File or machine? That’s the question. How to get a saw chain sharp is a subject that can cause long discussions and even hostility. Some claim that nothing beats a good file (and good filing skills). Others prefer a machine of some kind. I bumped into a chain grinder I’d never seen before at the Elmia Wood show last week.

Get the chain sharp – with Bast-Ing’s grinder

We have written about Bast-Ing, and their mechanical felling wedge ValFix, before here at Forestry.com. Bast-Ing is a German company whose vision is to make forestry work easier and safer. Now, we will have a look at their chain grinder the “Schleiferl” or the “Grinder’l” (an attempt to translate it into English?).

Other chain grinders I have seen are based on grinding discs and, in some cases, grinding pins. The Bast-Ing Grinder’l has a grinding belt with an exchangeable turning shaft for different sizes of chains.

Get the chains sharp

The turning shaft for the belt is replaceable for different chain sizes.

It’s driven by a cordless nut-runner, just like the ValFix wedge. The two “wings” beside the grinding belt marks the grinding angle in two directions. One wing should always be level with the chain and parallel to it.

Get the chains sharp

The “wings” on each side of the belt help get the angles right when grinding.

Get the chains sharp

Julius Sebald at Bast-Ing demonstrates the “Grinder’l”.

Get the depth gauges down when you’re at it

We all know that a chain will never cut efficiently enough if the depth gauges are too high. Bast-Ing has thought of this also and offers a plain grinder as a complement to the Grinder’l, one that could be used with the same nut-runner, and a template to get the right height of the gauges.

Get the chains sharp

With a template and a plain grinder you also get the depth gauges right.

As the template is put on every single tooth, each depth gauge will receive the right height. This means that it doesn’t matter if the teeth have different lengths, the chain will cut straight anyway according to Bast-Ing.

Does it beat the file?

Every cell in my body tells me not to go there. This is a subject that can cause severe damage to any relationship. But …

My own experience is that machine grinders do not make the chain sharp enough. E.g., a brand-new chain, taken directly from the box, is not sharp enough for me. I always sharpen a new chain after a few minutes. After a few minutes – because I still hope that it will be sharp enough from the start, but they never are.

However, I have never tried the Bast-Ing solution so I can’t say if this beats the file or not. The guys at Bast-Ing challenged me and asked me to bring a damaged chain, but I don’t have any. My chains are sharp or in the trash bin. If I hit a stone, I don’t bother trying to make it sharp again. Luckily that doesn’t happen very often (knock on wood).

I keep the file close

I always carry the file with me when I work with the chainsaw. In my trousers, there is a special pocket for a file. Otherwise, there is a dedicated place for a file in the tool belt that I use. If I sense the slightest deterioration in sharpness, I sharpen the chain on the spot. I don’t wait until I run out of fuel. The fact that I get an extra three-minute break for the filing is of course a bonus for an old man like me.

Well, that’s me. I do know people who can’t live without their chainsaw grinders and for them, I could recommend trying the Grinder’l by Bast-Ing.

You will find out more on their home page here.

Photos: Per Jonsson