The Basics of a Chainsaw Bar
Before we delve into the specifics of measuring a chainsaw bar, let’s establish a clear understanding of its basic components:
- Bar Length: This refers to the usable cutting length of the chainsaw bar, typically measured from the tip to the point where it enters the chainsaw’s body. It’s one of the most critical measurements to consider when replacing a bar. Longer bars allow for larger cuts, but they can also be more challenging to control.
- Pitch: The pitch of a chainsaw bar is determined by the distance between the chain’s drive links. Common pitch values are 3/8 inch and 0.325 inches. Understanding your chainsaw’s pitch is essential when selecting a compatible replacement bar and chain.
- Gauge: The gauge, sometimes referred to as the “drive link thickness,” indicates the width of the groove in the bar where the chain fits. Common gauge sizes include 0.050, 0.058, and 0.063 inches. It’s crucial to match the gauge of your bar to your chain for optimal performance.
- Mount Type: Chainsaw bars come with different mount types. The most common are the small (or “low”) profile and the large (or “big”) profile. Each type is designed to fit specific chainsaw models, so it’s vital to identify your chainsaw’s mount type before purchasing a new bar.
- Safety Features: Some bars come equipped with additional safety features, such as a reduced kickback guide bar or a sprocket nose. These features can enhance safety during operation and should be considered when selecting a new bar.
Now that we have a solid foundation, let’s move on to the practical steps of measuring a chainsaw bar accurately.
Measuring Your Chainsaw Bar
- Bar Length: Start by removing the bar and chain from your chainsaw. Measure the length of the bar from the tip to the point where it enters the chainsaw’s body. Round the measurement to the nearest inch. For example, if the measurement is 15.75 inches, round it up to 16 inches.
- Pitch: Examine the chain’s drive links. Count the number of drive links in a 3-inch span. If you count 9 drive links, your pitch is 3/8 inch. If you count 10, it’s 0.325 inches.
- Gauge: Measure the width of the groove in the bar where the chain fits using a caliper. Ensure you measure the groove’s width accurately to determine the gauge.
- Mount Type: Check your chainsaw’s user manual or inspect the mount on the old bar to determine whether it’s a small or large profile.
Comparing Bar Types
To help you further understand the importance of these measurements, let’s compare two different chainsaw bars:
In this comparison, the standard bar is shorter with a smaller pitch and gauge, making it suitable for lighter tasks. On the other hand, the professional bar is longer and more robust, ideal for heavy-duty cutting.
Tools and Materials Needed
Before diving into the measurement process, make sure you have the following tools and materials ready:
- Measuring Tape: An accurate measuring tape is your best friend for this task. Ensure it’s in good condition and reads both inches and centimeters.
- Chainsaw: You’ll need the chainsaw itself, so have it on hand. Make sure it’s powered off and the chain brake is engaged for safety.
- Wrench or Screwdriver: Depending on your chainsaw model, you might need a wrench or screwdriver to remove the side cover.
- Safety Gear: Always prioritize safety. Wear gloves, safety goggles, and hearing protection while working with a chainsaw.
Now that you’ve gathered your tools and materials, let’s move on to the precise measurement process.
Step 1: Chain Removal
Start by removing the chainsaw chain from the bar. This can usually be done by loosening the tension on the chain using the tensioning screw. Refer to your chainsaw’s manual for specific instructions.
Step 2: Remove the Side Cover
Use the appropriate tool (wrench or screwdriver) to remove the side cover of your chainsaw. This cover is typically located on the opposite side of the chain bar.
Step 3: Measure the Bar Length
With the side cover removed, you now have access to the chainsaw bar. Using your measuring tape, measure the length of the bar from the tip to the point where it enters the chainsaw body. Make sure to measure from the very tip, as even a slight variation can affect the fit of a replacement bar.
Step 4: Record the Measurement
Note down the measurement you obtained in both inches and centimeters. It’s essential to have this recorded accurately for reference when purchasing a new chainsaw bar.
