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Tool Talk: Chain Saws and their blades

 
Old 05-08-2019, 08:41 AM
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Default Tool Talk: Chain Saws and their blades

As some of you may have noticed, talking about some of the tools we often use with our Jeeps is starting to become a common theme for me. We've had some great discussions on Grease Guns, Impacts, Lithium batteries, etc. I kind of figured those of you who do over-landing and longer trip adventures likely have a lot of experience managing chain saws and could likely help out some of us lesser experienced folks with some tips.

In my area, it's currently spring clean-up time around the yard. I live in a suburban area, so I don't have a lot of trees to deal with but every year I find myself having to trim up branches and cut down some smaller sapling trees where I find myself reaching for a chain saw. The part I've been struggling with is in figuring out the best way to ensure I have sharpened blades on the chain.

I own a Craftsman 16in gas powered chain saw purchased over 10 years ago. It works great for my needs but I don't use it often. When the 1st time came around where I noticed the blades on the chain were getting kind of dull, I just ran out to the hardware store and for $25 purchased a new chain. That chain is now dull also. This past weekend I had to do more tree cutting around the yard. I kept wondering to myself, do I purchase another replacement chain? Do I purchase a chain sharpener? Or is there a better chain I should consider purchasing such as one with diamond tipped blades, if such a thing exists?

I was in HF and noticed they just came out with a new Bauer 10in 20V Lithium battery powered chain saw. With a HF coupon it was $70 and since I already owned the Bauer eco system of batteries/chargers I said, what the heck and decided to add it to my collection of other Bauer tools. I'm planning on doing some fire trail runs in Northern Michigan with my Jeep this summer, so I figured I could use it for that as well, plus it just seemed so much more convenient to use than my gas chain saw. Figured, I'ld try it out on the trees that need cutting in my yard and if it's no good, I'll just return it.


I spent a good 6 hours with it cutting down trees and limbs around the yard. It worked pretty well for my uses where the largest diameter tree I used it on was about 6 inches in diameter. However, I did start to notice the chain blades starting to feel like they were starting to get duller near the end of the day. I still have some more work to do this upcoming weekend which got me to wondering once again, what to do about the chain blades?

I watched a couple Youtube vids on different chain blade sharpening methods such as this one.

My take away was, "That ish just seems very tedious, that type of tool is going to take up a lot of space for my limited uses, there's got to be a better way"

So what are your tricks for keeping your chain saw blades sharp? Higher quality chain blade options? Throw away and buy new? Special Handy/Dandy sharpening tool? Good ole hand file? Other?
I keep searching for that magic tool where you just thread the chain into it, and it runs the chain through it and does all the work for you, but that tool just doesn't seem to exist.

Last edited by Rednroll; 05-08-2019 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:05 AM
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So i have a Stihl Farm Boss, will never buy anything else. I used to cut Cedar Trees (Juniper trees for the non Texans) and make posts for extra money. I cant remember the chain i put on it but it wasent cheap, I use a file and a hardened piece of steel for sharpening, the piece of steel i use to hold the chain and steady the file so im not cutting my hand. I have used fancy sharpeners that mount to bench grinders and all that. They work well but not practical when im out cutting trees. The file and steel i can keep in my pocket and easy put a small edge on the chain.
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:06 AM
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You are WAY overthinking this one. Simple $5 chainsaw file is all you need. You just need to make sure you get the proper diameter file for the chain you have on it. Takes maybe 10 minutes max (to do both sides of the chain) working your way around the chain one tooth at a time, then flip the saw around and do the teeth facing the other direction (you only file in one direction). Really just like sharpening a knife blade, and it only takes about 3 swipes max with the file per tooth. Your saw should be spitting out nice shavings of wood. When it gets to the point that it's more sawdust than shavings, time to resharpen.

