Maintaining your equipment
Published 21/12/2011 | 06:00
All chainsaw users know what blunts a saw, including hitting stones, metal and clay.
Surprisingly, clay or soil is the biggest enemy of the chain, according to Kevin Birchall of Tree Care Ireland, stripping the hard chrome off the cutters and consigning the chain to the scrapheap. Damaged cutters can be filed back to new by picking the worst one and filing all the remainder, left and right, down to the same top cutter length.
This length can be judged by eyeball or by measuring with callipers if you want to be super-precise. The guides in front of the cutter will also need to be filed down to match them. A good rule of thumb is that the guides get a rub every third cutter filing.
Actual chain sharpening is where many of us fall down, often bringing it into the dealer to get a 'good edge' on it after making a mess of sharpening. All is not lost though as Kevin describes it as "pure geometry, not a dark art".
Once you can identify the chain then you can get the necessary data such as sharpening angles, guide height and file sizes to do the job properly. According to Kevin, 1/10th of the file needs to be above the cutter.
The various guides achieve this while not filing away the body of the chain, provided you are using the correct file.
"It is the chrome that does the cutting, all that you are doing when filing is exposing new chrome," he said.