What’s in a File Handle?

Last week I tried a new file handle for sharpening my chainsaw.  I didn’t like it.  The handle was flat and I held the file only one way because it felt ‘right’.  I ended up filing every tooth with the same part of the file and quickly dulled the it.

Chainsaw Sharpening File Handles
The blue file handle on the left is not recommended for chainsaw teeth.  Because of the oblong shape you hold the file one way and quickly dull it.

I like big fat round file handles for chainsaw teeth.  I grip narrow file handles too tightly.  The tighter I grip the quicker my hand tires.

My preferred file handle is the Oregon file handle in the picture above.  It’s the fattest I can find.

A few years back I got a deal on Pferd wooden file handles.  They’re a little skinny for my taste but I use them because I don’t want to waste money.

File Handle Box
My file handle collection. I’ve tried many searching for the best handle and I like Oregon wood file handles the best.

I prefer wooden file handles because I like how they feel in my hands compared to slippery plastic.

Hand Filing Chainsaws Figured Out!

Hand filing chainsaws is a perishable skill.  If you don’t practice you’ll lose it.

Today it clicked.  I no longer need, or want, a file guide.

My chain needed a major sharpening.  The cutters were different lengths and the top plate angles were way off.  I also hit a piece of metal embedded in the wood.

Oregon 72DPX Chainsaw Chain Hand Filing Chainsaws
That’s hand filed Oregon 72DPX semi chisel chain.

I use a welding magnet with lines to reference the top plate angle.

Keep the top of the file 20-30% above the cutters.  That’s a good starting point.

Keep the file parallel to the top of the teeth.  Look for a clean straight line where the file touches the top of the tooth.  If you don’t see a clean straight line keep filing until you do.

Welding Magnet with Angles
The welding magnet I use to reference the top plate angle.  I stick it to the bar when sharpening. You don’t have to be perfect.  Did I really say that?  Yes, I did.
Oregon 72DPX Semi Chisel Chain Hand Filed
A different view of the chain.

Adjust the height of the file by applying pressure toward the tooth and up, toward the tooth and back or toward the tooth and down.  Apply MOST pressure straight back toward the tooth.

Safety first!  Wear thick gloves when hand filing chainsaws!

Check every tooth with the depth gauge tool and file as necessary.

I checked the depth gauges with a depth gauge tool and knocked them all down one stroke.  Sometimes I get impatient.

Take two rounding strokes over the front of the depth gauges after setting their height.  Rounding the front of the depth gauges gives a smooth cut.

Consistency is the key when hand filing chainsaws.  Make the process as repeatable as possible.

Hand Filed Oregon 72DPX Chainsaw Chain
Final view of the chain.

Hand Filing Chainsaws

A brief video showing the results.