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bvinduck
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 25 Duck, NC
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2006-11-14          136905


I'm thinking about purchasing an electric chainsaw sharpener. What's the best way to go, features to look for, etc?

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2006-11-14          136906


I got a 12 volt clamp-on-the-bar model.

My thinking was that wherever I am cutting wood, I might not have a 110 volt AC outlet handy, but I sure as heck will have a 12 volt battery nearby.

Here is the link..... but I don't remember it costing this much...... ....


Link:   

Click Here


 
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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2006-11-14          136910


I'm perfectly happy with the 110v bench model I got on sale from Harbor Freight for thirty bucks. Once I get a machine-sharpened chain on the saw, I just touch it up periodically with a file. When the saw won't cut a vertical line anymore, it's time to put the chain back on the machine grinder. Having a spare chain along lets me finish the job without having to go back to the workshop just to clean/sharpen one chain.

//greg// ....

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5764 NW Oregon
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2006-11-14          136911


I just keep extra chains around and drop the dull ones off at the Stihl dealer periodically for a good sharpening. They don't charge much. ....

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earthwrks
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 3853 Home Office in Flat Rock, Michigan
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2006-11-15          136915


Stihl has some unusual spec'd chain as far as sharpening it. I have told/shown chain sharpeners how to do it like it's suppose to be done. They nod, walk away and do it the way they want anyway. A few minutes after use they're dull again (the chain) because they didn't want to do it right. Depending on how I feel that day--in a rush use the 12v electric, take my time and wind down a bit---use a Stihl-brand file. Make sure you get plenty of the rotary grinding stones because they can break off easily. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4284 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2006-11-15          136935


I use a Stihl file holder and round file to sharpen the chain on the bar. Been doing this for 12 years. After I watched an experienced commercial logger show me how to sharpen the chain, I felt like a sap for paying so much to the hardware store saw shop to sharpen the chain for $3 a pop.

I have had my O-66 for almost 13 years now and I have had 3 chains on the saw since new including the original OEM chain that came on the saw. Using the hand file is time consuming (I have a 24" bar, can't imagine sharpening a 36" bar chain!) and takes a bit of getting used to and perfecting the technique but well worth it in the long run.

Harbor Freight recently had their electric bench type chain sharpener on sale for $39.95 so I took the plunge and will be experimenting with it to see how well an el cheapo works.

I hand sharpen the saw blade on my Stihl FS 450K as well. New blades are about $35 each and nobody I know of sharpens them. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2006-11-15          136939


Now I remember...... I was running a 36 inch bar on the biggest saw Stihl makes.......... it took forever to sharpen that thing with a file.

I was trying real hard to keep pace with a tree service company that was taking down an ancient cottonwood.

I ended up with 15+ cords out of one tree. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-11-15          136940


I guess I am the odd man out. I carry round files and a flat in my back pocket of my falling pants and sharpen or take down the rakers when needed. I normally sharpen every tank. I have been doing it this way for 30 years.
The Husky or Stihl file handles have the correct angle on the bezel. I sit over the saw and just eye it up. One trick is to count the number of strokes of your file and place the same on every tooth and both sides. This helps to keep everything even.
If you rock the saw then you need to take down the teeth on both sides to get the teeth back in shape.
I normally use the chains down to the last nub of a tooth. Which is not technically correct, but its the scotts in me. What can I say.
I bought a gauge at one point but found it just slowed me down and I can keep as true by eye. ....

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bvinduck
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 25 Duck, NC
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2006-11-15          136941


What's the techique to using a hand file? The manaul I have Husqurvna 455 rancher, Is about clear as mud for the sharpening. I have tried using a hand file- but I just must not be doing it correctly. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 4284 Southwest MiddleTennessee
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2006-11-15          136942


Geez Mark! You have an O-88/MS-880???????? That is a humongous and HEAVY saw. The power head along weighs over 22 lbs. Add a 36" bar and chain and I suspect you will be on the other side of 25 lbs. No wonder you have a bad back. ;O)

When you say cord, do you mean face cord or full 4' x 4' x 8'. 15+ full cords is a HUGE tree. I remember some of the pictures you showed but I don't think I got to see the entire tree while alive. I guess you must still be burning that wood now? ....

