Sunday, April 29, 2018

Chainsaw Sharpening Tips

Holy Cow, it has been seven years since I posted this one, and it is still worth reading.  I will be doing chainsaw work in the days and weeks ahead and moving new wood into the barn for next winter. Back To The Old Grind!

This ad was in a little farm newspaper that we get in our mail every week, and I think it is safe to assume that many chainsaw owners believe the statement that chains can be sharpened "4-5 times," and that they are willing to pay $10.00 to have a chain sharpened for a twenty inch bar. That is a pretty good gig if you can get it, but when you figure that the saw owner is going to be paying $50 to sharpen a $15 dollar chain into oblivion, and will be cutting with a dull saw most of the time, it makes me cringe. When you buy a couple new chains for your saw, buy a box of files, a sharpening jig that will work on your saw, and take the time to learn how to sharpen. It's easy, and we will go over the basics for you.

Out in front on each tooth is the depth gauge. You will hear it called the raker, but it's real purpose is to control the thickness of wood that the tooth can bite. As you file the tooth back the depth gauge must also be filed down to match it. You don't have to file the depth gauges every time you sharpen, and I do them only on the workbench, not in the woods. The parts of your tooth that you work with as you file are the depth gauge, the top plate, the side plate, the top angle, and the side angle. As you look at the teeth above, mentally draw a line 90 degrees down from the front edge of the top plate. That line should evenly intersect the arc on the front of the side plate. If the arc is hooked forward the tooth will bite more aggressively, and if the arc is leaning back the tooth will not bite hard enough. When the side angle is correct, the angle of the edge under the front of the top plate will be very close to 45 degrees.
You can see that the third tooth in the photo above is filed so the tooth will be lazy. This can be straightened out with a filing jig, or by providing a little downward pressure in the gullet as you file freehand.

I believe in filing every time I fill the fuel and oil tanks on my saw. These teeth have cut through one filling, and you can see a little bright edge on both teeth, plus an obvious bright spot on one tooth. This is how you know whether your chain is sharp or dull. The top should disappear at the front edge with no bright spots or edge. Usually you will be able to find some bright edges after each tank of fuel, so a fillup is a chance to keep your saw sharp.

Point the teeth into the light, put on your reading glasses, and the need to file becomes obvious.

Adjust the slack out of your chain, block up the bar and look for the dullest tooth. Check the gullet on the sideplate to see if you should press straight back, or slightly up or down, and push your file through with a straight stroke at the 25 to 35 degree angle of the front edge of the top plate. Use a file handle so you can make strokes the entire length of the file, and count the strokes needed to remove all of the bright edge. Advance the chain and repeat all of the way around the chain, then turn your saw around and do the other side.

The Carlton File-O-Plate is an easy jig to use to correct your angles if you use Carlton or Woodland Pro chain. It keeps your file at the right depth, and shows you the correct angle for the top plate.

This little tool is hard enough that files barely mark it, and you can use one for years. I usually file freehand in the woods because I am afraid of losing it, but I use it at home to straighten things out.

Look closely and you can see a depth gauge peeking up through the little slot. I like to file the depth gauges after I have rehabbed the saw at the end of the day, and the File-O-Plate system seems to set them right for cutting oaks and hickories.

This little gizmo is common in lots of chainsaw departments. I picked this one up at Lowe's in a Husqvarna blister pack, and the chains hanging nearby were Oregons. I set it on my Carlton chain, and it held the file a bit high. The good news here is that the slots can be filed a bit deeper so the rollers will hold the file in the sweet spot for you. This tool also has a gauge for filing your depth gauges, with two choices for the type of trees you are cutting. This is an easy tool to use, and most people who try it like it.

I think this little stamped guide is sold in every saw shop in the country, and it's not a bad tool to have in your kit. It shows you the correct angle for the front of the top plate, but it is not hard metal, so you have to be mindful of your side angle, and aim your pressure appropriately. If you bear downward, you will soon have the slot deepened, and you will be filing your gullets too low, making the teeth bite too aggressively.

This file guide has two slots for filing your depth gauges; one is .030", and the other is .035".
Use the right one for your chain and the type of wood you are cutting. I tried the .035" slot on my saw with a .325 chain, and it made the teeth too grabby to use in hickory. It still worked OK in oak, but that was a good lesson about pushing the limits. The .035" works fine on my saws with .375 chains.

The end of this tool is very useful for cleaning sawdust and gunk out of the rail on you saw's bar, so whether you sharpen with this jig or not, you will want to have one in your kit.

Once you understand what the tooth needs, you will be able to file freehand at every fillup so you always have a sharp saw. If you tag a rock, or other hard object, stop the saw right then and inspect every tooth. You may only have one or two dull ones, and you can fix it right then so you keep throwing chips instead of sawdust. Now, let's watch a logger touch up his saw during a fuel break. There is a mildly amusing story told by the skidder driver, so turn up the volume.