Step 5: Reassemble Your Chainsaw
Once you’ve recorded the bar length, reassemble your chainsaw by following the reverse of the disassembly steps. Ensure the chain tension is correctly adjusted when reattaching the chain.
Preparing the Chainsaw for Measurement
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of measurement, you’ll need to prep your chainsaw. Here’s how:
Step 1: Ensure Safety First
Safety should always be your top priority when working with a chainsaw. Before beginning, put on your safety gear, including gloves, safety goggles, and hearing protection. Your well-being matters!
Step 2: Power Off and Chain Brake Engaged
Make sure your chainsaw is powered off, and engage the chain brake. This prevents any accidental chain movement during the measurement process, keeping you safe.
Step 3: Chain Removal
To accurately measure your chainsaw bar, you’ll need to remove the chain. This is typically done by loosening the tension on the chain using the tensioning screw. Consult your chainsaw’s manual for specific instructions, as different models may vary.
Tools You’ll Need
Gather these essential tools to get started:
- Measuring Tape: An accurate measuring tape is your best friend for this task. Ensure it reads both inches and centimeters.
- Wrench or Screwdriver: Depending on your chainsaw model, you might need a wrench or screwdriver to remove the side cover.
Taking the Measurement: Step-by-Step Guide
The accurate measurement of your chainsaw bar is pivotal. Let’s break it down:
Step 1: Length Measurement With the side cover removed, you gain access to the chainsaw bar. Use your measuring tape to measure the bar’s length from the very tip to where it enters the chainsaw body. Precision is key here; even a minor variation can affect the fit of a replacement bar.
Step 2: Record the Measurement Make a note of the measurement in both inches and centimeters. This recorded measurement is your reference when purchasing a new chainsaw bar.
Step 3: Reassembly Once the measurement is recorded, reassemble your chainsaw by reversing the disassembly steps. Pay close attention to chain tension adjustment when reattaching the chain.
Other Considerations: Chain Fit
Measuring the chainsaw bar is crucial, but there’s another vital aspect to consider – the fit of the chain. It’s essential to ensure that your replacement chain matches the bar you’ve measured. A mismatch here can lead to performance issues and safety hazards.
When selecting a replacement chain, pay attention to the following factors:
- Chain Pitch: This refers to the distance between the drive links. Different chainsaws require different pitch sizes, so consult your chainsaw’s manual to find the correct pitch.
- Gauge: The gauge is the thickness of the drive link. Ensure the replacement chain’s gauge matches the bar’s groove size.
- Chain Length: The length of the chain is crucial. It should be a suitable match for the bar length you’ve measured earlier.
Chainsaws are powerful tools, and safety should never be compromised. Here are some vital safety tips to keep in mind:
- Always wear appropriate safety gear: Gloves, safety goggles, and hearing protection are non-negotiable.
- Maintain a secure footing: Ensure you have a stable and secure stance while operating your chainsaw.
- Beware of kickback: Be vigilant about the potential for kickback, which can occur if the tip of the chainsaw bar makes contact with an object. Maintain a firm grip and never operate the saw with the tip.
- Proper maintenance: Regularly inspect and maintain your chainsaw to ensure it’s in top working condition.
FAQ Measure a Chainsaw Bar and Chain
When determining the best replacement bar for your chainsaw, how do you accurately measure chainsaw bar length?
To accurately measure the chainsaw bar length, lay the chainsaw flat, and measure the distance from the point where the bar enters the body of the chainsaw to the tip of the bar. This gives you the true length, also known as the called length or effective cutting length.
Why is knowing how to measure the chainsaw bar size vital when looking to replace the chainsaw bar or chain?
Understanding the chainsaw bar size is essential because it ensures you get a chain and bar that fit correctly. An incorrect bar or chain can lead to performance issues and safety concerns.
