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Another chain question

Post in 'The Gear' started by ClassicSWC, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. ClassicSWC

    ClassicSWC Member

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    I've been using Powercare 20" chains on my homelite, which is .050 gauge and .325 pitch. The drive sprocket is 10 tooth (if that matters). Can I use those chains on my Makita DSC6401? The only difference I can see is the Makita calls for 3/8 chain pitch.

    Wouldn't matter but I have 6 chains and just got the grinder set up for them. Thanks

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  2. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    Nope. You need a 3/8" pitch. They are not interchangable.
  3. fyrwoodguy

    fyrwoodguy Feeling the Heat

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    i agree
  4. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Pitch = the distance between the drive links divided by 2 & hast to match the drive saw sprocket & nose sprocket on the bar
    Example : 1/4" , 3/8 Picco , .325, .375(3/8), & .404

    Gauge = thickness of the drive link & has to match the grove in the bar
    Example : .043, .050, .058, .063

    When buying chain; Match the bar pitch, gauge & number of drive links.
    Some 20" saws have 70 DL (drive links) some 20" saws have 72 DL.
    Saws having the same Bar length , Pitch & Gauge may have a different number of DLs.

    Picco - (Stihl) & low profile - (Oregon) chains , the teeth & DLs are lower (shorter) & have to match the drive & bar sprockets.

    Know the pitch, gauge & drive links, of your saw & you can go to a saw shop & have a new chain made, or buy off the shelf at many hardware stores. The info is usually on the box.


    Here is a Stihl saw chain link that helps understand some the differences.
    http://www.stihlusa.com/chainsaws/types.html#RSLFK
    & a chart for Stihl chain Identifyiers

    Attached Files:

  5. ClassicSWC

    ClassicSWC Member

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    Sorry if I seem to be asking stupid questions, I'm learning just enough to be dangerous, LOL. Is there an advantage to one pitch over another? Would it be worth while to change the sprocket so I could use all the same chain? Thanks
  6. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    In general, larger pitches take bigger "bites" of wood and will cut faster. Bigger bites require more powerful saws. If you don't have enough power for the bite, then the saw can be choppy, bog down, and actually be more prone to kickback and other dangerous scenarios.

    My general rules:

    ~60cc and lerger = regular 3/8

    50-60cc = .235 or regular 3/8

    ~50cc and smaller = .325

    up to 40cc = 3/8 low profile (a smaller pitch than regular 3/8)


    Sometimes the saw is powerful enough for the larger pitch, but it can be costly: new drive sprocket on saw (and possibly new drum), new bar, new chain, new sharpening guide/kit.
  7. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    It would be handy if both are 20" , same pitch & gauge, same number of Drive Links.
    If you can get them both the same, No mixing up the chain issues. Don't want to tear up your sprockets with the wrong size pitch.

    Find a saw shop or an Oregonchian dealer & ask them if they can match them up.
    3/8 X.050 is a standard size chain with lots of choices & easy to find.

    But nothing is wrong with the size or the chain you have. You just have to keep them well labeled & not mix them up if they're the same length.
    The makita is 64cc & strong enough to throw a 20" Stihl RS 3/8 X .050 or an Oregon LPX (full chisel) chain & cut real well.

    Don't know the size of the homelite, it may be happy with the .325 pitch.
    You'd need a new drive sprocket (or rim depending on the type yo have) & bar; 3/8 X 50 & it have the same chain length (same amount of Drive links) Worth a try.
    **Good saw shop question**, talk to one near you, these guys love to work on saws & help . Try the Oregon parts look up site:
    http://www.oregonchain.com/pro/lookups/selguide.aspx?BusId=OCS&SellReg=USA&LangId=ENG

    Don't know about "Powercare" chain brand you are using,
    Have you tried a Stihl rsc or an Oregon LPX chain, may want to try one for a comparison.
    Local Stihl dealer or an Oregon dealer near you somewhere I'm sure. Might find the prices are even cheaper & maybe a better chain. ;)
    I know here I get a better price on the Stihl 20" RS, 3/8 X .050, (a top rated chain) for my Husqvarna, than HD or Lowes sells their 20" saw chain, (I get a Much Better chain IMO)
    Here, the box stores don't sell the full chisel faster cutting chain. They sell mostly "low kickback" , safety chains.

    When I made my first cut with the full chisel Oregon LPX, I said WOW. Major difference from the chain I was using from the box stores :)
    I'm trying the Stihl RSC (got 2 for christmas) 33RS72 , lots of guys here say they stay sharp longer & stretch less. (they were cheaper then the Oregon LPX too :) )

    Good luck, you have a good idea to match them if possible, wrong pitch will tear up /break something.
  8. ClassicSWC

    ClassicSWC Member

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    The homelite is only 46cc. The chain comes from HD, so I'm sure it's not a top of the line type chain. But I don't know any better because it's the only chain I've used.

    I guess my idea was to drop the homelite down to a 16" bar and only use it for limbing and keep the mikita with a 20" bar and maybe add a 28-30 bar for the really big stuff. Guess it'll be easier to just pitch the 20" chains I have. Thanks
  9. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    I cut allot of wood with the hardware store chain,.
    It works OK. I save a few worn out ones for cutting stumps, roots, or rotten logs if I have to cut a trail thru the woods to get an ATV trail.

    Good plan, 16" light weight saw for liming & small stuff, strong 20" or 25" for bucking.
    I have a 14" with a Stihl PMC (3/8 X .050) & a 359 & 20" bar for bucking.
    Having a back up saw along has saved a few trips :)

    PS if you go over 25" you might consider a "skip chain", fewer cutters to keep the RPM up on the long bars :)

    We have to have a little fun with our tools, customizing them for our needs. (maybe our wants :lol: )
  10. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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