Dumb question about chainsaw chains.

schlot Posted By schlot, Sep 24, 2012 at 2:00 PM

  1. schlot

    Minister of Fire

    Nov 21, 2011
    When I was getting a spare chain for my saw, I noticed how differently the chains were shaped, especially the "first" part of the tooth.The second part of the tooth was pretty similar from chain to chain.

    First off, what is the correct terminology for the tooth?

    I imagine the first part is the cutting edge and the second part is meant to extract the wood?

    Is the difference just purely a design preference of the manufacturer or are there chains designed for specific wood/applications?

  2. lukem

    Minister of Fire

    Jan 12, 2010
    Some pics of a chain illustrating the "first" and "second" part of the tooth would go a long way here.

    The first part of the tooth could be the raker. This is what controls how deep the chain cuts. It is usually pretty standard from what I've seen.

    The second part of the tooth could be the cutter. This is what actually cuts the wood. There are many different styles depending on the type (full chisel or semi chisel), the grind (square or round), and the angle (ripping or cross-cut).
  3. Bocefus78

    Minister of Fire

    Jul 27, 2010
    Just Outside Indy
    I'm guessing you saw the difference between safety chain and a real chain (albeit chisel, semi chisel, square grind, round grind, etc). The 1st part you say, is more than likely the raker. The raker sets cutting depth for the cutter. Safety chains have a different raker design to reduce kickback. Chisel and semi chisel cut much faster, but have kickback issues if you are an inexperienced wood cutter.
  4. TreePointer

    Minister of Fire

    Sep 22, 2010
    Western PA
    Basic chain = "drive links" and "cutter links" held together with "tie straps." In addition "safety" chains or "low kickback" chains will often have some form of "guard link."


    Cutter link has a "depth gauge" (aka "raker" or "drag") at its front and a "tooth" behind the depth gauge. Tooth can be one of many different shapes (chisel, semi-chisel, square, round, et al.)
  5. schlot

    Minister of Fire

    Nov 21, 2011
    Thanks, yes the raker was the difference I saw. The first chain was similar to the picture above, while the chain on my saw is more aggressive looking.
  6. bogydave

    Minister of Fire

    Dec 4, 2009
    So Cent ALASKA
    Several types of chains for various applications, saw size & safety.
  7. ScotO


    yep, lots of different chains for different situations/users. Different strokes fer different folks, you could say. To sum it up in an easy to understand analogy, safety or semi-chisel chain is like a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle........full chisel pro chain is like a Lamborghini Diablo. But we all know that some guys can get the most out of a '65 Bug, while other guys can total that Lamborghini as soon as they pull it out of the garage. In the end, it's usually the user and his experience that gets the most out of his chain.....
  8. MasterMech


    We can argue saws all season long here but the most complicated (and often colorful) "discussions" are often about chain.

    In brief:

    There are safety and non-safety (green and yellow labels respectively) chains.

    Safety chains vary by design, they can have "guard links" which are drive links with and extra hump on top and/or raised tie strap in-between the cutters that reduce kickback. There are both semi and full chisel green label chains on the market.

    Full chisel chain is easily identified by it's cutter tooth. The tooth will have a 90 deg bend and will have a leading point that should be razor sharp. Full chisel chain is the fastest cutting in clean wood but dirt will dull the cutters quickly and force you to touch-up more often.

    Semi chisel chain has a rounded tooth and leading edge with no sharp point. Semi will hold an edge longer in dirty wood. Most safety chain is semi-chisel but not all. There is yellow label semi-chisel chain on the market. (Stihl RMC is one.)

    The raker teeth on the cutters can vary a bit by shape depending on wether the chain is intended for safety applications, reduced vibration, deep cuts, etc.

    This video is 1hr long and worth watching at least once regardless of what brand of saw you run.
    The info that is most relevant to your question starts at 22:30

    PA Fire Bug, ScotO and TreePointer like this.
  9. Flatbedford

    Minister of Fire

    Mar 17, 2009
    Croton-on-Hudson, suburbs of NYC
    I didn't watch the Stihl video, but I am sure it is full of useful information as most of their videos are. However, this site can answer just about any saw chain question too. http://www.madsens1.com/muu_barchain.htm
  10. Beanscoot


    Dec 30, 2007
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    At least once? I watched once and there are several good tips. Of course it's much longer than it has to be due to a lot of repetitive safety instructions. One tip at the end of the video is to release tension on the chain before storing. I'll try to remember to do that from now on.
  11. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly
    Minister of Fire

    Oct 26, 2011
    Thanks MM....great video

Share This Page