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I'm Not a

Registered: 08/30/12
Posts: 2,358
Reply with quote  #1 
Not exactly gpa related, but, has anyone hear had experience with a Harbor Freight chainsaw sharpener.. What's your  experience with it? Pro, or con?


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500 Posts!

Registered: 07/12/12
Posts: 724
Reply with quote  #2 
I own one.  It took some time to line everything up the way i like, but it works fine.  For the money I would say you would be happy.
ICCC #1224


25+ Posts
Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 78
Reply with quote  #3 
I have an earlier one from harbor freight called "Nick the Grinder" made in Italy,
it looks like the one that was copied  to make the orange Harbor freight one.
A couple weeks ago I was given one of the orange Harbor Freight sharpeners,
it works pretty good, maybe not quite as well made as the Italian one.
For just do-it yourself they both work fairly well.

I also have an Oregon 511A, and after using it, I hardly use smaller ones.

For the price, not a bad deal, just take your time, and only cut a small
amount of each cutter, don't get the cutter very hot, it will remove some
of the temper, and the chain will dull faster, if chain is really dull, I will go
around sometimes three or four times, taking a small cut each time.

ICCC# 324

Senior Member
Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 224
Reply with quote  #4 
I use mine all the time . Very pleased. Just have to line up blade with cutting edge and adjust for different chain sizes.

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Maker of Moving

Registered: 05/28/09
Posts: 4,659
Reply with quote  #5 
An electric one? I've sure thought about it.
For years I was told "You just sharpen it with a file" but nobody could ever show me how, it was just some magic thing. I also noticed that some people could do a really good job and some people made it worse. I was also told that a right handed person could only sharpen one side and a left handed person should do the other.

I finally bought a file with a guide, lemmie tell you thats made all the difference. Most people get their sharpening within about 10 degrees of original which I find is okay but nothing great. With a guide I can do more like 2 degrees which works a lot better. Coincidentally I don't let my dad sharpen my saw anymore. Every time he does it cuts in circles and it takes me 4 or 5 sharpenings to fix it...

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Senior Member
Registered: 07/15/13
Posts: 226
Reply with quote  #6 
My dad owns one from Harbor Freight.  He likes his.  The main thing is to set it up at the right angle, take your time and just take a little off at a time.  If you used it about 6 times, it has paid for itself.  Dad has 5 chains he rotates on  his big Stihl chainsaw.  Swap chains before they get really done and they are easier to sharpen because they won't have to be ground as much.  Running sharp chains is also better for your saw and prevents it from bogging down and it cuts safer.

Caretaker of unloved and unkept lanterns.

Coleman 275 Appreciation Syndicate. Member #0080

25+ Posts
Registered: 07/26/13
Posts: 44
Reply with quote  #7 
Okay since  everyone  is  jumping  in  on  this  thread, i use  the  file and  guide  to, as i  have a  collection  of  stihl chainsaws. I  am  nitpicky with how  i  sharpen  them  and  finish  of  filing  each  individual  tooth  with a  light final file  cut and  then  finish  them  off with a  fine  round stone. Nit picking  i  know  but it gives  that  extra  bit  of  sharpness.

I  don't  lend  my  saws  out  either

Same with  my  axes, I  have  the  old  kelly  and  plumb  axes  with the good old  time  steel  edges  that  hold  an edge, and  sharpen  them  up  untill  i  can  practically  shave  with  them.

Thats a  point  about  good  steel, if  your saw chain  is  losing  its  sharpness  to  quickly, and  to  havnt  dunked  it  into  the  ground  of  run  low  on  chain  lube, or  cut  extra  tough  wood. It could  be  the  quality  of the  steel in  the  chain. I  only  use  stihl  chain as its  good  high  quality  steel.

This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and doing your own work, just as we told you before. As a result people who are not christians will trust and respect you, and you will not need to depend on others for enough money to pay your bills.
1 Th 4: 11-12 NLT

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Official 275 Mocker
Registered: 01/02/09
Posts: 2,265
Reply with quote  #8 
I work for Oregon Chain at least for now. 200 people being laid off over the next 30 to 60 days where I work.

The Oregon 511A is a good unit. Costs more than most causal users want to spend.