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Old 05-08-2019, 11:15 AM
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I guess the Bauer doesn't have the option of a green or yellow chain? I too have a farm boss with a yellow chain and it'll make quick work of anything. I opt for the small electric sharpener that clips to the battery for sharpening but even then the chains are replaced annually.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by resharp001
You are WAY overthinking this one. Simple $5 chainsaw file is all you need. You just need to make sure you get the proper diameter file for the chain you have on it. Takes maybe 10 minutes max to work your way around the chain one tooth at a time, then flip the saw around and do the teeth facing the other direction (you only file in one direction). Really just like sharpening a knife blade, and it only takes about 3 swipes max with the file per tooth. Your saw should be spitting out nice shavings of wood. When it gets to the point that it's more sawdust than shavings, time to resharpen.
This^^^^

Get the right file shape and diameter, leave the chain on the saw, and go to town on it!

I used to work with survey crews in the swamps of southern Louisiana, the chainsaw guys kept their saws running, and cutting, 10 hours a day 7 days a week. They would hit the chain with the file at the start of each day, and then give it hell all day long.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by karls10jk View Post
I guess the Bauer doesn't have the option of a green or yellow chain? I too have a farm boss with a yellow chain and it'll make quick work of anything. I opt for the small electric sharpener that clips to the battery for sharpening but even then the chains are replaced annually.
What's the green and yellow chains about? I'm assuming most of these chains have standard lengths and a tracking side, so I could pick up better quality chains if there are certain types which will hold an edge better. That's why I was wondering if there was such a thing as diamond tip chain blades or other alternatives that I'm unfamiliar with at this time.

For the time being, I'll pick up a set of chain saw files to sharpen the chains I currently have.

I'm getting a sense that there is an invention in here somewhere which could make someone Million$. I'm starting to imagine a spring loaded attachment which could be clipped onto the chain bar with a sharpening stone in it, a few minor adjustments for the type of cutting blades so the sharpening stones are positioned just right and then just run the chain saw and let the blades sharpen themselves on the sharpening grind stones. Sharpening each blade individually on the chain just seems so archaic to me. I guess it's kind of like the grease guns, it is what it is.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Rednroll View Post
I'm getting a sense that there is an invention in here somewhere which could make someone Million$. I'm starting to imagine a spring loaded attachment which could be clipped onto the chain bar with a sharpening stone in it, a few minor adjustments for the type of cutting blades so the sharpening stones are positioned just right and then just run the chain saw and let the blades sharpen themselves on the sharpening grind stones. Sharpening each blade individually on the chain just seems so archaic to me. I guess it's kind of like the grease guns, it is what it is.
Can i watch the first run lol.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Rednroll View Post
. Sharpening each blade individually on the chain just seems so archaic to me. I guess it's kind of like the grease guns, it is what it is.
I find it therapeutic. Only takes a couple minutes. It helps me calm down from effing around with getting the dumb thing running well after digging it out of storage. I wish I had a Stihl. They make the best products hands down.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by resharp001 View Post
They make the best products hands down.
Ya, literally cant kill them. However keep an extra primer bulb around. Those seem to always fail, so we always keep a spare one in the case. But i have had mine for about 6 years now, and i used to use the hell out of it. Like i previously said i used to make cedar posts for extra cash and that saw would run basically non stop. Just kept oil on the chain and would clean the air filter every few hours when i would need to sharpen the chain.
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Old 05-08-2019, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by resharp001 View Post
It helps me calm down from effing around with getting the dumb thing running well after digging it out of storage.
LOL! That's why I decided to get the battery powered electric. I knew I wouldn't have to mess around getting the gas powered one out of storage, changing the gas and oil and hoping it started after sitting in storage for the past 3 years. Plus, this battery power one was much quieter for my suburban neighborhood.

It was kind of funny. On the back side of my property lot, there is an 8ft tall chain link fence with a public park on the other side of it. The park doesn't do any maintenance on the trees along that fence line which are on their side of the fence and the tree limbs grow onto my side, destroying the fence and my garage roof. Climbing over an 8ft tall fence, especially with a chain saw in my hand, is just not in my DNA at my age any longer. So I took a walk around the block with my chain saw to better get at trimming some of those tree branches on the park's side of the property, while waving to my neighbors as I walked along the sidewalks carrying the chain saw in hand. I only wish I owned a hockey mask.

Last edited by Rednroll; 05-12-2019 at 05:16 AM.
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