Chainsaw sharpening query

Submitted: Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:25
ThreadID: 21584 Views:10894 Replies:16 FollowUps:5
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If a chainsaw doesn't cut straight I assume it means I've sharpened it incorrectly. When I say it doesn't cut straight I mean that as it cuts its way through a log it veers off to the right instead of cutting vertically down. Does this indicate that I've sharpened one side more than the other or that I've gotten the angle wrong on one side?
I use basic gear - round file and angle guide/depth guage tool. Maybe there's something foolproof that always gets the saw properly sharp. What do others use for sharpening and how successful are they?
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Reply By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:34

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:34
I'll be honest with you Moose. I am an idiot.

I'm no good at tonnes of things but I tell you ... I can sharpen my saw.

I 'cheat' though. I have an automatic 12 V sharpening tool. It cost me about 50 bucks.

It is like a spinning pencil like grinding tool. Hard to explain.

I bought it from a mower shop in Melb. I suppose you can get them anywhere. I can sharpen the whole chain in about 10 mins.

The biggest drawback is that you have to be mindfull that you only need to 'sharpen' the chain, not grind it away.

Good luck.

AnswerID: 104124

Reply By: Member - Geoff M (NSW) - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:35

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:35
Hello Moose,
What it usually means is the bar edge isn't square, thus the chaoin runs at an angle.
Take it to your local chainsaw place and they'll square the edge of the bar off for you. Worst case, the bar is worn to far to grind back square.

Hope this helps,
Landcruiser HDJ78,
Grey hair is hereditary, you get it from children. Baldness is caused by watching the Wallabies.

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AnswerID: 104126

Reply By: Zapper - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:45

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:45

It will be the bar most likely.

You can pull it off and turn it upside down and refit, unless its been done before the top of the bar will be in a lot better shape than the bottom and so you will be right to go again
AnswerID: 104129

Reply By: signman - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:51

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:51
Like Hullo....
Isn't this the exploroz site???
Why don't ya ask the Chainsaw site??
AnswerID: 104130

Follow Up By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:59

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 13:59
Signman, HOW RUDE !

FollowupID: 361621

Follow Up By: GOB & denny vic member - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 17:21

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 17:21
you got a dead bear handy sign man cause where all free to ask questions here if you got a problem go and see the dead bear and shove your head up its rear end

FollowupID: 361649

Reply By: jtb555 - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 14:07

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 14:07

You'd be surprised how many friendly and helpful people you might find if you take the time to ask and be nice!
AnswerID: 104131

Reply By: Alan S (WA) - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 14:12

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 14:12

It could be either the chain or the bar, if you only have basic tools it will most likely be the chain. When ever mine starts to veer I take my chain down to the chainsaw shop and pay $15 to get it sharpened properly. I then get approx 6 sharpens with a 12v handheld sharpener before it starts again.

I have also had it ocur because of a bent bar. Best course of action get it sharpened by a shop and then see what the result is.
AnswerID: 104132

Reply By: Member - JohnR (Vic) - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 14:20

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 14:20
Moose, most of the advice as to the bar and chain are pretty right but, for a change I can see the light with iMusty and get a little grinder. if you get the sharpening right and give it a quick grind every fuel fill you will find there is less pressure applied to the bar and less ultimate wear of tha bar. It only takes 5 minutes of your time to top it off for faster cutting. Hell, is it foolproof? NO
AnswerID: 104136

Reply By: Well 55 - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 14:32

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 14:32
If the chain cuts and tosses out big bits of sawdust, it is more likely the bar. This can be dressed up by putting it in a vice and draw fileing it till it's square again, it will take a while unless you have a new file or a linishering machine.

The bar should be touched up after every use, that way it will last a lot longer. A 20" bar for my O28 is up near $90 and I would wear out one a year and I have two saws both with 20" bars.
AnswerID: 104139

Reply By: Member -Dodger - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 17:22

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 17:22
Hi all,
I know I am going against the grain but if you sharpen the saw manually this can happen as we are either LH or Rhanded and tend to sharpen the favoured side more. Look at the Cutters and see if they are even if not then this could be your trouble.
Just my tuppence from using the things for many years.
Not to say it is not a warn bar as this can effect the cut also.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.

Cheers Dodg.

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AnswerID: 104171

Follow Up By: Ronnie - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 19:52

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 19:52
Spot on Dodger as an ex Stihl Dealer I have seen plenty sharpened more on side, grab a shifter (to use as a vernier) find the smallest tooth then file them all to this length, one other point which they taught us is to file the side that you find the hardest to do first.
Regards Ronnie
FollowupID: 361666

Reply By: obone - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 18:01

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 18:01
Hi Moose, can't help you with the chain saw problem but seeing your post jogged my memory about another topic you previously posted. Toyota clutch shudder.
If I remember correctly the last I recall you were about to do battle with Toyota to get a solution. How did you go ? Check one of the following
1. Fixed to your satisfaction
2. Still battling
3. Living with it
4. Sworn to secrecy
I'm about to embark on the same journey and any feedback would be appreciated
AnswerID: 104184

Follow Up By: Moose - Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 at 08:23

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 at 08:23
G'day Chris. Nah - it wasn't a shudder. I had a burn't clutch smell. But as one astute forum member pointed out it was probably an overflow from the power steering reservior getting cooked. As I haven't had any more problems I guess he was correct. So sorry mate I can't really help you out. But good luck with your battle.
FollowupID: 361710

Reply By: Dunedigger - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 19:38

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 19:38
If your saw is cutting to the left then sharpen JUST the right chippers. It just means that one side is cutting better than the other. Watch your angles and your depth of cut on each tooth.

