gaff sharpening

Discussion in 'Climber's Talk' started by CLIMBERJunkieee, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. i need to sharpen my gaffs and i am wondering if it is ok to use a wheel grinder to sharpen them or should i use a flat file and do it manually?
  2. boreality

    boreality Active Member

    It doesn't take much with a file, surprisingly soft metal. A couple strokes once a year maybe. I wouldn't sharpen them at all except for the frozen wood. The wheel would be a mistake. You could over grind or over heat.
  3. cambmx

    cambmx New Member

    Yeah, I just sharpened all of ours after not being touched for years, and it took maybe 5 minutes.. and they were BAD. If you use a wheel, you can risk annealing the metal, so if it turns blue, you've just softened the tip and would be hard to keep sharp.
  4. good i am glad i asked first, thanks
  5. Get her in the vise and flat file away, wear gloves cause one slip and your cut. I narrow mine down a bit as well as the nice sharp point triangle. Man it is nice to walk and not have to jam them in. I have met many who never do this????? couldnt imagine the slipping and unsureness of the climb. as soon as Im down they come off. so not to dull them.
  6. Grais

    Grais New Member

    Sharp gaffs are not really neccesary.
    Ive never seen or had a reason to have them really sharp.
    Your technique ALONE can eliminate 99-100% of mis gaffs, in my experience dull gaffs are rarely the problem.
    Twice I have seen new climbers sharpen up their gaffs nice and razor sharp and then, next tree they climbed, place the gaff firmly into the ankle of their boot, thankfully only one of them required a trip to the hospital, the other one just needed to buy a new pair of Vibergs.
    If you want to climb with really sharp gaffs that is your perogative, but simply pulling your knee away from the tree before you place the gaff, so the gaff enters the tree at approx a 45 deg. angle, will all but eliminate gaff outs.
    We run production crews, I come out of the tree, pull my rope, then I turn around and cut the tree, and then I climb another one. I dont want to take my gaffs on and off ten twenty times a day...before lunch.
    stumpgrinder likes this.
  7. good point on the ankle impalement issue.
  8. Treezybreez

    Treezybreez Well-Known Member

    When my gaffs start slipping then I know it is time to sharpen them. A warning I heard from an old school climber was to always sharpen parallel with the gaff and not side to side. He said the reason is that the file leaves small grooves in the gaff; if you file side to side the tip of the gaff can break off.

    I believe sharp gaffs are more safe than dull. Think about slipping with a running chain saw as a result of a dull gaff popping out.

    If you file the tips of a bulls horns off you simply get a bigger hole when he gores you.
  9. whiz

    whiz New Member

    I've had a pair of Gecos and I've never sharpened them. I think I got them in '05. I think for me...that technique has played a role in their condition and I try not to walk around in them too much. They aren't sharp by any stretch. I just kind of use them as an assist.

    BARPINCHER New Member

    Klein makes a great sharpening kit. Has a gauge so you get the angles proper and also so you know when to replace the gaff. Years ago when doing linework (not tree work) I had to sharpen frequently since we always seemed to be in rocky areas walking around the poles. I personally like mine razor sharp. No need to kick or boot them in thru the bark and they extract easier from the wood too. Just a light step sets them in. But the comments about gaffing a calf or boot are valid and very real and sometimes messy and I agree with leg positioning cures 99% of those issues.
  11. [/ QUOTE ] We run production crews, I come out of the tree, pull my rope, then I turn around and cut the tree, and then I climb another one. I dont want to take my gaffs on and off ten twenty times a day...before lunch.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I wear wear tree gaffs so walking around is not really an option for me, but if your not concerned about sharp gaffs i guess that would not matter. pole gaffs are starting to look appealing to me...
  12. caleb miller

    caleb miller Member

    I like to keep them as sharp as possible, although I seem to have lost the factory angle wich seemed to be better
  13. BRT

    BRT Active Member

    I believe the weight of the climber plays a role. I climbed with a guy last week who weighs 220lbs; he took no care to keep his gaffs protected or sharp.

    At 165lbs, my spikes respond differently to the same bark type than do his. Keep in mind too that the less pounding you do with your knees, the less likely you'll need replacements at 50 years old. Just as a pulley reduces friction in rigging, sharp spikes reduce force required to attain good purchase.

    In addition, as Grais said--angle of attack is an important aspect.
  14. caleb miller

    caleb miller Member

  15. jon427

    jon427 Member

    flat file, only sharpen on the flat side.
  16. KellyG

    KellyG Member

  17. Treezybreez

    Treezybreez Well-Known Member

    I generally agree unless there is a burr. A couple of swipes keeps the metal from mushrooming on the curved side of the gaff.
  18. marlinspiker

    marlinspiker Well-Known Member

    am i the only person that prefers them dull?
  19. macswan

    macswan Well-Known Member

    marlinspiker likes this.
  20. marlinspiker

    marlinspiker Well-Known Member

    i don't like to sink in to far. i use pole gaffs and never sharpen ever.

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