chainsaw bar and chain wear

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Jeff Jilg, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. Jeff Jilg

    Jeff Jilg

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Messages:
    1,287
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Home Page:
    Does anyone have good advice to determine when a chainsaw bar is worn?

    I just replaced my current bar with a new bar/chain set and now it cuts like butter. It seems I always go past their prime until I recognize when the bar is fried, and this is usually after a lot of sharpenings and a lot of extra time trying to do an easy set of cuts. The old bar does not seem to have that much play in it (side to side), but maybe I'm too generous with that observation.

    I'm touching up the chains every 2-3 hours with a handheld file + jig, and sharpening them every 10-14 hours. The chains are pretty sharp to the touch. Also I'm filing down the rakers/bumpers to the correct depth.
     
  2. Dr_dewey

    Dr_dewey

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    Messages:
    143
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Home Page:
    worn bars

    Normally when it wont cut straight because the rails are so severly worn that it is no longer able to keep the chain cutting straight, or when the area behind the nose is worn heavily due to running the chain too loose, or when the bar groove is drastically wider than new. such as an .063 ga bar becoming an .080 or larger gauge bar groove.
     
  3. TEK

    TEK

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Messages:
    81
    Location:
    Brunswick,Ohio
    flip the bar over

    Do you flip your bar over after 10 or so sharpenings? It evens the wear out on the bar. I don't see a worn bar slowing down the cut much. The chain is more likely the culprit. Replacing bars can get expensive. My Stihl is 17 years old and I’m only on my second bar. A good dealer should be able to look at your bar and see if it’s too worn.
     
  4. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,542
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Bar Wear

    Jeff,

    For the best life from a bar, you should flip it with each chain change. I've had the same bar on my 16" Stihl for 16 years and it's still fine after wearing out more than a dozen chains during the same time. I did, however, have it "dressed" once. Bar dressing involves a special table mounted cup grinder that surfaces the rails to a precise 90* to the width of the bar.

    I also blow out the chain, bar, and sprocket with air each day to prevent abrasive grit from building up.

    Make sure to use a top grade of bar oil and DON'T throw a little engine oil in if you run short. Bar and chain oil is forumlated to hold onto the high speed surfaces and provide proper lubrication; other oils and cheap grades get flung off easily and give little or no protection to the bar/chain contact points.

    As was said, pay attention to your chain tension; many don't use enough. Loose chain will tend to wear on one rail, plough out the bar's gap, and give abnormal wear behind the nose.

    M
     
  5. Jeff Jilg

    Jeff Jilg

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Messages:
    1,287
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Home Page:
    Thanks for all the advice. Maybe the chain isn't properly sharp. I have been tightening the chain, but maybe not enough by some accounts. The bar gets flipped over about every 30 hours. So far the powerhead has about 300-400 hours on it.

    The Oregon website recommends a new bar for every 2 chains. They also recommend a sprocket replacement every 2 chains. I looked at the sprocket and it has some wear grooves in it.

    Mark - I think maybe my chain was running too loose. Near the end it was cutting more to one side. With this new set of 1 bar + 2 chains, I will keep the chain tighter. I only use bar oil on it, it's pretty cheap by the gallon.

    Dr_Dewey - I didn't measure the width on the old bar, but it is definitely larger than the new bar.

    The advantage of the new bar is that it is 2" longer (18" bar), so now maybe I can make whole cuts instead of cutting one side then the other. I don't like the large bumpers on the chain though, seems to make it less agressive. One website called it "lawyer chain" because it prevents lawsuits.

    Thanks again for the tips.
     
  6. George Van Beynen

    George Van Beynen

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    Mercer, WI
    Jeff, in our area it is hard to buy a new bar because the dealer where we buy our chain and other products keeps servicing the old one. If the bar gets worn and uneven side to side they retrue it on a jointer and it is good as new. Free service just for being a customer. If the nose gets worn they drive out the rivits and replace the tip. My last one $12 total. If by chance you badly bind and bend the bar you finally get to have a new freshly painted bar but that clashes with the electrician tape holding the handle together. When we are logging the dealer will do repairs on the counter while you wait with a cup of coffee and a donut so we do not loose time in the woods. I think you know where I buy all my small engine equipment and send my friends and anyone who asks!

    If you feel safe around a saw and have experience and possibly training, a professional chisel tooth chain is great in clean wood. A professional semi-chisel in dirty wood at a landing as it cuts longer while slightly dull. Beware there is no kick back protection built into these chains.
     
  7. -e-

    -e-

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    starting today, on the far side of the moon
    Home Page:
    jeff- i took a safety class from the guy from Oregon chains.

    he recommended flipping the bar with each chain-change. he showed us how to clean, file square, and lub the bar, recommended replacing the bar when the rail becomes flared & sloppy, and replacing the drive sprocket when its becomes grooved and sloppy...keeping the nose-sprocket lubed with each gas-fill prolongs its life.

    also, he said that many of the printed recommendations were geared toward loggers in the field who will rapidly go through bars and sprockets.

    he mentioned that over-tensioning is the biggest cause of excessive bar and sprocket wear ... the chain should be loose enough for some play without the drive links riding outside the rail (for an already broken-in chain). there's a whole procedure to break-in a new chain.

    a worn or incorrectly sharpened chain is the biggest reason for wandering cuts. with a worn bar, the drive links will show excessive wear, and bar/chain will be hotter than normal.

    if you ever get a chance for a safety class with Oregon, i would highly recommend it. also, they have a safety&maintenance booklet that is quite valuable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2005
  8. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,542
    Location:
    New Jersey

    Sounds like SOME-BODY really wants to sell bars and chains. But I rather think you read that one wrong, Jeff. :D
     
  9. Jeff Jilg

    Jeff Jilg

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2004
    Messages:
    1,287
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Home Page:
    Thanks for the additional tips folks.

    -e-, I'll see if there is a class around, it is always good to learn new stuff.

    George - I'm going to look into the better pro chains. I have over 300 hours with the chainsaw. While there's always more to learn, I could definitely take advantage of more aggressive pro chisel tips.

    For the new bar/chain combo I opted for the Oregon "Intenz" bar. It has an adjustment screw built in. It seems to make tensioning a little easier, and the price was the same. The system is described :
    here on the Oregon site
     
  10. Hugh

    Hugh

    Joined:
    May 6, 2004
    Messages:
    457
    A dealer that you might want to check is "Bailey's. baileys@baileys-online.com. They have everything you will need for the chainsaw of choice. New chains are very reasonable and they have sizes. They also sell all the parts for chainsaws.

    I have had my chainsaw for 20 years and have only changed the bar once. I have filed the burr down a couple of times (by hand). Bailey's has a hand tool that will do the job better than an hand held file. You need to lubricate the tip of the saw. There is a small hole on at least one side of the tip and it should be greased before every use.

    I had someone tell me once that it was good to dress up (sharpen lightly) the chain every tank of gas. This might be a bit excessive for cutting in clean wood - but the thought is good. A sharp chain is safer to use.

    I agree with Mark that someone is trying to sell more chains/sprockets & bars. I think you need to watch the wear and replace when needed. Buy a couple of extra chains and keep them handy. If you hit dirt or rocks - sometimes it is best to just change the chain with a fresh one and then sharpen the old one when you get home (so it is ready for next time).

    I do not have any connection with Bailey's - in fact I have a grief with them over some shipping I had to pay on something I picked up at their store a number of years ago. I hold a grudge too long. But...they are still one of the cheapest sources for new chains, etc.

    Be careful with the chainsaw. It is a very dangerous tool. But oh so much fun to use.
    Hugh
     

Share This Page