Wisdom needed to keep saw cutting straight

warmwishes001

New Member
Oct 8, 2020
14
tennessee,U.S.
no matter what I do (professional sharpening,bar mounted,or hand file) my cuts tend to wander to the right when going through anything over 8-10 " diameter. I know i have a small saw(echo cs-400 with echo bar and oregon chain 18") but the bar is straight,chain is sharp......what is my issue???Thanks for the help woodsmen!
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
3,045
Eastern Ontario
I have noticed with my saws that they tend to cut a slightly to the right
whenever I get tired and do not hold the weight of the engine and that
forces the bar to go right. Also if the bar is worn because I have not flipped it.
It tends to do the same thing.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,262
Northern Maine
Try turning the bar over or replace the bar if both sides are used.
 
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I have noticed with my saws that they tend to cut a slightly to the right
whenever I get tired and do not hold the weight of the engine and that
forces the bar to go right.
We all forget to try to hold the saw to get the straight cut ..
 

Nealm66

New Member
Sep 25, 2020
58
Western Washington
I know on longer bars, it’s usually the rails are bad. A new chain won’t have the issue but a half worn chain will run ( that’s what we call it) . Some shops will have a rail grinder but it never lasts long
 
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warmwishes001

New Member
Oct 8, 2020
14
tennessee,U.S.
I know on longer bars, it’s usually the rails are bad. A new chain won’t have the issue but a half worn chain will run ( that’s what we call it) . Some shops will have a rail grinder but it never lasts long
thanks Nealm, out of curiosity do you know if echo bars are just oregon bars wearing different paint and price?
 

showrguy

Feeling the Heat
Aug 2, 2015
471
Marysville, Pa.
no matter what I do (professional sharpening,bar mounted,or hand file) my cuts tend to wander to the right when going through anything over 8-10 " diameter. I know i have a small saw(echo cs-400 with echo bar and oregon chain 18") but the bar is straight,chain is sharp......what is my issue???Thanks for the help woodsmen!
Check your bar for flair..
Run your fingernail from the flat edge to where the chain rides, if your fingernain catches a lip that’ll cause crooked cuts big time..
File or lightly grind em off, ..... Go cut wood !!
 
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PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
740
MA
You should see a loaf of bread after I cut it into slices. :)

Slicing always wanders. I try to reduce it by cutting it in half, then each half to the heels.
 

Nealm66

New Member
Sep 25, 2020
58
Western Washington
I don’t know if there’s a difference in quality. If you stick a new chain on and it cuts straight, just go buy a new one. Oregon is ok. I have paid the premium price for bars over 4’ and not really see a difference in life. Some of the ultra light bars have some extremely tough steel but cutting timber can tend to bend them pretty badly when things don’t go quite right. They’re about double the price and hold up pretty good as far as the rails go
 

Isaac Carlson

Feeling the Heat
Nov 19, 2012
395
NW Wisconsin
If you hit something with one side of the chain, it will wear the bar unevenly. I dress my bars on the belt grinder and square the edge a couple times a year. Makes a world of difference.
 
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sen166

Member
Jan 2, 2015
61
Michigan
When you purchase a new guide bar, get a guide bar rail dresser as well. Cheap way to make sure you're filing the bur off at a true 90 degrees and it can also be used to keep the rails level to each other.
 
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Nealm66

New Member
Sep 25, 2020
58
Western Washington
The taker gauge is actually a pretty good idea, they control the bite depth regardless of teeth being uneven to some degree. It can smooth out a rough cutting chain . Hard to find one for small chain though. Not sure they make one for anything smaller than 3/8’s
 

warmwishes001

New Member
Oct 8, 2020
14
tennessee,U.S.
We all forget to try to hold the saw to get the straight cut ..
I don’t know if there’s a difference in quality. If you stick a new chain on and it cuts straight, just go buy a new one. Oregon is ok. I have paid the premium price for bars over 4’ and not really see a difference in life. Some of the ultra light bars have some extremely tough steel but cutting timber can tend to bend them pretty badly when things don’t go quite right. They’re about double the price and hold up pretty good as far as the rails go
thanks
 
Again a 2in1 sharpener will help get the chains sharp ... remember to flip the bar after a couple of sharpenings..
 
