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Chainsaw not cutting straight.

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Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Mike G » 05 May 2021, 20:06

I have a nice little Stihl chainsaw, and I keep the chain sharp and lubricated. Why might it veer off to the right in every cut?
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Trevanion » 05 May 2021, 20:09

Flip the bar upside down, see if that helps.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby AJB Temple » 05 May 2021, 20:10

Did you at some point get the bar stuck in a cut and have to pull it out? Is the bar clamped in correctly?

Check bar is straight. Ensure chain correctly tensioned. Might be time for a new chain.

Presume you are following correct technique and cutting close to the spikes.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Mike G » 05 May 2021, 20:13

Trevanion wrote:Flip the bar upside down, see if that helps.


I've done that already, and it didn't.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Mike G » 05 May 2021, 20:17

AJB Temple wrote:Did you at some point get the bar stuck in a cut and have to pull it out? .....


Yes, I've done that a few times.

Check bar is straight. Ensure chain correctly tensioned.


The chain goes out of tension pretty quickly. I'll have another look at the bar.

Presume you are following correct technique and cutting close to the spikes.


Not any more, because that's when it skews to the right. I have to cut in with the tip to give myself a chance of cutting anywhere near where I want to.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Trevanion » 05 May 2021, 20:24

Mike G wrote:I've done that already, and it didn't.


I'm stumped, that's usually my solution to everything :eusa-think:

Do you sharpen by hand or have it done professionally?
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby novocaine » 05 May 2021, 20:26

The chain is quite likely worn out. They do that.
Think of it like a bike chain, ypu kniw how it costs you a fortune when you dont change it when its worn so you have to replace cassette, jockey wheels and sprockets? This is what your chainsaw chain feels like. :lol:
Sort of.

Chainge (hehe) the chain but also measure the groove in the bar, if its done a lot of work it is possible its worn.
Carbon fibre is just corduroy for cars.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby AJB Temple » 05 May 2021, 20:27

Cutting in with tip adds danger. Saw grabs and kicks up.

Take it to Stihl service place. If necessary replace bar and chain. It is much cheaper than replacing bits of you.

Chain might have stretched to its adjustment limit.

I did a chainsaw course (many years after I started using them) and they put the fear of god into me. Showed us lots of injury pics. Please be careful. Your granddaughter needs a toymaker!
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Mike G » 05 May 2021, 20:41

Trevanion wrote:......Do you sharpen by hand or have it done professionally?


By hand.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Cabinetman » 05 May 2021, 20:47

Ooh, are we going to be doing wooden toys soon? First Grandson arrived 5 months ago and I can’t wait, will be buying some Beech when I go next. Ian
Yes do take care.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Trevanion » 05 May 2021, 20:50

Mike G wrote:By hand.


You can file too much off of one side if you file a chain a lot of times, which can cause a slight veer when cutting. I only file a chain a couple of times in a pinch and then take them in to be properly ground for about £5, they do cut a lot better after being ground all the same compared to a filed edge.

That being said, I only use the chainsaw once or twice a year for ten minutes or so, if that!
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Woodbloke » 06 May 2021, 06:43

AJB Temple wrote:I did a chainsaw course (many years after I started using them) and they put the fear of god into me. Showed us lots of injury pics. Please be careful. Your granddaughter needs a toymaker!


Mike and I had this conversation a while ago and I also am scared witless by the things. I wanted to get hold of an electrizical one but SWIMBO vetoed that one pretty smartly - Rob
I no longer work for Axminster Tools & Machinery.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby NickM » 06 May 2021, 06:46

Trevanion wrote:
Mike G wrote:By hand.


You can file too much off of one side if you file a chain a lot of times, which can cause a slight veer when cutting. I only file a chain a couple of times in a pinch and then take them in to be properly ground for about £5, they do cut a lot better after being ground all the same compared to a filed edge.

That being said, I only use the chainsaw once or twice a year for ten minutes or so, if that!