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ronald65
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 107 Montana
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2006-11-15          136944


Hi, I use an Efco sharpener(same as oregon) I have been using it for over 20 years, I never use a file as I didn't have good luck when I tried years ago.I usually take 2 saws to the woods when I go out to cut.I always take a spare chain for each but seldom need to change in the woods.Every evening I clean saws,turn bar over and put on the other chain. Then I sharpen chains i used that day and put them in can of diesel.in about 1/2 hr I'm all set for another day.Works for me anyway.I sold about 25 Cords of wood last year plus what I used about 4 cords. Ron ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3034 Northern AL
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2006-11-15          136945


Here is the Oregon guide although it does not really tell you how to do it by eye it is essentually the same. It would be difficult to describe all the steps and the adjustments you make to true up the chain here. Read the guide first.
I cut with 36" bars in the west coast for years so if you did not know how to file you did not get much work done. We carried a spare chain, but this was mostly protection against breaking one.

....


Link:   Oregon

 
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MacDaddy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 95 Western NY
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2006-11-15          136946


I have been thinking about getting a electric bench-mount myself from Northern Tool. How much time does it take w/ a file versus the electric grinder? I have always taken my chains in to the shop in the past.... but Im getting sick of paying the money. ....

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SG8NUC
Join Date: Jan 2006
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2006-11-15          136965


If you are using the chainsaw as a homeowner the file should be fine. That is what I use but only in a pinch. I take mine to the small engine repair man and he sharpens them. I have about 6 chains so I alway have a sharp one. Alot of guys log or are in tree removal here. They have the power sharperners. ....

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ronald65
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 107 Montana
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2006-11-15          136972


Hi , If you would like to look at some good information about sharpening Chain, Go to (Madsens1.com )(a chainsaw parts supplier website).they have all kinds of valuable information available and are great to deal with. Ron ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 5111 Northern Nevada
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2006-11-15          136985


Randy.... I may have mis-spoken. I have a MS 660, and I thought it was the largest one they made, but it may have just been the largest one the dealer had access to.

Yup, that was a BIG tree. That was fifteen full cords. I am burning the last of the wood this winter. The remaining stump is just about 100 inches across and five + feet tall. That's about a cord by itself.


I could not lift some of the 20 inch thick rounds with my FEL, so they were over 900 pounds. All I could manage was to use the FEL + forward motion to stand them up so I could section them with the saw.

I assume your saw is similar in size to mine, 16 pounds without the bar and chain.... at least it has the same sort of model number. ....

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Blueman
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 243 Washington, PA
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2006-11-16          136992


DRankin,
I'd love to see a picture of that stump! Or, if you still have a picture of the whole tree...How did you burn this stuff? I'm guessing it is similar to sycamore, which is full of water, doesn't dry well, and is hard to burn... ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
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2006-11-16          136995


Yes, it was very wet wood. The saw sprayed me with water as I cut it.

Even with our hot summers and low humidity it took a couple of seasons, but it finally seasoned and burned well.

I posted some pics..... #6, #19 and #20 ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 7141 Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
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2006-11-16          136999


In the upper right part of North America we have a better solution for monsters like that.

We saw it into lumber, sell the boards and buy firewood with the money.

Not as adventurous as your solution, but sure is easier on the back.

Best of luck. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2006-11-16          137002


Is there a market for cotton wood? ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2006-11-16          137003


Actually Randy you'd be surprised how nice some "junk" wood species look all sawed up and finished into something.

Have a read over the discussion below.

Best of luck. ....


Link:   Cottonwood discussion

 
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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
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2006-11-16          137004


Chief; I think cottonwood is used for throw away palets, the loggers around here cut about anything for the palet industry. Not sure if these figures are still accurate but a few years ago palets were the second largest consumer of lumber after homebuilding. My Dad used to say that cottonwood was the preferred lumber for wagon boxes, hayracks, etc. because it was light and tough. I don't know how they got enough straight boards to make a wagon box. Several years ago I took a huge cottonwood log to a sawmill, hauled the boards home stacked them with stickers to dry. I put probably a ton of tractor weights on top but I still ended up with a stack of pretzels. Frank. ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2006-11-16          137005


Thanks Murf and Frank. Learn something new everyday! I will have to give another look at some of these lesser utilized species. I am getting a crash course in the timber and forstry business so am always looking at new ideas. ....

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SG8NUC
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2006-11-16          137007


Hardwood

Have you tried drying hickory like that. I was told that you get the same result, stack of pretzels. ....

