Eh, I like the way it cuts and it is lighter. The Echo CS2511 is lighter than my MS150, but comes with a 3/8 LP and 14" bar kind of negating the weight savings. If my eyes get any worse I may change my mindYou can put 3/8 low profile on there and save yourself a lot of squinting and cutting into straps. It's just a sprocket away.
How do you flatten them? My MS150 bar looks pretty flat to the eye, but against my 2' level it looks like bacon.Or tension the chain properly and try to lean a tooth over by pushing on it. There's not much lean in a new bar and chain.
One thing I plan on making or buying one of these days is a set of 12" x 1" x (every gauge I need) strips of sheet metal, so I can stick it in the bar and move it down the length, hammering lightly in its center as I go. I know there's bar presses, but that seems like an overly complex solution to a simple problem if you have a flat surface and a shim the same gauge as your chain.
My crooked cut problems have always been chain-related, not bar-related, but I tend to flatten up my bars regularly. I do wonder if the steel bends more easily after it's been bent back and forth so many times (though each bend is tiny).
(Though anyone who does want to toss a curve-cutting 3/8" bar and chain, send 'em to Jetsam's Chain Rehabilitation Preserve and I will happily put 'em to work!)
I have a bar file that works, but a straight 2x with sandpaper stapled to it works well too. First rip the 2x on both short ends so the edges are all square instead of rounded. Then assemble it like roofing shingles... overlap the sandpaper all in the same direction, and only stroke one way so you don't tear up the paper. Or just put the sandpaper on a little 6" scrap; not as good as a long edge but it's already longer than a bar file.How do you flatten them? My MS150 bar looks pretty flat to the eye, but against my 2' level it looks like bacon.
The rails are flat, but since the bar has a curve to it so do the rails. Hence the potato shaped cuts. I tried two pieces of wood in my small table top vice, but that did about nothing.I have a bar file that works, but a straight 2x with sandpaper stapled to it works well too. First rip the 2x on both short ends so the edges are all square instead of rounded. Then assemble it like roofing shingles... overlap the sandpaper all in the same direction, and only stroke one way so you don't tear up the paper. Or just put the sandpaper on a little 6" scrap; not as good as a long edge but it's already longer than a bar file.
I toyed with the idea of making a tablesaw jig for this purpose, but I haven't tried it yet. Get a piece of bar stock that fits in the groove in the table, weld a piece of c-channel to it at 90, flip another piece of c-channel and drop it over that one to make a telescoping tube. Now the top horizontal bit gets a long vertical (longer than the bar) welded to the end of it, and that vertical gets two studs for mounting bars welded to it near the base. If all your 90s are perfect, you bolt the bar on the vertical, put a metal grinding wheel on the tablesaw, and trim the edges of the bar just like lumber.
A simpler version would be putting 2 miter gauges on the saw, laying a straightedge between them, and hopefully using that to push the bar through straight. ...oh, or make a little block with studs on it for mounting the bar, and push the block through with the cross member.
(I doubt I'll be trying any of that unless someone ships me a crate of ruined bars to rehabilitate, but it all sounds okay on paper!)
Doing them with a short tool like a bar file or sanding block means do a little bit, inspect your results with a straightedge, repeat.
But squeezing the rails together is part of the process of truing up a bar.Add that to you process and you will see the difference.I can put on a very worn chain, that's poorly sharpened with different length cutters, and missing teeth, on a new bar, and it cuts straight. But not on a bar that's worn. Take a straight edge to the side of the bar, and push a tooth to the side. If the straight edge becomes flush with the side, it's a sign that there are bar issues (worn slot, uneven rails). That's my experience anyway. By the time the cuts start to curve, the bars have had many chains through them, and filing the rails flat no longer helps.
I wonder if the average firewooder would go through enough bars to justify messing with them that much. Average stove/house combinations go through maybe 4-5cord a year. The last bar here lasted 10 years, 50cord, 3chains, I have several saws, one 50years old, 25 and 11. With one additional new bar needed in all that time. All cut straight. Never have been too concerned with evening up the cutters. I chose to just spend the $25 for a new bar. If it was an old vintage saw worth holding onto, or maybe parts were hard to come by, that would be different. Fighting things - if it's a consumable, and starting to fail, update here and sidestep the issues. Off topic - I made a gocart for my kids years ago - 5speed transmission, 9hp briggs, balloon tires, fun unit, unless the engine failed to start, then it was zero fun, choice was to rebuild or a new engine cheap from surplus center, buy new, one pull, go have fun kids. Pulling the starter cord is no way to get across the lake to go fishing. Firewooding here is kind of that way.But squeezing the rails together is part of the process of truing up a bar.Add that to you process and you will see the difference.
I'm using a Granberg Precision grinder. It's not perfect, but my "rough cut" lumber doesn't give splinters, I'll have to post some pics. I find that I get a better finish with the grinder than with the file jig. The Granberg jigs mount to the bar and have a depth stop with adjustable angles. There's a bit of slop in the setup, but I don't yet have a shed to put a bench grinder in. I have yet to encounter a raker guide that I really like. Right now I just take them down "a few thou" with the Granberg jig when the sawdust starts clogging the clutch cover. Not perfect, but my boards look good.If you want the straightest possible cutting, I'd suggest a digital angle finder for depth gauge maintenance. It adds considerably to the time needed to set the depth gauges, but each tooth ends up cutting the same sized slice even if they’re all different lengths, so you don't have built-in pull to one side or the other.
If you are thinking "I have a grinder, of course they are all the same length", I suggest you measure them with a micrometer and see. (If they ARE all within .010", you are way better at grinding than I am.)
Alternatively, you should get a much faster but not quite as good result from a FOP style progressive depth gauge tool.
I think that's what happens when I smoke the bar when milling. Something causes the chain the get dinged up on one side but not the other. Usually that's the right hand cutters on my mill setup, probably because they hit something on the side of the log facing away from me while milling.I'm still sticking with my theory. Most time, crooked cutting is due to wear on the other side of the chain. Drive links get worn and thinner, under side of teeth and tie straps where it slides on bar get rounded, chain gets sloppy in the bar and it won't stay upright.
That sounds plausible, but my experience is that you can always fix crooked cutting with a round file and a flat file.I'm still sticking with my theory. Most time, crooked cutting is due to wear on the other side of the chain. Drive links get worn and thinner, under side of teeth and tie straps where it slides on bar get rounded, chain gets sloppy in the bar and it won't stay upright.
Good filing guides, like the Stihl/Pferd 2-N-1 or even the dinky Husqvarna/Oregon guides, have a way to try and help the user get the desired 10 degrees upward angle. On my Granberg jigs I can set the angles to whatever I want in the X and Y axis with a round file or grinder. With a three angle file on the Granberg file jig I can also set the Z angle for a square ground chain, but I don't have the right tools or desire to fiddle with square ground chain.Thanks for the Carteton link,