I’d guess that this is the answer. If you watch videos on hand sharpening, they frequently suggest you file an extra stroke on your “weaker” side to keep it even. The symptom of uneven filing is that the saw pulls to one side.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Mike G » 06 May 2021, 07:31

NickM wrote:......If you watch videos on hand sharpening, they frequently suggest you file an extra stroke on your “weaker” side to keep it even......


I don't follow this. I sharpen alternate teeth all the way around, then turn the saw around and do the other half. I don't see where a weaker or stronger side comes into it.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby NickM » 06 May 2021, 07:58

Mike G wrote:
NickM wrote:......If you watch videos on hand sharpening, they frequently suggest you file an extra stroke on your “weaker” side to keep it even......


I don't follow this. I sharpen alternate teeth all the way around, then turn the saw around and do the other half. I don't see where a weaker or stronger side comes into it.


It's a fair question, but this is the video I was thinking of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTsJe5-ECpg

He suggests that if the length of the cutters get uneven then it won't cut straight.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Phil Pascoe » 06 May 2021, 17:42

Mike G wrote:
NickM wrote:......If you watch videos on hand sharpening, they frequently suggest you file an extra stroke on your “weaker” side to keep it even......


I don't follow this. I sharpen alternate teeth all the way around, then turn the saw around and do the other half. I don't see where a weaker or stronger side comes into it.


You'll probably find one side easier and more comfortable to do that the other - do the least comfortable side first. Put a square on the bar and ensure it's not wearing to one side. A used fairly fine jigsaw blade makes a good rake for the crud that builds up in the groove.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Guineafowl21 » 07 May 2021, 19:53

Check the bar ribs, where the chain rides, are even. If not, they will allow the chain to tip to one side and follow a curved path. Correct with a flat file, then chamfer off any burrs.

Within reason, tooth length does not have to be even - the amount of ‘bite’ any tooth has is governed by the depth gauges (“rakers”). It’s possible the depth gauges on one side are lower, allowing a greater bite and so biasing the direction of cut. You should have a flat file and depth gauge measuring jig with your saw.

Another common cause is hitting a stone on one side, knocking the sharp corners off the affected teeth - these will need more filing than the other side to cut the same amount of wood. Correct this and then set the depth gauges.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Mike G » 07 May 2021, 20:03

Depth gauge. Hmm..... :eusa-think:

That's a really useful post,and I'll be referring to it closely when I have a go at this tool over the next day or two.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Guineafowl21 » 08 May 2021, 10:29

AFF468D7-3B91-4166-BE84-ABBFD0BC0005.jpeg
(34.59 KiB)

The gap depicted is crucial - too big, and the saw will snag, too small and you will have to push the saw through the cut - it won’t bite. Uneven on left/right teeth, and you will cut a curve.

As you sharpen the teeth, the cutting edge gets lower and the gap reduces. So, every 3-4 sharpenings, make sure you file down the depth gauges to suit.

In many ways, it’s like sharpening a handsaw - counting strokes per tooth is fine if the teeth are all even to start with. If some have hit a stone or earth, they end up less sharp than the others. You are better off sharpening each tooth until it’s sharp (catches your thumbnail).

I sharpen other people’s saws, not professionally, and the enduring myth that each tooth should be the same length is the major cause of poor cutting. I’ve even done a little experiment to prove this.
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Phil Pascoe » 08 May 2021, 10:37

Guineafowl21 wrote: It’s possible the depth gauges on one side are lower, allowing a greater bite and so biasing the direction of cut.


But highly unlikely if they've not been touched before (which would see to be the case from Mike's following post).
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Re: Chainsaw not cutting straight.

Postby Guineafowl21 » 08 May 2021, 10:56

Phil Pascoe wrote:
Guineafowl21 wrote: It’s possible the depth gauges on one side are lower, allowing a greater bite and so biasing the direction of cut.


But highly unlikely if they've not been touched before (which would see to be the case from Mike's following post).

Agreed, but the depth setting will change either if the gauge is filed, or if the tooth is filed. If Mike has been filing the teeth more on one side, they will be lower and so affect the setting. It’s worth measuring.
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