Depending on what you are looking to do with a chain saw really does dictate what kind of chain saw that you are going to buy. If you are a home owner and looking to do projects around the house the best kind of chain saw that you can buy is gas powered because it offers you more power and can do both big and little jobs and is absolutely portable. This means if the power goes out and you need to use it you will have no problem getting it to work each and every single time you want it to work. Gas models can be outfitted with all different sorts of bar lengths when it comes to blades and such and can really be more flexible to its electric or cordless brothers.

Now electric chain saws are really coming into their own with demand and that’s because many people have smaller yards, with less to do around them and they are perfect for the lighter jobs. You are truly stuck to what a 100 foot cord can do and sometimes that’s all someone needs when it comes to the chain saw of their choice. It’s said that they should be used with only the best outdoor rated plugs and stuff and be no more than 100 feet if using an extension cord for the best use. A huge plus on their side is that you do not have to mess with a gas/oil mixture when it comes to them, they are cleaner and neater to store.

Cordless chainsaws are really more for people who are doing the lightest of cutting chores or hobbyist who does crafting that involves wood cutting. They sit on a charger or have a battery really are only for someone who is going to do the lightest of cutting. Once a battery has run out it can usually take many, many hours to recharge it again which means that in an emergency they aren’t very good once they run out of juice.

You need to simply make sure that you know what the tasks are that you are going to use your chain saw for. Making sure that once you’ve evaluated what you are going to do with it that you buy the right chain saw for your tasks. If you’ve got large trees on your property that you might have to deal with getting a gas powered one is your best bet. If you’ve got smaller trees or other things an electric powered one is more suited for you, and if you’ve got just really light jobs or a one and done sort of job, the more economical battery powered chain saw is your best bet. Just make sure you know what the jobs are you are going to be using them for and that’s the best way to buy a chain saw.

Now that you have cleaned your saw, reinstalled the bar and chain and made the proper adjustments, it’s time to sharpen your chain. A handy tool for sharpening a chain in the field is the stump vice that will hold the saw firmly while sharpening. If you are sharpening your chain in a workshop or garage, a botch vice will work just as handily.

Often items you will need to properly sharpen your chain are a file and guide with the proper size rounded file, a flat file and a depth gauge tool. Check your owner’s manual or ask your authorized dealer for proper file size and depth gauge tool required for your saw’s chain. This information can also be found in the chain leaflet packet with new loops of steel chain.

Before we sharpen the chain, it will help you understand the process better if you know the different components that make up your chain. These are the cutters – your chain has separate left and right cutters. They are the parts that you will be sharpening. Located on the front of each of the cutters is prostrution called the depth gauge or as some people refer to as raker or drag. The depth gauge acts much like the adjustment on a hand plain chisel and determines the depth of the cut or chip the tooth will take. The wider the gap between the tooth’s cutting edge and the type of depth gauge, the larger chip the chain will take.

If there were no gap between the cutting edge and the depth gauge, the chain virtually wouldn’t cut at all. Your chain has been designed to cut optimally with a specific depth gauge clearance. Check your owner’s manual or with your authorized dealer to see what gaps is specified for your chain.

You can see that the cutter’s top plate has a declining slope as the tooth’s cutting edge is sharpened back, the depth gauge will also need to be filed to maintain the recommended chip clearance between the tops of the depth gauges and the tooth’s cutting edge. The chain consists of a series of tie straps and ribbets, which hold the components together, separating the right and left hand cutter alternately.

This is the drive link. It has several functions. It’s the portion of the chain that engages the sprocket, compelling the chain around the guide bar. It acts as a scooping device, dispursing the lubricant that comes from the oiler to components of the bar and chain and it guides the chain in the bar groove.

For your chain to be sharpened properly, you must make sure that each tooth has been filed at the same specific angle with the proper file, that the top plate of each cutter tooth is the same length and that the depth gauges are set at the proper height. Begin the process by looking for the cutter with the most damage or wear. This will become your master cutter. Once sharpened properly, this cutter slope and length will be what all the cutters should look like. Not doing so will result in a poor cutting performance; your chain will run roughly and could even break.

