Stihl Saw -- Sharpener, Chain Brake
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    RodW's Avatar
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    Stihl Saw -- Sharpener, Chain Brake

    I've been using my Stihl MS180 chainsaw to help with debris cleanup for Hurricane Michael victims. I have one question and one recommendation.

    CHAIN BRAKE HANDLE: My little saw is great for firewood and small stuff, but when cutting standing trees or anything large, my hands repeatedly trip the chain brake because the handle is too close to the grip. I find myself holding both handles and squeezing them together. Does anyone know of a solution to this problem, other than removing the chain brake handle altogether? This has become yet another safety device that causes dangerous distractions. I know its value, but I have to do something about this problem.

    STIHL 2-IN-1 EASY FILE CHAIN SHARPENER: Everyone in the area was sold out of files, so my local Stihl dealer recommended the 2-in-1 sharpening tool. They gave it very high praise despite its ~$50 price tag. I have to agree. It's easy, fast, accurate, and does an exceptional job. My saw cuts faster then it ever has. Here's the link I used, but be sure to get the right size for your saw & chain.
    https://amazon.com/gp/product/B00HY90LAE/

    Here are a couple of the best YouTube links:
    https://youtu.be/marzGaMq6pM
    https://youtu.be/SzjmpNTVH6U
    Last edited by RodW; 11-10-2018 at 05:48 PM.
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    I’ve been using that 2 in one sharpener for years. Love it. I need to get another one though. Mine won’t stay together anymore.



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    pferd makes that sharpener for Stihl same thing different color and usually a few dollars cheaper.

    https://www.amazon.com/Pferd-17304Pf...70_&dpSrc=srch
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    Quote Originally Posted by RodW View Post

    CHAIN BRAKE HANDLE: My little saw is great for firewood and small stuff, but when cutting standing trees or anything large, my hands repeatedly trip the chain brake because the handle is too close to the grip. I find myself holding both handles and squeezing them together. Does anyone know of a solution to this problem, other than removing the chain brake handle altogether? This has become yet another safety device that causes dangerous distractions. I know its value, but I have to do something about this problem.
    I do the very same thing, and despite having the brake handle in my grip on the saw, I had a situation where I did activate the brake when the saw rotated down moving my hand forward. Since it is often designed as a handle, I almost wonder if hanging onto both isn't part of the design and plan..... Otherwise, my 3xl hands, especially when wearing gloves, makes bumping the brake handle very easy.

    Smaller saws seem to have very little clearance between the handles. I am going to work with mine the way it is, just because it hasn't been a big problem, more of an inconvenience to me. I find the "safety chains" , also called "Low Profile" chains, which come on many new saws cut not nearly as well as those chains which don't have the safety elements in the chain between the cutting teeth.

    My friend who owns and operates the local small engine shop buys chain in bulk on spools so they can make chains to fit anything and the "commercial chain" doesn't have the "safety elements", which when missing, greatly improved the chains actual cutting......of course, it would also make any chain saw injuries even more catastrophic.
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    Good for you

    Quote Originally Posted by RodW View Post
    I've been using my Stihl MS180 chainsaw to help with debris cleanup for Hurricane Michael victims. I have one question and one recommendation.

    CHAIN BRAKE HANDLE: My little saw is great for firewood and small stuff, but when cutting standing trees or anything large, my hands repeatedly trip the chain brake because the handle is too close to the grip. I find myself holding both handles and squeezing them together. Does anyone know of a solution to this problem, other than removing the chain brake handle altogether? This has become yet another safety device that causes dangerous distractions. I know its value, but I have to do something about this problem.

    STIHL 2-IN-1 EASY FILE CHAIN SHARPENER: Everyone in the area was sold out of files, so my local Stihl dealer recommended the 2-in-1 sharpening tool. They gave it very high praise despite its ~$50 price tag. I have to agree. It's easy, fast, accurate, and does an exceptional job. My saw cuts faster then it ever has. Here's the link I used, but be sure to get the right size for your saw & chain.
    https://amazon.com/gp/product/B00HY90LAE/

    Here are a couple of the best YouTube links:
    https://youtu.be/marzGaMq6pM
    https://youtu.be/SzjmpNTVH6U
    Good for you for helping Michael victims. With what I saw around Panama City, you have a lifetime job but every little bit helps somebody.

    I left my MS170 with my brother in law in Panama City as he didn't have a reliable saw. It wasn't near enough of a saw for what he has down but I wasn't sure he could handle the larger saws safely. The 170 is a nice limbing saw but on anything over about 6" it lacks power, especially with a sharp chain. I was sorry I couldn't spend more time down there but we did what we could.

    Bless you for helping others. That area needs all the help it can get.

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    I have the blue handled version of that sharpener. Works fantastic. I use it during my cutting jobs to keep the chain in razor sharp condition and both of my saws are like hot knives through butter.

    Biggest benefit to it that I have found is that it doesn't just sharpen the tooth, bit it knocks the depth gauges down to the correct height at the same time. Nothing worse than having the wrong depth to match against the tooth. Too shallow and your cuts are extremely slow. Too deep and you keep stalling out the saw.
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    I commend you for helping clean up efforts.
    I'm afraid you need to add another saw to your tool list.
    I would consider your current saw as extremely dangerous to use for what you are doing if you have to stress the anti vibe elements to fit your hands.
    Small saws are wonderful as they reduce fatigue and in my experience they get the most use.
    Upgrading to maybe a 50cc saw should keep the saw on the light side and provide greater power allowing at a minimum the use of an 18 inch bar and give you plenty of clearance between the chain brake and front handle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff B View Post
    I'm afraid you need to add another saw to your tool list.


    Thanks for the advice. I'll do some comparisons with larger saws. If I could somehow rotate the chain brake handle on its pins to allow an extra 1/2", this one might still be viable. I just don't know it that could be done, or done safely. On the other hand, going bigger sounds like a lot more fun!

    By the way, helping out in the Panama City area isn't as selfless as it might seem. I've always enjoyed chainsaw work. It's a guilt-free way to avoid my honey-do list and the associated spousal supervision. (I ran out of trees to prune on my puny half acre suburban lot pretty quickly.)
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    I love the easy file system.
    I bought the Pferd a year or so ago, two sizes for my two chain sizes.
    The best part is that I dont have to file twice, one time around and both the teeth and depth gauges are done.
    Our local Stihl the Stihl version for about the same price as the Pferd on Amazon, so I guess it might pay to look at the dealer.
    I used to touch up my saws after a tank, and every third Id look at the depth gauges. It was kind of a pain for me to get them right. Now its a piece of cake.

    As to the chain brake, I cant say Ive ever had that issue, even with Winter gloves on, and Ive got pretty big hands (wear a 2X).
    Sometimes if Im cutting longs on the ground, and bent over, I can hit it, but thats positioning, not the saws fault. And thats usually only on my little saw.
    Ive used my neighbors little 40cc saw, both a Poulan and a Dolmar, and cant recall having that issue.
    I have used the same saw you have, and dont recall any issues, but didnt use it long at all.
    If I were in your shoes, Id speak with the dealer about it, and see if something isnt quite right with it. If nothing is wrong, Id definitely be looking for a better fitting saw. It certainly isnt mean to be held, and by doing so, you are defeating the safety on the saw, but you know that.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingnuke32 View Post
    pferd makes that sharpener for Stihl same thing different color and usually a few dollars cheaper.

    https://www.amazon.com/Pferd-17304Pf...70_&dpSrc=srch
    Would that sharpener be better with a handle like this??

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