Best Tips How to Measure Chainsaw Bar and Chain Length [2023]

3 Easy Tips How to Measure Chainsaw Bar, Cutting Length

How to measure chainsaw bar? One of the essential elements of a chainsaw is the bar. It is also called the chain guide bar, and over time there is wear and tear on this part. If it malfunctions, it is not advisable to operate the tool because it can cause injury.

The chainsaw bar is not repairable, so once it fails, it must be replaced. What kinds of guides for chainsaws there are, how they differ, and how to choose them correctly, is analyzed in detail in the material?

The chainsaw bar itself and all the parts designed to hold it in place are consumable parts. The chainsaw bar will wear out the most if you don’t use your chainsaw properly.

The main signs of a deteriorating guide chainsaw bar are a decrease in chain tension and a reduction in its smoothness. The chainsaw bar mount when the part is worn cannot provide the correct cutting angle in relation to chainsaw body.

If during the use of a chainsaw such alarming symptoms appear, it is necessary to stop work immediately and eliminate all malfunctions, because it is very dangerous to work with such a tool.

If The Chainsaw Bar Crooked – Causes And What To Do

Often sawyers are faced with the fact that at one moment the saw starts to cut crookedly. This causes not only inconvenience, but also complicates the sawing procedure. The sawyer has to make an effort not only to hold the tool, but also to level it. Few people know that it is forbidden to operate a tool with such a deformation. Let’s find out what causes uneven sawing with a chainsaw, and how it is dangerous for the sawyer.

Chain Length

If the saw begins to cut crookedly, it indicates that there is a subtle deformation of the tire and how your bar locate. The deformation is due to the bar bead, which has uneven wear. The deformation is due to the chainsaw bar bead, which has uneven wear. As a result, the chainsaw chain is not straight, but slightly skewed. The amount of misalignment may not be visible to the eye.

The problem of uneven wear can be eliminated by replacing the tire. It is almost impossible to uniformly mill the beads of the bar connects, so it is recommended to replace it together with the chain while using work gloves. The danger of operating a deformed chainsaw’s bar is that the chainsaw chain shank may jump out of the groove, which will lead to unhappy consequences.

The chainsaw bar, like the chain, is under a lot of stress, so it is subject to wear. When wear occurs, it is important to replace the part in a timely manner, without waiting for adverse consequences. How to choose, and what should be considered when buying a replacement bar on a chainsaw, is described in detail in the material.

Many novice gardeners make mistakes when choosing a saw part for their tool. In this case, the table of chainsaw chain selection for chainsaws can help. It is created taking into account the most popular models, which makes it possible to choose a sawing set for almost every gardener unmistakably.

How To Extend The Life Of Your Chainsaw Bar

The average lifespan of a quality chainsaw bar is at least 3 chain replacements. The drive sprocket should be replaced depending on its condition. The service life of the bar is quickly reduced if the oil pump is malfunctioning, the chainsaw chain teeth have not been sharpened for a long time, or if the tool is operated with unadjusted chain tension. The main causes of accelerated wear are also:

  • Rapid wear of the bar groove and tail section
  • Slack or excessive tension
  • Chain pitch mismatch with drive sprocket
  • If the tool is used for cutting frozen or hard wood
  • If chain lubricant of poor quality is used

If soil or sand gets into the bar groove, it causes faster wear on the clothing, so it is recommended that the tool is started so that the chainsaw is not in contact with the ground.

Design And Materials Of Chainsaw Bar

The standard bar is an elongated oval-shaped piece. At one end of the part there are special holes for threaded fasteners, and on the opposite side there is the so-called drive sprocket. There are slots all around the circumference of the part for the chainsaw chain shanks.

Chainsaw tires should be made exclusively of good quality steel – this will ensure durability of the part and safety in its operation. The materials are usually stated in the user manual (on the top cover in most cases).

Professional powerful saws use many specific forms of chain elements. The main ones that have found widespread use are the chisel and chippel types. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but can be successfully used in chainsaws and most often in domestic applications. The type of driver links that are used in a chainsaw are usually listed in the product manual.

The cross section of the drive links of the chisel type resembles the number 7 in shape. Experience of using such chains shows that they provide high productivity and quality wood sawing. With this profile, the working section of the drive links has a flat surface, which allows to penetrate evenly into the material to be sawn.

The disadvantages of cheisel variants should include the difficulty of sharpening. Even small deviations from the specified profile angles significantly reduce the cutting ability and effective cutting length. In addition, closed areas occur during operation, which become a collector of dust and dirt.