As you file the first cutter, count the number of filing strokes you take and be conscious at the amount of pressure you’re applying to the file. Using the same number of strokes with the same amount of pressure on the rest of your cutters should result in a consistent length on each. If you are uncertain, check the individual cutter’s length with a measuring device. If you find that some teeth are larger than others, make the necessary sharpening adjustments. Always file the cutter from the inner portion of the cutter outward. Never file from the outside in. This will dull the chain and damage the file and when you’re filing, never allow the file to drag back across the cutting edge when pulling the file back. Doing so will quickly dull your cutter and damage your file as well.

Your filing guide has a plate positioned on both sides of the file. Placing the filing guide on this chain, the plate on one side of the file will rest on the leading edge of the cutter while the other plate will rest upon the top portion of the depth gauge equipped with the proper sized round filed and assuming that your depth gauges have been maintained in the past. This will give your round file the proper filing depth when sharpening, resulting in the proper edge of the cutter.

Also when filing, the filing guide should be held at a 90-degree angle to the bar or level, tilting the filing guide even slightly can result in the misfiled chain that won’t function properly. On the top of your filing guide, you’ll see lines inscribed into the metal. The lines kept parallel to the guide bar when sharpening each tooth will result in the proper angle required for the tooth’s cutting edge when used properly. Your filing guide will help assure a proper and consistent cutting angle and filing depth on each tooth. This is how a properly sharpened cutter should look. Here is a cutter that has been improperly filed and has a severe back slope, a sign possibly indicating that too large a file was used. This chain has a severe hook indicating that too small a round file was used or that the file was pushed down too hard and allowed to drop too far down into the tooth during the filing process. Here you see a top plate with too shallow of an angle and this is a top plate with too severe an angle.

Now that you have the proper filing guide have determined your starting point, begin your filing. Remember to count your strokes, the amount of pressure you are applying to file and do not drag your file back across the cutter. The right and left hand cutters alternate so you will need to file every other tooth from one side of the bar or all of the right hand cutters first for instance. Then change to the other side to sharpen all the left hand cutters again, remembering to keep the angle and depth the same on all teeth.

Once all of your cutters have been sharpened on both sides, you will need to check the depth gauge’s height and file down the tang if needed. Place the depth gauge tool on the chain, as shown here, allowing the tooth’s depth gauge to protrude in the slot of the tool. If any portion of the depth gauge protrudes above the slot of the tool that portion will need to be filed down level with the depth gauge tool using the flat file. Perform this same procedure for every tooth. If the depth gauges are not maintained and are too high, not allowing enough clearance, this will result in poor performance and result the chain’s ability to cut. If you didn’t use the proper depth gauge tool and filed the depth gauges too low, below the manufacturers specifications, this will results in a chain that cuts too aggressively, possible causing harm to your saw and increasing the risk of backlash, making the chainsaw very unsafe, which can result in a serious or fatal injury to the operator.

If you have filed your chain’s depth gauge several times, you may find the leading edge of the depth gauge will need to be dressed to conform to an angle similar to how it looked when it was new. Stihl depth gauges have a line scribed into the metal showing the proper angle for the leading edge for you to follow. If you don’t maintain this angle, it can result in excessive vibrations when cutting as well as diluting the low kickback properties on some chains.

For some people, sharpening a chain is uncomfortable or even intimidating. If this is the case with you, you might want to keep one or more spare chains that are properly sharpened with your while you are working on your chainsaw. As your chain becomes dull, you can easily replace the dull chain with one of your spares.

When you are done with your work, return your dull chain to your authorized dealer where they can be properly sharpened on specially designed on an electric chain grinder and you will be ready to cut again with a set of freshly sharpened chains.

Next, check your chain brake to make sure it is functioning properly and that it engages and disengages. Like an automobile brake, your chainsaw’s chain brake will incur wear each time it is engaged. The amount of wear will vary depending on things such as usage or even the conditions in which the saw is used. Excessive wear will reduce the effectiveness of the chain brake and can ultimately render it inoperable.

Begin your own inspection; you should always turn your chainsaw into your authorized dealer to have the chain brake inspected according to the schedule form in your manual. With the engine running at idle, engage the chain brake by moving your left wrist forward while gripping the handle then accelerate the engine to full throttle for no more than about 30 seconds before premature wear to the braking system or harm to the engine. The chainsaw must not rotate. If the chain brake fails to function properly, it’s imperative that you take your chainsaw to an authorized dealer for the proper repairs prior to using your chainsaw again.

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