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Peters
Join Date: Feb 2002
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2006-11-16          137009


We dried hickory at one time in Ont with no problem. Might be the rate of drying and the straightness of the grain. There are different species of cotton wood. I have only cut the stuff on the BC coast. Basically it rots as it falls and dry it weighs as much paper. Incidently it burns about as fast. You would need about 15 cord of that stuff to equal one cord of anything else. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2006-11-16          137010


Peters is right, it is mostly the drying rate that is causing the twisting.

If you ever have to do it again, the important factors are; a) LOTS of room for air flow, b) EVEN air flow, and c) protection from the elements, sun, wind, rain, or even too much heat, like in a closed-up shed will make the nicest board twist.

I made up some brackets to keep our boards straight as they dry, they are 2"x2" heavy wall tubing with loops welded to half of them, and smooth rollers attached to the other half. A few of them are laid out like sleepers for the wood to be piled on top of, and when the stack is finished, more go on top. A cable leads from the bottom back, up & over the rollers on the top ones, then down to a cable come-along which connects to the the lower front loops. This binds the whole stack into a nice tight bundle, and the winch is periodically tightened up to keep it under tension as the wood shrinks and dries.

Just adding weight to the top of the pile usually does little, since the cumulative effect of all those boards warping just lifts the weights.

Best of luck. ....

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
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2006-11-16          137011


I knew an old timer that used to make his own musket loaders from scratch. He was pleased as punch when I gave him a cheery log I had just cut down. To keep it the way he wanted it for a gunstock he put a heavy coat of melted wax on the cut ends to slow the drying process.

I got to see the finished product a year later, impressive!

I don't think any of us have the time for this approach on a big scale though ;) ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
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2006-11-16          137012


SG8NUC; No I've never dried hickory. I have air dried lots of oak, (red and white), some walnut and quite a bit of soft maple with good results.
MURF; Soft maple never was considered much of a furniture wood till I kind of inhereited a semi load of soft maple logs. We started using it for cabinet frames, drawer sides, etc.. My son made an experimental piece of furniture, put a clear finish on it and we were pretty impressed, next thing we knew a lady came along saw it and orderd a set of kitchen cabinets out of it. it is an easy wood to work with, don't splinter in the shaper like red oak but you need to keep it moving thru a saw or shaper as it will show a burn mark as bad a cherry. Enough rambling out of me. Frank. ....

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ronald65
Join Date: Aug 2005
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2006-11-23          137309


Several years ago,I sawed a large section of a cottenwood tree up for a neighbor 36in x 16 ft long into 1x12 1x10;1x8 and 1x6 boards . he stacked them in his basement garage with stickers and several truck tires on top and covered with plastic. in less than a year it was dry and he made some nice display cases for the local Cafe. said he only had one board that he could't use. When Cottenwood is dry you almost have to drill pilot hole to avoid splitting it.Ron ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2006-11-24          137316


I am tired of paying $6/chain for sharpening. I seem to be using a chainsaw much more than you would think for a 2 acre lot here in NY. We just had family day at my Mom's and took down several trees just cleaning up. I just bought this northerntools sharpener for $99. I have 3 chains that need sharpening right now. I'm sure I'll have to set aside a weekend to figure out how to properly do this. Its also a matter of convenience. It's harder all the time to find someone who will sharpen chains. ....


Link:   Northerntool sharpener

 
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earthwrks
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2006-11-26          137336


If I'm not mixing up my wood types, my neighbor told me he spent something like $25 for a small bag of cherry tree chips for smoking fish. At that price they should've been gold plated. ....

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AnnBrush
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2006-11-27          137351


I was at Wally World at the weekend and saw a dremel tool attachment (grinder bit) that was for chainsaw sharpening - if you already have a dremel tool it's a cheap option, cost about $4. Anyone have any advice or comments on this route here? ....

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Chief
Join Date: Jul 2003
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2006-11-27          137352


Ann, Harbor Freight has an electric chainsaw sharpener on sale for $39.99. I just ordered one a few weeks ago and it is not the top of the line as far as quality but for the money it appears to be a very good sharpener. I haven't tried it out yet but I will post my findings here when I do. ....


