1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Chains

Post in 'The Gear' started by streeter69, Jan 13, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. streeter69

    streeter69 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    34
    Loc:
    Arizona
    How about a generalized question about chains. 20-30 years ago it was easy...you cut wood and sharpen the chain and cut more wood.

    Now, there is skip tooth chains, regular chains, carbide tipped chains and so many makers of chain. I understand pitch, that has been around for awhile. I know what gauge is (I think) the thickness of the blades?

    My question, Is pitch used to keep chain RPM up? If so, why was the skip chain invented and what is it benefits? Is one brand of chain better then another? Is a carbide tipped chain worth the investment?

    All I own currently is a little husky 142, BUT, I have a trip to my father in-laws ;-) for wood and who knows what he is going to give me :red:

    I would like to know basically is there a difference among the chain manufacters or just grab an oregon std. chain or maybe a woodsman and call it good. All I am is a firewood user maybe 4 cords a year.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,484
    Loc:
    Hayden, ID
    Carbide tipped chains are usually reserved for really dirty or really extreme cutting situations like firefighters or smoke jumpers.

    The big difference between skip/non skip chain is the type of wood you are cutting. A non-skip chain will be smoother in harder wood and will put less load on your saw, but in softer woods it can clog up compared to a skip chain.

    The rule of thumb for skip versus non is soft woods use a non-skip and hardwoods use a non-skip (full comp).

    Arboristsite.com has a lot more in depth detail explanations about chains and what works best where.

    Myself on my big saws I run skip Oregon 72JG chain and on my 346XP it came with a 95VP chain which is a micro-chisel design with narrow kerf for fast cutting.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,707
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    The Oregon chain commonly used on small saws like I use (Husqvarna 346XP and Husqvarna 55) is .325 pitch, which is narrower than 3/8 and less rugged, but it cuts faster. The latest incarnation of .325 pitch chain is 50 gauge. You can probably get some .325 50 gauge chain for your saw. Based on my experience, I would recommend it.
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    One difference that does exist is between "pro-grade" and "consumer-grade" chain, with "consumer grade" chain generally being billed as "anti-kickback" etc. It tends to have "bumper links" on it in between the cutting links, with the idea being that it helps keep the chain from digging in to far, and presumably reducing the odds of / severity of a kickback. The problem is it also IMHO does a good job of keeping the chain from cutting well... I've heard some folks describe it as "training wheels for chainsaws" and tend to agree.

    While the consumer grade stuff may be better from a safety standpoint, I don't like the way it cuts. Thus my opinion is that if you don't have much experience, and don't use the saw a lot, stick with the consumer grade, otherwise IF you feel comfortable with the saw, use the proper gear, and KNOW that you have the strength and skill to handle a kickback, etc. look for a "pro-grade" chain, as it will cut faster and better. However expect that it will be more aggressive, probably give you more vibration, and it WILL try to kick back at you more if you are cutting with the top of the bar, or doing other things you shouldn't - just expect it and BE CAREFUL!

    You will also probably have to either mail order or go to a saw shop to get the pro-grade chain, most of the hardware stores and retail places will only have the consumer grade. Not sure how to tell about Oregon, other than looking up the number in their reference materials, but I've heard Stihl packages their consumer chains in green and the pro-grade in yellow.

    Gooserider
  5. DiscoInferno

    DiscoInferno Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,327
    Loc:
    Silver Spring, MD/ Munising, MI
    Oregon claims that their low-kickback "Vanguard" chain (72V/73V/75V) cuts faster than their own "professional" chain (72LGX/73LGX/75LGX). I've got both (well, I have 73LG, which I presume is similar to LGX) and I have to say they do cut pretty much the same. The Vanguard doesn't have a bumper link, it just has a different "folded" raker design. No kickback issues with either so far, in any case.
  6. MALogger

    MALogger New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2006
    Messages:
    147
    Loc:
    Foxboro, MA
    Pitch of a saw chain is the length of 3 links divided by 2. Gauge is the thickness of the of the driver links (what fits into the groove of the bar). I run oregon 72CK which is a 3/8 pitch .050 gauge semi skip chain. Semi skip is between full comp and skip (every third cutter is missing) This chain is very fast cutting and cuts extremely smooth.

    Craig
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Well I was using Oregon 91VG which I found didn't cut for chit... It had all the bumper links, anti-vibration, and other "safety" features, and it was miserable, even when new. I don't know if it was just those features that made it so bad, or the tooth design. It is billed as a "Chamfer Chisel" design according to the box (which has sharpening specs for both),while the 72-73-74 chain is "round ground chisel" Looking at the box, I like the profile of the 72 stuff better, it looks like a wider cutter with more of a square edge.

    I'm not sure what size the 72 is, the 91VG is 3/8" .050, but it was interesting to note that they take different file sizes, the 91VG takes a 5/32" and the 72 takes a 7/32", which is a pretty big jump...

    Gooserider
  8. streeter69

    streeter69 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    34
    Loc:
    Arizona
    Thanks for the feed back guys.
  9. splitNburn

    splitNburn New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2008
    Messages:
    3
    Loc:
    Pennsyltucky
    Sharp chains are the best ! Dirt is a chains worst enemy. Practice technique so the chain never hits the dirt. Such as instead of cutting all the way through a log, cut halfway through and roll it over to finish the cut. This will make things a lot easier as the day goes on.

    Oregon is a reputable brand as well as Windsor.

    Full chisel cuts a little faster but dulls a little easier.
  10. bjorn773

    bjorn773 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2007
    Messages:
    233
    Loc:
    Rockford, Illinois
    Not to add confusion to the topic, but Carlton makes some darned good chains too! Another thing to be considered when selecting chain is the cutter. I prefer full chisel over chipper myself. The chisel is more aggressive, but does dull quicker. I keep several chains with me when I cut, so it's not a big inconvenience when a chain dulls. I prefer that over the extra time a chipper takes to make the same cut.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page