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Sharpening: part 2, square chisel chain.

Dave Shepard

Square peg, round world.
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I've been messing with the stuff, again. I think I'm doing OK so far, but have a few questions. I started a discussion at the Forestry Forum, and got a few views on my technique, but I'm still in the dark. What else is new, right?:lol: I've been filing from the same direction as round filing, but about ten years ago when I got my first loop, the dealer told me to file into the point of the chain, not from behind.:? At first I didn't get the corner perfectly square, but I seem to be getting it consistently now. Any advice from you guys who use it all the time would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

sotc

Dormant hero!!
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supposed to sharpen from the outside in but its awfull hard on files as the chrome is harder than the file. if i was filing id go inside out, grinding, id go outside in. i just hate wearing out files:D
 

SkwerI

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Hey Dave,
I'll give you an update on how I've progressed with it. After 3-4 tries filing it using the method you said (filing the same direction as round filing), I noticed that my corners weren't lining up very well. So I started throwing the saw in the bench vise and attacking it from the front. It was much easier to see the corner and adjust my angles correctly and after only a couple tries the chain started getting fairly quick! My square filed cuts noticably faster than the round filed now. I'm still missing something as my 395 with 32" bar can get squirrelly and grabby. Sometimes it twists in the kerf and quits cutting until I wiggle it around, then it grabs again.

Been over 3 weeks since I've done any serious wood cutting so I haven't touched it recently.
 

Dave Shepard

Square peg, round world.
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I haven't gotten any of the skwerly and grabby reaction out of it. My Husky is acting like that right now, and it needs to have the bar dressed. The big downside I see to the square is that it really needs that nice square corner, it won't hardly cut without it, whereas a round chain will still cut fairly well, even if the corner isn't factory perfect.
 

gf beranek

Old Schooler
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I hand filed for 12 years before I learned what it takes to do it right. And in that 12 years I was just going through the moves and not paying attention to the details. That's when I was doing line clearance work 30 years ago.

Today I can touch up a chain and get it cutting satisfactory, and I can sharpen a chain and get it cutting like a raped ape. Big dif between the two.

First thing, and most important is, you need a good chain to begin with. All a person can do with a wore out chain is touch it up, and make it cut satisfactory.

Falling and bucking trees by the bushel taught me that. What you can get by with doing private tree work will break you working by the bushel in the woods. The only way you're going to make money cutting by the bushel is to have a chainsaw that cuts like a raped ape. And I said chainsaw. The chain is but one part. The saw must run dependably and efficiently, and the bar must be true. Without either the chain will not make up for it.

In the woods it was, "learn how to sharpen and cut, or die of starvation trying."

Unfortunately a person of experience can speak volumes about the details of chain sharpening and the beginner isn't going to pick it up until that certain something clicks in their brain, or in their stomach.
 

Al Smith

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There is often a misconception when talking square ground .There is the factory version and the modified round to square .

With either there are about three angles to consider .Madsons web site can show it in more detail than I can explain it .

As for myself I only own one factory square ground and it being a loop for a 36" .The rest have been modified round to square . That type is easier to picture than discribe how to do it .

I use a bevel file to do the top,a 7/32" to do the side and a 3/16" to blend the corner or top to side plate transition ,more commonly called the working corner. On a scale from 1 to 10 I might be a 4 or 5 as far as being good at it but it cuts faster than standard round ground .

On a standard round it takes 5 or so minutes to touch up a 20" loop .This stuff takes 20 after it has been reshaped .

I have some pics but it's going to take me a while to find them and my time to post will elapse so I'll put em on later after I find them .
 

Burnham

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I have pretty fair success, IF the chain is in need of a slight dressing. If I've rocked it enough to ugly up the 4 factory angles then I am lost, wandering in the wilderness.

In other words, I think it's about impossible to hand file a square grind chisel point saw chain if you don't have the intact cutter pattern to set your file into.

I MUST do it on a bench, in a vise, with very good light to really get a halfway decent job. I file from the front of the cutter to the rear. I frequently nick the tie straps, which cannot be a good thing.

All in all, I think it's a pretty difficult task, myself.
 

stig

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Unfortunately a person of experience can speak volumes about the details of chain sharpening and the beginner isn't going to pick it up until that certain something clicks in their brain, or in their stomach.
With all the apprentices I've taught over the years, I've made a habit of sometimes taking time out to file their saw for them. Actually feeling the difference between a poorly filed saw and a "raped ape" gives them a lot of incentive towards taking the time to learn to file correctly.
It is kinder than letting them starve.
 

Al Smith

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Hey Dave,
It was much easier to see the corner and adjust my angles correctly and after only a couple tries the chain started getting fairly quick!
That statement right there sums it up .It doesn't make any diff from a race chain to a half inch chipper on a geardrive ,you have to be able to see what you are doing . A dimly lit garage is not the answer . I can get better results on top of a stump in the woods in natural sunlight than squinting at what I'm doing even in a vise in the garage unless I get some light on the subject .
 

