How Are Chainsaw Bars Measured

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how are chainsaw bars measured

Woodworking is not that challenging if someone is familiar with the right tool for the particular cutting job and the right skill. Woodworking tools are categorized based on their various kinds of functions associated with cut, finish, assemble, measure, and clamp wooden parts while converting raw materials into the finished product. For the specific jobs, there are different kinds of tools characterized as Must-Have-Tools for carpentry projects. Among those, the chainsaw is a leading one with different types, including gas-powered, corded, or battery-powered. 

A chainsaw is a power-driven cutting tool assembled with two important parts like a bar and chain, including some other mechanical parts. This tool has a set of teeth attached to a rotating chain that moves around the edge of the blade or the guide bar. A chainsaw is mainly used for cutting wood encompassing cutting log, trimming, firebreaks, limbing and reaping of firewood, etc. 

Today's article will focus on how chainsaw bars are measured. But before getting into the main article, we first have to understand why the measurement of chainsaw bar and chain is essential to have the precise cutting result. 

The first justification is, your chainsaw might get out of order due to frequent use of it or use over a longer period of time, and you may need replacement of them to have a new set to work with. 

The second reason is, according to the thickness of your log, you may need to procure a new set of bar or chain of appropriate size to be able to cut your wood accurately.  

The third reason is to have a precise cut, bar, and chain that need to change from time to time as they get damaged over time or malfunction due to incompatible chains or erroneous bar. Consequently, your chainsaw can't produce professional performance any longer, or even you may get a serious injury due to flying off your chain or another kind of malfunctioning. 

And the last reason is, you may decide to have a larger or smaller bar to set onto your chain saw, you have no other alternative but replacing them. 

Having discussed the above situation, what you have to do is to measure the length of the bar and the length of the chain of your chainsaw.  Let's discuss how the measurement task is carried out and the important aspects to bear in mind while dealing with such a task. You don't need to worry about it as it is a pretty simple job to deal with.

Now, let's talk about how are the chainsaw bars measured. 

Manual Bar Measurement by Tape

The bar is called blade refers to a long flat, sharp metal piece where the chain rotates over to produce a cut. The longer the bar, the more consumption of the power of the motor is required. 

The Effective cutting length is as well known as "called length" or usable length as this part of the bar also can be used for cutting tasks. The bar measurement implies the actual cutting length of the chainsaw instead of the total length of the bar, which is slightly longer than the cutting length. It measures the distance between the tip of the bar and the point attached to the saw. To measure the length, place the measurement tape at the base of the blade up to the tip, and the measurement value will be considered to be effective length. After having the value, make it round to the next even number if it gives you a fractional or odd number. For example, if the value is 17.25 inches, make it 18 inches, and if it is 18.25 inches, make it 20 inches to consider as an effective cutting length.   

True length is considered the actual length of the bar, measured from the first end to the last end of the bar. If the measurement value is not displayed in the bar, you must measure before it is installed with the chainsaw. To do this, you've to unscrew the bar case, take it out from the case and place the bar on the table and measure the length of the bar, which will give you the true length of the bar. You don't need to adjust the measurement when the true length of the blade is available. 

One advantage of the chainsaw is, it usually comes with a longer bar than it actually needs, which provides the bars little flexibility to fit on your saw for an accurate cut easily.  

Other Key Aspects while Measuring

While measuring your bar, another issue is, if you want to replace the bar or procure new chainsaw, you need to consider the length of the bar in case of the new chainsaw with different lengths or replacing the bar equal to the size of your current bar. 

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Another key aspect is to take into account is the width of the wood you generally cut. So, you have to add two more inches with the wood's width to have a smooth cut. For instance, if the width is 10", you get a 12" bar for your chainsaw. But you are not encouraged to practice this regularly if you are to deal with such a project more frequently. 

It won't be wise to be tending to buy a longer bar than your need, as it would be counterproductive for your project. It also would be risky if you are not a professional or expert hand. Sometimes, they are not even perfect sizes for minor kinds of jobs like trimming. And for wrong procurement, it would waste your time and money with no outcome.  

Before measurement of the bar, it is recommended to find the required information displayed on the bar case around the mounting location where you also find the specification of pitch, gauge, and length. Or you can also find them in your chainsaw manufacturer's manual. 

You can also find the maximum length of your bar required for your chainsaw in the manufacturer's manual. There is neither add nor remove the option to links for the chainsaw.  

Replacement of Bar

If the effective cutting length and the exact length of your bar are available, all you need to match up the two numbers while procuring a new bar to fit your chainsaw exactly. 

Measurement of the Chain

The measurement of the chain is a little complicated compared to the bar. The main two variables are pitch and gauge that have to be measured.

It is essential to count the number of drive links from the first end to the last end. This calculation is exceptionally vital for the chain to move across the bar effortlessly, and the chain won't get stuck in the base. This calculation will help to get the right chain at the time of replacement. 

However, for chain measurement, you need to measure two things like pitch and gauge.

Pitch is the distance between drive links in the chain. The distance of pitch is determined between three streams in the chain where the stud holds the chain together. To measure the pitch, the length from the center of the first stream to the center of the third stream consecutively is taken, which is then divided by two. General chain pitches are 3/8" or 0.325".  

Gauge is the measurement of the groove which holds the chain on the bar. The chain's gauge denotes the thickness of the groove, which is placed in on the bar. There is a simple way to figure it out: insert the coins (quarter, penny, or dime) into the groove to check which one best fits. 

If the quarter fits, then the gauge is 0.063, for penny, the gauge is 0.058, and for the dime, the gauge is 0.050. You need this information beforehand to purchase them.

Elevation of Chainsaw

As you have all the required measurement values with you, you won't need to worry if you plan to replace your bar or chain with the new ones. Sometimes, you will find a new set of chain saw with a price almost near to the replacement cost, which could be worthy of buying the new one instead of replacement of bar or chain or other parts. Corded saws available now is exceedingly economical in terms of price, battery life as well as portability.

Additional Tips

At the time of purchase, it's wise always to write down the length of pitch, gauge, and cutting length. This information will help you later at the time of the replacement of the chain. 

Regular maintenance of your tool has no alternate for its longevity. Follow the manufacturer's manual to take care of your tool.  

Never guess the number of your various length measurements. It will mislead you while purchasing them, and the wrong size would never fit into your chainsaw while assembling them. Besides, it could damage your saw and cause serious injuries while on an operation. Also, always use the right parts for the right chainsaw. 

Read the operation manual carefully and try to get all information from there. If necessary, visit the manufacturer's website or contact them. 

Specifications related to bar, pitch, gauge, and drive links are usually written on the bar case in most cases. You can avail them from there too. 

It won't be wise to be tending to buy a longer bar than your requirement as it would be detrimental for your project. 

Maintain safety protocol while working in the workshop to avoid workplace hazards and injuries. 

Final Remarks

I hope, by this time, you've got a clear idea about different features of chain saw, measurement aspects, do's and don'ts, etc. There is nothing to be worried about as it's a simple tool and measurement tasks are not too hectic. If you follow the guidelines and refer to the manufacturer's manual, I hope your chainsaw would give you the best results while dealing with your wood project. And also, your tool would last long and save your time and money. Sometimes, you will find a new set of chain saws with a lower price, which would be worthy of buying the new one instead of replacement of bar or chain or other parts.

If you have any queries, questions, the feedback, we are there to hear those to provide you with a quick consultation as and when necessary. If you find it useful, we would expect you to share it with friends and professionals through social media, websites, and other networks. 

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