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Chainsaw, chain and guide

The cutting chain of a chainsaw has gouges connected by links. The gouge is the cutting element, which must be sharpened periodically, every three to four hours of cutting, depending on the hardness of the cut wood. (Non-contractual photo, does not necessarily reflect the drawing)

The signs of a blunted sharpening should also encourage the sharpening of the gouges: rapid blackening of the grooves of the chain, need to strongly press the chainsaw to cut, uneven cutting face, chain quickly relaxing.
The form gouges is characterized by:

  • the angle of cut of the cutting edge, thanks to which the gouge sinks into the wood;
  • the upper angle of the cutting edge, which cuts the wood;
  • the depth guide, a kind of lug located in front of the cutting edge, which regulates the thickness of the chip.

Sharpening gouges

To sharpen a chainsaw chain, place the machine in a vise tight on the fence, without disassembling the chain. If you plan to work for a long time (more than three to four hours) in a wood, carry the sharpening tool, as well as a vise-piton. If you do not have a vice, you can cut a stand with your stand cut to your height and trap the guide.
The sharpening tool consists of:

  • a flat file,
  • a round file (rat tail),
  • a file holder,
  • a sharpening template.

The operating manual of the machine indicates the sharpening angles to be respected, usually 35° for standard chains with round gouges and 30° for others.
Place the round file in the file holder, then engage the file in the gouge. Orient the file holder on the fence following the angular marks.
For the standard channels, be sure to hold the file holder horizontally; on other types of chains, the file holder should generally be tilted about 10° to the file handle.
Always work from the inside to the outside of the teeth; to make it easier to work, first sharpen all the cutting edges on one side (eg right), then turn the guide in the vise (or place on the other side) and sharpen the other series of gouges. Give two to three strokes of file, straight and with constant pressure, to sharpen the gouges to equal length.
All three sharpenings, check the depth left by the limiters, using the sharpening template. If the limiter exceeds the gauge, even out with a flat file. Then round off the front of the limiters.

Anatomy and sharpening of the chain of a chainsaw

Anatomy and sharpening of the chain of a chainsaw

Replacing the chain of a chainsaw

When, as a result of repeated sharpening, you can no longer sharpen the gouges to obtain the desired angles, or when the gouges have become too thin to make a new sharpening, you must change the channel. Also, change it if it is too rigid due to poor maintenance or lack of lubrication.
The new chains are generally protected by an anticorrosive coating. To remove, soak the chain overnight in a bath of engine oil. Then wipe it down, then let it soak in a special chain oil bath for about an hour. Loosen the nut or bolt securing the guide. Then remove the chain brake housing.
Push the guide all the way in and release the string from the guide's lips. Pass the new chain behind the clutch bell and move it forward to fit the links between the teeth of the pinion behind the bell. Engage the links on the guide's lips and push the guide forward. Tighten its fixing nut by hand.
Lubricate the guide lips with a burette, then adjust the chain tension and refit the chain brake housing.
After about half an hour of use of a new chain, stop the chain saw and check the tension of the chain.
When changing the chain, check the condition of the guide, especially the lips. If they are blue or cracked, it indicates a lack of lubrication. Change the guide if it appears too damaged (especially if the end of the guide appears burned).

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