The cross-section of a chip-type drive links is in the shape of a sickle. The working area of the drive links does not have any pronounced angles – they are rounded. Due to this, the total area of the working zone increases, which leads to increased loads during sawing and somewhat reduces the functionality of the cutting element.

At the same time, the chip type gets advantages when sharpening the teeth, as it does not require strict compliance with dimensions and angles, and does not have the disadvantage associated with the accumulation of dirt and dust, which is important when working with wood.

In some situations, chainsaw owners can get a little confused about all the markings on chainsaws. This results in unsuccessful purchases. The choice of chainsaws is often determined by only a few basic criteria, one of which is the chain pitch.

This indicator helps to identify the future capabilities of the tool, including its cutting speed and cutting length, and according to the standards should correspond to the level of engine power. So how are the chains marked? Let’s find out!

Dimensions Of The Chainsaw Bars

It is worth knowing that the total and the cutting length of the bar are different concepts. The cutting length of a chainsaw bar is measured with a measuring tape by the distance between the saw tooth farthest from the chainsaw body and the body itself. This value is measured in whole inches.

Despite the fact that the entire length of the bar from different manufacturers can be the same, the use of accessories from other companies on the tool is unacceptable – it can disrupt the correct course of the chainsaw and lead to injury. Thus, you’ll need to tape measure a chainsaw bar lenght with a measuring tape, before adding any accessories.

How Do I Choose Bar And Chain For My Chainsaw

The right new bar not only guarantees effective performance of the intended cutting tasks, such as harvesting firewood, but also the longevity of the machine.

Prolonged use, hard inclusions in the wood, as well as careless handling of the chainsaw sooner or later lead to the wear of the bar and, consequently, will lead to the moment when to replace chainsaw chain.

how to measure chainsaw bar

Today the spare parts market offers a wide range of bar and chain guides, which differ in technical characteristics, materials used in the manufacture, and wear-resistant coatings. Usually the metric called length is stated in the user manual that you get with the tool in the hardware store.

As a rule, gasoline tool manufacturers indicate in product data sheets the recommended parameters of the replacement chainsaw bar and chain, which will not lead to excessive engine wear or overheating. There are three main types of guide bars, which differ based on the frequency of use, the conditions of use and the type of chainsaw.

The main types of chainsaw bars are:

  • Guides for domestic tools. The length of the bar in this category is short and are equipped with a low-profile model, which eliminates injury for owners with little sawing skills;
  • Lightweight saw bars. Such units are assembled from two steel pads, the void between which is filled with plastic. This significantly reduces the overall weight of the chainsaw, which is an excellent solution for work at height;
  • With interchangeable tip. This type of guide is commonly used by professionals on long-term jobs. The interchangeable sprocket nose avoids the expense of buying a complete guide bar.

When choosing a replacement bar, you need to think about the frequency of use of the saw and the types of work it does. This is why you should measure the metric called length before buying anything.

How to Measure Chainsaw Bar

To buy a new chain, or buy a new chain saw bar, you need to tell the salesperson the measure a chainsaw bar on a flat surface.

Even though many chainsaw owners have owned their chainsaw for a long time, they still don’t know how to tape measure a chainsaw bar correctly. Often, even inexperienced salespeople are not able to find the right chain and give the wrong measure a chainsaw bar, which leads either to the failure of the bar and sprocket, or to having to spend time returning the wrong chain.

Usually the metric called length is stated in the user manual that you get with the tool in the hardware store. So, we will show you how to measure the chain bar length so that it fits snugly when you install it.

So here is a guide on how to find the right measure a chainsaw bar for chainsaws, please use them.

Determine the chain pitch

The chain pitch is the distance between the three consecutive rivets. It is better to measure the three rivets with a “rod,” if not, you can use a ruler or measuring tape.

Why: If the distance between the rivets is 18 mm, then chainsaw chains with a different “pitch” will no longer fit you. So, you have to know the “pitch” of your chainsaw tools! This is the size with which inexperienced owners or dealers get confused most often.

We are going to share a little secret with you: only five numbers are possible when you measure a chainsaw bar: 12 mm, 16 mm, 18 mm, 20 mm, 38 mm (or the nearest even number).

Next, you need to memorize your step:

  • 16 mm = pitch 0.325
  • 18mm = 3/8″ pitch.

