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More on Chains

Oct 31 2015

When changing a chain on your chainsaw, there are a few things you can do to help save a little in the future. The first thing would be to clean all the debris out from behind the chain cover. This is easily done by taking a stiff bristled brush, such as a chip brush and brushing all the junk out. Make sure to remove the guide bar and clean the area where the bar oil comes out of the motor head. Because of the oil flowing in this area, it tends to build up with dust that can plug or restrict the lubrication to the chain. Once you have this cleaned out it will be easier to see what is going on when you reassemble the saw. It is also good practice to check the drive sprocket for wear. This is important as if the drive links of the chain do not fit correctly into the sprocket, it will damage the links, when the links are damaged, they will wear the groove in the guide bar sometimes opening it up a little which could allow the chain to slip out during use. Make sure the chain you are putting on fits into the groove in the guide bar correctly, and that the groove has also been cleaned out. Debris will collect in the bottom, causing the chain to ride in a less than optimal way. 

A good practice is to invert the guide bar when changing chain. This allows the chain to wear the bar evenly adding to the life of the bar. Also check to see if there is a sprocket in the nose of the bar. If there is make sure it is turning freely when the chain runs around it. Many bars have a little hole, somewhere near the center pivot of the nose sprocket. If there is on your bar, invest in a grease injector, and pump a little into this hole to lubricate the sprocket. You can find the injector at most places that sell replacement bars and chain. It does not cost much, usually under $10.00 and works very well in controlling the friction on the bar nose and sprocket.

Always take a good look at your chains when you take them off. If it looks like the pitch is burned onto the cutters, then check to make sure the automatic oiler is working properly, or you may need to check the oil level more often during use. In most cases, you should fill the oil reservoir every time you fill the fuel tank. Look at the drives that ride in the groove on the bar. Are they showing signs of damage? These should be flat. If they are dinged up, or have burrs on them, you might have a worn drive sprocket. When they have burrs, this will effect the way they ride in the guide bar groove. The burrs will wear the groove in the bar and widen it which could result in the chain walking during the cutting process. It can eventually lead to the chain slipping off the bar when cutting. One cause of  this would be a worn sprocket, which can be replaced, the other is a chain that was not tensioned properly. Always follow the instructions on that come with new chains, for the proper tension.

While using your saw, if you happen to hit something within the wood, stop the saw and check for any broken cutters. If there are any replace the chain and take a closer look before putting it away when you are finished. Sometimes the cutter will break in such a way that it removes the metal surrounding the rivet that holds it together. If this rivet is weakened by the blow, it could shear off allowing the chain to come apart during a cut. This could cause injury to not only the person using the saw but to anyone in the area. Better to be safe than sorry on this one. I have been seeing more of these breaks coming into the shop. Depending on the condition of the rest of the chain and how much life is left in it, the cutter could be replaced with a new one. However you must keep in mind that is also has to be either filed or ground to the same size as the rest of the cutters om the chain. You would also have to find someone who has the materials to make chain loops from reels of chain, or who does chain repair. Not all sharpening shops will carry the supplies needed to cover all the different size and style chains. There is also an extra charge when this is done, as there is extra grinding plus the cost of the parts needed to repair it.

As always stay safe with your sharp objects and happy cutting.

 

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