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Chain Saw Sharpeners for Professionals

Aug 8, 2008
When considering a chain saw sharpener you can choose from professional quality, enthusiast level, and handyman sharpeners.

Professional chain saw sharpeners can be mounted on either a wall or a work bench, and will typically sharpen the chain after it is removed from the saw. When selecting a professional quality, bench mounted chain saw sharpener make sure it has at least a one quarter horsepower direct drive motor with large fan and aluminum fins to keep the motor running cool.

Professional chain saw sharpeners usually have easy head angle adjustments. You should look for features that allow precise adjustments to be made quickly and easily so that you can sharpen virtually any kind of chain design.

The sharpener should also have an adjustable vice to grip any chain type. The vice is especially useful if it's a hydraulic vice. This will automatically lock the chain when the head of your sharpener is lowered, and can reduce the time it takes to sharpen your chain by up to 50%. It is important that the vice will handle an offset of up to 10 degrees so you can maintain the correct corner and leading edge angles on chisel cutters.

You also want a professional chain saw sharpener to have a large diameter cutting wheel. Acceptable grinding wheels are anywhere from 5 inches to 26 inches in diameter. You should ensure that a professional chain saw sharpener comes with several grinding wheels, including 1/8" 3/16" and 1/4" thickness, as well as a wheel gauge wrench, and a dressing brick. The larger the wheel, the less chance you have to get cutter burn on the teeth of the chain.

A cutting length adjuster, and easy-to-read scales for the head angle, also ensure that both left and right cutters are sharpened to equal lengths and angles. Your sharpener should also have a good chain centering feature. High end chain saw sharpeners can be easily adjusted to handle chipper, semi-chisel, and full chisel chains from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch pitch, as well as the 3/4 inch pitch chains.

Enthusiast level chain saw sharpeners will still provide precise sharpening. They should also include the ability to sharpen chipper, semi-chisel, and full chisel chains, including 1/4 inch, 0.325 inch, 3/8 inch, and 0.404 inch pitches. The angle of the vice guide should be able to accommodate cutter angles anywhere from 0 degrees to 35 degrees.

You should look for an easy to adjust chain vice. On an enthusiast sharpener the vice will probably be operated by a cam lever instead of hydraulics. The ability to adjust your cutter links and the grind depth are very important, and as always there should be a transparent safety guard so that you can see where the wheel is grinding. Chain saw sharpeners in this price range typically come with grinding wheels 4 inches in diameter, and run at speeds of 4,000 to 5,000 rpm.
About the Author
Tim Bridger runs the Chain Saw Sharpener Guide, where you can get honest, practical advice about how to sharpen your chainsaw, and learn all about a chain saw sharpener.
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