Link:   ELECTRIC CHAIN SAW SHARPENER

 
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MacDaddy
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2006-11-27          137353


I've purchaced the same one from Harbor Freight for $39.99. Should be here in a few days. I'll also post my findings. Andy ....

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Murf
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2006-11-27          137354


The problem with these types of "sharpeners" is two-fold.

First, the stone is very small, so wear is a major issue, after just a few uses the stone will be much smaller, thus changing both the radius, and the resulting shape of the saw's tooth.

Secondly, a Dremel (or other similar sized tool) is very hard to control precisely, the end result will be over or under sharpened teeth, as well as a wide variety of shapes of the teeth.

The 'proper' tool for sharpening a chainsaw blade is much like a small power mitre box saw but with about an 8" diameter blade, usually either carborundum or diamond tipped steel. In years of regular use these blades don't wear much.

The other minor issue is one of metalurgy. With the exception of a file, any hand tool will be in contact with the tooth long enough to generate considerable heat. The big 'pro' grinders just kiss the edge of the tooth and barely take anything off, and so do not heat it enough to take the temper out of it either.

The other tip is to buy a roll of chain, and make it, or have it made into loops for your saw. Doing it this way the blades are *really* cheap on a per piece basis. You can then take a bunch of blades in at once to be sharpened. Most places will give you a big discount to sharpen 10 or more blades at once.

The end result is you always have enough sharp blades that you never have to do anything but swap chain loops and the overall cost is dramatically less.

Best of luck. ....

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greg_g
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2006-11-27          137366


Well Murf, I only cut enough wood for one household for one Kentucky winter. So that Harbor Freight sharpener is perfectly competent. I paid $29.99 plus $3.99 for an extra grinding wheel. It sharpens my Stihl chains beautifully. Ordering printed catalog number 93213-8BCB gets the $29.99 price.

Heat is a function of the operator, specifically the amount of care taken in adjusting the sharpener TO THE CHAIN. Another reason I bought my own sharpener is that - when I'd get my chains back from the farm store ($5.00/chain) all the cutting edges would be burned blue. Now, I don't burn the chains - and paid for the sharpener after doing only six chains myself.

//greg// ....

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hardwood
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2006-11-27          137370


I used to have the lowest cost sharpening service known, FREE. My father in law was an independent garage owner from the time he was a teen ager till he was forced to retire with bad feet in his mid 50's. Never being a man to sit still or non productive he bought a chainsaw sharpening device that looked like a miter saw. as he moved the chain along in the clamp the sharpener would rotate from left to right so it could sharpen right hand and left hand teeth by only pulling the chain thru once. I don;'t remember what he charged to do a chain or overhaul a saw. He must have had a dozen or so to sharpen most days, people started giving him old saws they had given up on and he made most of them run again. It kind of got to be a social gathering point for the town loafers, they would bring one chain at a time just to catch up on the news. He's now in a nursing home, but that little sharpening business was on of the joys of his life for a good many years. I have no idea what brand of sharpener he had or where it ever went. Frank. ....

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kthompson
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2006-11-27          137378


If any of you mentioned this I missed it: the way the shops sharpen chains does vary. Some do a much better job than others. So if you use a shop, and are not pleased you may be with another one. Try talking with who does the sharpening. You will probably know before they do the work if you will be pleased.

I do wonder if the Harbor Freight model holds it angles. Will be looking for those post. The hand file method is old for me. The dremel tool does just like someone said, the stone wears so fast your teeth vary. ....

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kthompson
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2006-12-07          137724


Update time: Has anyone else used their Harbor Freight or the now only $99 (less than half price) Northern Tool sharpner.

Harbor Freight is about 60 miles away and with it cold this Saturday may be a good day to ride. ....

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
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2006-12-07          137725


Update on mine (Harbor Freight $29.95); it continues to sharpen my Stihl and Oregon chains just fine. But a friend brought over an Echo chain the other day, and I think he ruined it. The chain is so light duty (skinny) that the chain clamp wouldn't grip it at all. I narrowed the sharpener track to absolute minimum, but that Echo chain still jumped every time the wheel came down

//greg// ....

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MacDaddy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 95 Western NY
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2006-12-08          137726


I received my $39.99 sharpener from Harbor Freight a few days ago. When I turned it on, there appears to be a slight wobble in the stone. havn't had a whole lot of time to play with it so Im not yet sure if it is the machine itself or if the stone that came with it is un-true. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2006-12-08          137730


MacDaddy and Greg, thank you.
MacDaddy, could the stone be not mounted properly on it's shaft? ....

