How to choose a chain for a chainsaw?
Professionals know that it’s not the power that makes a good saw, but the way of using it. If you keep an eye on your chainsaw, it will last for decades and always give great cutting performance. If the tool is not treated properly, even the newest saw bought for big money will not want to work at all. And the main thing, on what the cutting qualities depend, is the attitude of the chain. You have to use it correctly, to sharpen it constantly and, of course, to choose the right one. The chain is an important part of the chainsaw. And if the engine, even with poor handling, will do its job for dozens of hours, then improper operation of the chain will lead to the inability to work in as little as 10 minutes. So, we have to learn how to choose and look after a chain correctly.
How to choose a chainsaw by pitch.
The very first thing to start choosing a chain for a chainsaw is to understand what type you need. The main criterion for classifying chains, is the marking relative to the pitch. This is the distance between the nearest teeth or between the three pins of the chain. It is measured in inches and the most popular sizes are 0, 325; 0, 375 and 0, 404 inches. Each type is designed for its own needs, and the choice may come down to just reading your chainsaw manual. Because every saw is designed for a certain pitch and only professional saws can work with all three, depending on the job. To understand the types better, let’s look at them one by one.
Before we begin, there is one more important point: each chain type is designed for a certain power and torque of the chainsaw. Because the smaller the pitch, the less productive the chain and the less effort it needs to put to move it along the wood. And the bigger the pitch, the higher the productivity and the more power you need to work. In addition, the pitch affects the so-called “aggressiveness” of the saw. It does not only mean performance, but also ease of operation. In simple terms, the larger the pitch, the harder the chain “rips” the wood, and therefore requires more human effort to hold the tool. Besides the big chain pitch it is more chain links dimensions, so the cut will be wider, and this will require more power of the tool. That’s why it’s not practical to buy a chain with higher pitch for a low-power chain, it can “kill” the saw. Think! And then we move on to specific sizes.
It is the minimum in the declared sizes and often the most widespread. After all, household and semi-professional, low-power chain saws, the most popular in the nation, and this chain is just for them. Recommended power for a 0.325 chain is 3 liters. с. or no more than 3.5 л. с. If your chainsaw is more powerful, you might consider a 0.375″ chain. But it all depends on the tree and the job. If you are using it for limbing and felling or construction work, then 0.325″ is more appropriate. This chain makes the work smoother, more comfortable, does not “tear” the wood so much at the beginning of the cut. And for humans, as well as the engine, such work is more appropriate for these purposes.
Why did we write two numbers? 3 divided by 8 equals 0.375. And the fractional parameter 3/8 is very often used for marking. The reason is common, so as not to confuse the numbers 0, 325 and 0, 375, so do not be surprised if the chain at 0, 375 will be hard to find, better look for the marker 3/8 at once.
The chain marked 0, 375 is less popular than the brand 0, 325 and is used on chainsaws with power of 4 liters. с. Such chain is used already on felling relatively not thick trees and for cutting middle thickness wood. For its group of non-professional and professional types of saws this is the most optimal size.
Chain 0, 404 is used only on professional saws. The power of a tool for work with such chain must be not less than 5.5 л. с. Only in this way can the chainsaw demonstrate all its qualities as a high-speed, powerful tool. And with such chain it’s already possible to cut and fell huge trees with ease. It is also clear that for weak saws the use of the 0,404 chain is not profitable. Besides, chainsaws under the chain 0, 404 are characterized by an increased torque, without which it will be difficult to work with such a pitch both for a person and a tool.
Now it is easy to summarize. The main criterion for choosing a chain is the pitch marking. It is not difficult to understand what you need in this regard, it is enough to open your chainsaw manual or simply compare the power relative to the above information. But let’s not forget one more important point. the pitch of the chain should match the pitch of the driving sprocket and the driven sprocket (the driven sprocket is often a part of the bar). That is, if your saw is designed for the size 0, 325, it will not be so easy to install a 3/8 chain. Together with the new chain size, it is also necessary to buy a new drive sprocket and a new guide bar, otherwise it will be really impossible to work (we repeat: impossible due to the difference in sprocket pitch). And the last, we have listed three types of chains in relation to pitch, in fact there are five (1/4 and 3/4, that is 0, 25 and 0, 75 inches respectively), but because of its low popularity, especially in the home, we are silent about the other two types.
Now let’s move on to other important questions, in order to learn how to choose a chain for a chainsaw and to understand the subject professionally.
Chainsaw chain by tail thickness.
the thickness of the tail or more precisely the thickness of the drive link is the second parameter of the saw chain characteristics. Many may not realize it, but the groove on the bar has different widths in different chainsaws, similarly, the drive links are designed for different bars. They are characterized by five sizes: 1, 1 mm, 1, 3 mm, 1, 5 mm, 1, 6 mm and 2 mm (0, 043″, 0, 05″, 0, 058″, 0, 063″ and 0, 08″ respectively). Let’s look at each one separately.
