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synthia 12-12-18 06:09 AM

Chainsaw sharpener
I need to buy a chainsaw sharpener which is more consistent and easy to use. Please suggest me the best one.

CrankyDoug 12-15-18 12:59 PM

I held off responding hoping someone else would have more recent experience with chain sharpeners. I've been doing it by hand for 45 years, sharpening three chains a day when I was logging.

Electric sharpeners range from $40 - $1000. Any one of them will quickly ruin a chain in the hands of an inexperienced person. None do a better job than a file in experienced hands. Pros use electric sharpeners because they are much quicker for chisel tooth sharpening than a square file. You don't need chisel tooth profile unless you cut trees for a living.

My suggestion is the Oregon #38276 for 5/32 chain. It keeps the file at the correct depth which is where most people have trouble. Oregon sells similar kits for 3/16 and 7/32 chain though I didn't see them on Amazon. Stihl and Husqvarna have similar kits for three times the price and their files are probably made by Oregon. Note that 5/32, 3/16, and 7/32 refer to file size and not chain pitch.

The most important thing to know about filing is that the file only cuts in one direction. If you apply force in both directions you will ruin the file in the first use. Push slowly, lift the file, return to the start position, repeat. If the file squeals you are going too fast and destroying it.

Two cents worth from someone who bought chain in 100 foot rolls.

stevehull 12-16-18 02:07 PM


Had to chuckle on your post as I too used to order chain by the 100 ft spool. Zip Penn, if I recall, was the name of the outfit I bought from. Damn good files too.

I agree with cranky - sharpen your blade yourself. There are you tube videos on this and most are excellent. I know about them as I just taught my middle son how to sharpen a saw blade.

It is simple to put the bar (engine attached) in a vise so that you can move the chain by hand, but it is otherwise stable. The round files only work one way as has been noted.

I wear leather gloves and can sharpen a blade in 20-30 minutes. The test is cutting and seeing good large chips coming out.

At every gas change I would do a quick sharpen and always if I hit a stone or other chain destroying stuff (the ground for example).

If you see sawdust coming out, then stop. A saw should go through the wood with just you guiding it. If you are pushing - then you need to resharpen.

Yes, you can buy cutters that are automatic, but I still prefer to sharpen by hand and by eye.

Hope this helps!

philb 12-16-18 02:55 PM

I'm just the opposite. I like chain saw sharpeners. No matter what brand you buy, the compound angles are critical to sharpening them correctly so the chain cuts. I sharpened them for several years as part of my living. I started off with a Bellsaw-Foley Sharp All and ended up with one from Harbor Freight.

If you go this route, you want to clean the chain with degreaser, or solvent. Match the compound angles of the chain with the cutterhead exactly and don't try to take off too much at one time otherwise you risk burning the tooth and removing the steel's temper. Each tooth needs to be the same length and the rake the same height. Also, but sure to check for excessive play in the rivets. Too much slop there can make the chain break while in use.
After the machine is set up correctly and the chain is decreased, sharpening can be done in less than 10 minutes.

CrankyDoug 12-16-18 08:39 PM

At one time nearly all the chain sold in the US was made by Oregon, sold under at least a dozen brands. Files were either Oregon or about three european brands. Oregon had developed a process around 1970 for making round files that were so much better than the competition that everyone else just bought Oregon files. I remember hearing stories of the secrecy surrounding their process. No doubt the secret has long been out.

I worked for two saw shops and was a Husqvarna dealer for awhile. I also worked in the woods for five years, starting out as a choker setter. When I realized how much the fallers were making I decided "that's for me!" I did it for two years and realised I wasn't built for it. Then I ran a skidder for a few years.

The collapse of the timber industry in Oregon was the best thing that ever happened to me. No job, busted up body, might as well pack up and go to college. My first job out of school tripled my best year's income as a logger. But those loggers on TV are right, it gets in your blood. Nowadays I do about 20 trees a year instead of 100 a day. The neighbors think I'm nuts but they appreciate having trees removed for free.

There are two schools of thought on keeping the cutters all the same length. I try to keep the cutters close to the same on homeowner saws because the bars are short. The longer the bar the less important it becomes. Most fallers will say it makes no sense to file all cutters back just because one hit a rock. Just file the bad one back until it is good. You will probably hit another tooth on another rock tomorrow. With a 32 inch bar you don't even notice a missing cutter.

I alway kept the rakers about .030 below the chisel so a short tooth had more removed from the raker than the rest. I rarely go below .020 for other peoples saws. .030 will pull the saw out of the hands of an inexperienced person. I knew a few fallers with big saws that ground the rakers clear off a new chain. These were big men and they bought a lot of chain. They also made a lot of money.

In the shop I used a chisel profile grinder for professional fallers that didn't want to spend an hour a day sharpening. Some customers brought me 10-12 chains every week. Hand filing a chisel profile is a PITA. I did it for awhile on my own saws but went back to a round file to save time. A chisel profile grinder was a month's wages back then.

We always ground each tooth to the same position on customer chains. The boss said he would never do it on his own saw but it was a great way to sell more chain.

Well I don't think any of this is relavent to the OP (apologies to Synthia). Sure felt good endlessly blathering about it though.

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