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  1. #41
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    I have been heating my house with wood for over 50 years so needless to say I have cut my share of firewood. There has been a lot of good information on this thread from some folks that obviously know what they are talking about. Just to add a little something, I would say that if you are cutting with a chainsaw and your arms are getting tired...stop. You need to be able to hold that saw at arms length if things turn south. Another thing is not to try to eyeball the rakers when you file them down. Use a gauge. If you cut them too far, you have just ruined your chain. The difference between a saw that cuts well and one which is overly aggressive is thousands of an inch. The other thing I can suggest is using a skip tooth blade. Bailey sells some very nice Oregon skip tooth blades and once you have tried them you will never go back. They take half the time to sharpen and cut beautifully. I have been using them for about the last ten years and the difference is amazing. A stump vice is also a handy thing to have when you need to sharpen the blade in the woods.

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  3. #42
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    There seem to be some guys with way more chain saw experience than me here. I stumbled across a sharpening video from this guy who isn't annoying, and seems to know what the hell he's doing. What do y'all think?

    How to Sharpen a Chainsaw by hand with a file - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by eKretz View Post
    Another reason not to stand inline with the chain - the chain can be thrown if you don't keep it good and snug. Anything in the line of fire is a soft target.

    Any of you guys use these electric trimming/limbing saws? I just got one on one of those early black Friday deals for $99 since I already had all the batteries. I like it so far but have only done about 2 hours of cutting with it. Not for big stuff but pretty light and nice for little stuff. I've got a Stihl 362 and an Echo 81cc saw I've had for a while (from early 80's maybe?) for bigger crap. Got an old Partner 65cc saw too, R420 I think.

    Attachment 305393
    Recently I spoke with a member of an urban forestry crew doing emergency fallen tree removal at night after a storm. The guy doing the cutting was using a battery operated saw and i asked the brand. It was pro-grade Husqvarna and he was doing some serious cutting with it, including cutting a larger than 14" dia tree trunk close to the ground so it could be lifted into the truck. They apparently use the cordless at night to reduce noise although the idling boom truck (with claw) was far from quiet.

  5. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by wyop View Post
    I would not recommend a carbide tooth chain to a homeowner or person not needing it.

    In our volunteer fire department, we use carbide saw chains for roof ventilation cuts - where we have to go through the roof of a wooden structure fast, and we're not going to stop for roofing nails or structural nails. The carbide chains go ripping through common nails very easily.

    But the carbide chains are expensive, and they don't like twisting/pulling abuse. You need to be very careful with how you use them, otherwise teeth break off the chain or the whole chain breaks. In our application, a chain breaking means that two guys on the roof of a building are back to cutting through the roof with axes. I've broken a carbide saw chain on a roof vent exercise, and the cost to replace it, coupled with how it came off the bar (separation coupled with a launch backwards into my bunkers) are why I would not want someone who doesn't need to use them deal with that hazard.

    On our wildland engine saws (which are used to cut down trees, not vent or enter structures), we just have normal chisel-toothed chains, filed for an aggressive cut.

    Carbide saw chains also require a rotary tool to sharpen, and they're a long, slow job to sharpen. I can sharpen a regular chain with a loose round file in about 4 minutes for a 20" bar.
    The cheap Oregon chains may break easily. The ones I posted are top quality and are made to last. Normal homeowner use of them will probably last years before needing to be sharpened. At that point it's probably better to just buy a new one.

    Carbide chains allow for a more efficient cut than regular steel chains. The saw doesn't have to work as hard which leads to less wear and tear. Safety is the same, if it hits you it will fuck you up...steel or carbide.

  6. #45
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    I like the Pferd products for sharpening. I use the KSSG, similar to the Stihl two file system. I also use their bar guide dresser. It cleans the burr off the bar. If you get a burr on the bar the saw will start cutting easily, then act like a dull chain when it gets into the cut. I find the Pferd files are worth the price. They cut chain like butter.

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    regarding battery powered saws.. After almost 2 decades of using the Stihl MS260 2-smoke we now also have a battery powered Stihl. Does not disappoint for small work. It has a very narrow chain so it seems it can do the same work with less power.

  9. #47
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    I will dare to say that I am a pretty decent hand with a saw file.

    But about the best money I have spent in a while, has been one of the multiple file units from my Stihl dealer.
    Once you get used to how to hold it, it rocks! The files are replaceable, and you only have to do one pass around each side of the chain to get the teeth sharp AND the rakers at the correct height.

