Sunday, February 24, 2013

An electric chainsaw sharpener- good and bad

Over my lifetime I've sharpened a few hundred feet of chain on various saws with mixed results. It seems each time I do it by hand I get really good at it just about when it’s finished which means that I have a variety of teeth all sharpened at slightly different angles and usually a couple is skinned knuckles.I looked at  electric chainsaw sharpeners the past but never found one that really fit my hobbyist budget. Generally speaking, the ones I saw were well in excess of $100 or more.On Saturday, as is my custom, I visited the local Princess Auto (toy store) which for all intents and purposes fills the gap left here in Canada by not having a Harbor Freight outlet.After seeing this unit in the flyer I was delighted to see a full palette of them on the floor and I rushed over with a couple of other guys wherein we took part justifying the purchase together and each wandered away with the sharpener underarm. I bought an extra stone for mine while I was there because as luck usually has it they're out of stock when I need one so it's better to have a extra than to be short.Like many low-end products today this one was made in China and required the usual tweaking and adjusting to make it function as it should. The instruction that came with it were just awful with washed out pictures and a parts list that only and eagle scout could read accompanied by English text that left everything to be desired.The first problem I ran into was that the two removable guide plates that held the saw blade in the proper position were loose and I couldn't get the back of the chain in between the plates without using an instrument to hold them apart. I solved that by slipping elastic band between them as shown here:chain-sharp-3

 The next problem  I ran into was that the nut holding the chain stop in position was
shipped  out with the thread stripped. That would have been a minor consideration had the bolt holding the stop not been of a special design that prevented me from using a substitute.

After several attempts, I managed to pack enough washers on the ball I was able to grasp a bit of the thread and temporarily repair the defect.Apart from a few adjustments to snug up the assembly I was nearly ready to do a trial with an old chain.There are enough stops on the machine to allow you to slide the chain through the slot as shown above and up to the stop.when it’s in position you can decide which direction to turn the pivoting head to either sharpen the right or left set of teeth or swing the head back and forth.There is also stop at the back of the machine that limits the depth of cut so you don't damage the actual chain body  removing the chain back and forth during the sharpening process.Once the chain is adjusted against the cleaned saw stop You can snug it up with adjustable chain tool as shown below.From that point on It's simply a matter of moving the chain forward and repeating the process till you're finished.chain-sharp-6The reason for building the small table to support the jig to allow the chain itself to hangdown away from the underside of the jig and  to allow the chain to slide forward and backward as adjustments are being made The last picture shows An example of  one of the teeth Just sharpened on this rig.chain-stop-5Once the machine was set up for the chain it became very consistent and actually quite quick.I do recommend that you turn the machine off while adjusting the chain as there is little room for error and the machine could bite you if you're not careful,chain-sharp-8

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