has anybody tried the self-sharpening kits for chain saw chains? It looks
like some kind of bracket to hold the blade, and a hand file to sharpen it.
I bought a cheap McCulloh chain saw and the chain got dull after only a couple
hours of use, and i bought a new chain, but this one got duller even faster.
perhaps it's an oil flow problem...dunno.
So i don't know if it should take both chains to a sharpening shop, or if i
should go buy an expensive high quality chain (which brand?), or if I should
buy the hand sharpening kit?
if you buy the proper sized round chain file to match your chain and an
angle guide, think you'll find it amazingly easy to sharpen with some online
searching for how to instructions. HomeDepot under ten bucks probably will
get the file and guide.
I'm an old retired machinist so I may have a *slight* edge but I figured
out how to use the file and did it without a bench in about 20 minutes.
Mark a starting point and go one direction, repeat in opposite direction.
Slight edge? How about a big edge or just capability.
Depends on the person whether or not one can ever do it
without a vise. I never could find a way to hold the saw
and file a straight line in over 20 years of getting
firewood. Out of desperation finally bought one of those
temporary blade holders that you pound in a stump for those
times that I found a piece of granite in a log and needed to
sharpen in the field.
Keeping your chain sharp is a necessary chore if you use a chain saw.
You have two choices. Learn to sharpen one yourself (it isn't that
hard) or take the chain(s) to a shop and pay them to sharpen them.
A couple hours use is not out of line for needed a touch-up. There are
no "high quality" chains that will last much longer especially in the
hands of a beginner. You can get for high bucks chains that are
carbide tipped but even they don't last forever.
No matter how expensive the chain is, if you use it, it's gonna get
dull. Go online and learn how to sharpen with a hand file or, as I do,
with a rotary tool (dremel) and guide and be prepared to take it to a
professional once in a while for sharpening. Dull chains make hard work
out of chain sawing and can be frustrating and dangerous.
First, becoming completely dull in two hours is a little
radical and has nothing to do with oil. Sawing in dirt?
One piece of quartz between a log and the bark will ruin
your day in about 15 seconds.
Self sharpening kit? You just mean a hand sharpening kit.
Consists of a round file and a flat plate that shows the
angle to use.
You put the blade in a vice with the chain free to move and
take a couple of strokes on each tooth. Do one side and
then do the other side. Should have instructions with the
kit. Hints: go slow and run the file from the inside to
the outside sharp edge. Clamp the blade about 4" from the
end and file teeth directly above the clamp, file one tooth
, move the chain, file next tooth (skip the toot that files
the opposite way) until you have move the chain one complete
revolution, then shift position and file the other teeth.
Confused? read the instructions with the sharpening kit.
My technique which may not be the best is to take two full
strokes with moderate pressure and one stroke with light
pressure on each tooth. Be sure to keep the file at the
same angle through the stroke, each stroke (see line on top
of the flat file holder,) and for every tooth.
You should be able to cut a cord of soft wood into 18 inch
lengths with one sharpening. Hardwood less, totally dry
wood even less, with dirt way less, hit a rock and nothing more.
You can buy fancy electric sharpeners, but I suggest you by
the file, flat holder, handle kit first and try it. The
first time may take 15-20 minutes, the next times less. You
will always be ahead stopping to sharpen a dull chain than
You should make friends with another saw owner who knows how to hand file
chains. They need filing after an hour or so of use. Just part of owning and
using a chain saw. Taking your chain to the shop gets expensive in a hurry.
Christopher A. Young
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IF you have a Dremel tool, you can just
buy the sharpening bits. If not a dedicated
chain sharpening tool is pretty cheap to buy. I used hand files and it is slow.
Now with the dremel I can have a like
new chain in 5 minutes. Also next chain
buy a Stihl chain even if you have a non
stihl chainsaw, they seem to last
longer than the Oregon chains..
Dremel chain saw sharpening kit at
Home Depot or any hardware store.
It has an angle attachment in the kit.
I just buy the right size honing stones
seperate and do it by hand, its easy.
There are several stones so you have
to get the correct size. Look in your
owners manual for size.
The Forestry site on About.com has a great list of links about chainsaws.
A sharp chain is safer and easier to use. Learn how to sharpen one with
a correctly sized round file and angle guide. It is easy. Setting the
blade in a vise makes it much easier.
A bit more difficult is setting the correct depth on the rakers with a
flat file. For folks that don't do this often a professional sharpening
or new chain every so often may be the way to go.
How can you tell if a saw is sharp - chips instead of saw dust. A well
sharpened chain will cut quickly, cleanly and not pull to one side.
Whenever you use a chainsaw, seriously consider safety equipment.
Eye/face, ear, and leg protection at a minimum - especially for the
unskilled. Proper safety equipment may cost more than you saw, but it's
cheaper than a trip to the emergency room. I rarely see a professional
logger wearing chaps that don't have at least one cut in them.
Adding NOSPAM to the SUBJECT line of an email bypasses spam filters.
You won't need to do that until you have sharpened it many
times. Filing the rakers down is no problem. But if you
are new and something strange is happening, get a new chain,
or have a professional file it. Depending on size a
professional sharpening may cost more than a new chain.
Long slivers is sharp, short slivers is getting dull,
sawdust is very very dull. Pulling to the side or cutting a
curve can happen with a sharp chain and may well mean the
bar needs to be filed. Or it may simply mean the teeth on
one side were filed sharper than the teeth on the other
side. It's important to sharpen both sides evenly.
Safety equipment or not, the most important safety features
are to keep both hand on the chain saw, know where you are
walking, and put it down when you are the least bit tired.
Not intending to take anything away from what you said,
Clear Cut, but just amplifying.
Sharpening a dull chain is an art. Take it to a shop and pay the ten bucks
to have it professionally done or you will likely burn out the saw. Oil
passage is prob blocked, saws need frequent clean and adjust (after every
Dull saws kill peep up here in the Northwoods, be carefull out there.
Remember to count your fingers and toes after each and every use!
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