    For a fella that does not want to invest the time and money in buying and learning to use a decent power sharpener, I'd say that this tool is about the peak performer that you can get. Pretty much any of the rotary burr tools or rotary grinding tools out there, you still have the need to pack around a file and gage to do rakers with.

    If you have a saw shop around that is handy and does not overcharge for the service, having a resharp done once in a while by them on a decent chain grinder offers a good value for a reset of the chain back into spec if you have been getting a bit wild on the freehand sharpenings.

  10. #48
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    I've always just taken my chains to a sharpening place and for about six bucks they sharpen them like new but a while back a friend of mine was telling me that he uses a Dremel tool with a stone in it to sharpen chains. I have three chains and usually take two of them in for sharpening when I put the third one on the saw but now I haven't had the chain off of the saw for a couple of years because I sharpen it on the saw. Do one side then turn the saw around and do the other side. I haven't needed to do anything to the rakers so far. If I'm in the woods for the day I bring my Honda inverter generator along to run the Dremel with.

    Not claiming to be an expert in chainsaws in any way but sharing what works for me.

  11. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgfoster View Post
    One little tip not mentioned is how to tell Visually if the blade is dull and, conversely, how to know when a few strokes of the file has removed enough metal: look for a shiner on the leading tip of the tooth. Hold the saw so that skylight is hitting the tooth and can reflect back to your eye. Light will not reflect from a sharp corner. So take a few swipes with the file and see if the shiner is gone. After you do a few teeth, you’ll have a pretty good idea that so many strokes is about right. There is a natural tendency to delay sharpening. But you’ll quickly see the payoff. I like to use one of those inexpensive battery-powered sharpeners when circumstances allow.

    Denis
    The other thing to do is examine the chips coming out of the cut.

    If you're getting something that looks like "dust" or fine fibers, you either have dull teeth or you need your rakes lowered (the non-cutting part of the tooth that determines the depth of cut of the cutting tooth). I judge a saw's cut based on the wood I'm cutting and what the chips look like. In good, non-rotten/non-beetle-killed wood here in Wyoming, I'm looking for the cut to produce flakes about a 1/4 inch to 3/8 inch long.

    I agree about touching up teeth often. I vastly prefer to stop the saw on a fairly regular basis and then examine the chain and touch up teeth that are just starting to lose their edge, than wait until the whole chain needs a bunch of strokes on every tooth to regain the edge. A sharper chain saves fuel, decreases heat in the chain and the bar and makes the bar oil last longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Forestgnome View Post
    I like the Pferd products for sharpening. I use the KSSG, similar to the Stihl two file system. I also use their bar guide dresser. It cleans the burr off the bar. If you get a burr on the bar the saw will start cutting easily, then act like a dull chain when it gets into the cut. I find the Pferd files are worth the price. They cut chain like butter.
    As a gunsmith, I use a lot of hand files. Since the offshoring of Nicholson's file production, Pferd is now on my short list of hand file sources. Our department uses nothing but Pferd files in the wildland saw kits because they last so long and cut so well.

  13. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim McIntyre View Post
    There seem to be some guys with way more chain saw experience than me here. I stumbled across a sharpening video from this guy who isn't annoying, and seems to know what the hell he's doing. What do y'all think?

    How to Sharpen a Chainsaw by hand with a file - YouTube
    I agree with most everything he's done in that video. I use copper soft jaws on my vise, and I clamp the bar of the saw in one of my bench vises, so I can file standing up. I don't like trying to file while I'm sitting down, but that's me. Then I use the depth gage to just check the gage teeth, not as a file guide. If the guide tooth is sticking up, I take a couple/three strokes with the file, and I check it again. Repeat until the gage tooth is flush with the guide.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post
    PM, I'm pretty new to using a chainsaw for more than a few minutes and beyond keeping the lube topped and bar out of the dirt I don't know much.

    Does anyone have tips or tricks on how to keep chains sharp, or how to sharpen them? There's obviously a ton of info on the net, but I prefer this group's view on things.


    Also- it kind of reminds me of a torch where once I get in the rhythm I feel very safe with it.

    Sent via CNC 88HS
    Loys of good advice thus far in this thread.

    I own a farm based sawmill and kiln drying operation and we use chainsaws daily.

    24c9d986-2fe6-4228-8e2c-ef2f6bbe9e0c.jpg

    Here is my 2 cents.