The electric sharpeners are good but I now use a simple holder that holds the file at the correct depth so all you have to watch is your 25 or 35 Degree angle whic is amrked on the guide. Any chainsaw shop wil have the holder About $15.00 plus the file.

Sharpen your saw at EVERY refill especially if you are cuting firewood

AnswerID: 104201

Reply By: Member - Poppy (QLD) - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 20:42

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 20:42
Hi Moose
Don't forget to check your rakers as well after a few sharpens as that will have a huge impact on the cutting ability even with a sharp chain.
You can buy a raker gauge for a couple of dollars and just file top of rakers with a flat file.
The guys are right about different length teeth causing cut to angle off
Cheers Poppy (ex sleeper cutter)
AnswerID: 104212

Reply By: Pterosaur - Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 21:33

Tuesday, Mar 29, 2005 at 21:33
Hi moose,

I'm with most of the other answers - (the swing to the right usually means you've sharpened 1 side more than the other) - try counting your sharpening strokes - 3 per tooth is usually enough to sharpen a dull chain - more if corrections are needed.

Here are a few hints based on many years of carting and use of chainsaws - get a leather bit roll - in it keep -

1. chainsaw screwdriver/plug wrench combo,
2. Chainsaw file (in file guide) (with a handle for the file + spare handle for file),
3.spare (box of) sharpening files - use a new file often, after 2-3 sharpenings - they will do more, but a sharp file cuts better,
4.flat bladed screwdriver (for adjusting chain tension - I find it more convenient than the combo supplied with the saw),
5.small flat double bastard file (for rakers), (also use to dress bar),
6.raker gauge,
and most useful accessory,
7.a spiked clamp (Oregon brand I think) which you can use to hold bar steady while sharpening - just spike clamp into stump, log etc., and then clamp bar(for this you will have to split the stiching between two of the pockets on the bit roll)
8. If you have a sprocket tipped bar your mini grease gun will fit too.

This will provide you with a compact (when rolled) clean storage for all the chainsaw gear you'll likely need, which is also readily carried to where it'll be of most use.

Stuff which is most hard on teeth is charcoal (stone, wire, dirt etc., - all of which you'll probably end up cutting at some stage) - sharpen teeth after cutting anything like this.

If you see score marks on top of the teeth - sharpen them until all scoring has been removed.

Make sure teeth on both sides of chain are equal length.(and have same angles)

If the bar has burrs (along chain groove) - place on flat surface and remove burr with bastard file (both sides) of bar.

Use the depth/raker gauge to clean bar - removing fine sawdust/oil paste which clogs bar (after every tank or two of fuel).

I worked in the bush for many years, and this system ensured that my saws worked when required.

Another factor to consider, if you will be cutting lots of rough stuff (charcoal, dirt etc.,) is the use of a tungsten tipped chain (+ diamond file) about $300 dollars, from memory, but reduces sharpening required, gives long life to chain.

Hope this helps
AnswerID: 104221

Reply By: Member - Royce- Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 at 00:33

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 at 00:33
Sounds like you only have one bar and one chain?... Go into your dealer and get them to have a look. They should know what's going on straight away. Get a few chains and have several sharpened when you go out. I'm betting on the bar.... but then I have never experienced your problem UNLESS.... hang on.... you have tightened the chain sufficiently haven't you?... It just occured to me that it does happen if your chain is sloppy. It should be tight enough so that when you lift it with pinched fingers the guide teeth lift about half way out of the bar guide.

BTW... just the sort of question for this forum.
AnswerID: 104252

Follow Up By: Ronnie - Thursday, Mar 31, 2005 at 19:04

Thursday, Mar 31, 2005 at 19:04
Only tighten the chain till it touches the bar - no tension
FollowupID: 361885

Reply By: kesh - Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 at 07:41

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 at 07:41
Moose Just another little hint (from a bloke with 6 saws!) File AWAY from the cutters, ie, toward the bar tip. This means that you have to sharpen from both sides of the bar. I use a 12v. sharpener and reverse the direction of rotation (reverse the batt. clips) to sharpen each side. This means the stone always rotates towards the bar tip which keeps the sharpening even. Years ago, before the eyes dimmed and the shakes set in I used a 4" angle grinder. Mind you that was on a saw with half inch pitch chain!
the kesh
AnswerID: 104271

Reply By: Moose - Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 at 08:29

Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005 at 08:29
Just a quick thankyou to all (bar one). Some fantastic tips in those responses. I'm sure many others have gained valuable information on looking after their saws. Just shows what a great forum we have with a huge wealth of knowledge just waiting for the appropriate question. Now if only we could get rid of the moron element!
AnswerID: 104281

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