (rakes) on this saw to nothing, and then
attempt to buck a large diameter log, I can imagine myself hurtling through
the forest with a quickness! :-)
(I've had enough excitement for this week with broken tie rod ends, shoe
I don't do that right out of the box, but the first time that
I have to take down the depth gauges, I also take them way
down. I think that depth gauges are set for maximum safety
and not for cutting efficiency and make running the saw a more
I love the feel of the "bite" after I take the DGs down. If
the saw is running good and you have a sharp chain, it is a
beautiful thing. It is a matter of holding the saw back,
rather than trying to push it through.
NOTE: I also was a professional tree cutter, having had my
own logging company. I do NOT recommend this to anyone else,
either. Do not try this at home!
You don't meet many people that have done this and felt the
power, so I just had to comment.
I only mention it for *academic reasons.* I also do NOT recommend
this to anyone else, unless you are a REAL expert, not just an
It is an amazing experience. Especially when there is a lot of wood
to cut. Then again, nothing is worth risking Life & Limb over when it
comes to cutting wood. But for those who ride the extreeme edge of
the technology, it brings woodcutting with a chainsaw into an entirely
There are people who do things with motorcycles that are also not
recommended for the general riding public. I just mention it because
of all the people sitting around with micrometers measuring their
depth gauges. For THEM it is most likely a good idea. For you and I,
free-falling is da bomb.
I remember when I first learned about this. I had been
cutting logs for about 6 months. I had 5 chain saws and felt
that I kept them running in top shape at all times. Yet my
partner could outcut me by a factor of 3 to 1. Same size saw,
bar, everything. I at first chalked it up to his experience
and my inexperience. Then I borrowed one of his saws for a
cut and could not believe the difference in cutting speed.
I immediately asked how his saw could cut so much faster than
mine. He walked with me back to the set and pulled out my
tool box. He found my depth gauge tool and asked me if I knew
how to use it. I replied that I did. He said, "Let me show
you how professionals use it" and threw it as far as he could
into the woods. Then he took my flat file and filed down all
the depth gauges. I have never gone back.
The rule that my friend uses is this: If you cut more than
200 trees a day, then take down your depth gauges. Otherwise,
set them like the book says.
============================================================>I remember when I first learned about this. I had been
Yep. It's a *legal liability* things with the saw manufacturers.
They know damn well the saw is only running at 30% efficiency with the
rakers up, but to cover their asses, they put these training wheels on
the chain so people with *furrowed brows* don't chop their arms and
For people who know what they are doing, off come the training wheels
and now you've got a REAL chainsaw, the way God intended it to be.
Most consumer chains have high rakers to minimize kickback. Customers
with a furrow in their forehead are not happy customers. I sure
wouldn't file down the rakers, then climb a ladder to prune trees with
the saw. I have never had a problem with kickback, probably because I
don't do much plunge cutting. If a log isn't laying right, I just use
the loader on the tractor to move it.
A chipper chain cuts good if you have clean wood, but if you are cutting
in a deck, a semi-chisel tooth will last longer. I let a neighbor yard
across my property a while back, and he left me a big deck of firewood
as a thank you. It was a nuisance keeping the chain sharp. In
retrospect, I probably should have gone to a carbide tooth.
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