Have you ever been curious about how to measure chainsaw chain? It’s not as straightforward as it seems, but fear not! With the help of this comprehensive guide, you’ll be able to accurately measure your chainsaw chain in just a few minutes. We’ll also cover topics like chain replacement and the best chain size for various types of cutting. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to confidently measure your chainsaw chain!
The Three Essential Chain Measurements
To ensure you purchase the perfect chain for your chainsaw, it’s crucial to understand these three key measurements:
The pitch measurement requires a tape measure. Simply count three rivets on the chain and measure the space between them, starting from their center points. Divide this measurement in half to get the exact pitch size. For example, if you have three 12-inch-wide rivets, multiplying them by two would give you a pitch of 14 inches. Always verify the dimensions in your chainsaw’s instruction manual or on the guide bar, as this information is usually provided in one of these locations.
The gauge measurement refers to the thickness of the drive links (the tooth-like underside of the chain that fits in the guide bar). This measurement is typically specified in inches and can be found in the chainsaw’s manual or on the tool itself. To obtain an accurate gauge measurement, it’s recommended to use a vernier caliper rather than a tape measure. There are four common gauge sizes: 0.043″, 0.050″, 0.058″, and 0.063″. Choosing the correct gauge is important as a loose chain won’t provide sufficient traction, while a chain that’s too thick won’t fit your chainsaw.
Counting the drive links is perhaps the most crucial yet unexciting step in the measuring process. These drive links are the small teeth on the underside of the chain. Start by taping a strip to the first connection and count your way around to determine the exact number of drive links. Armed with these three measurements, you can now search for the perfect chain size for your chainsaw.
How to Measure Chainsaw Chain: Step-by-Step
Step 1: Determine the Desired Chain Length
The first question you need to answer is the length of chainsaw chain you need. Chainsaw chains are sold based on their pitch (the distance between two rivets) rather than an actual length measurement. So, if you know the required length of your chainsaw bar, you can then decide on the pitch size that will work best for you. This choice depends on the type of saw you have and the specific cutting tasks you’ll be undertaking.
Step 2: Identify Your Saw’s Engine Type
Determining if your chainsaw is a two-stroke or four-stroke model is crucial. The way you use your chainsaw and the type of fuel it requires directly influences the size of the saw chain you need. If you’re unsure about your saw’s engine type, refer to the manufacturer’s information or consult this helpful blog post. If you’re unable to find the necessary details, it’s recommended to use a 20-inch, .325 pitch saw chain for all two-stroke models.
Step 3: Measure the Chain Width (in millimeters)
Measuring the width of your chainsaw chain is a straightforward process if you have access to metric tools. Simply measure the distance between two outer links directly across from each other. Your chainsaw’s owner’s manual should provide this measurement for you.
Step 4: Determine the Saw’s Pitch
The pitch of your chainsaw can also be measured if you prefer not to rely on other sources. The pitch is half the width measurement of the chainsaw chain. For instance, if your chainsaw has a .325″ (8.25mm) wide chain, the corresponding pitch would be .160″ (4.0625mm), which is the most common pitch size for chainsaw chains.
Step 5: Measure, Cut, and Install the New Chain
After following steps 1 through 4, you have all the necessary information to measure, cut, and install your new chainsaw chain for optimal performance! If you find yourself in a situation where your chain breaks and you’re unsure of the chain size you need, it’s recommended to use a 20-inch, .325 pitch (8.25mm), 45 drive links (3/8 inch pitch) chainsaw chain for all two-stroke models.
Now that you know how to measure chainsaw chains, you may be wondering what size chainsaw chain is best for different cutting applications. Chainsaw chains come in various pitches and widths, and each type of cut requires a different saw chain. Some people prefer to keep their bar oiled before cutting, while others opt for dry cuts. Let’s explore the different types of cuts and the recommended chain sizes for each scenario.
Types of Cuts
Before we delve into the recommended chain sizes for different types of cuts, let’s briefly outline the various cutting techniques:
Dry Cut: This is when you perform a chainsaw cut without any bar oil. While this topic is not covered in this article, you can find information on how to perform dry cuts in this helpful blog post.
Initial Cut: An initial cut refers to the first cut made with a chainsaw chain that has bar oil on it. This type of cut is typically done during the initial sharpening with a new chainsaw chain, ensuring optimal performance for subsequent cuts.
Wet Cut: After the initial cut, a wet cut involves having a thin coat of bar oil on your chainsaw’s bar and chain.
Final Cut: The final cut in a wet or dry cut sequence.
Light Cutting: This type of cutting involves sawing through less dense materials like balsa wood, plastic, or lighter pieces of wood, such as 2″ x 4″ boards.
Medium Cutting: Medium cutting involves sawing through denser materials, such as trees with a diameter of 1-1/2″ to 3-1/4″.
Heavy Cutting: The most demanding type of cutting is heavy cutting, which involves sawing through heavy, dense wood like trees with a diameter of 3-1/4″ to 6″ or logs measuring 4″ to 8″.
It’s important to note that different materials require different chainsaw cutting techniques. For more information on sawing techniques, refer to this informative blog post.
Keep in mind that there are different lengths and types of saw chains available for various applications. To find precise information about chainsaw chain sizes that are suitable for your specific saw, consult your owner’s manual or reach out to an authorized dealer.
Now that you have mastered the art of measuring chainsaw chains, you may want to determine the right size of bar oil for your particular chainsaw. For information on this topic, check out this useful blog post.
If you’re also interested in learning how to sharpen your chainsaw chain, we have a comprehensive guide available for you right here.
Lastly, if your chainsaw is new and cannot be registered using a manufacturer’s number or serial number, be sure to read our previous blog post on this topic for further guidance.
We hope you find this article helpful in determining the chainsaw chain you need for your specific applications. If you have any questions about measuring chainsaw chains, feel free to leave a comment below or reach out to us via Facebook or Twitter. We’re here to assist you!