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CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
513
SW Ohio
Could be bar, but very often it's a difference in cutters - right side versus left side.
Good info on Madsen's site: Madsen's - Bar or Chain ?
Either sharpness, or shape of the cutter (and eventually differences in cutter length right v. left side) can affect cutting. I've noticed an issue when using file guides on new chain (Timberline and 2-in1). There is a tendency for the file to ride-up thereby creating more of a vertical shaped cutter. You want to maintain that nice hook shape for the cutter. Differences that predominate on one side could easily cause saw to cut crooked. If hand filing you can get similar issue, as most folk have a favorite or preferred side (i.e. sharper, more passes, different angle).
I sometimes use a Timberline sharpener that uses hand cranked carbide cutter bits. It's frustrating to find sweet spot of hooked cutter shape when fist sharpening on a new chain, but once seated in hook, it's set and it's dead on.
Periodically I use a machinist caliper to identify & mark longest cutter on each side and sharpen back all cutters to same length. It reduces cutting vibration.
When chain is sharp, it is cutting efficiently. Cutting with sharp chain is easier on the chain, saw, and operator. It should easy to slice and throw nice chips even through Osage.
 

CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
513
SW Ohio
Yes, that's the one.
 

Nealm66

New Member
Sep 25, 2020
58
Western Washington
That’s awesome. Pretty cool that folks clear across the company would mention a local saw shop. I’ve been going there since the early 80’s. Bushling in Alaska was good money and madsens made it easy to get supplies. The owner Ralph’s boy Sam and his sister run it now and Sam will still come down from the upstairs and say hi even though I don’t buy much these days. Mike the mechanic has been there forever and extremely knowledgeable. They stole Bob from castle rock stihl back in the late 90’s. He’s also very knowledgeable. They have a new guy doing the hot saws now. He’s really into it and is interesting to bs with. Most of the over counter mods are pretty mild for warranty purposes but they’re still not too bad once you open the exhaust up a bit. A few years ago you could go in the am have some coffee and a donut at the fancy wood stove with Ralph and the retired modification guy. Wish I had recorded the conversations . Any ways, glad to hear them mentioned. Not sure I’d hold everything in they’re chainsaw/bar tips as gospel since a guy getting chains ground there probably wouldn’t make it on a small cutting crew. Maybe be ok for some of the bigger crews that just had to show bodies on the hillside. Not trying to sound like a jerk but being honest. A guy can always call them and ask for mike or bob with any questions, I’ve even had Sam come down and help me make a new style climbing belt work with the old style cable rope.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,150
Northern Canada
Happens to a lot of people that hand file...
a lot of hand filers that are starting have a hard time filing on one side,usually the opposite of your dominate hand.
Try turning the saw upside down to get the teeth on the other side of the chain
 

Deets

Member
Sep 7, 2020
99
Northern IL
That’s awesome. Pretty cool that folks clear across the company would mention a local saw shop. I’ve been going there since the early 80’s. Bushling in Alaska was good money and madsens made it easy to get supplies. The owner Ralph’s boy Sam and his sister run it now and Sam will still come down from the upstairs and say hi even though I don’t buy much these days. Mike the mechanic has been there forever and extremely knowledgeable. They stole Bob from castle rock stihl back in the late 90’s. He’s also very knowledgeable. They have a new guy doing the hot saws now. He’s really into it and is interesting to bs with. Most of the over counter mods are pretty mild for warranty purposes but they’re still not too bad once you open the exhaust up a bit. A few years ago you could go in the am have some coffee and a donut at the fancy wood stove with Ralph and the retired modification guy. Wish I had recorded the conversations . Any ways, glad to hear them mentioned. Not sure I’d hold everything in they’re chainsaw/bar tips as gospel since a guy getting chains ground there probably wouldn’t make it on a small cutting crew. Maybe be ok for some of the bigger crews that just had to show bodies on the hillside. Not trying to sound like a jerk but being honest. A guy can always call them and ask for mike or bob with any questions, I’ve even had Sam come down and help me make a new style climbing belt work with the old style cable rope.
They have write ups on their website about chain sharpening, bar maintenance, and so on. All that info is spot on.

Madsen’s is where I bought my Silvey RS2 when they were still selling em.
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,009
Palmyra, WI
Sometimes taking a flat file to the top of the bar will even out different rail heights. A tilted chain could cause wander to once side or the other.
Also, if you take a straight edge to the side of a tooth, push it to the side, you should see daylight between the straight edge and the bar. If not, the bar, or chain, are worn and would need replacing. Some try to squeeze the bar rails to close the gap, but I've never tried it, and I hear of results that vary. I've also heard that it can be a short lived fix. If the bar channel is worn wide, some go to a fatter chain - instead of .043, go to .050 etc. Results may vary there too. Flip the bar every so often to get even wear. Cutters that are filed uneven could cause wander to one side. Use a dial caliper and measure tooth size. If you get a bunch that are shorter, think about either filing to get the others to match, or take it to a grinder to do them all at once to the same size.
I've had bars worn so bad, the saw will simply not cut - the curve was greater than the bar could navigate.
 
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