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  1. #1
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    Chainsaw, bar and chain, question....

    My saw is having trouble cutting. Motor runs great. Chain is sharp.

    What happens is when I get into the a cut, about the depth of the bar, it just stops biting and cutting. Seems like the bar is binding, but the chain is still running fast and fine.

    Tilting and wiggling the saw/bar gets it to bite and cut for a bit then same thing.

    Chain looks good. Took it to the saw shop and told them the problem. Had them look at it and I'm pretty sure they filed/dressed the bar. No better.

    I've spent a lot of time with saws (use to heat with wood). Had this problem once before many years back and as I recall changed the bar and chain and all was good.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    The raker teeth on the chain probably need to be filed/ground down a bit. These little nubs in front of the cutters control the thickness of the chip the cutter removes. Over time as the chain is sharpened the height of the cutter shrinks because it is slightly slanted away from the bar while the raker stays the same height. Some places which sharpen chains don't reset the raker height and it should be done after every few sharpening operations.

    Filing the bar is usually done to keep both sides of the bar chain guides at the same height and the chain running parallel to the bar. A telltale sign that this needs to be done is if the saw is cutting in an arc. Unevenly sharpened chains can also cause the arc cutting behavior.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by aero901 View Post
    The raker teeth on the chain probably need to be filed/ground down a bit...
    A sharp chain and a properly sharpened chain can be two very different things. The link below will show what aero describes. The depth gage and file can be had at any local hardware store for cheap. A new chain would be a qwik, easy, cheap way to see if your problem goes away. Then you can make sure old chain is sharpened correctly and have a backup...


    https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/i...ohff9BQVl8KemA

    Also make sure your chain tension is correct...

  4. #4
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    Not the rakers.

    Yep. After some research, an unevenly sharpened chain is the most likely culprit.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miker J View Post
    Not the rakers.

    Yep. After some research, an unevenly sharpened chain is the most likely culprit.

    Thanks.
    That was my conclusion, it's sort of difficult to get the sharpening thing down right or it at least takes some trial and error to get it right. You will know tho when you got it, an evenly sharpened chain feels so good.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
    That was my conclusion, it's sort of difficult to get the sharpening thing down right or it at least takes some trial and error to get it right. You will know tho when you got it, an evenly sharpened chain feels so good.

    Looked at the chain closely tonight and noticed it was filed very uneven, one side to the other.

    Here's the funny part...

    Been sharpening my chains by hand for several years, with only an issue once when I started way back when. Like I said before, use to heat with wood.

    This saw is a new, used saw, that I had to take back to the shop for some work. I asked them to sharpen the chain while there, assuming they'd take it off and use some precise sharpening tool/gadget on it, or something. When I picked it up I found out they sharpened it by hand. Well I today I realized that this was the last time the chain was sharpened, and since then it has not cut right. Looking at it closely shows a pretty shaky file job. My guess is some newbie kid at the shop got some practice trying to sharpen my chain.

    Cleaned it up tonight but didn't run it yet. We'll see.

    Thanks.

  7. #7
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    Yep. I've been hand sharpening chainsaw chains since I was 12. My father showed me how to do it. It's a bit of an art. It's not something you want anyone else doing to your saw, that's for certain.

  8. #8
    Now, THAT'S gonna hurt!
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    You'll never get the optimum performance or capability of a factory sharpening by hand sharpening, whether by file or hand grinder. You might "think" you do...but you don't. You'll likely end up with reduced performance or a "stay sharp" issue. It's best that a chain is laid up on a bench grinder that is designed to handle the compound angle required of modern saw chain. If a chain gets damaged (dulled), many times one side of the cutter teeth will take the hit. It is then necessary to grind those down beyond the damage and then match the non-damaged side to that same spec. As mentioned, the depth adjusters (rakers) will need to be lowered to maintain a .025" (typical) cutter depth as the chain is continuously sharpened and the relief angle of the cutter tooth reduces this dimension. If your local shop considers "hand sharpening" to be an acceptable form of sharpening at the shop level...I'd look for new shop.

  9. #9
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    We found that is was more economical to purchase a cheap bench mounted electric chain sharpener than to have the chains sharpened at a local shop. If you do a lot of cutting the grinder will pay for itself very quickly. We have been using the cheap Harbor Freight unit for the past 3 years and it is still working fine. Despite its lack of build quality, it is perfectly capable of restoring a dull chain to like new cutting condition in under 5 minutes once you get it set up.

  10. #10
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    I agree, that at a shop level, if you're hand sharpening chains, that's a problem. I used to do tree work for a living though, I grew up on a farm, and I've never paid anyone to sharpen a chain. My saws cut straight, and cut well. If they don't, I sharpen them. If you know what you're doing, what to look for, and how things should work, it's only about a 15 minute job to sort out a chain. And it's a lot cheaper than buying a half dozen chains that you switch out every time one gets dull and take it and pay someone to sharpen it.

  11. #11
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    U can use a Dremel tool and the A679-02 Sharpening Kit been using this method for 8yrs now works good on both the cutting teeth and profiling the rakers.