Today Is A Beautiful Day!

Proverbs 20:4  The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing."

Friday, April 27, 2018

Weekend Steam: Fowler's Ghost

This is an odd one!  The greatest danger is that you could not dump the heat source, since it was a quantity of hot fire bricks.  It is all very interesting, and the narrator does a fine job of telling the story.  Many Thanks to Merle, our great video spotter!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Tiling Has Changed A Bit In 100 Years

There have been big doins in our neighborhood. Several fields were tiled during the winter, and this one is in a good place to shoot a little video. They started laying the first pass and gave up because of field conditions more than a month ago. They are back and laying tile like crazy. We were lucky to drive by and get some videos and photos.

It is a far cry from the old days. I remember a Buckeye Ditcher at our farm in Iowa during the 1950's. It was more modern than the one in the following video, but it did the same thing. Tile had to be laid by hand and then covered over. Earlier machines than this one had a one-lung engine! I saw one of those sitting in front of Southeastern Illinois College near Harrisburg many years ago. There is another like it on display at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Prior to that, tile was laid by digging the trenches by hand. There probably were no 8 hour days for the diggers.

Kudos To Hi-Point!

Just how good is the lifetime warranty on Hi-Point firearms?  Cody Anderson, of Southern Illinois can tell you about it.  His home was destroyed by a tornado in early April (Link To WSILTV3 report).  (Link To WSILTV3 report #2 with Cody's Father) Here are Cody's pictures he posted to Hi-Point on their Facebook page.

I think Mr. Anderson was kidding when he asked if they would replace his Carbine, but Hi-Point demonstrated once again that they are a first-class outfit. Hi-Point products are affordable, dependable, made by Americans, and they are backed by a good warranty administered by great people.

Photo Credit, Cody Anderson, used with permission.  Thank You, Cody!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Old Man Motor Sports Part 2

We bought this Ariens tiller in 1980 and used it for many years. It came with a Tecumseh 7 HP engine, and that thing never ran well. The carburetor had to be adjusted constantly, even while you were working. I was pretty good at walking along beside it to adjust the mixture while it was under load. The old motor finally gave out and we put a new Briggs and Stratton engine on it in 2017. It is easy to use now. We should have upgraded long ago.

Anzac Day

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger is offering a nice one this week.  It is a 7 mm Magnum Mk II Express Rifle.  You can kill Moose and Squirrel!  Look up the ballistics on this caliber and then imagine the shots you can make with just a modicum of range estimation.  This beautiful rifle will sell mid-day, Wednesday, April 25.  CLICK HERE to read all about it and to place your bid.  $1100

WHOA!  Just a minute!  A 50th Anniversary Engraved Blackhawk just showed up on Ruger's GunBroker page, and it is selling tomorrow!  Here is the pic, and the LINK!  Ending time right now is 1:38 PM Eastern on April 25, 2018.  $780

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tuesday Torque: 6 HP Armstrong Engine (Waterloo, Iowa)

Waterloo-built engines are a subset of the gas engine collecting hobby.  A rare brand is the Armstrong, and this one has its own special idiosyncrasy.  The pushrod goes through the mixing valve!  Pretty neat, and very unusual.  This engine hopped into our friend Gary's truck the other day, and will be probably be at Pinckneyville in August.

Video by Gary Bahre

Sunday, April 22, 2018

This Has Great Potential....

...for a guy who grabs a chainsaw for woodworking projects!

Back To The NEW Old Grind!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Annual Gosling Show

Our annual goose couple has hatched five goslings successfully and we have been enjoying them the last couple days.  They will stay here for a while, then march cross-country to a neighbor's pond for a week or two, return and start flying.  Kids grow up so fast.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Weekend Steam: Chasing Santa Fe 3751

This one spotted by Merle just might give you a case of vertigo!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Earth Day/Week Is Coming Up In A Few Days... it is a good time to bring this one out again.  This reminds me that I need to get out and make wood for next winter before the weather turns hot.  We have nearly used all the wood stored in the barn, and if winter doesn't end soon we will be breaking up the furniture.

Change Your Flints!

Change Your Flints! from Concord Museum on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Tree Farmer Activities

I'm going to a Tree Farm committee meeting tomorrow!  While I worked at Fairfield we had four Tree Farmers of The Year in my district.  Bernie Podolsky, Terry Wheeler, Jack and Beth Riley, and last year, Gary and Debbie Stratton.  We are meeting tomorrow at the Stratton Tree Farm to plan a field day in the Fall of this year.

