Timber Tuff Chainsaw Sharpener Review

The Complete Timber Tuff Chainsaw Sharpener Review

Reviewed Model:  Timber Tuff CS-BWM

Overall Rating:

Performance:

Forgiveness:

Build Quality:

Look & Feel:

Price:

PROS

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    Bench or wall mount brackets for easy placement
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    Built-in work light makes it easy to check your angles
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    Comes with three grinding wheels
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    Motor shuts down automatically if the tool gets too warm
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    Faster than a manual chainsaw sharpener

CONS

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    Arbor will flex as you grind due to the plastic parts
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    You have to take the chain off your saw to use this tool
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    Written instructions are not very helpful
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    Safety shield isn’t easy to install
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    Must have electrical access to use

The Timber Tuff Chainsaw Sharpener is a great tool for anyone who gets tired of waiting for chains to come back from the shop. Whether you're ripping down your own lumber into planks or cleaning up the brush in your yard, having a convenient chainsaw sharpening setup at home can make scheduling and carrying out your outdoor projects a lot easier.

Key Features

Motor

The motor for the Timber Tuff CS-BWM Benchtop Chainsaw Chain Sharpener runs off 110v power and just needs a standard outlet. You'll find a black end cap covering the motor; this is removable should you need to clean or cool the motor down. 

Some users found that this motor cap can get banged around in shipment and may bend until the motor won't spin, but they were able to remove the cap, straighten it and reapply it. The Timber Tuff pro chainsaw sharpener will also shut down before it overheats, saving you on repair and replacement costs.

Arbor

The arbor attached to this grinder is oversized per the product photos but ideal for the user. You've got plenty of space between the grinding wheel and your hand thanks to the large arbor handle. It's important to note that this arbor has too much play in it for some owners. When pressing down an angled head, it can be easy to put too much pressure on the arbor one way or another.

Be sure to do some "dry" cuts; that is, moving the arbor without turning on the power to make sure that you're not altering the angle, the point at which the grinding wheel strikes the blade or the depth.

Grinding Wheels

The CS-BWM comes with three grinding wheels: 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4". Experienced chainsaw users strongly recommend switching them for diamond cutting blades. Low-quality grinding wheels will generally become useless fairly quickly, but they can fail spectacularly and shatter when you apply pressure; rather than risking injury, invest in good quality wheels.

Chain Guide or Track

The Timber Tuff saw chain filing guide has a basic advancing mechanism. Once you've ground one cutting link, move the handle and the chain will advance to the next cut. Some users had trouble getting this handle to "lock" and thus found inconsistencies in the distance covered by the advancing chain.

Base

The base of the Timber Tuff CS-BWM also works as a back! If your workbench simply doesn't have space for one more item, consider mounting this unit to a wall. As long as the chain can advance, this tool should work fine! Be certain to avoid over-tightening the mounting screws or bolts

The base is pot metal and may fracture. However, if mounted with care, the Timber Tuff chainsaw sharpener setup can give you a lot of flexibility in a small workspace.

Timber Tuff Chainsaw Sharpener Review

 Performance

This petite grinder is a powerhouse, and once you work through the learning curve, it will likely be a helpful tool and make your chainsawing sessions a lot easier to plan for.

However, one universal concern is that the instructions are not helpful. If you know someone who's used one of these tools, get their help. If you're on your own, plug in the tool for the light and do some dry cuts just and observe the following:

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    Where the blade hits
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    How much play there is in the arbor
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    How accurate the depth gauge really is

Also, be prepared for a little chatter. While this is not a noisy machine, chatter can impact the security of your set screw positions, particularly for depth. Some users found Teflon tape could secure the set screw in the tool to avoid cutting too deep.

Forgiveness

The two biggest risks found when using this tool are:

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    The safety shield is nearly impossible to secure to the metal arbor cover once the wheel is in place. The risk of having your safety wheel flapping about as you're trying to line up cuts sounds like an exercise in frustration.
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    There is a lot of play in the arbor. If you're the only user, you will get a feel for it over time. However, if you have multiple people that need to use the CS-BWM sharpener, notify them that the arbor has some slop so they can develop a "touch" for it as well. Too much pressure will change the Timber Tuff chainsaw sharpener tilt angle and lessen the effectiveness of your cut.

Overall, this is not an especially forgiving tool right out of the box and would not be a good tool for a professional chainsaw sharpener. However, once you learn the right touch to use this tool, you'll find that the learning curve is not terribly steep and that the tool response is consistent. Work with it repeatedly to get the feeling and keep your finger off the throttle when lining up the first few chains.

Build Quality

The motor is extremely efficient and is protected against overheating. The base is flexible and can be placed in a variety of spots in your workshop, and the work light is a brilliant idea. That being said, the plastic guard is extremely hard to mount but critically necessary, and the arbor can be forced into a whole different angle with little force.

Place the chain on the advance track and do a dry run every time to avoid damaging your chain by cutting too deep. There are multiple angles, stops and gauges to check when starting your chainsaw sharpening project, as depicted in the video below:

Look & Feel

No Timber Tuff chainsaw sharpener review would be complete without pointing out that this tool looks like a tiny chop saw. If you've ever used a chop saw for wood, you'll notice that the arbor handle is full sized while the saw is quite small, making this tool look a bit odd.

However, users will find that this odd look suits their hands extremely well. This grinder is bright green so you can always find it on the bench. Best of all, this little grinder has a hefty weight for stability, as it comes in at just over 17 pounds.

However, you will want to mount this tool; the risk of someone catching the chain or tipping the grinder off the bench are dangers that needn't occur.

Price

Currently, the Timber Tuff CS-BWM is a bit higher in price than similarly sized products, but the price difference is not extreme.

How does it compare?

The Tek Motion sharpener also has a work light and two free grinding wheels, as well as a grinding wheel gauge. However, the arbor handle is quite short, putting fingers too close to the safety shield. All of the attachments are affixed with Allen wrenches (included) so keep them close if you have to take things apart. 

This tool doesn't have an auto shut down, and the instructions were either poor or non-existent in some packages. Some users find that the motor is poorly balanced and the chatter is severe enough to rattle set screws out of position. This unit is currently less expensive than the Timber Tuff 12v Chainsaw Sharpener.

The CO-Z sharpener includes two free grinding wheels and a grinding wheel gauge. Again, Allen wrenches are universally applied, so consider taping them to the base or the back of this tool so you have them when you need them. The motor for the CO-Z doesn't have a thermal protection shut down, though users find it to be well-balanced and a source of minimal chatter.

This is an extremely lightweight tool, coming in at just under 13 pounds, so be certain to mount it securely as the risk of tipping under pressure will be high. Be aware that the arbor handle is quite short.

The BestEquip Saw Chain Grinder comes with a single 5-1/2" grinding wheel but offers a 3000 rpm motor and a work light for an easy lineup. This 17-pound tool is easy to assemble with the enclosed Allen wrenches. Be prepared to experiment a bit; most users find the instructions quite unhelpful. 

This chain grinder has a full-sized arbor handle but no thermal shutdown feature; make sure to give it a cooldown and time to rest between sharpening sessions. You can mount this grinder to your bench or to the wall for convenient use.

This 19-pound grinder is more expensive than the others in this listing, but many users find it to be well worth the price. This is a smooth-running grinder with very little chatter, easy to understand instructions, a convenient work light and a self-centering chain vise with customizable handle placement. 

While this grinder is quite small, all of the handles are full sized for easy arbor movement and consistent chain advancement.  This tool can be mounted to your bench or to the wall for easy access to power and plenty of space to hang the chain.

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