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  1. #1
    Platinum Member PitbullMidwest's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
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    944
    Location
    SE Iowa
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota L2900GST

    Default chainsaw sharpener

    I told my wife that I wanted a sharpener for my chainsaw for father's day. My uncle owned a tool and die sharpening service and always did it for me for free, but he passed away last fall.

    I looked at Northern Tools and they have an electric one that hooks up to a battery, a friend at work bought one at Farm King that clamps directly to the bar and you use a hand file. I've never had to do it myself so I don't know which is better. My chainsaw use is quite limited but I loss 3 elms to dutch elm decease this spring and need to take them down.

    Any recommendations? Brand name to look for? Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Super Member
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    Apr 2000
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    5,663
    Location
    Cedartown, Ga and N. Ga mountains
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota B21, 2005 Kubota L39

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener

    I am far from an expert but this is what I found. The Northern sharpener that hooks to a battery didnít work well for me at all. It may be that I just never got the hang of it. The manual clamp on guide that you use a round file with worked better. It still was not the best but better. I was about to invest in a pro type model that bench mounts when I talked to a friend in the tree business. Knowing he had one of the pro bench mount units I ask what he thought and he said ďIíll give it to you if you want.Ē These things are not cheap so I ask why and he thought it took to long for the results. He says after years of trying everything the best system is just a round file, two strokes on each tooth on the right side, (if your right handed) and three strokes on each tooth on the left. (says he is stronger on his right hand than left) The biggest secret, according to my friend is, sharpen before the chain is dull. This has worked great for me and my chains last 5 times what they use to.

    I suspect that sharpening chains is like grading roads, everyone has a different system and you have to find the one that works for you.

    MarkV

  3. #3
    Platinum Member PhilNH5's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
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    786
    Location
    SE NH
    Tractor
    Kubota B3000HSDCC

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener

    I second Mark's post. I use a round hand file. I used to use a guide with rollers but I no longer do. I use a round file with a guide mounted to it. I'm not good enough yet to do freehand and this helps a lot. It keeps the round file level and has angle marks etched on it. I sharpen the saw every time I refill the gas tank. Like posted above - don't let it get dull. Don't forget to file the rakers. I definetly use the little guide for that. I don't want a saw with all the safety features and suffer a kickback because the rakers were to long. I only file the rakers as needed which is not to often. Maybe every 5 gas refills.

    Phil

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    382
    Location
    Indiana
    Tractor
    Kubota L175

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener

    I agree with the advices above. I cut 20 face cords a season for six years, so did a LOT of chain sharpening. Best and quickest way was, as already said, the round file by hand technique---especially when I was way out in the back wood lot.

    Make sure you get the correct SIZE round file to fit to the chain, because there are quite a fw different sizes, and you'll wreck the chain using the wrong size file.

    Also, at the start of the season, I would take all of my chains to a local sharpening guy, and he'd do them on a machine. This would "true up" all the chains, and I usually managed to get thru the season from then on with the round file and hand sharpening. BE CAREFUL!!!!!!!

  5. #5
    Veteran Member
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    Jan 2002
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    1,927
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    Home-1+ acres New Hope, TX / 24 acres-Fannin County
    Tractor
    JD 950

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener

    I'm with everyone else here. My saw came with a round file with a guide attached. That's all I have ever used and has worked fine for me. I stick it in my back pocket or in my tractor's tool box when I go cutting. Whip it out and sharpen if/when I need to.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
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    1,806
    Location
    Houston, TX.
    Tractor
    2001 TN65, 1951 8N Ford

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener


  7. #7

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener

    All of those electric driven chainsaw sharpeners that look like a Dremel tool are alike, a good way to seperate a sucker from his money, and a better way to ruin a good chain.
    Having sharpened chain saws and cut wood for over 45 years, the only 2 tools you need are the proper size round file, a magic marker or paint marker, and a flat file.
    For a guy just starting, it might be worth a few extra bucks to invest in a downsetting gague for the rakers.
    Most chains I see homeowners using are alike, the rakers are set too high because the people who sharpen the chain never downset them. Failure to downset means your chain delivers sawdust, not chips.
    Always remember to file out of the tooth, not in to it, and use the same number of sttrokes on each tooth. Do NOT back the file up in the tooth, file in one direction only. Mark one tooth, and file all teeth on that side, then reverse the saw and repeat. About every 6th time you file the chain, check the downset and file as necessary.
    The only time you need a grinder is when you change a chain from crosscut to ripper.

  8. #8
    Gold Member
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    Apr 2000
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    382
    Location
    Indiana
    Tractor
    Kubota L175

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener

    The real Voice of Experience, Franz. Great post!

  9. #9
    Platinum Member PitbullMidwest's Avatar
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    Sep 2001
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    944
    Location
    SE Iowa
    Tractor
    1998 Kubota L2900GST

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener

    Thanks for the replies. I'll ask her to get me a chainsaw file set. Without your help I'm sure she and the kids would have bought me some fancy gizmo.

    Franz you have me totally baffled. I'm afraid I am chainsaw stupid. Help out a very green horn by explaining rakers and downset and how to check it. A picture is worth a 1000 words if anyone has one.

    Thanks again guys.

  10. #10
    Platinum Member hwp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
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    643
    Location
    St. Catharines, Ontario, CANADA
    Tractor
    Kubota F2400

    Default Re: chainsaw sharpener

    Franz is absolutely right, IF you know how to use a file. Files are the one tool I have never learned how to use properly. So as a result, I use an Oregon battery operated saw chain sharpener. It still takes some practice to get the angle of the cut right and uniform. If I find I have done a poor shaprening job, the most common problem I have is that the saw wants to cut a curve, I just do it over again. About once a year I have my chains professionally sharpened to get them back to factory specs.

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