All of our Tree Farmers are extra special.  We don't nominate anyone into the program unless they have done many things well.  Jack planted the shortleaf pines you see here when he was a young man.  He got into timber management twenty years ago and he and Beth kept me busy at their farm.  Jack was nearly crushed to death by a falling tree and he cut back on doing chainsaw work.  He needed a big dead tree cut six years ago, so I took it down for him.  He was able to break it down into firewood OK after it was on the ground.  Jack is gone now, and Beth has passed the farm down to the kids.  Here is the snag coming down.

Gary has been managing his timber since he bought the ground in 1975, and he is getting close to having a big harvest.  During the last ten years he has been doing some burns to get oak regeneration established, and it will be fun to walk through it tomorrow and see if the oak seedlings are popping.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger is offering a Single-Six this week with moderate collector interest.  It is a .17 HMR that is marked Friends Of The NRA.  I think it is in the safe because the grips have an odd dark streak running their length, but that won't hurt the functioning at all.  This fine little revolver will sell mid-day, April 18, 2018.  CLICK HERE to place your bid.  $655

Crowder! Interview Me! Interview Me! I'm Over 21!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Model T On A Dyno!

It produced 12.7 horsepower out the rear axle.  That is pretty good for a 20 HP engine.  Consider the old tractors that were rated 10-20, or 15-30 (Drawbar and Belt Pulley).  Beat 50% of the rated engine horsepower and you are doing well.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Buzz It Off, It Comes Right Back!

Almost like a haircut.

Back To The Old Grind!

Friday, April 13, 2018

Weekend Steam: Test Run Failure In UK

There is some dramatic video here because of a steam leak that developed on the test run of SR 35018.  Click the YouTube icon in the lower right of the video and you will see the brief writeup about this ill-fated trip.  Go to Google Earth Pro and type in the town names.  You can then see where this locomotive will be running when the repairs are complete.

Thank You, Merle for spotting!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

When Do You Say No To A Tree?

This is one I said NO to!  I posted this video here in February 2012, and because I was still working I couldn't give some of the details.  This black oak had a big opening in the north side so you could look in and see that it was just a rotten shell.  It was not a safe tree to cut, and I recommended that the park staff wait until there was a good layer of snow on the ground, throw in some diesel fuel with gas mixed in, light it and walk away.  There would be no picnickers near this tree that time of year, and it made sense to me.  They did not like my recommendation and insisted that I drop it.  Take a good look at the hinge.  It is all rotten wood, but it held together long enough to send the tree to the ground without falling apart on the stump.  Watch that rotten wood dust fly as I cut.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Bludgeon Of Doom!...

will not save your children!  They even lock it up to make it doubly useless against an attacker.  How about give one to every child to wear on their belt rather than have the teacher lock it up in her desk.

Erie, PA, Millcreek School District (Click)

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Here is another great collector item from Ruger this week. Back in 2005 you could buy a 50th Anniversary edition of the Ruger Blackhawk in .357 Magnum.  It was made in the smaller, original frame size with the flat top that collectors prize.  This particular revolver was sent out and engraved.  The engraved model was not produced for public consumption, so this is a one-of-a-kind .357 Flattop Blackhawk. Click Here to bid.  This fine revolver will sell mid-day, Wednesday, April 11, 2018. $1550

Monday, April 9, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Restoration Is A Long Process!

Here is another great pick by Merle; Thanks, Merle!  New piston rings sliding down a freshly honed cylinder make a special sound, don't they?!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Bonus Weekend Steam: A Sad Case

It's not a Case; it's a Russell, but you won't see many worse than this one.  Look closely and you will see this engine hasn't just been neglected and allowed to molder away; it has actually been defiled.  If you have been following steam here for a while you will spot it.

A good-hearted engine collector saved this one from a scrapper, but it will likely never be restored.  There is just too much wrong to make it a good project.

Weekend Steam: Eureka & Palisade #4 on the Durango and Silverton

Another great pick by Merle.  Thank You, Merle!

Watching this little 4-4-0 chug along reminds me that the old TV westerns used a lot of stock footage featuring steam engines. I remember seeing Cheyenne and Maverick shows where they were supposedly riding on a train and every little bit you would get a switch to engine shots, usually of the crosshead and rods flashing and the wheels running on the rails. As a kid, I thought they filmed the whole thing on a train. It was all very exciting.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

MR Ducks

I think we have seen teals, mallards and wood ducks, but I really don't know ducks.  I would eat sticks before I would shoot a duck. Click the photo to enlarge. These ducks have green, brown and white.  They are pretty ducks as far as I know.  We enjoy watching them come and go, and are glad they can rest here.  The annual goose family is evidently incubating eggs, because we see only one goose at a time now.  A couple weeks ago I watched the pair swimming across the pond to the island as the sun set behind the pines.  Life is so beautiful sometimes...