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greg_g
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2006-12-08          137733


Both cutting wheels I got were true, the OE already mounted. But there's no guarantee whoever mounted your stone tightened it down properly. There are four small Phillips head screws holding the stone cover on. Under that, the stone is held to the motor with a thumbwheel. I intend to leave the cover off mine; so that I can inspect the stone for chips before use, and so I can make sure the stone's tight before I start the motor.

//greg//
....

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MacDaddy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 95 Western NY
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2006-12-08          137735


Mine was not mounted. I put it on both ways, and made sure it was secure on the shaft. I'm guessing that it is the stone, but I dont have another one yet to compare it to. The wobble is unnoticeable when running at full RPM, but as it slows down to a stop, It seems a little warped, or when I spin it slowly by hand. ....

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ronald65
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 107 Montana
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2006-12-08          137737


Chain comes in various thickness 050 058 063 and a newer one for lite duty sawsthat is only 043 thick on my sharpener, I have to change spacers in the clamp when I sharpen chain other than 050. Ron ....

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1816 Western Kentucky
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2006-12-08          137741


Thanks Ron - when inspecting the chain guide for some way to clamp on 043 chain, I noticed one track could be reversed against the other, giving a good sixteenth of an inch more grip. The down side is that the two tracks are mounted with metal screws into plastic threads. Perhaps replacing the track fastening system with wingnuts would prevent premature failure of the plastic threads.

Alternatively, maybe I should buy a second one of these things while they're still $29.95 (printed catalog number 93213-8MTA price good till 1-1-07) just to have a ready supply of spare parts.

//greg// ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2006-12-11          137829


Unless Harbor Feight has two models I was over charged or their store price is higher, $39.??. For those who have not seen it is mostly plastic but seems sturdy. The angle setting part is not the best you could find. But I felt it was worth the price for my use. ....

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MacDaddy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 95 Western NY
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2006-12-11          137830


$39.99 is the correct price for both the store and on-line. I still have yet to use it, but a friend bought the exact same model a year ago (for $100) and is very happy w/ it. ....

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greg_g
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2006-12-11          137833


I called Harbor Freight at 1-800-423-2576, they admitted a problem when using the website to order 93213-8MTA using the "from a printed catalog" option (it pops up the full retail $99.99 price). The person on the phone assured me that the $29.95 price will be honored (until 1-1-07) if you phone your order in using 93213-8MTA. Get a dollar off a spare grinding wheel ($3.99) using 91903-1VGA

//greg// ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2006-12-11          137848


Greg and MacDaddy, sounds like computer error! :)

....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 762 Kingston, NY
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2006-12-23          138315


I just spent the afternoon setting up my $99 Northerntools sharpener and learning how to sharpen my chain. I sharpened 3 chains, put one one the saw and did a trial run. Seemed to work quite well! So I am very satisfied with this sharpener so far. By the way I have an echo chainsaw with 3/8 pitch and .05 guage chain. It was no problem holding it in the vise.

So there are 3 angles to play with. About 30 degree for chain vise, 60 degree for top plate angle, and 10 degree "tilt" on the chain vise. But the chinese instructions don't tell you which way to "tilt". I did some googling and apparently the tilt is an uphill tilt from the back to the front of the tooth. Correct? So you kinda have to just use your judgement when choosing the direction of tilt as to what is meant by uphill. Or should I just play it safe and forget about the 10 degree tilt? ....

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ronald65
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 107 Montana
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2006-12-24          138327


The Tilt of 10 deg. is for full chisel chain.when the chain is formed it is bent 110 deg so that the cutting point is the hightest point on the tooth and the tooth slopes both to the rear (down)and toward the inside (down).
on Semi-chisel and chipper chain, set clamp at 90 deg. Ron ....

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ronald65
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 107 Montana
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2006-12-24          138328


I forgot to answer which way to tilt the clamp. you want to make the top of the tooth level,so you push the bottom of the vise away from you for Right hand cutter,which raises the inside edge of tooth to level tooth. Pull it towards you for left hand cutters. Ron ....

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ncrunch32
Join Date: Dec 2003
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2006-12-24          138331


Thanks Ronald, that is a very understandable explanation! ....

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