How Often to Sharpen Chainsaw??

cmego2_thunderDecember 30, 2007

How often does a chainsaw need to be sharpened? My hubby says every 4-5 trees and this seems ridiculous to me...but I could be wrong...that's why I'm asking.

He keeps buying more chains and after reading some posts on this forum I'm gonna see if I can interest him in sharpening his own rather than buy, buy, buy. He is rather good at fixin' and repairing things so he'll likely be good at taking care of them chains too.

I have a gal friend who can cut more trees with less trouble and I've used her chainsaw under her supervision (which I enjoyed, safely) but I'll be if I can advise hubby . I do know that he's cut into the ground and as I've read that's not a good thing.

We have plenty of hard wood...a large oak that needs to come down, let alone cut up what has already...also plenty of black walnut trees that need to come down (we want pasture, too much shade not good).

So is only 4-5 trees a reasonable number before a chain needs to be resharpened? Or is it the user? I'm thinking he's forcing it to cut more rather than letting the chainsaw do most of the work...but that's JMHO too of course, based on what I learned from my friend.

Thanks guys...and any other gals that are lurking ,

cmego2 (hear them hooves thunder!)

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Every 4-5 trees is excessive unless they are giant monsters and/or you live in a sandy environment. If he hits dirt, he needs to stop and sharpen right then. I sharpen the chain on average every 5 hours of use. At that point it normally just needs 2-4 strokes on each tooth and it's as good as new (or better). New chains actually don't come perfectly sharp.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 5:05PM
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There are people that are good chain sharpeners and then there is me. I don't mind sharpening chains in the shop with a regular chain grinder, but I literally go mad sharpening my own saws in the field. People who can touch a file to a chain and make it cut well are true artists in my book. His key may be having several chains and taking them in to a shop and having them professionaly sharpened. I've always been happy with chains off the grinder and never touch a file to them. Not a purest here. Maybe the type of chain he is using is the issue. I personally go for a more aggressive chain.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 6:30PM
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Is your husband swapping chains after felling, limbing, and bucking 4-5 trees? That wouldn`t be so unreasonable however he shouldn`t need to buy more chains until the old ones are worn down to little nubs from sharpening, not every time one gets dulled.

Joecool is right, even grazing dirt for a nanosecond dulls chain. Doesn`t matter where the dirt came from, it could be the ground or embedded in the treebark. Alot of trees have embedded dirt for the first foot or two from splashing rain so he might want to cut the stumps a little high and go back to flush them after everything else is cut. If cutting a tree with a small amount of dirt is unavoidable he should cut so the chain pushes the dirt ahead of the tooth for the shortest distance possible, out of the cut, rather than pulling or pushing it full length through the cut.

Your husband forcing the cut is usually the symptom rather than the cause of dull chain, as soon as you have to push too hard it`s time to sharpen the chain or check the depth gauge heights. If the chain is sharp and it still won`t cut, the depth gauges are the first place to look.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 7:12PM
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Some men don't take advise well, especially use that think we know it all!!!! Smile!!! We tend to learn from or mistakes or lack of!!! Smile. So a tacful presentation may be in order to offer any advise on our saw or sawing techique.

I hate a chainsaw that don't cut. I clean mine up after every use. Hardly every go pass two tanks of gas without sharpen and cleaning the bar. Course the user and type of saw depends on how frequently in may need sharpen. I noticed that small limbs or suckers you have to trim grabs dulling the chain quicker than normal and sometimes one gets stuck up in the clutch and knock the chain off

I sometimes us my saw to cut out stumps, cutting a dic tac toe pattern across the stump and taking a slug hammer and knocking out the blocks. After that the Bar and Chain is pretty much trashed cutting up to 12" down into the stump.

Alot of people trashed polans, but I can tell you it's mainly the owner that ruins a saw for lack of pre-ventive maintenance or knowledge. I even sometime fill the rot hole up with water to keep the most of the dirt washed out of the chain. Yes this will burn up a bar, chain and clutch which I have replaced once in 7 years. But, the little polan woodshark keeps on turning and burning even after all that abuse!!!. I think I got my 60 bucks out of it.This saw still looks like new the chain guard don't have a scratch on it from using it with a loose chain.

Do I need to give my spill on how to keep a chain oiling??? which IMO is just as important as sharping the chain.

to answer the question when should a chain be sharpen??? I think most saws can go for 5 hours in the right hands and other don't last 15 mins!!???

    Bookmark   December 30, 2007 at 8:48PM
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OP, I change chains about every 2-3 trees. I have a kid here at the town mower shop who will sharpen for 5$ a chain. I carry 18 chains for both of my poulans.

Never overestimate how long a chain can go. You will be wasting your time. Make sure you have a quality bar and chain. I put that priority over whether your saw is a poulan cheapie or a husqvarna big ticket.


I have a little woodshark. Best 90 bucks ever spent. Still runs after demo'ing two bedrooms and cutting up a few trees.
I do keep the original bar and chain for demo work. Great saw.


    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 8:43AM
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Keeping the chain out of the dirt cannot be stressed enough. If the chips look more like sawdust or you're forcing the cut it's time to change or sharpen the chain.
I clear hiking trails which normally involves cutting trees laying on the ground. By watching the chips change color I can tell when I'm into the bark, meaning it's time to stop cutting. I use an inexpensive Oregon file guide & give the chain teeth a light pass or 2 after every tank of gas.
I've seen chains overheated by improper power sharpening so I'll stuck to my hand filing thank you.
And Oregon's website has an on-line technical section on sharpening and maintaining saw chain.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 6:07PM
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Like others said, it depends on what you're cutting and what you happen upon while cutting (air-good, nails-bad).

I usually swap chains after two tanks, since they are usually dulling by this point. It is a lot quicker to touch up a chain (grinder or file) than to recover one that was rocked out or otherwise severly dulled.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 3:51PM
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Gas consumption seems to be a more accurate way to measure resharpening a chain. Two tanks is about what I get before a touch up. depends on how dirty the wood/etc..

    Bookmark   January 1, 2008 at 11:24PM
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