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Sharpening Chain Saw Chains – Abrasive Wheel is Important

by admin on February 10, 2013

If you are sharpening Carbide Chains, you should be using Diamond Wheels which is the hardest material on earth. CBN or Borazon is the second hardest material on earth and is used to sharpen Steel Chains which are the most common. Do not use Diamond on Steel Chains or CBN on Carbide Chains. The type of wheel is a 1F1 or 1FF1 and has a steel or aluminum core with a band of the 60 grit abrasive imbedded in a 1/4” or 1/8” resin bond around the outside periphery (X) of the wheel. There is a full radius (R) already shaped for the profile and chain pitch you are sharpening.

Make sure you have the right size diameter wheel and arbor hole to match your machine. Some of the more common diameters (D) are 4-1/8”, 5”, 5-3/4”, and 8”, with common arbor holes (H) being 1/2”, 7/8”, 1.0”, 12mm, and 22mm. Check the pitch of the chain you are sharpening by measuring between three consecutive rivets and dividing by 2.

Adjust your machine angles for sharpening like a regular AO wheel. Turn it on and start. The wheel will do the work! Don’t force it. It will cut clean and fast. Forcing it will slow the wheel causing burning and heat build up. For optimum cutting, the speeds you should be running these wheels at is about 3800 – 4400 RPM for 4” wheels, 3600 – 4000 for 5” wheels and 3000 – 3600 RPM for 5-3/4 to 6” wheels, although you may be limited to the motor RPM of your machine if the wheel is mounted directly to the motor shaft which is about 3450 RPM. Running the wheel too fast will make the wheel seem harder and cause burning and too slow will make the wheel seem soft and not cut as well.

If the chain saw wheel does not cut as fast as you think it should or seems to get “softer” over time, it may have glazed over, or swarf from the chain may have become imbedded in the resin bond that holds the abrasive and you may have to “open it up” to expose the CBN grit for cutting. This requires a cleaning stick or a piece of Aluminum Oxide (white stick about 4 x 3/4 x 3/4), normally provided with the new wheel. Wet the stick in a bucket of water. Start the wheel and then turn it off and as it is coasting, apply the end of the stick to the outside edge of the wheel. After a few revolutions of the wheel, a notch will wear into the cleaning stick and when the wheel cuts into the cleaning stick very fast, your wheel has been opened up and you are ready to continue sharpening. Your stick may now be used up but that’s ok.

After you have sharpened about 20 to 30 complete chains, it is a good idea to flip your wheel or turn it around and continue flipping every 20 chains or so. This will allow the wheel to wear evenly on both sides and you will increase the life of the wheel and keep an even profile.
Don’t forget about the depth gauge or rakers. These should be cut about every 3 sharpening’s because as you sharpen the chain, cutter height gets lower and lower and if the rakers are not reset the clearance between the cutter and the rakers becomes too small, and chain will not “bite”. You can use the regular AO or Pink wheels to do these.


While a super abrasive wheel is more expensive than the regular AO or pink wheel, you will have a much better value because you will probably use only one super abrasive wheel for about every 10 to 15 AO wheels conservatively speaking and there is less non productive time while you redress the AO Wheel. Remember the contact between the grinding wheel and the chain tooth is where the sharpening action occurs, making the wheel the most important part of your sharpener. — Copyright 2012 – Sharpeners Report. This Article, submitted by Diamond Wheel Inc, in MN, appeared in our Feb. 2012 issue.
Chain Supplier opton:
http://www.baileysonline.com/saw-chain-cross-reference-chart.asp

See a neat Chain Identification, Chart.

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