Three measurements that are less common:

  • 12mm = 1\4 pitch
  • 20mm = 404 pitch
  • 38mm = 3\4 pitch

Determine chain and bar length

The true bar length depends on your measure a chainsaw bar length measure. Thus, you’ll need to measure the bar. Since measure a chainsaw bar length come in different lengths – 35 cm, 40 cm, 45 cm – the true length measure will be different.

You should measure chainsaw chain by the number of links. We count the links. You can do it one link at a time. You can fold it in half and count in pairs. And we get the second value.

For example, we have 50 links. And now we know the two values:

  • 3/8ths of a pitch.
  • 50 links (length).

By the way, if we multiply, these two figures and divide by 2.54 (this is the nearest inch measurement in length), we get the true length measure in centimeters.

(1.8 cm * 50) / 2.54 = 35 cm.

Determine the thickness of the chain

The thickness depends on the bar used. There are several typical sizes – 1,1 mm, 1,3 mm, 1,5 mm, 1,6 mm. And for example a 1.3 mm chain size will not fit on a bar with a 1.1 mm slot and vice versa.

When we measure a chainsaw bar, it is easier with a vernier caliper, although knowing the dimensions, the thickness can also be determined with a ruler.

For example, the chainsaw blade thickness is 1.3 mm. The bottom measure is that the characteristics of this chainsaw blade will be as follows:

  • pitch is 3/8.
  • Length – 50 links
  • Thickness 1.3 mm

You tell them to the salesman and there will be no mistake with the choice. If the calculations don’t seem like a simple trick to you, then take the chainsaw blade off and take it to the store and they will pick up a new one from the sample.

Criteria For Selecting a Chainsaw Bar

When choosing a replacement bar for a chainsaw, it is necessary to remember that it is exposed to serious mechanical and thermal effects in the process of operation. Therefore, it must be made of alloyed steel and subjected to heat treatment. It is the quality of the material in the first place that determines the safety measure of using the tool and durability. It is also worth considering the following technical characteristics:

Chainsaw Bar

  • Chainsaw bar mounting. The configuration of the shank primarily determines whether the bar can be mounted on a particular model of tool. The location of the tensioner, spark plug wire and the oil supply hole must exactly match the factory one. Most manufacturers have unified the mounts of their products, and bars from different modifications will have identical shanks.
  • Bar groove width. For professional saws, this measure is 1.5 – 1.6 mm, and for household tools it is 1.1 and 1.3 mm.
  • Drive sprocket. Located on the bar near the spark plug wire, it determines the pitch measure of the links and is subject to high mechanical and abrasion stresses during operation.

This determines the distance measure from the bar nose to the sprocket nose. Depending on the power of the machine and the manufacturer, chainsaw bar length can range from 12 to 20 inches.

Chainsaws with a longer bar size are used by sawyers to cut thick tree trunks (even electric chainsaws).

Varieties Of Chainsaw Bars

All chainsaws are divided into 3 classes: hobby-class, semi-professional and professional models.

On hobby class models, the rails are 30 to 40 cm in effective length from one tip to another.

Semi-professional tools have guide bars of 38 to 45 cm in true length.

The cutter closest to a true length measure of 50-90 cm (or the nearest even number) is considered as a professional tool.

The increase in the length measure of the bar on different chainsaw models is due to their power – the longer the chain, the greater the load on the engine of the tool.

Types Of Chainsaw Bars

When studying the features and design of chainsaw guides, it should be noted that they are divided into types. The following types of chainsaw guides are distinguished:

  • Narrow flat – used mainly on household tools, and only with low-profile types of chainsaw chains. They represent the narrowed nose or end part of the guide. The main advantage of the considered narrow flat bars is that they minimize the danger of kickback. This is especially true for beginner sawyers
  • Lightweight type – consists of two steel plates bolted down by two nuts that are interconnected by a polyamide layer. This construction affects the weight of the tool itself, so the work performed by the saw is quick and easy
  • Replaceable head – used only on high-powered semi-professional and professional tools. They are designed for large-scale jobs and are highly resistant to high temperatures. The nose part is changed along with the sprocket

If one chooses a bar for a chainsaw, the type of bar must be taken into account in the first place. When choosing, you have to start from what type of chainsaw the part is purchased for and then maybe choose longer bars in measure.