Can you provide a guide on how to measure a chainsaw chain for those unfamiliar with the process?
Certainly! To measure a chainsaw chain:
- First, measure the distance between three consecutive rivets on the chain and divide by two to get the pitch of the chain.
- Next, count the drive links on the chain. These are the links that hold the chain onto the bar groove.
- Lastly, use a gauge to measure the thickness of the drive link. This measurement is the chain gauge.
I’ve heard the terms “true bar length” and “usable length” when discussing chainsaw bar length. What is the difference?
The “true bar length” refers to the entire length of the chainsaw bar, from the front of the chainsaw where the bar begins to the very end of the bar. The “usable length” or effective length is the length of the bar that is available for cutting, typically measured from where the bar exits the chainsaw’s body to the tip of the bar.
For those using a Stihl chainsaw, how can they find the right chain size?
For a Stihl chainsaw or any other chainsaw, it’s essential to know the bar length, chain pitch, and chain gauge. Once you have these measurements, you can refer to a size guide specific to the chainsaw brand to determine the appropriate chain size.
I want to learn how to measure the chain size for my electric chainsaw. Any tips?
For an electric chainsaw, the process is similar. Start by measuring the distance between three consecutive rivets on the chain to determine the pitch. Count the drive links that fit into the bar groove of the chainsaw. Finally, measure the chain gauge, which is the thickness of the drive link that fits into the bar groove.
How often do people typically need to replace their chainsaw bar or chain?
The frequency of replacing the chainsaw bar or chain depends on usage and maintenance. If the bar or chain is well-maintained, sharp, and properly tensioned, it can last longer. However, if you notice uneven wear, bending, or other damages, it’s time to replace the chainsaw bar or chain.
If my chainsaw blade seems dull, should I replace the chainsaw chain, the bar, or both?
Start by inspecting both the chain and the bar. If the chain’s teeth are overly worn down, uneven, or damaged, you should replace the chain. If the bar groove is worn out or the bar is bent or warped, then the bar needs replacement. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to replace both simultaneously, especially if both show significant wear.
Can the size of your chainsaw be different from the length of your chainsaw bar?
Yes, the size of your chainsaw refers to the chainsaw’s power and capacity, whereas the length of the chainsaw bar refers to how long the cutting bar is. For instance, you can have a powerful chainsaw with a 16-inch bar or the same chainsaw with a longer bar.
When referring to the “pitch” during chain measurements, what exactly are we looking at?
The pitch of the chain refers to the distance between any three consecutive chain drive links’ rivets divided by two. It helps determine the size of the chain and ensures the chain and sprocket match for optimal performance.
Why do you need to measure the length of a chainsaw bar before considering a chain replacement?
When considering a chain replacement, it’s crucial to measure the length of a chainsaw bar to ensure the new chain fits perfectly. Using the wrong size can compromise the chainsaw’s performance and safety. By knowing the actual length of the bar, you can select the appropriate chainsaw chain size for a seamless fit and optimal function.
What is the most accurate way to measure chainsaw size, especially if you need to replace your chainsaw bar or chain?
The most accurate way to measure chainsaw size, especially when you need to replace your chainsaw bar or chain, is to lay the chain saw on its side and measure the chain saw bar from its starting point on the side of the chainsaw to the farthest tip. This gives you the actual length or the effective length of a chainsaw bar. Additionally, counting the chain links and measuring your chain’s pitch can help determine the correct chain replacement.
If the size of the bar and the chainsaw chain size don’t align, what complications can arise?
If the size of the bar and the chainsaw chain size are not in alignment, it can lead to issues such as the chain not fitting into the bar groove correctly, causing the chain saw to operate inefficiently. Moreover, using an incorrectly sized chain can increase the wear on both the chain and the chain saw bar, leading to a need to replace your chainsaw components prematurely. It underscores the importance of measuring your chain and knowing the exact specifications before making any replacements.