Dave Shepard

Square peg, round world.
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I picked up a new loop of chain at the shop today. Had to order it nobody stocks it or the files. In a side by side comparison, my angles all seem to be correct. The spec sheet that came from Stihl with the chain says the top plate angle is 20 degrees, but on the new chain it appears to line up with the witness mark, which I thought was 30 degrees. Either way, I'm pleased with the results. I'm going to order up a couple of files from Bailey's, as they were on backorder at the saw shop.:roll: I don't know if there is an advantage to the "goofy" files, but I'm going to try one of those as well. Now that I'm feeling a little more confident (cocky?), I'm going to dig out the old loops I have for the Husky. They're basically new, and some have been resharpened on the Silvey at the saw shop. Shouldn't need any new chains for a while.:)
 

rbtree

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I've been square filing for several years now. Took a long time to get it right. But I would have gotten it down more quickly if I'd always filed from the outside in. That way you can see what you're doing. Key is getting the working corner set properly. Downward angle is quite acute, and means you will file into the tie straps. Have yet to have a chain break....

Other problem was the lousy files I was getting from Baileys. Angle were all off...made it impossible to get each side filed with the same inner angles.....

I've ordered some round files and a file for my skis from Save Edge....and the chisel files are backordered. Can't wait to get them. They also will resharpen thier files twice at a bit over a dollar a file, that's a steal! (not round files....)

Sounds like they are the best files...! http://www.saveedge.com/
 

Dave Shepard

Square peg, round world.
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What brands of file should I avoid? I think the ones I have now are Vialla, or something like that, definitely from one of those countries where I can't even begin to pronounce the name.
 

rbtree

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skwerl, that's a buck a file more than saveedge's price. Don't have mine yet, just the round files, but word is, there's none better.
 

Stumper

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Coibleskill, I'm not Al but..Muriatic acid. I have never botherd trying to salvage use chainsaw files but my dad renews farriers rasps frequently with an acid soak.
 

wiley_p

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I'll say it slow. C H A I N G R I N D E R. Stop screwing around learning a technique that takes years if one can learn it at all. Like Gerry said, you need a saw that cuts like a striped ass ape. I say in town or in the woods. Anything else means you're training for the shoemaker gang.
A guy can pick up a Silvey pretty cheap when you weigh the big increase in production from finally running a sharp chain for the first time.
 

Al Smith

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Well ,I'm not Stumper but I've never acid dipped a file in my life .I've heard of soaking them in vineger though to get the same results as muratic ,never tried it myself .

I usually just knock the chips out every so often ,when the file dies I get another one .

I think I have 4 double bevel files .No more than what I use them they should last a long while .The only chains I half fast square file are my version of a race chain of which I have about half a dozen .
 

Dave Shepard

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I'll try to get you a pic Stumper, but the macro on my point and shoot sucks. My angles match the new chain, and that's a fact.;) Unless I rock the chain bad, it is no slower to file than round. Same filing position, same number of strokes, just different file angles. I will agree that restoring the angles on a focked chain is going to be harder than on round, but I ain't sceered.
 

Dave Shepard

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I know I'm going to get jumped on for my confidence in hand filing, but I'd like to say that I have a few advantages that others may not have had, especially years ago. One big advantage is the internet, I have been able to talk to a couple dozen people about it, and gotten tips before I even started, and also have been able to see pictures of correct, and incorrect filing, namely in Jerry's book. Jerry also pointed out the first problem I encountered, and that is keeping the gullets filed down. That made a huge difference. Lastly, I do well filing regular chain. That, and being ambidextrous, seems to have been a good foundation for the jump to square ground. I'm hoping with a new file, I'll be able to make a little cleaner cut on the tooth, my current file is kinda toasty.:roll:


I guess the point and shoot will do a little better than I thought, but it really doesn't show the angles very well. New chain on the right. This chain was last used bucking some dirty logs, so I might get a better view of the angles with a fresh edge.

Oh, I am open to critique, and teasing, anything to help me learn.;)
 

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Dave Shepard

Square peg, round world.
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I tried a little file cleaning test. I dipped the file in the muriatic acid, and let it etch for about 45 seconds. It cleaned off everything but the rust. This file is proabably 10 or 12 years old, only one I've got at the moment. It revealed just how bad it really is.:O Lots of missing teeth, especially at the 90* edge. Don't know if you can see the difference, first is "dirty", second "clean". I never like opening that jug of acid, what with all the effervescing.:roll:
 

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Stumper

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Dave, I was only teasing you because you said you would say "IT" slowly and then you spelled out chaingrinder. I have no doubts that you can file very well. I have tried my hand at handfiling square gpund myself with success.... but I am much slower at it compared to round filing and, using some tricks I learned from an old logger I can make round filed cut almost as good as square....(Not as smooth and fast but almost.)
 
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