Please Select Username to appear on public areas of the site like community and recipe comments. A dull chainsaw blade can cause burning and buckling while sawing through wood, and it’s a slow and dangerous way to cut. Things you’ll need: A pair of gloves and a filing kit made for chainsaws, which are available outdoor power equipment stores. Place the guide between the rivets on the chain, with the arrows on the guide pointing toward the nose of the bar.
Follow the angle of the top plate of the cutter; the rollers on the guide keep you from going too deep into the side plate of the cutter. Use steady, even strokes with the file – 2 or 3 strokes until the face of the cutter is shiny silver.
After sharpening a couple of the cutters, release the chain brake and rotate the chain forward to expose more cutters to sharpen. When you’re done sharpening the cutters on one side of the chain, flip the chainsaw around so you can sharpen the cutters on the other side of the chain. A chain saw’s nasty-looking cutters can scare you into thinking you can't sharpen the saw yourself. A sharp chain cuts well with very little force on the bar, while a dull chain tends to ride in the cut without deepening it. The cutters on a chain have semicircular cutting edges in specific diameters; to sharpen them, use a round file of the same diameter (Photos 2 and 3).
Buy four tools for freehand sharpening: a round file with file guide to sharpen the cutters, and a flat file with a depth-gauge guide for lowering the depth gauges. Make a stroke, maintaining the proper angle on the cutter, parallel to the ground and away from your body. The cutting angles on the cutters reverse direction every other tooth, so skip a cutter and file the next one the same number of strokes as the first. Place the grinding wheel against the cutter with the edge of the metal guide parallel to the cutter's factory-ground angle, turn on the tool, and grind the cutter with sideways pressure to the count of four. This item will be sent through the Global Shipping Programme and includes international tracking. Most purchases from business sellers are protected by the Consumer Contract Regulations 2013 which give you the right to cancel the purchase within 14 days after the day you receive the item.
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Step Seven - Move the file across the cutter using a moderate twist motion to remove the metal filings you create. Step Eight - Repeat this process identically on every other tooth from the first cutter around the bar.
Step Nine - Swap the side of the bar you’re working on and start filing the unfiled teeth in the other direction.
Cutting with a dull chainsaw saw leads to high fuel consumption and greater strain on your equipment. Even the best of chainsaw chains will go dull very quickly if you catch soil, small stones or sand when you're cutting. The cleaner your working area and wood for sawing is, the longer life span you'll get out of your chain. It’s also worth inspecting the waste material from your saw; if the waste is wood chip, with a fair amount of volume, the chain is sharp.
Use a 4mm chain file when sharpening your chain - one is included in every chainsaw toolkit. I have made a video below to show how you would do this with a grinder designed for sharpening chainsaw chains. But in about 10 minutes, with the help of a couple of inexpensive files and guides, you can transform your slow-cutting chain saw into a firewood-cutting ninja. The chain is more likely to catch in the material and propel the bar up toward the operator.
If the cutters are nicked badly from accidental contact with rocks, dirt or objects embedded in trees, you may need to have the chain professionally sharpened or buy a new one. Sharpen every other cutter as you would by hand with a round file, then switch and do the opposite cutters.
If the item comes direct from a manufacturer, it may be delivered in non-retail packaging, such as a plain or unprinted box or plastic bag. Find out more about your rights as a buyer - opens in a new window or tab and exceptions - opens in a new window or tab. You've read and agree to the Global Shipping Programme terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase your maximum bid amount. You can use mineral spirits or degreasing detergent to remove oil, debris and general dirt from the chain. A pushing motion from the short side of the angle towards the long point will create the smoothest cutting surface. Advance the chain by hand as you go so that the tooth you’re filing is always on the top of the bar. Remember you’re aiming for identical teeth all the way round so you get an equal bite when cutting. Avoid damaging your chainsaw and get the most out of your chains with this simple chain sharpening guide from SGS. We’d suggest checking the sharpness of the chain every 5 hours of use or before each re-fuelling.
The file we include in our kit is made to measure so if the file doesn’t move freely then chain is warped and you need to buy a new one. Also, when the chain spits out dust instead of chips (Photo 1), it's time to grab a round file and sharpen the cutters.

A depth-gauge fin in front of each cutter controls how deep the cutter bites into the wood.
The depth gauge’s tip is a hair shorter than the tip of the cutter and controls how deep the cutter can bite. Check the owner's manual for your saw's requirements, or use the chain identification number stamped on the drive link (Photo 2).
Then hold the file at a 30- or 35-degree angle (check your saw's cutters) to the bar horizontally and at a right angle vertically. However, while filing the cutters, you may find you have a better “feel” for the contact between the file and cutter if you work barehanded. Place the file and file guide into a cutter on the top and near the end of the bar; mark the top of this cutter with a felt-tipped pen to indicate where you began sharpening. After you sharpen five or six cutters, put on gloves and pull the chain along the bar to expose the next batch of cutters.
When you get used to sharpening with a rotary tool, you can leave it running as you move from cutter to cutter to make sharpening go even faster. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount.
The included file in your toolkit will fit perfectly in the curve of the face of the cutting tip. It’s a lot easier to do a little filing often than waiting until your chain is completely blunt.
You’ll see a noticeable improvement in the performance of a chainsaw with a well maintained chain.
Here's how to sharpen your chain saw blade and cut more quickly—and avoid messy chain saw accidents. The angles ground on the cutters alternate between left and right to keep the saw cutting straight. After repeated sharpenings, the cutters can become level with the depth gauges—and keep the saw from cutting. Small-engine dealers and hardware stores have charts to match this number with the right file diameter.
Continue sharpening cutters until you reach the one you marked, then move to the other side of the saw bar and sharpen the opposite-angled cutters, again using the same number of strokes per cutter. You may want to mark the shortest cutter with a permanent marker so you remember where you started. It’s easy to lower the depth gauges to the right height with a flat file and file guide (Photo 6). Most file guides have 30- and 35-degree angles etched on their upper side to help you preserve the angle as you file.

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