Find The Right Replacement Chain,…..
What Type of Chain to Use
Chainsaws are available in many sizes from standard 16,18 and 20 inch bars. For industrial woodcutting use, the bar length can extend up to 36 inches and longer. The majority of farmers and homeowners will select a saw in the standard range to use for falling trees for firewood, pruning to remove small trees around the property and general cutting.
Common chainsaw brands are Husqvarna, Stihl and Craftsman. Other cheaper brands are available and choice always depends on what kind of saw you might like to use. If you purchased one of the brands mentioned in a used saw instead of new, the possibility exist that you have no manual on the chainsaw. This makes buying replacement parts for the saw a little more complicated.
Replacing the chain on your saw even without the information on the saw is relatively easy. You need to know the number of links on the chain by using something to mark the first link and counting the subsequent links until you get the total on the old chain. The drive links run along the bottom of the old chain inside the chain bar.
The next part of chain identification is the pitch measurement. It usually can be located on the bar but sometimes might be worn from wear on the saw. The measurement can be determined easy by dividing with 2, the distance between 3 rivets of the chain using a rule. An example of this is 3 rivets equal 6/8in of length in-between the 3 rivets divided by 2 equals 3/8-inch pitch. Blade pitch will be 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch, .325-inch and .404-inch on saw chains so it narrows down the exact measurement you will have.
Chainsaw bars of 16-inch or 18-inch will use low profile 3/8-inch pitch chains because they are the most common size used with homeowners. Logging companies and forest workers will use .404-inch pitch chains preferably because of the larger chainsaws they must use in those professions.
To find the gauge thickness, first you have to know what it means. Gauge thickness is the width of the drive links that run along inside the chain bar or the links on the bottom of the chain. It is important to fit the correct chain in the bar so it cuts wood smoothly. This is usually located on the bar unless it is worn from use. The only accurate way to check the width is with a pair of measuring calipers. Gauge measurements for chains will fall into the following widths of .043-inch, .050-inch, .058-inch, .063-inch, with .050-inch being the most widely used thickness.
To make sure that you install the correct chain on the saw, it might be best to carry the chain or both the saw and chain to a reputable dealer who can quickly fit you with the proper parts you need to ensure safety in operation.
It is a good idea to inspect the bar while you have it off the saw to see if it is damaged. Cleaning built-up wood debris accumulating inside the bar is a must. You can do this with a gem clip, large sewing needle or other small item to remove the crud built up. This will make the chain bar work efficiently with less wear. It will help reduce heat build-up on both the bar and chain providing a longer life.
How To Replace The Chain Correctly
Always keep safety in mind when working with chains old or new by wearing a suitable pair of work gloves to avoid cuts. To replace a chain and adjust the chain tension, follow the steps outlined here. Always check chain tension periodically during use of your saw.
- Loosen both nuts on the side plate with a wrench or correct sized socket.
- Unlock the chainsaw break and remove the side plate.
- With a small screwdriver, adjust the tension screw to increase slack in the chain.
- Remove both the bar and chain.
- Do a general cleaning throughout the bar and clutch drum area.
- Inspect the clutch drum area.
- Install the bar and the new chain with the chain teeth going in the correct position.
- Make sure the drive links are in both the bar and clutch drum correctly.
- Grasp the front tip of the bar pulling forward to tighten the chain
- Make sure the tension adjustment pin seats through the bar pinhole.
- Replace the side plate, hand tighten snugly.
- Adjust the tension screw to further tighten chain.
- Make sure the chain rides along the bar without too much play.
- Tighten both nuts on side plate securely.