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Chain Saw Sharpening Tips

Advice on chainsaw sharpening tools and techniques. January 25, 2010

Question
I need some chainsaw sharpening tips. What are the best side and top angles and what are the differences as far as performance? I have a Stihl 340 Magnum (using aggressive chain) with 18" and 28" bars and a small Poulan (using safety strap chain) that I shortened to 12". I run mostly Oregon chain and I have a bench mount Oregon grinder, as I am hand sharpening challenged. I'd like to know the benefits of 25 degree over 30 and so on.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor D:
You are doing it right by using a grinder. It takes years to perfect hand filing. Stick to Oregon or Stihl chain. They are simply the best. The more the angle on the tooth, the sharper the point, which makes it cut better, but it is also finer, which makes it easier to damage or dull. The cleaner the wood, the finer the edge you can get away with, but that is just part of it. Round filing the hook or how deep the grinder cuts can make a huge difference as well. Again, the cleaner the wood, the more hook you can get away with. In dirty wood, use less hook. It won't cut as fast, but the edge will be a lot more durable.

And don't forget the rakers. Get yourself a Carlton fil-o-plate. They are simple, cheap, and work well. The rakers do two things: help clear the sawdust and regulate how big a bite the teeth take. Your cutters can be like razors, but if the rakers are too high, they can't get to the wood to do their job. Too low and they grab too much wood and the saw will bog down and is more likely to kick back.



From contributor R:
I was told when using a Stihl chainsaw, it is best for bar life to use Stihl chain. Something to do with the design of the chain getting the bar oil to the end sprocket properly. I'm not an expert, just passing along what I heard.


From contributor D:
I think it was Stihl that was putting a groove in the drivers on some of their chains, but besides that I really doubt there is a difference.



From contributor M:
As a professional faller and chainsaw instructor, I ask that you stick to the manufacturer recommended angles for sharpening your chain. They are not only the most productive but they are also safer and reduce vibration. The half of a second you might gain by sharpening like the racing saws used in loggers sports is not worth increasing your risk of injury. Reducing vibration also reduces the risk of developing white finger disease.
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