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Thread: Chain saw sharpener

  1. #1

    Chain saw sharpener

    Our local Lidl have got electric chain saw sharpeners on the shelf at 19.99. They have done all I want for several years and, despite Brexit, are still priced the same as 2-3 years ago.

  2. #2
    Just a word of warning about electric chain sharpeners in general, usually they heat up and temper the chain so making them really hard to sharpen by hand with a file later.
    Prob won't be an issue for most folk thou, but just incase

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by countrryboy View Post
    Just a word of warning about electric chain sharpeners in general, usually they heat up and temper the chain so making them really hard to sharpen by hand with a file later.
    Prob won't be an issue for most folk thou, but just incase
    Not quite sure where your metallurgical knowledge comes from...but the only steel that will get harder without quenching is air hardening steel. If you heat a chain saw blade tooth and it cools naturally you are likely to draw the temper...to soften it.

    The basic hardening process is that tool steel is taken above critical temperature until non-magnetic (800˚C+) and quenched to harden it...which makes it very hard and brittle. So it is then tempered by heat to make it tougher. The tempering colours give a guide to the end purpose of the tool. Pale straw (hardly any tempering) for wood working blades and dark blue (a lot of tempering) for springs or a cold chisel.

    Your chain saw sharpener, if it gets the tooth to show a tempering colour other than pale straw will make it softer and easier to file...just saying.

    Alan

  4. #4
    Get a hand file, ten minutes of your time to sharpen an 18" saw. Better than those electric ones!!!

  5. #5
    Must admit ur metallogical knowledge far far outstrips mine, which is basicly nil as i have just proved

    But if u speak to any wood cutter they will tell u machine sharpened chains are a pig to sharpen with a file, possibly i have the reason wrong? just wot i have always been told in past. Same as if u catch a piece of glass with ur chain ur as well just throwing it away as can be hard to sharpen again, no idea why

    Must admit never used an electic sharpener for that reason and the only boys that i know that use them are harvester operators and they always have plenty of spare sharpened chains with them. Some of the older skool boys would give there chains a hand rub with file but said was a waste of time if been previously done on machine. But not always easy to stay in front if ur in a caravan for 5 days at a time, have heard of them keeping a couple of chains back un machined sharpened incase they ever run out of chains.

  6. #6
    I have a rather expensive electric chain sharpener but find you can't beat the hand file, even on a 3ft bar.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by countrryboy View Post
    Must admit ur metallogical knowledge far far outstrips mine, which is basicly nil as i have just proved

    But if u speak to any wood cutter they will tell u machine sharpened chains are a pig to sharpen with a file, possibly i have the reason wrong? just wot i have always been told in past. Same as if u catch a piece of glass with ur chain ur as well just throwing it away as can be hard to sharpen again, no idea why

    Must admit never used an electic sharpener for that reason and the only boys that i know that use them are harvester operators and they always have plenty of spare sharpened chains with them. Some of the older skool boys would give there chains a hand rub with file but said was a waste of time if been previously done on machine. But not always easy to stay in front if ur in a caravan for 5 days at a time, have heard of them keeping a couple of chains back un machined sharpened incase they ever run out of chains.
    I did not meant to deny the possibility, if it happens it happens...just being a pedantic blacksmith because your terminology was wrong! Hardening is hardening and tempering is toughening/softening.

    The only way I can think the grinder sharpeners might cause a problem for a later file is if it managed to get the very thin metal along the cutting edge of the tooth above the hardening temperature (red heat). And if the bulk of the tooth was sufficient of a heat sink to cool it fast enough to act as a quench and make it hard. It could then have a hard "glaze" I guess. But I would have thought the hard layer would be so thin though (a thousandth or two) that a file would would be taking ten times as much away in one cut. But it sounds like your mates found it was enough to take the edge off the file.

    The manufacturers obviously sharpen them with a mechanical grinder initially and it does not happen. Though they probably do it under coolant.

    If the grinding stone gets pinned and starts to rub rather than cut, the heat can certainly draw the temper...I managed to knacker my hedge-layer uncle's favourite billhook by sharpening it with an angle grinder and getting it too hot...I was a young man then and in a hurry! Now I would use an old water trough wet stone and savour the moment.

    Alan
    Last edited by Alantoo; 03-09-2016 at 20:06.

  8. #8
    The biggest problem with electric sharpeners is that people don't know how to use them and they forget all about the rakers.
    Seen more chains buggered by bad hand sharpening than I care to think about.

  9. #9
    As someone who sharpens a chainsaw on a daily basis, I can say with confidence that these electric ones are crap. Don't waste your money. They DO harden the chain, a friend offered to sharpen one of my saws with one and not only was it not as sharp as I can get with a file it was also very hard to sharpen afterwards. Saw chains are made of a medium hardness steel which has a thin chrome plate on top, it's the chrome plate that cuts, which is why when you hit stone or dirt and wear the chrome off the top of the tooth you have to sharpen right back to the chrome to get the best results...

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tom D View Post
    As someone who sharpens a chainsaw on a daily basis, I can say with confidence that these electric ones are crap. Don't waste your money. They DO harden the chain, a friend offered to sharpen one of my saws with one and not only was it not as sharp as I can get with a file it was also very hard to sharpen afterwards. Saw chains are made of a medium hardness steel which has a thin chrome plate on top, it's the chrome plate that cuts, which is why when you hit stone or dirt and wear the chrome off the top of the tooth you have to sharpen right back to the chrome to get the best results...
    Are you sure it is chrome plated rather than a bit of chrome in the alloy? Any evidence of this?

    Alan

    P.S.

    Looked it up myself...and according to the Oregon maintenance .PDF you are right, the teeth are chrome plated.

    The reason for my query was that chrome in the alloy could have accounted for the subsequent filing difficulty because some chrome / steel alloys can get harder at the usual sub critical tempering temperatures.

    I still can't figure how the tooth steel itself could become harder without red heat and quench, when normal grinding temperatures are likely to soften it.

    I am coming to the conclusion that the most likely reason for the subsequent filing difficulties, the apparent hardness, would be that some of the carbide abrasive from the grind wheel was embedded in the tooth steel and then in turn acted as a grinder upon the file. Can't quite figure why this does not apply to a new blade tooth though...


    Alan
    Last edited by Alantoo; 04-09-2016 at 12:30. Reason: Added p.s. after some research

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