This is the bare minimum and such tiny chains are used only on low-powered household saws. this type of chain is not designed for heavy loads and hard work.
This size, although not too different from the first, is capable of withstanding heavy loads. This is the most popular chain type in the world. Chains with 1.3 mm tails are not only used on high-quality, reliable, residential-use chainsaws but are even used on semi-professional machines. Such chains are light and reliable at the same time, and most likely, the reader will have to choose this type.
Choice of chain to match the performance of the saw
Fitting a higher specification chain to a standard chainsaw will not improve performance. it’s like putting a shark’s jaw on a piranha. it won’t make the bite any stronger.
The right choice of chain (higher performance chain for a stronger saw, etc.). д.) will enable your saw to always produce great results.
Existing pitch sizes
Chain pitch is the key factor to consider when choosing a cutting attachment for a chainsaw. Pitch is measured in inches and is defined as the space between the cutting links or the space between the three rivets on a saw unit. The following figure illustrates how the chain pitch is determined.
Each saw has an individual chain pitch.
Chains in a certain pitch are always designed for a certain horsepower range, taking the torque of the machine into account. Reducing the pitch not only lowers the output of the device, it also reduces the load on the motor. Conversely, a greater pitch produces a higher output, but requires more power.
There is also such a thing as “aggressiveness” of the machine. Here we are talking about ease of operation. The bigger the pitch, the harder the teeth “tear” the wood. over, because of the larger size of the cutting links the kerf width increases, which means that more force is needed to hold the machine in your hands. It is therefore not advisable to use a chain with a greater pitch on a small power tool, as this would destroy the implement.
0.325 inch pitch
This is the minimum pitch value, but nevertheless the most common. Saw elements with this pitch are usually installed on amateur and semi-professional machines with low power. in the range of 3-3,5 l.с. This is enough to easily cut down limbs, fell thin trees, do minor construction work. A 0.325″ pitch chain runs smoothly with no vibration, doesn’t “tear” the wood, doesn’t overload the motor and doesn’t tire the operator.
Pitch 0.375 or 3/8
The marking may look like a decimal or an ordinary fraction. There is no difference between these designations: three divided by eight equals 0.375. The usual fraction in the marking is designed to eliminate confusion between the numbers 0.375 and 0.325.
These chains are used on higher horsepower machines with 4L.с. Trees of medium diameter can be cut with such saw elements. 3/8″ pitch chains are used on semi-professional and pro class chainsaws.
Saws with this pitch are installed only on professional machines with at least 5.5 liters of power.с. A chainsaw with a 0.404 inch pitch can cut through trees of any thickness, and units with this cutting element have plenty of torque, which makes your job a lot easier.
It is important to know that the pitch of the chain always matches the pitch of the sprockets, both driven and driven. It follows that if the documentation for the machine indicates that it works with a chain having a pitch of 0.404, then you should not put a chain on a chainsaw with a pitch of 3/8
Before installing a chain with a different pitch, you need to buy a complete set that includes both the guide bar and both sprockets: drive and sprocket.
It is what ultimately determines the kerf width. Where minimal cutting resistance is required, such as in cordless saws, a chain with a shank thickness of 1.1 mm is used (Husqvarna X-Cut SP21G chain). Retail and semi-professional chainsaws offer a 1.3 mm shank thickness (Husqvarna X-Cut S93G and SP33G), and professional saws have a 1.5 mm shank thickness (Husqvarna X-Cut C85).
It has a direct effect on cutting performance. Chisel-shaped chain teeth of heavy-duty professional saws look like the number “7” in projection. They are ideally suited for industrial felling, for example (Husqvarna X-Cut C85 pictured below).
For delimbing and DIY applications we recommend the more rounded shapes of Semi Chisel teeth, such as Husqvarna X-Cut SP21G, S93G, SP33G chains.
Husqvarna X-Cut P33G chain teeth They cut less aggressively, but are safer and less demanding on clean wood.
STIHL chain types
Rapid saw chain
Rapid with its rounded teeth and rounded blade is an excellent chain for felling, bucking and delimbing. Rapid has a larger tooth than Picco saw chain, so it cut more aggressively, faster, but it is harder to cut with Rapid and has more kickback tendency. chain requires sharpening more often.
- Rapid Super (RS). High-performance chain with chisel tines and square shank with a sharp edge. Ideal for felling, bucking and delimbing on medium- to high-powered saws.
- Rapid Micro (RM). Universal chain with half tines and side blunted sprocket. for the high demands of professionals and semi-professionals in the agricultural, construction and forestry industries.
Rapid Duro (RD). Chain with tungsten carbide inserts on teeth for special use. Excellent for hard, dirty wood, more resistant to short contact with the ground, also suitable for salvage work. Up to 10 times sharper than conventional chains.