Selection Rules

In specialized stores there are many varieties of tires designed for different models of tools, just like with the spark plug choices. When choosing a tire for a chainsaw, you should be guided not only by the appropriate dimensions, but also by the company – the manufacturer.

chainsaw Makita

Tires from an expensive brand are guaranteed to last much longer than those from an unknown company. The same goes for the spark plug of the chainsaw. Expensive products are made of good quality steel, which guarantees good durability, minimal chance of getting a defective tire, as well as an effective cutting length.

It is necessary to be fully responsible for the choice of accessories for chain saws because low-quality parts can lead to a breakdown of the tool, and to injuries to the worker, as well as a need to get a chain replacement from a hardware store.

If this is the first time you are buying a new bar on your own, in addition to measuring the effective cutting length you should take a picture of the chainsaw bar that was installed before – this will help the consultants to choose the right product.

Selection By Cutting Depth

The depth of cut (cutting depth) is a fundamental feature of the chainsaw and determines its performance. The depth of cut is determined by the cutting tool parameters, i.e. the height of the chain tooth profile, chainsaw blade length, effective cutting length etc.

Increasing the height of the tooth leads to a greater cutting depth per cut, which allows the tool to work a high speed. It should be taken into account that increasing the height of the tooth lowers its strength properties and asks for an increase in force when sawing wood.

In an ordinary chainsaw chain, the tooth height is determined by the profile and parameters of the kerf, which is mounted on any working tooth. In the newest chain, this parameter is set by the manufacturer. The user can change the height of the tooth by sharpening the limiter, but such an operation should be treated with caution.

The depth of cut (cutting depth) is a fundamental feature of the chainsaw that determines its performance. The depth of cut is determined by the cutting tool parameters, i.e. the height of the chain tooth profile. Increasing the height of the tooth leads to a greater cutting depth per cut, which increases the sawing speed.

Ask your question about how to choose a chainsaw when choosing a chainsaw, the first thing to determine for yourself is what purpose you are buying the tool for, how often you plan to use it.

It should be borne in mind that increasing the height of the tooth lowers its strength properties and asks for an increase in effort when sawing wood.

Chains are commercially available with 2 tooth heights – 0.635mm and 0.762mm. How do I choose the right bar to make a smooth cut? Choosing the right guide bar for your chainsaw.

The chain with the lowest tooth height is called low-profile, the 2nd one is called high-profile. Low-profile chainsaws are mainly used for domestic chainsaws.

Chainsaws with high-profile chains require more effort during the operation and have a high vibration. How to choose a chain for the most popular chain saw in our 1.2 buy chains for chainsaws still? To reduce the impact of negative causes, you can use a different approach – on high-profile driver links pitch is miniaturized, and on the contrary, on the low-profile.

Also useful to read: Best cheap chainsaws – review for the buyer and Best 18 inch chainsaw.

Useful Tips: How To Measure a Chainsaw Guide Bar

In this video you will learn how to get the true length measurement of a chainsaw guide bar from tip to tip.

In any standard high quality chain, all cutting number of driver links have 2 tails. Usually the cutting teeth are made of durable materials and almost everything determines the overall price. Despite the high price, it is better to choose a chain based on its properties. At the same time, you should consider options that reduce the cost of the tool, especially if chainsaw is used seldom.

In order to reduce the price of the chains they can be made with skipping or half-skipping cutting links. With the half-skip chain an extra connecting number of drive links are installed in every 2nd pair of cutting teeth. With skipping, an extra link is fitted after every cutting tooth.

In a standard chain, the number of cutting teeth is 50% of all tails, in a half-skip, 40%, and in a skip, 37.5%. Naturally, the load on the cutting teeth increases and they fail much more quickly.

In any standard high-quality chain, all cutting links have 2 tails. Usually the cutting teeth are made of durable materials and almost everything determines the overall price.

Serg Cooper
( 1 assessment, average 5 from 5 )
Choose your best chainsaw
Comments: 2
  1. Joseph Perry

    First of all you should know the characteristics of the chainsaw, such as the pitch and length of the tire. You should not rely on the brand of the chainsaw when choosing, because one chainsaw can be equipped with tires of various lengths and widths of the landing link.
    Secondly, you should decide in advance as for the type of work you will do and the amount of work. If you will cut across, then choose chisel, along – chippel type

  2. Zoe Ash

    I have bought HUYOSEN 54.6CC 2-Stroke Gas Powered Chainsaw and now not long ago I had to replace the chain. I have bought the Stihl one, as I was advised. But I was not satisfied with the result, to say the truth. Shall I buy HUYOSEN chain?

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