Getting chainsaws and string trimmers in shape for spring - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Getting chainsaws and string trimmers in shape for spring yard work

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Spring is when homeowners head outside to get the yard into shape, after a long winter.  The Home Depot's Scott Krueger and Joe Autry say many of their customers are asking about two things--how to "restring" a string trimmer and how to sharpen a chainsaw. They have easy instructions on how to safely get the job done. 

Installing a simple weed trimmer head: 

Remove the spool of line from the trimmer housing. The most common method is to push in, twist and pull off the spool. If your trimmer head differs, follow the manufacturer's instructions to remove the old head. The head is attached to the trimmer with a retaining nut or bolt. Ratchet it free and pull it off (some nuts and bolts will be reverse-threaded).

Remove the old trimmer head. Mounting procedures vary slightly, depending on the brand of trimmer you own, so consult the manual before attaching the new head. Then mount the replacement head on machines with threaded shafts. Before mounting the new head, determine which triangular adapter piece and retaining nut fit the threaded shaft.

Sharpening a chainsaw blade: 

Having a sharp blade on a chainsaw not only saves effort and wear on your equipment but makes using it safer.  First, determine the size (or "gauge") of your saw's chain. You will need to buy either a rotary grindstone or chainsaw file that matches your chain tooth. Since there are several sizes of chainsaw teeth, the grindstone or file you choose must be the correct diameter for your saw. Typical sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 of an inch in diameter.

Clean the chain thoroughly. You may use mineral spirits or a commercial degreasing detergent to remove oil, dirt, and debris from your chain. Do not flood or get excessive cleaner on the engine or other components, since some of these products can damage the plastic housing or other parts.

Inspect the chain for damaged or overly worn links and teeth. Individual teeth may become chipped, broken, or bent, making them dangerous to use.  Any damaged, weakened, or overly worn chains should be discarded.

Set your saw on a solid surface or clamp the bar in a vise.  Locate the leading cutter as your starting point. This will be the shortest cutter on the chain. Set your file in the notch on the front of the cutter. This is the angled "tooth" on the front of the flat surface of the chain link. The curve of the file should exactly fit the curve of the face of the cutting tip.

Hold the file at the same angle that the cutter was ground or filed to begin with. The angle might be 25 or 30 degrees (check saw specifications). Special "ripping" chains may have a flatter angle. Some saw teeth have "witness markers" as a visual aid.

Slide the file across the face of the cutter, using a moderate twisting motion to discharge metal chips (filings) that are removed.  Work every second tooth identically from your beginning point around the loop.    Reverse sides of the saw and proceed around the unfiled teeth angled in the other direction.

Oil your chain, check the tension, and you should be ready to cut  again.

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