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Best Source for Bar & Chain

Post in 'The Gear' started by toddnic, Sep 21, 2013.

  1. toddnic

    toddnic Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    North Carolina
    I have a Husqvarna 346xp. I currently have a 18" bar on it (that it came with). Husqvarna says that I can put a 20" on it which I am planning on doing. I just picked up a bar & chain at Home Depot that was supposed to fit it and....it does not fit! Does anyone have a source for a good and inexpensive bar & chain?

    Thanks for your help!

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  2. shawn6596

    shawn6596 New Member

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    Inexpensive is the trouble. In my experience you get what you pay for. I use a 24" oregon skip tooth chain. They are $17 and some change each. I found this guy through ebay. He has been very helpful in finding just what I needed. if you go to one of his listings and send him a message you can buy it straight from him over phone. I haven't priced a bar for my saw in a while, but the last time I did it was over $125 for a good one.
  3. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Try this www.madsens1.com

    Not sure what you mean by "inexpensive," but I only buy Stihl chains and those are pretty much the same price everywhere. If you don't mind using Oregon or Carlton or Windsor or whatever then it should be inexpensive anywhere you get it (compared to Stihl chains).
    begreen and TreePointer like this.
  4. MarkinNC

    MarkinNC Minister of Fire

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    I would be disinclined to put a "homeowner" level of quality saw on your professional saw, ergo, try your local saw shop for parts, not a big box store. You could go to Baileys Online, they have a bar selector tool that will help. I have found that shipping is a lot for me but they often have tools available here (like the LogRite stuff). In my opinion I would only buy Stihl saw chain as well.

    Neither of my suggestions is an "inexpensive" one. I am sitting here trying to figure out how many cords of wood I have cut in the last 3 years. I think I can say safely over 15 cords. I have worn out 1 chain, maybe 6 files, 0 bars.

    http://www.baileysonline.com/Chainsaw-Bars/
  5. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    I average just over 10 cord per chain. Sometimes way over if the wood is clean. That's about 1 chain per year for me so it's not worth saving a few bucks on a cut-rate chain.
  6. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Lots of saw makers specify a range of bar lengths for an particular saw model, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the longest bar will be effective. Unless you want longer reach to save your back, I wouldn't go with a longer bar on that saw. It's a little underpowered to pull 20 inches when buried. Also some longer bars will not get enough oil from the saw's oiler.

    A saw's drive sprocket has PITCH. Your bar and chain must match the drive sprocket PITCH.

    ChIain: You must match PITCH, GAUGE, and DL (number of drive links).

    Bar: You match BAR MOUNT TYPE, PITCH, and GAUGE of your chain.

    An easy way to look for chains and bars is to look at the stamp on your current bar. It will give you its pitch, gauge, DL, and special information such as if it's a narrow kerf bar (NK). Note that DL will change with bar length.
  7. toddnic

    toddnic Feeling the Heat

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    North Carolina
    Thanks all! I just spoke with Ed at Madsen's. I'm going to stop by my local chainsaw dealer and see what I can find. Definitely not going to go back to Home Depot or Lowes.
    PapaDave, Nixon and Bigg_Redd like this.
  8. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    They are a great shop - owned and staffed by great people. I am fortunate to have them within easy driving range.
  9. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    I use the 16" bar that came with my NE346XP. It's a Husqvarna branded bar that's .325 pitch, .050 gauge, and narrow kerf (NK).

    My favorite chain to run in it is standard kerf Stihl RS chain in that bar. I like the NK bar because it's lighter than the standard bar.

