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Chainsaw help

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Mike Zip Hamilton, Jun 9, 2020.

  1. Mike Zip Hamilton

    Mike Zip Hamilton

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2018
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    Urbandale, Iowa
    What type of chain do you use? I will stick with reduced kickback, but for halving rounds, I've wondered if a ripping chain would be advantageous. I hear chainsaw log milling units use a different chain.
     
  2. John Walls

    John Walls

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    Jan 20, 2020
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    Location:
    Larimore, ND
    I just use the one that came with my Stihl, make sure it's sharp and it slices through like butter. It's an anti-kickback.
     
  3. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Mar 19, 2016
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    Location:
    Haubstadt, Indiana
    I went to my Stihl dealer and told him I wanted an aggressive chain, it cuts very well.
     
  4. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Location:
    Eugene, OR
    My chainsaw shop, not the big box store, asked me what I was cutting. I told them about my bowl making and that I cross cut and ripped log sections. They said a skip tooth design would be best for what I do. No complaints. I did learn how to hand sharpen my chains to the point to where those who REALLY know how to sharpen them don't laugh at me any more.... I do need to get a mechanical chain sharpener. By the time the teeth get worn down maybe half way, they are starting to drift as I cut because of uneven sharpening...

    robo hippy
     
  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    My advice is don’t get one unless you are doing lots of platter blanks and are good with a saw.

    I have a ripping chain. They are more prone to kick back. The teeth are ground 20 degrees left and right with every 3 rd ground straight across.
    leaves a much cleaner surface than a standard chain and the chips clear the saw slightly better.

    It was really useful for cutting 40 platter blanks for an Al Stirt class.
    But rarely worth the 2-3 minutes to swap chains.
     
  6. Mike Zip Hamilton

    Mike Zip Hamilton

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    Location:
    Urbandale, Iowa
    Thanks for the quick replies. We don't do a lot of logging in central Iowa. I think I'll try the skip tooth. I will rely on the dealer that my tree guy recommended(Sthil dealer). It sounds like a ripping chain is not worth having.
     
  7. Dave Landers

    Dave Landers

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    i use a standard chisel-tooth, non-anti-kickback chain on my Stihl. Works well enough on things that I cut (cross-cut and rip everything from pine to walnut).

    Low-kickback (aka anti-kickback) chain does not prevent kickback.
    Preventing kickback is not a function of the chain, but a function of the operator's experience, training, and habits (i.e. it happens mainly between your ears).
     
    Tim Tucker and Dean Center like this.
  8. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    The only reason I carry several ripping chains for my saws is that when I go up the mountain to cut Koa, sometimes the only choice I have is to cut along the end-grain if the log is stuck under something. Other than that, at home, you can always flip the log or blank to cut with the grain, then you get long shavings. Why would anybody cut straight into the grain, like Al did cut some platters? I buy all chainsaws chains, supplies, and parts from Madsens, in Oregon. I used Baileys for 30 years and now they charge $45 to ship a $30 chain. I called to complaint, and they do not care. I also use skip tooth, Oregon chain, for all 5 of my saws.
     
  9. Greg Norman

    Greg Norman

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    Location:
    Germantown, NC
    Ripping chain is designed for this type of sawing. Cutting into end grain like this is much smoother and a little faster with a ripping chain but it takes a big powerhead, over 100cc, to really see the benefit. It produces a better surface than a band mill. It is not recommended for freehand use by most of the manufacturers. The way most turners process logs, sawing parallel to the core, the ripping chain isn’t much benefit IMHO. For that type of sawing I prefer a full chisel chain reground to 32 degrees.
    CAE00C73-6AB2-4549-921A-FB7BD275066D.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
  10. Dean

    Dean

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    I second Gregg ripping chain is for cutting into end grain as stated. It is not forgiving what so ever when used by hand. It’s hard to keep strait and overall harder to use. I like full chisel, non anti kick back, for cross cutting and a full chisel or semi chisel skip tooth for the parallel to grain cuts. The semi will last a little longer between sharpening. The skip tooth provides extra space for the long “noodlely” shavings.
     
    Greg Norman and Tim Tucker like this.
  11. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    While the ripping chain will cut into endgrain I rarely cut into the endgrain with it.
    I cut with the grain, parallel to a bark edge to get the best grain alignment when slabbing off platter blanks.

    still get the long strings but they feed through the saw better than those from the standard chain.
    The raker teeth helps clear then and the cut is a little see aggressive making it easier to cut near parallel faces.
    Leaves a smoother face.

    While it is better for ripping than the standard chain i don't think it is worth putting it on for just a few cuts.

    the ripping chains are used by the Alaska mills like @Greg Norman showed.
    I cut with it handheld and is easy to control and cuts a straighter face than the standard chain.
    they are more prone to kickback but I don’t use it for plunge cutting so never had anything close to a kickback.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2020
    Emiliano Achaval likes this.
  12. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    A skip tooth is best for big wood. If you cut up 12-14", get a full comp. Cut 20" and above, get the skip tooth. Skip tooth on my 3120 Husky.
     

