November 16, 2010

I’ve blogged in the past about sharpening chainsaws. At its most basic, that means using a round file on the saw chain’s cutters and a flat file on the guides. Various power sharpeners are also available. All take time, and most require removing the saw chain from the bar. Now, there’s a better way.

The Oregon PowerSharp lets you work until the chain dulls and then sharpens the saw chain in seconds—on the bar. You’re back cutting in less time than it takes to add fuel. The PowerSharp system consists of a specially designed saw chain with top sharpening links, a guide bar and a bar mount sharpener with a replaceable sharpening stone. The chain also includes special diamond-coated dresser links that resurface the stone.

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This past week, I tried out the system. After clearing several hundred feet of brush choked fence line (at dirt level), the saw chain was still sharp. Finally, I resorted to the unthinkable. I revved up the motor and ran the saw chain across a rock. Sparks flew. When I did my next cut on a log, I had to practically push it through.

I stopped the chainsaw and latched the sharpener to the end of the bar. I then restarted the motor and pushed the foot of the sharpener into the log for about five seconds. Again sparks flew, this time as the saw chain sharpened. 

When I attacked the log again, the saw pulled itself through in a third the time, a sure sign of a sharp saw chain. If you have a chainsaw, I recommend checking out PowerSharp. Systems are available in 14, 16 and 18-inich bars, depending on brand. At $75 to $80 for a system, it’s a steal.

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