Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.
Issue link: http://gcmdigital.gcsaa.org/i/352181
34 GOLF COURSE MANAGEMENT 08.14 Trees and woody shrubs defne much of golf 's beauty. Chain saws defne the trees. Keep your chain saws sharp, and the course looks sharp. All it takes is a decent electric chain grinding machine, and at least one tech - nician willing and able to learn and apply the details involved in keeping your woodcutting quick and safe. It is very easy to waste $50 to $100 on a chain grinder that cannot properly sharpen your chains, even though it is billed as "univer - sal" or "perfectly sharpens all chains." Bunk. Our orange grinder mistake is useful only for holding chains while their depth gauge is set. You can spend $300 to $500 or more on an elegant professional grinder. They are beauti - ful, a joy to touch and use. After 30 years I still miss the purr of my Italian Tecomec. In the great middle range, you can spend $150, plus or minus $20, and get a compe - tent Chinese-made grinder that works pretty well out of the box. It can work even better with a little fne-tuning and modifcation. My black-painted "Laser" grinder came with two wheels, a dressing stone and gauge to maintain the round-nose profle of the wheels and the Allen wrenches needed for assembly. The same grinder is found in red, blue, green, orange, yellow and perhaps puce. One online merchant asks $926.95 for what appears to be the same grinder we bought for $139.99 (no sales tax, no shipping charge). It appears that all these "clone" grinders come with the same instruction book, which includes a nice table of sharpening angles for many models of chain from six chain producers. The details contained in this and other chain-spec tables are what sets apart a chain that sings fast and safe on the job, and the technician who can make that happen. All chain saw operators should carry a round fle to clean up the cutters in the feld. It's a nice break for the operator, and reduces stress on the saw engine and bar. But few hu - mans can precisely hit the angles with a fle. Only a machine can effciently do that, and make each cutter the same length, so each takes the same bite of wood on each pass. A real grinder allows angle adjustment, and locking, for three parts of the machine (shop) Scott R. Nesbitt ORPguy@windstream.net — the wheel, the vise and the tilt table. There are many different names for these angles, de - pending on who you talk to or what you read. The wheel angle is what grinds the un - derside of the tooth's top surface to form the cutting edge. This is usually 50 or 60 degrees. Useless machines don't allow adjustment. The vise angle produces what you see look - ing down on top of the tooth — it's the angle between the cutter's side and the cutting edge. This is usually 25, 30 or 35 degrees on chains designed for cross-cutting. Chains for ripping or cutting frozen wood can be as blunt as 5 or 10 degrees. The tilt table leans the tooth at 10 degrees off vertical. This is needed on square-shoul - der "chisel" chains. "Chipper" chains, with a round shoulder, usually require a 0-de - gree angle. But the tooth shape is not what you need to know the settings your chain requires. For this, you get the brand and model num - ber off the side and drive links, and fnd the angles on a chart. Pay special attention to the tilt angle. It makes a huge difference in cut - ting performance. You can't properly sharpen a chain if your grinder has no adjustment for the wheel angle and doesn't allow the table to tilt. Grinders to avoid usually have a plastic frame that's too fexible for accurate grinding. Your new grinder will have adjustments for tooth length, and perhaps for setting the dis - tance between the tooth's cutting edge and the top of the depth guide that precedes the cutter into the wood. Next month, I'll list some tips for maximizing cutting tooth life and getting through wood straight, smooth and fast. Scott R. Nesbitt is a freelance writer and former GCSAA staff member. He lives in Cleveland, Ga. Chain grinder: an essential tool Top: A falsely labeled "universal" chain grinder only allows adjustment of the vise angle and has too much soft plastic to frmly grip the few chains for which the fxed wheel and tilt angles are correct. But the vise is OK for setting the depth gauges. Middle: Proper grinding requires setting the vise angle, at the front, tilting the table to 10 degrees for certain chains, and setting the wheel angle using the index at the back of the machine. Bottom: An electric grinder can be affordable and compe- tent when properly operated. Photos by Scott Nesbitt