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How to sharpen a chainsaw safely and the tools required.
It's always a good idea to have a good toolkit with you, with some spare parts and a few basic tools. And I'll run through these quickly. There's a combi spanner for tightening the chain and taking the bar off, a file for filing the chain, a depth gage cleaner for cleaning out the bar, a depth gage tool for checking the depth gages, a wire brush for cleaning the files, and a flat file for filing the gages down and the bar. Also, a small vice for knocking into a log so you can stabilize the chain and the bar, and a small tuning screwdriver, which is also useful for retuning and for cleaning a saw.
Those are basic chainsaw tools for the field, along with a good first-aid kit. And if in doubt, always have a spare chain with you, which is a quick solution, rather than sharpening a saw.
It's always a good idea to have the bar cover on if the chain is sharp. It protects the bar. It protects you. It protects your belongings, your ropes, your car or animals, anything like that. Always have the bar cover put on the bar, and make sure it's a reasonably good fit. Before you take the chainsaw out or start using it, give it a visual check-over and make sure it's all working properly, the chain break is working, the on/off switch is working, it's in good condition, there's no cracks, or the bolts on there, the chain capture is on there. Just give it a good check-over.
Have some clean fuel. Fuel it up. Always put the oil in first. And then fill the petrol afterwards, making sure the fuel is clean. Preferably, use a funnel with a gauze in it, and that will ensure you have clean fuel. And have the fueling station away from the operating area so there's no risk of fire.
So you've used the saw, you've started it, you've been in the woods, and you've got it blunt. In the woods, you can cut a tree and make a slot in it to stabilize the chain, or you can knock in a vise and put that in a log. Here we have the luxury of a vise. So we put the chain in the vise. Remember, the chain will be sharp. Even if you've blunted it, you can harm yourself. So if you're going to touch the chain, wear gloves on your hands to maneuver the chain or to touch it.
So we can now sort of lift the chain and move it and make sure it's moving freely.
When you're filing, you want a good, clean file, nice and sharp, the correct depth gage and the correct file. You look for the shortest tooth, and sometimes you can find where the chain was joined, where the two teeth are parallel or the same. Let's see if we can find them on this one.
OK. Here, the two teeth are the same. So that's a good starting point. You put the file in. You gage up the angle. It's 30 degrees in this case. You get a good stance, you hold the file well, and you give it two or three strokes, depending on how severely damaged the chain is.
And when filing, you have to be consistent. Give it the same amount of strokes on each file. Turn it over, turn it round, and get the next one on the same side, and just give it gentle strokes. You can feel the blade being taken off on the file. You can feel it.
Occasionally you might want to clean the file, make sure it's nice and clean, and rotate it. By turning it, it evens out the wear, and you get a nice, sharp file with a nice, sharp cutting action. Get the next tooth, same again. You glide through, nice and firm, with a right angle. You do that for the whole side of that chain.
And while we're on this side of the chain, we're just going to check the depth gages. They're important. That's the amount of cutting the chain we'll do. If the depth gages are too high, the chain won't cut, so we need to check those by putting that over the chain with a flat file. If they need filing, they will protrude, and you'll be able to sharpen them that way. And that's the same, for each tooth has its own depth gage. So you work all the way along one side of the bar, and when you've done that side, you rotate the bar and the chainsaw and you do the other side.
OK. So we've got through some basic maintenance on a chainsaw, but it's important to remember, chainsaws are very dangerous, and you need the correct training. You've got to be properly trained, the right safety equipment, all the personal protective equipment, and preferably working with somebody else who knows how to use a saw as well in the vicinity.
And always do a risk assessment before you use the saw, so if there is an emergency they know where to find you, the emergency services know where to find you, and people can come and help. There are different training courses available, at Plumpton College and other colleges, and private assessors. But definitely get trained and wear the safety equipment.