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Thread: Narrow kerf bar and chain...how do I know what size for my chainsaw???

  1. #1
    Member BucknRut's Avatar
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    Default Narrow kerf bar and chain...how do I know what size for my chainsaw???

    Daveinthebush and others have mentioned narrow kerf bars and chains for their saws. Can anyone tell me how to determine what size to get for my saw? Another question...is thin kerf used strictly for bucking up wood or can it be used for felling trees???

    Thanks!

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Try Baileys Supply online. You should be able to find your saw bar and chain info there.

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    On narrow kerf chain the top plate of the cutter not is as wide as standard .325 pitch chain, therefor the kerf is smaller, which means your saw works less in the cut. When new, the chain should fit on almost all bars made, because the kerf is just wide enough to clear the thickness of the bars. But as you file back the tapered cutter, it actually makes a smaller kerf, and then the bar tends to bind in the cut. You can buy narrow kerf bars to remedy this problem, Oregon makes a narrow kerf bar thinner that standard laminated bars. The bars are also much more flimsy because they are thinner, so the bars bend easily.
    Just buy a standard kerf chain, it'll run on narrow kerf bars.
    When falling with a narrow kerf saw you stand a better chance of getting the bar pinched. I prefer a .404 pitch for falling (if used with a saw of suitable power) because of the wide kerf.
    When you use smaller saws, the narrow kerf would use less power. Not sure what saw you use. I use 3/8 or .404 pitch depending.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    I've used chain saws to cut hardwood trees since I was 12 years old. I'm an old lumber jack.

    If you get a new chain for your saw the pitch of the sprocket determines the pitch of chain to buy. These are .325", .375" (3/8) and .404". most wood cutting saws use the .325" pitch chain. Also the slot in the bar must match the guide width of the chain. Typically .058" .060", etc. There are several types of cutting teeth on these chains. The best cutter is the flat top or "full chisel" tooth. The worst cutter is one of the many low kick-back, no-kick designs that have those extra non cutting "bumps" sticking up on the chain. These also create more drag and need more horsepower to turn them. The most efficient chain is one with none of these extra "safety teeth" on it. Any saw that is used for bucking up can be used to fell. Generally most home-owner saw are too small to be used for anything but the smallest trees and then just soft wood such as you have in Alaska. What the narrow kerf chains are about is to get higher chain speed because of less drag in the cut. Helpful if you have a lighter saw with less horse power. Try going to a cutting chain with no "safety teeth" which will reduce the drag created by these anti-kick "bumps". That will be like adding horsepower to your saw. Go to a saw shop and discuss saw chains with a chainsaw professional.
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    To specify chains without the anti-kickback teeth ask for a half-skip or full-skip chain. They'll cut more aggressively than safety chains and that includes your limbs should those get in the way. :-)

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Pid View Post
    To specify chains without the anti-kickback teeth ask for a half-skip or full-skip chain. They'll cut more aggressively than safety chains and that includes your limbs should those get in the way. :-)
    I think you mean he should ask for "Full Chisel" as Murphy referred too. Full skip/half skip relates to an increased distance between the teeth rather than the anti-kickback humps or shape of the teeth. Most medium sized saws are best off with "Full Comp" chain, which means it has the maximum number (full complement) of teeth. Full skip or half skip is typically used for big saws and big timber for better chip clearing.

    Personally, I convert most of my saws to run 3/8" full chisel/full comp, even the smaller ones. Sharp is the key, really. The only saw I have true narrow kerf chain on is my Stihl MS 192 top handled arborist saw, and that one annoys the heck of out me with it's worthless 0.043" gauge bar. Harder than heck to find decent chain for the thing. That one is going to become a standard 0.050 gauge one of these days.

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    I'll throw 1 more in there for you.
    For the fastest cutting, if ya got the power (but not too much power or you need .404) 3/8", skip tooth, chisel, square filed, with the rakers cut down to match the powerhead. (not cutting any hard wood here in ideeho)
    That's what I use for falling.
    Same thing, but round filed, for bucking on the landing.
    Processors have pretty much takin over the bucking end, not too many hot landings around anymore. (Ah the good ole days.)
    Medium size saws are about 4 cube here. They come with 3/8" chain.

    And don't forget the chaps....................... I've cut stuff that I wish I wouldn't have cut................................
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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