CHAINSAW BAR LENGTH. What size bar is right for your chainsaw?. How to choose a chainsaw bar.
- Picco Super (PS). The world’s first low-profile chain with fully chiseled teeth. Target audience. forestry and tree care professionals. Unparalleled cutting performance. Very clean cut, low vibration, excellent plunge-cutting ability.
- Picco Micro (PM). Low profile chain with half hammer teeth with reduced kickback tendency. Used in the agricultural and construction industries, and ideal for hobbyists.
- Picco Duro (PD). The world’s first carbide-tipped low-profile chain. Great for hard, dirty wood, more resistant to short contact with the ground. Up to 10 times sharper than conventional chains.
- Picco Micro Mini (PMM). High-precision low-profile saw chain with half hammer teeth and reduced kerf width. Especially for small saws of low power, ideal for hobbyists.
- Picco Micro X (PMX). Low profile half hammer chain with special cutter angle. Special chain for longitudinal sawing.
Consider cutting depth when selecting a chain. This can be determined by measuring the height of the profile. It also influences the performance of the electric chainsaw. Incidentally, the cutting depth can be reduced by removing the stops on each cutting link. There are 2 groups of consumables based on this parameter.
- Low Profile. Profile height is 0.025 in or 0.635 mm. Chains are used to fit electric chainsaws.
- High-profile. The profile height is 0.03 inch or 0.762 mm. fit professional chainsaws that usually have a high horsepower gasoline engine.
How to choose the pitch chain chainsaw
Higher profile chains can cut through big diameter trees quickly and cleanly.
Cutting depth and height of chain profile
The higher the profile the greater the cutting depth, the more efficient the process is. Each cutting link must have a limiter. a level to which the cutter can be ground. This entails changes in the depth level.
There are two generally accepted profile types:
Yes, high-profile chains are the most productive. It is worth mentioning that for home level saws only low profile chains are installed. However, if you install a chain on a professional saw with both a wide pitch and a high profile (which sounds perfect), you end up with an aggressive and unstoppable beast. Professionals advise to alternate the two performance levels (if you want to work as efficiently and with as little effort as possible). There is no definite answer to the question “which variant is better?” is not. It all depends on the specific task and material. But this does not mean that the option “high step high profile” is not used in principle. This combination is used for felling massive trees on highly professional saws.
Cutting depth and height of chain profile
The higher the profile of the chain, the deeper the kerf is and thus the process is more efficient. Each cutter should have a stop, a level to which the cutter can be ground. This implies a change in the depth level.
There are two common types of profile:
Yes, high profile chains are the most productive. It’s worth stating that only low-profile chains are installed for domestic level saws. However, if a professional saw is equipped with a chain with both a wide pitch and a high profile (which sounds ideal). we get an aggressive and unstoppable beast in the output. Professionals advise to alternate the two performance indicators between each other (if you want to work as efficiently as possible and reduce effort). There is no definite answer on “which variant is better”?”. no. It depends on the application and the material. But this does not mean that the “big pitch high profile” option is not used at all. This combination is used for felling massive trees on highly professional saws.
Sharpening the chain of an electric saw
Undoubtedly, quality of work of the equipment decreases considerably as time passes, because wood is not the softest raw material, and cutting surface has a tendency to gradual deterioration of efficiency. During the time not processed teeth will lose their initial shape at all, and they will have to be completely replaced, which will require the greatest financial expense.
Keep in mind that the condition of the teeth must be monitored constantly, because there is no definite time of spoilage. A dull piece can easily be identified by the quality and size of the chips.
Blunt saw teeth produce very fine and dark wood dust. Therefore, it is necessary to immediately inspect the condition of the working tool. Sharp parts imply a lack of splintering, integrity damage and changes in the appearance of the cutting edge.
Of course, you can go to a professional saw sharpener, who will undoubtedly do the job better. But, a more budgetary option would be self-treatment with special tools.
- A flat file that corrects the depth limitation;
- a rim that determines the angle;
- circular part with orientation strips;
As a rule, the chain is inserted into the tire, fixed in a vice, select an appropriate file that fits the diameter of the teeth. It is necessary to notice the first tooth to avoid re-sharpening.
The machine operator makes precise, rhythmic movements to one side. The cutter is placed against the edge with the cutter face towards the stop. When finished, check the quality of the tool by making a test cut.
To extend the life of the tool, it should not be used on materials other than wood! Make sure there is no foreign metal object in the wood (nail, bolt, staple). Regular chain lubrication and checking the machine for overheating is recommended.
It is better to use a high stand when working with the tool, to avoid the bar to make contact with the ground. Exactly adhere to the working intervals. If you follow these simple rules, you can significantly prolong the life of your electric “helper”!