    NK chain in NK bar = OK
    Standard kerf chain in NK bar = OK
    NK chain in standard kerf bar = NO
  10. albert1029

    albert1029 Feeling the Heat

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  11. toddnic

    toddnic Feeling the Heat

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    I just ordered a 18" Stihl chain for a bar with a .325 pitch, .050 guage, and standard kerf. It is the OILOMATIC® STIHL RAPID™ Super (RS). TreePointer, how much of a problem do you have with kickback with your 346xp and this chain? Where do you get your chain at? I just paid a little over $30.
  12. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    I too would not put a 20" on that saw. My 445 which is not a pro saw but must be close in performance would never handle a 20. Heck I want to get a 16" for it and remove the 18" one!!
    kenskip1 likes this.
  13. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    Ouch $30 is steep. I get 20" loops at a dealer round here for just under $25. This is 3/8 skip chain .50.
  14. toddnic

    toddnic Feeling the Heat

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    I spoke with Ed at Madsen's and he said that I would not improve the saws performance with a 20 inch. I am sticking with the 18 inch that it came with 15 years ago. When it has a sharp chain, it is a barn burner :cool:
  15. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    I have had a 64cc stihl for years and now have a husky 372 that I rebuilt. So when I use the 445 I get bored while cutting and get tired of stalling the saw. I'm use to leaning on the saw :)
  16. shawn6596

    shawn6596 New Member

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    Shoot $25 is high I get my 24" loops for $17. This is 3/8 skip chain
  17. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    That's a deal! Are they making them there or are they preboxed? And are u talking stihl chain? Sure I've got Oregon or woodland or no name for that price.
  18. shawn6596

    shawn6596 New Member

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    They are pre-boxed oregon. I have had Stihl chains and they cut and last about the same amount of time.
    I will say the skip tooth chains stretch more than a normal chain, but they cut twice as fast.
  19. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    You sure about that?? Look up the videos from mastermec if there not deleted!! He did a head to head comparison between full comp and skip with a ms460 and the full comp beat the skip by a second or two.
  20. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Check out all the Stihl dealers in your area. The John Deere dealership on one end of town has no special deal on Stihl chain. The mom & pop Stihl dealer on the other end of my town sells Stihl chain at "buy one chain, get second half price" and "buy two chains, get third free." Mom pop has much better service, too.

    I also run some Oregon LP/LPX chain (same as Husqvarna H23). It's a nice chain that's often less expensive (got mine from Baileys). Sthil chain seems to last a little longer between sharpenings, but often it's not noticeable.

    A full chisel chain from any maker (Oregon, Stihl, Woodland Pro, etc.) will be a little more "grabby" when initiating a cut. That is, you might feel more push/pull than you would with a semi-chisel chain or the narrow kerf chain (Husqvarna H30 / Oregon VPX) that likely came with your saw.

    Kickback rules apply regardless of what chain you use. Keep the top quadrant of the bar tip away from the wood and maintain a proper grip on the saw and you should be fine.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  21. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    x2 on maxing out the manufacturers recommended length being a bad thing for anything more than "sometimes" use. As in, I need a little more for these few cuts and then going back to the shorter one. Just my opinion formulated from reading here, Arborist and just being a bit anal about longevity of my tools and toys. Considering a saw is run wide open all the time - maxing out it's capability is only shortening the life of all things mechanical.

    I have a 24" set up for my 036 but only use it to fell a big tree - it loves the 20"
  22. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    Seems like you did the right thing..... stayed with an 18" bar and got some RSC chain. That's what I run on my 346.

    I'm lucky to have a ton of stihl dealers stacked on top of each other, so they have competitive prices on chain. The amish dealer does the first chain at retail and the second for $4. Best deal I've ever found.
  23. toddnic

    toddnic Feeling the Heat

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    Do you know if your amish dealer will ship the chain for that deal? WOW....
  24. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    Bet so?? But hitting steel could!
  25. toddnic

    toddnic Feeling the Heat

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    TreePointer, thanks so much for the tip on the Stihl RS chain. I've never had a chain cut like that. It was actually so aggressive that I had to go 'gentle' on the saw because the saw could not keep up with the chain. I've honestly never had that problem with the Husqvarna 346xp. Any thoughts on how to modify the 346xp for more horsepower?

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