Chain saw sharpener

JTO

Well-Known Member
#1
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.
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
#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
 

Alantoo

Well-Known Member
#3
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
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
#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.
 

Alantoo

Well-Known Member
#7
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
 
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long gone

Active Member
#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.
 

Tom D

Well-Known Member
#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...
 

Alantoo

Well-Known Member
#10
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
 
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countrryboy

Well-Known Member
#11
I was always told that when u hit glass it takes the surface plating stuff off which is why it is hard to sharpen and it never holds afterwards.

I'm sure if u went on the Oregon website sure it might have more technical info,
Can mind an old boss used to pay twice as much for his chains and they were a different metal or coated in something different to stay sharper longer, (want to say titanium? but probably wrong with that) were doing a lot of respacing work at time which can be harder on ur chains as u tend to hit ground more often than i normally would just felling.
Must admit i stayed stayed with the cheap 1's


Are the electric 1's not good for doing ripping chains for alaskan mils/plankers so ur getting precise angles and cutter lengths?
And do the more expensive electric 1's do the rakers as well at same time so chain should always be even and near perfect/factory specs as more important for that type of cut compared to cross cutting.
Actually looking to buy a 36" planker and have been smithering about buying an electric 1 just for that ripping chain
 

Tom D

Well-Known Member
#12
Oregon do a chain called multicut which has extra heavy chrome plating, it doesn't cut anywhere near as fast as a sharp full chisel though.
 
#13
there must be some younger men than me on here lol i'm 44 and a climber and at the end of the day the last thing my destroyed arms need is to start hand filing chains
 

Home Loader

Well-Known Member
#15
Electric sharpeners do have a place in the tool box generally at the bottom. If you watch/listen to an experienced operator the grinder is used in very short bursts to prevent heat up. If you use the Dremel type the the tendency it to scrub back and forth along the tooth, both types take a skill level and an understanding of the cutting motion of the chainsaw, it is far easier to mess a cutter up with a power sharpener than an old file owing to the speed.
when I was trained to sharpen we were told after the required numbered strokes to tap the top of the cutter with the handle of the file to break the Crome of over the edge as if the file is run deep into the tooth it tends to leave the crome as a flap.
bench grinders can be set to touch the rakers at the same time as sharpening. The Dremal type require he takes as a second operation using a file.
If you get the opportunity to have a commercial cutter show you how to sharpen take it. A productive cutter always has a sharp saw. Also change your file regularly and if possible use a vise to hold the saw still.
Also make use of file guides and read the angles on the box, not only do they make the saw cut well but if the angles and depths a stuck to it reduces the risk and operator fatigue.
 

Dawnrazor

Well-Known Member
#16
I'm crap are sharpening a chainsaw, I find the whole process tedious, the best thing I got was an Oregon Powersharp bar and chain, it may not be suitable for professional use, I don't know but for occasional use, cutting pallets, limbs for logs, general keepering uses I find it perfect, put the yellow sharpening bracket thing on the end of the bar, rev the chain round for about 3 seconds and Robert is your Mother's brother, simples.
 

philip

Well-Known Member
#17
Little and often by hand using a guide and a decent chain file, easy peasy, I give mine a little polish up on each fill up while having a cuppa

always ready to go that way
 

weeman

Well-Known Member
#18
Little and often by hand using a guide and a decent chain file, easy peasy, I give mine a little polish up on each fill up while having a cuppa

always ready to go that way
I have a simular system. Upon each fuel refill I sharpen each chain by applying four strokes to each section using the file. While having a cuppa and loading the timber up. A system I find works. I beleive also a well sharpened chain takes less pressure off the motor and keeps it lubed better.
Sharpening a chain is easier in my opinion sharpening a knife in which I'm virtually there.
 

countrryboy

Well-Known Member
#19
there must be some younger men than me on here lol i'm 44 and a climber and at the end of the day the last thing my destroyed arms need is to start hand filing chains
Tell/show ur groundy/bitch to do it :) But ur right climbing is a young mans job

But it shouldn't take much on a climbing saw usually short bars and u shouldn't be hitting many stones up there anyway

4 rubs every fill, u must get throu a few chains, a 4-6 rubber was always quite a big sharpen for me if i'd done something stupid and hit the ground
i was usually only 2/3 rubs every 2nd or 3rd fill but i'd take extra time to clear round the butts 1st to try and look after it a bit
 
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Taff

Well-Known Member
#20
All our teams sharpened at the end of the day, if clear felling we would sharpen if needed at break times or carry a spare chain if we hit flints etc, always sharpened by hand, a bitch if you hit shrapnel with a 880.
 

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