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

McLeansboro Odd Fellows' Cemetery Damaged

The Illinois Department of Transportation has pulled a bad one today. They have closed IL State Highway 14 on the east side of McLeansboro without posting any detour signs to guide motorists around the total blockage.  I ran into it this morning, and because I have lived and worked in Hamilton County for nearly four decades, I was able to get around it a couple of different ways, coming and going from my business today.  Many others were not so fortunate. You have to know the backroads.  Particularly unfortunate is the fact that the Odd Fellows' Cemetery is adjacent to the blockage.  Semi trucks were soon detouring through the cemetery and there has been significant damage.

                                                                Click Photo To Enlarge.

You can read WSIL TV 3's report HERE, and IDOT makes a very lame excuse.  I think I know what is going on.  The township roads are all posted now due to winter and spring road conditions, and the road commissioners do not want heavy truck traffic damaging the roads.  If IDOT had put up detour signs for those roads it would have caused trouble for them in the form of real damages; so they just did not bother.  Truck traffic should have been turned at Enfield, 10 miles to the east, and in McLeansboro where IL Hwy 14 intersects IL Hwy 142.  They also could have scheduled the work after the township road weight limits are lifted a week and a half from now. 

The map above from Google shows the shorter detour around the IDOT roadblock; safe for passenger vehicles.  I highly recommend this route, because it takes you right by Larry's Gun Shop, one of my favorite stops when I am in McLeansboro.  Larry's is marked with an L. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Ruger's Auction To Benefit The Scholastic Action Shooting Program

Ruger is offering a 25th Anniversary Model of the .44 Magnum Carbine, manufactured in 1982.  Folks are interested, but CLICK HERE and read all about it, even if you can only wish.  Wouldn't you love to have one of these!?  The hammer falls mid-day, April 4, 2018.   $1635, I am impressed!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Tuesday Torque: Does Daddy Buy His Tires?

A poor boy can't afford to drive like that, but I saw a young guy just last week with a freshly restored old Mustang burning the tires as he left a gas station.  Given the price of tires, I always figured that someone other than the driver paid for the rubber. I hope the guy who fixed up this tractor hasn't rolled it over on himself; he is a pretty ingenious mechanic.  The writeup on YouTube says it is a Volvo 240 with Turbo.  Pretty neat!

Merle keeps finding them, and I keep posting them! Thanks, Merle!

Sunday, April 1, 2018

More Than We Can Bear

The last few weeks have been rough for our extended family. We lost Hobbs, the little guy we took in as a terminal foster, then we lost Brat, our music loving black cat.  This week we heard from Barbie's Mom.  Barbie and Missy were our first Schipperke fosters, and we loved them more than we should.  They were happy little girls and they would talk to us and cuddle with us.  They moved to Kansas two years ago and have been living a great life at home and on the road, transporting horses around the country with their Mom.

Last week Barbie went off her food and her vet discovered that she had cancer.  Her Mom took her to the Vet School at Mizzou to see if anything could be done, but Barbie passed away the very next day.  Life is so fragile and short.  Barbie was a loving little dog, and we all miss her.  She loved to watch the squirrels when she lived with us, and you can see how she would follow one through the tree tops.

Rest In Peace, little girl; we will never forget you!

A Little Grinding Blast From The Past

Here is a great looking Monitor horizontal engine running a feed grinder that I shot in 2009.  For some reason I put on YouTube as Unlisted.  It has a total of 18 views, probably by posting it as a weekly grinder back then.  A grinder I posted two years later has 22,000 views, so that one has made a few dollars over the years, no doubt.  Maybe this one will get a few views now; we will see.

I noticed this as I was deleting nearly 90 shooting related videos yesterday.  YouTube demonetized my shooting vids a couple years ago and the difference was noticeable, even on a little-watched channel like mine.  One of my videos was getting 10,000 views per year, but YouTube cut it from the program because they said it did not interest advertisers.  Rather than take a chance on losing my channel over shooting videos, I have deleted them and will stick to chainsaw and engine videos on YouTube for the time being.  It is a little disappointing, but I realize that I am no Hickok45!  Most of my shooting videos were watched very little, being subjects like Pistol League on Thursday nights at the Carmi Rifle Club.  They are fun to watch if you are a member, but don't have much appeal beyond that.   Oh Well, or words to that effect.  Back To The Old Grind!

Bonus Weekend Steam, Because Winter Just Won't Quit!

Thanks to Merle, I have a new ringtone on my phone today.  I have been listening to the Number 9 Shay at Old Threshers for quite some time, but today I have switched to this melodious locomotive.  Thank You, Merle!

Squib Safety Lesson, Courtesy of Hickok45

Well, YouTube hasn't canceled Hickok45 yet, so let's look at a great safety video from Mr. Hickok.  You have to be ready to recognize a squib all the time when you are shooting, because they really do happen.