    1. Keep your chain out of the dirt. Dirt strikes rapidly dull the chain.
    2. Sharpen before it gets too dull. This reduces wear on your bar and chain.
    3. The Stihl jig is good, Pferd system better, Timberline system is the best for manual sharpeners. The correct bit in a dremmel tool also works well.
    4. Stay away from carbide chain. No one local will be able to sharpen it and the chain wears prematurely from stretching.
    5. The Best thing that you can do for extending the longevity of your chainsaw is to always use fresh premix made with ethanol free fuel. Discard the premix when it is older than 30 days.
    6. Buy spare chains to keep on hand.

  16. #53
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    A youtuber just conducted a test of chainsaw chains, including exposure to sand and cuts-per-tank of fuel:

    Which Chainsaw Chain Brand is Best? Let's find out! Stihl vs Oregon, Husqvarna, Carlton, Forester - YouTube

    This was obviously a very time-consuming test, and the information is quite interesting.

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  18. #54
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    Nothing new there. We've all already stressed that keeping the chain out of the dirt is very important. Not only does it rapidly dull the chain but it also causes heavy rounding of the edge which means you have to sharpen way back to get it out, eating a lot of chain life.

    Carbide chains are interesting but I will probably stick to my steel chains. They really don't take long to sharpen and are pretty cheap compared to a carbide chain. And I already have a stack of grinding wheels for my sharpener. Just buying the diamond wheel for grinding the carbide chain would cost a lot. The carbide chain the youtube guy used in the test is probably a cheap P.O.S. and not representative of good carbide chains.

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  20. #55
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    Here is a good basic instructional video on sharpening. I suggest you start with this kit and follow the directions given. You will make good chains with this. After doing this a while you might try some other tricks to make a great chain. But really not needed for fire wood cutting.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=laP3aLuMWS8

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    Thanks for the help gentlemen!

    After more cutting, because some was a touch long for the splitter, I really began watching my chip. It's still a sizeable cut and the bar force, if you will, pretty low even slicing some 14-15" elm.

    I also learned that elm trees suck ass to split. I've been picking up stumps and chunks all over the neighborhood, should have about 2 cords split. But shit, there's tons more oak and pecan laying about so who knows when I'll quit.

    That said....anyone have ideas for a cheap wood rack?



    Sent via CNC 88HS

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    Yeah, elm sucks to split when its wet. Does not get too much better when it dries. I've found the red elm easier after a couple years standing dead. The white rots too quick. The red elm burns really well in my stove though.

    When splitting elm keep a hatchet handy to cut the strings. My splitter is the reverse of yours, push plate on the cylinder with a fixed wedge. I built up the push plate so that it goes all the way to the front edge of the wedge just for dealing with elm. Elm also splits easier if you slab chunks off the side instead of trying to split through the middle. Bigger pieces you might have to saw in half - look up chainsaw noodling for the method. If the angle of the saw is right you'll get really long shavings off the chain.

    For wood racks I throw a couple old 2x4s on the ground and use t posts on the ends. Cross stack the ends of the rows, alternate layers perpendicular an parallel to the stack, to keep pressure off the t posts. It works well if you have some reasonably uniform size splits.

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    im no pro, but always got told to run the file across the teeth at each tank of fuel. mine is nice and sharp that way.

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    I always run the Stihl yellow chain, I've never had it kickback on me in many years of use and I cut a lot on the nose of the bar. Granted I'm always using a 60cc+ saw. Keep the chain speed up and your chain sharp-- if you touch the nose to another log and it cuts said log cleanly it won't kick back. If it starts to bog back off until the chain speed is back up and good chips are coming out. If good chips aren't coming out something is wrong and you'll soon burn it up. And hang onto it like a man, I'm exhausted after sawing, but I'm in control the whole time.

    And top up the oil every time you top up the fuel.

    Verify that it is pumping oil to the bar before you start cutting. Hold the nose near something you can see oil on and rev it up. If you don't see as streak forming from bar oil flinging off the chain, stop and clean the bar as it might have clogged with dust and oil after the last use.

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  26. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cole2534 View Post

    That said....anyone have ideas for a cheap wood rack?


    You seem to have an assortment of lengths going on, I try to keep it all at 16" lengths. I just stack the wood, no racks, only stack the nice round pieces and the straight split wood, the goat heads (limb stumps sticking out) and short/odd size pieces get burned first. When stacking I try to put a log that will not roll on bottom row ends, and spaced thru bottom row so the stack won't collapse. My main stacks are free standing, about 4' high x 40' long, and solid enough I could walk across the top of them, the stack next to front door is 6' high with a wall behind it for support.

    I used to buy wood, but they always brought me green wood which does not burn well, never got full cords, they whined and sniveled and charged extra to stack it, and the stacks were wobbly, like so many other things in this world, it was just easier to do it myself.


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