    On a side note if u ever got a chainsaw pinched in the cut of tree that kills the chain life down a bit. Always a good idea to bring at least 1 or 2 wedges to prevent that from happening.
    Tree Felling, Bucking, and Wood Splitting Wedges | STIHL USA Mobile

  12. #12
    Sawyer Gnome
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    You'll never get the optimum performance or capability of a factory sharpening by hand sharpening, whether by file or hand grinder. You might "think" you do...but you don't. You'll likely end up with reduced performance or a "stay sharp" issue.



    This statement is 100% crap, btw.

    Some brands come from the factory better than others, but all of them can be improved upon, both round and square filed. I won't put a new Oregon (or WoodlandPRO or Carlton) chain in wood before filing it. Stihl is more acceptable, but can still be made better.

    I hand file. It just takes lots of practice and concentration.
    Raleigh XXIX

  13. #13
    saddlemeat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuzzy View Post
    This statement is 100% crap, btw.

    Some brands come from the factory better than others, but all of them can be improved upon, both round and square filed. I won't put a new Oregon (or WoodlandPRO or Carlton) chain in wood before filing it. Stihl is more acceptable, but can still be made better.

    I hand file. It just takes lots of practice and concentration.
    Agree, nothing cuts like a freshly filed chain.

    Just hold the link and file by feel and sound, three light strokes, it's all in the hands. Use your shoulder and elbow to make smooth precise strokes. A tailgate is about the right height, you don't want it too high or you will be filing with a poking motion. Keep cutters sharp by lightly touching up often, rather than letting the cutters get dull and then grinding. I don't grind unless I damage cutters. The ability to keep a saw razor sharp at all times is the difference between a chain saw operator and a sawyer.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  14. #14
    Now, THAT'S gonna hurt!
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    Lol!

  15. #15
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    There are few things more enjoyable than running a freshly (hand) filed saw with the riders taken down just almost too much.

    To the OP, I'd be upset at having paid for a chain to be sharpened and the shop doing it by hand, and moreso if it was a poor job of hand filing. The whole point of paying for it to be done is that it be ground. Filing is not hard, but does take practice. It seems like the weekend warriors I see tend to get multiple chains ground and change them out rather than file. I grew up with them and actually enjoy filing a chain.

    Quote Originally Posted by bsieb View Post
    Agree, nothing cuts like a freshly filed chain.

    Just hold the link and file by feel and sound, three light strokes, it's all in the hands. Use your shoulder and elbow to make smooth precise strokes. A tailgate is about the right height, you don't want it too high or you will be filing with a poking motion. Keep cutters sharp by lightly touching up often, rather than letting the cutters get dull and then grinding. I don't grind unless I damage cutters. The ability to keep a saw razor sharp at all times is the difference between a chain saw operator and a sawyer.

  16. #16
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    I bought one of these about a year ago:
    Chain Sharp CS-X Chainsaw Chain Sharpener by Pferd, 3/16? | SherrillTree.com

    If you sharpen saw chain regularly this will pay for itself in no time, assuming you put any value on your time spent maintaining tools. Very easy to use and the main thing is that it sharpens the cutter and perfectly lowers the rakers each time you file. I find that frequent touch ups are much easier than letting the saw get dull before trying to correct.
    Also agree that a properly hand filed(not electric ground) chain can easily cut better than a new chain from the factory.
    A dull saw is a dangerous saw.

  17. #17
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    Eighteen years of contract timber falling probably qualifies me to comment here. I agree that hand filing produces the best results, especially when done on a shop bench under good light. On a daily basis I carry four fresh chains ground on a Silvey pro grinder and swap them out every couple tanks of fuel. I do this mostly because time is money in the logging business and it takes too long to hand file a chain on a 36" bar on a stump, in the rain or snow. For trailwork I use a 12 to 24" bar saw (Dakine Trailbuilder pack and mountain bike) and hand file as necessary. I carry an extra chain in case of the inevitable rock. Rocked chains I always grind to even them up, which can be tough to do by hand. Bar tuning is important periodically to maintain straight cuts. I almost always file the rakers every other sharpening, just thake a couple light passes with a flat file. I like an agressive chain, but that comes from years of running high horsepower saws that love to eat wood. The most important thing to remember is the statement in the last post " A dull saw is a dangerous saw". If you have to fight it you are going to get hurt. I heard a safety man say once that a chain saw is the most dangerous device that can be purchased and used without a license. So use whatever method works and feels comfortable for you, but keep it sharp and running free and true.

  18. #18
    saddlemeat
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    ^Good practical advise on filing the rakers /depth gauges. I cut dry 4" to 10" scrub (Gambel) oak almost exclusively, and want a little smoother cut, so I leave them a hair high. Makes it a joy to cut, and with an 18" bar it takes no time at all to keep it butter sharp. Nice to be able to tune your chain for the material you're cutting. We don't use chainsaws for trail work here, just a fanno no. 30 bull saw and a flask of kerosene for occasional Ponderosa blowdowns.
    A Useful Bear is a handy thing.

  19. #19
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    Been running the saw after I cleaned up the bad file job from the shop. Works perfectly.

  20. #20
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    Been running the saw after I cleaned up the bad file job from the shop. Works perfectly.

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