The Harbor Fright small hand unit is made in the same factory as the small hand sharpener that Oregon sells. I think that HF unit may have just a tad smaller electric motor in it.

To sharpen by hand buy the correct size round file for your chain. Buy the small chain file guide that fits over the teeth of your chain. This file guide has a line angled in relation to the angle of the saw tooth. File each chain cutter at this angle. Also file all of the cutter teeth so that the top plate of the cutters is the same length. One or two uses of the file plate and you will know the correct angle and be sharpening like a pro.


You don't have to be a Marxman to shoot a 275 with a shotgun!

See see Nickname in signature line![sCo_hmmthink][sSig_goodjob] 

The Porch Picasso
Registered: 12/11/08
Posts: 3,146
Reply with quote  #9 
I have a bench mount that tractor supply sells Got a wicked deal on it ! So far I am very pleased ,I brought back some prety rough chains I had piled up . The Oregone is bye far the best but this low buck repop works just fine for my needs . In the woods I still hand file when I need to and I am perfect at that ....
ICC Member #1056

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Super Poster
Registered: 08/14/12
Posts: 2,258
Reply with quote  #10 
i got a guy in town that does my chains for 3.00 each and that just suits me fine for now
275 Apreciation Syndicate Member #0019 dave !


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Open 1/4 Turn To Left

Registered: 04/07/11
Posts: 2,747
Reply with quote  #11 
As long as the attention of so many experienced people is here, does anybody use a Dremel rotary tool setup with the appropriate stone? That's what I use, but am not satisfied with the results, so I've been looking at that Harbor Freight unit also.

Is it possible for an expert to just look at a chain of mine and critique my technique? I was thinking of asking around. I've used a hand file but found it tedious, I figured a light touch with the Dremel should have done the job.

I can stop collecting anytime. I just don't want to.... Soooo.... How much do you want for that?

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So many stoves,
so little time

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 1,255
Reply with quote  #12 
I have a Dremel tool setup also, only used it a few times.  To keep stuff together, I glued them, but now if I want to do the other side, I have to pry the bits apart.  Hand file in the field if needed, never got that talent for the best job.  I do a better job hand filing with one hand over the other.

Duane  Piece of cake.

Quien es?
Registered: 04/23/12
Posts: 1,162
Reply with quote  #13 
I know this is not cool to say: sharpening by hand is the best. The file guides are excellent. Husky sells a good one that also has a slot for a flat file which takes down the rakers at the same time.
"I upped my standards. Please up yours" - B.T. Kid

Beef Supreme Hater
of Insta-Clips

Registered: 08/04/10
Posts: 2,075
Reply with quote  #14 
I should find a guide. I know I'd be grinning harder when buzzing up wood.
Ryan. El Toro Bravo. The Bull. El Mysterioso. Aye que delicioso.
ICCC# 1046
275 Appreciation Syndicate Mob Member #0044
Don't take life too seriously, it's not like you're getting out alive.

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Day Late and
a Dollar Short

Registered: 12/17/08
Posts: 7,470
Reply with quote  #15 
I've used a Dremel setup for years, but occasionally take my chains to my nephew, who has a bench type grinder/sharpener, to get them evened out if they get to wanting to cut in a curve.
Matthew 5:16:

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Jim-- Coleman Blues Member #014

Super Poster
Registered: 11/29/11
Posts: 2,118
Reply with quote  #16 
Waste of money that will ruin the temper of the teeth on your chain and you will still have to file your rakers by hand. 

Unless it's a Silvey, I would not recommend an electric grinder.  

Billy is right, proper hand filed chain is the best.  There is a learning curve, but done properly is hard to beat. 

Senior Member
Registered: 07/03/13
Posts: 164
Reply with quote  #17 
Originally Posted by bing

"Unless it's a Silvey, I would not recommend an electric grinder."

Silvey is most certainly the Gold Standard, However, for the homeowner/firewood hack there are a couple decent grinders out there for far less than the admission of a Silvey.  I have an old Foley Belsaw, made in USA, which works very well.

"Billy is right, proper hand filed chain is the best.  There is a learning curve, but done properly is hard to beat. 

Yea, what he said.
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