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Thread: Chainsaw File

  1. #1
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    Chainsaw File

    The directions call for a 4.5 mm file however it looks like 3/16 would work. For me 3/16 is a more common size and easier to pick up. What do you think?

  2. #2
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    What size chain? 3/16's is for .325 x .063. I don't know that it works with anything else. Chain size should be stamped on the bar.
    Last edited by Tom M King; 06-03-2022 at 8:00 PM.

  3. #3
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    Best Regards, Maurice

  4. #4
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    I use a Dremel with a grinding stone. It starts off at 7/32" but as it wears the size gets smaller. I don't think it matters too much.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom M King View Post
    What size chain? 3/16's is for .325 x .063. I don't know that it works with anything else. Chain size should be stamped on the bar.
    That's what my Stihl MS290 uses.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
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    Another point of view: I sharpened for years with a file, freehand and with guides, and with a stone on a Dremel. Sharpening with a file is a good way to take a break from chainsawing, recommended by several for safety reasons.

    But life got easier for me in my old age when I got a good benchtop chainsaw grinder/sharpener. After first buying a cheap one (I gave it away) the better one made life easier. Wastes very little steel, sharpens quickly, takes almost no skill (I've let friends use it), and gets the chain incredibly sharp. Easy to repair significant cutter damage if I hit a hidden piece of embedded barbed wire or something. True, the 110v sharpener is hard to take in the field. However, I usually take an extra chain and bar just in case. (An extra bar/chain is also great if you get the saw jammed, too - just remove the saw head from the stuck bar, install the other bar and chain, and cut the stuck one free.)

    I do still use the Dremel to sharpen my carbide chains, using a diamond "stone".

    JKJ

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    Another point of view: I sharpened for years with a file, freehand and with guides, and with a stone on a Dremel. Sharpening with a file is a good way to take a break from chainsawing, recommended by several for safety reasons.

    But life got easier for me in my old age when I got a good benchtop chainsaw grinder/sharpener. After first buying a cheap one (I gave it away) the better one made life easier. Wastes very little steel, sharpens quickly, takes almost no skill (I've let friends use it), and gets the chain incredibly sharp. Easy to repair significant cutter damage if I hit a hidden piece of embedded barbed wire or something. True, the 110v sharpener is hard to take in the field. However, I usually take an extra chain and bar just in case. (An extra bar/chain is also great if you get the saw jammed, too - just remove the saw head from the stuck bar, install the other bar and chain, and cut the stuck one free.)

    I do still use the Dremel to sharpen my carbide chains, using a diamond "stone".

    JKJ
    Which sharpener did you get?
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  8. #8
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    I only use the stationary sharpener if I'm sharpening several chains at the time, which is almost never these days. If there is not a good reason to take one off the bar, like if it hit a rock, it's faster to just sharpen it on the saw with a file or Dremel.

    Since the OP is asking about what is probably his first file, I seriously doubt he has a need for a bench chain grinder. I think it's better for any kind of sharpening to learn to use a file first so you develop a feel, and an eye for what is needed.

  9. #9
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    These guys will drop the correct size file on your doorstep in a couple of days:

    https://www.amazon.com/Oregon-Chains..._t2_B0002VFEYE

  10. #10
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    I bought an inexpensive Harbor Fright chain sharpener. With a little operator-discipline or attention, it sharpenes very well and very uniform. In the hands of a klutz, it would probably do poorly. For me, it sharpens quickly, and uniformly. When I use a hand file, it works but not as uniform or as well.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    I bought an inexpensive Harbor Fright chain sharpener. With a little operator-discipline or attention, it sharpenes very well and very uniform. In the hands of a klutz, it would probably do poorly. For me, it sharpens quickly, and uniformly. When I use a hand file, it works but not as uniform or as well.
    I have the same sharpener, it does require some skill and attention but it does the job quite nicely if you pay attention. I have 4-5 chains for my saw and sharpen in a batch when I pull the sharpener out. If I used my saw a lot more I'd probably want a better one, but for 2-3 times a year use this is pretty good for the money.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    I bought an inexpensive Harbor Fright chain sharpener. With a little operator-discipline or attention, it sharpenes very well and very uniform. In the hands of a klutz, it would probably do poorly. For me, it sharpens quickly, and uniformly. When I use a hand file, it works but not as uniform or as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by roger wiegand View Post
    I have the same sharpener, it does require some skill and attention but it does the job quite nicely if you pay attention. I have 4-5 chains for my saw and sharpen in a batch when I pull the sharpener out. If I used my saw a lot more I'd probably want a better one, but for 2-3 times a year use this is pretty good for the money.
    I usually do as Roger mentioned, sharpen a batch. I havenít seen the Harbor Freight sharpener. The first one I got was a relatively cheap Oregon model which worked OK, but as you said, required some care to use. I think the better one is also an Oregon but is better built and not as ďsloppyĒ which makes it easier to use.

    JKJ

  13. #13
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    I have one of the HF sharpeners around somewhere. It works but the wheel is too aggressive. Anything more than the slightest touch and you'll remove way too much steel. I onlyuse it for repairing damaged teeth. I've found that if I avoid rocks to begin with I don't need to repair the chain.

  14. #14
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    grinders and depth gages

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    I have one of the HF sharpeners around somewhere. It works but the wheel is too aggressive. Anything more than the slightest touch and you'll remove way too much steel. I onlyuse it for repairing damaged teeth. I've found that if I avoid rocks to begin with I don't need to repair the chain.
    Donít hit rocks, barbed wire, old ceramic insulatorsÖ Not good on the sawmill, either. Iíve hit all three, the biggest an embedded railroad spike, several screwdrivers.

    Iím surprised the wheel is too aggressive. I assume the two angles were set and the wheel was properly dressed first to the right radius. My sharpeners both came with a dressing stone and a radius gauge.

    I adjust the grinder so the Oregon pink wheels take off just the barest sliver of steel on the tooth. If unsure I tend to first take off too little then if the tooth is not perfect (look for a glint of light reflected from the edge or point, like sharpening a knife) then slide the tooth forward a smidge and grind off another tiny bit, grinding only what is needed. This method, of course, may leave the teeth slightly different lengths but contrary to the usual instructions this doesnít hurt a thing. And the chain lasts so much longer than the way the shops with the automated machines do it. The whole process is extremely fast, taking only seconds per tooth. But Iíve had some practice, over 20 years of sharpening this way.

    For those new sharpening chains be sure to check the depth gauges and grind/file them if needed or the saw will simply quit cutting correctly. The local shop doesnít do this. I canít figure out if they are simply ignorant (I hope) or evil, knowing the clueless customer will simply buy a new chain when the old one quits cutting well after itís sharpened. A neighbor said they always told him that was expected but his old chain still had plenty of steel left on the teeth - the depth gauges were just too high! (There is a little inexpensive tool for checking.

    (yikes, can I get off on a tangent or what? i think iíd better turn this ipad off and go sharpen a chainÖ)

  15. #15
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    I learned to sharpen with a file using the bar on the saw as the holder and a bench vise to hold everything solid. John you are correct about the depth gauges needing dressed off to keep a chain cutting well. I've heard people say they thought a saw shop intentionally removed more than necessary to speed up the need to buy a new chain. If one is attentive it doesn't take long to dress up a chain with a file if you take care of it when it is just starting to dull. An aggressive wheel just sounds like the grinder needs adjusted. As John says start out very light and make a second pass if needed. Unless the grinder is so poorly made that consistency is difficult this should work.

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