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    Emiliano Achaval likes this.
  13. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Nebraska
    Most sawyers have several chainsaws that they use for various tasks in processing trees, most of them will have at least one chainsaw set up with a ripping chain.
    I have several electric chainsaws that I use when processing logs into bowl, spindle and flat slab blanks, I have several ripping chains for one of them that I use when I cutting flat slabs.
     
  14. Emiliano Achaval

    Emiliano Achaval Administrator Staff Member

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    We have a few commercial Koa operations on our family ranch. I have yet to see any loggers carrying a chainsaw with a ripping chain unless they are slabbing with an Alaska mill. Any logger or I can tell you that to get the full benefit of a ripping chain you need a minimum of 90cc and up. I do not see the benefit of ripping chains in electric chainsaws or the benefit of owning several electric chainsaws with ripping chains as you told us you do. Maybe you can tell us more about your electric chainsaws production work, this is the very first one for me and I'm very puzzled by it.
     
  15. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Agree most sawyers will be cross cutting trees and logs as they are being felled, there are a few instances with certain species of trees where the grain runs in different directions, we have a lot of old growth cottonwood, maple, oak and walnut in this region that has been twisted in the winds over the decades. When you encounter a massive old growth tree, you need a really long bar and chain to cover the radius of the stump, in those instances a couple of vertical rip cuts can section the base of the tree into manageable pieces. With the river tables being the craze these days many sawyers will also slab a piece or two for the owner as a keep sake and marketing tool.

    As I stated prior I use several electric chainsaws to process logs into bowl and spindle blanks, I have (1) chainsaw with a crosscut chain and the (2nd) chainsaw with a ripping blade. Most wood turners live in the bowl blank world where a crosscut chain is used, a large percentage of the logs I process into slabs and large dimension spindle blanks which require a ripping chain.
     
  16. Robert Satterfield

    Robert Satterfield

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    MIke, I'm interested in knowing more about your electric chain saws! I live in a residential area and the gas engine attracts a lot of attention. What do you use...corded vs. battery; bar length; make and model, etc.
     
  17. Mike Adams

    Mike Adams

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    Bloomfield, New Jersey
    I'm using Stihl's 2-n-1 for my stock chain and Pferd's version of the 2-n-1 for my Oregon chain (different round file sizes). I love both of these sharpeners. I get great results if I take my time.
     
  18. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Robert,

    Most of the Big Box Stores are carrying the corded and cordless chainsaws made by a variety of manufactures in that market. I have picked up a number of electric chainsaws on garage sales for very little money and run them till they die. Use a heavy extension cord to cut down on the voltage drop to the motor and they run cooler. By having several of these saws on hand I can run one hard until the motor gets warm and swap out to another machine. If you buy the same model units you can swap parts and keep them going with little expense buying new replacement parts. The noise factor was my main concern for processing logs in my neighborhood. Using a gas chainsaw in a residential area too often makes for grumpy neighbors. The new cordless ones have plenty of torque and run for quite a long time on a good battery. Lucas Mills make a 3-PH 15HP slabbing chainsawmill, these are used in areas that you want to minimize sound and exhaust, Logosol makes a track guided commercial electric slabbing sawmill.
     
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  19. Robert Satterfield

    Robert Satterfield

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    Thanks Mike J
     
  20. John Jordan

    John Jordan AAW Advisor

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    I"ve cut a whole lot of wood the last 35 years, and standard chains are all I, and average woodturners need. I get logs that are three to four feet and have no trouble with a medium-size top end saw and usually a 20" bar. Rip chains are for cutting into end grain as the chainsaw mills do. We can cut to length and then cut along the grain to rip with standard chain. Chisel or semi-chisel (safety) chain will both work. Chisel is a little faster, semi is easier to restore is you hit dirt or rocks. Learn to freehand sharpen without fixtures/jigs etc. I sharpen every time I saw.

    I only turn green wood that I cut myself, so I've gotten pretty good at it. LOL Good chains are cheap at Baileys.com, buy files by the dozen-also cheap.

    If you are in the log processing business, that's different.

    John
     
  21. Mike Zip Hamilton

    Mike Zip Hamilton

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    Location:
    Urbandale, Iowa
    Thanks all for the great info. Since my tree guy recommended Sthil and they are my closest dealer, l bought a MS271. Since my experience is low, l went with Sthil's standard low kickback chain. I trimmed up a walnut crotch today, and l was pleased with this unit. After l wear out a couple chains, l will probably try a full chisel skip tooth chain. I do anticipate the vast majority of my cuts will be cross grain and "side" grain, but l do think l will make some end grain cuts. One additional note: I found the discussion a while back on holding your log for chain sawing very helpful. I'm using that cherry log that l allowed to check way too much for my support. You guys are a great help.
     
    Emiliano Achaval likes this.
  22. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    I've tried a variety of methods to 'sharpen' chains, with marginal success in my hands. Last fall, I bought the Stihl 2 in 1 chainsaw file. It's kinda funny looking and rather pricey, but works very well. It's easier to get a consistent angle than with other handheld guides, and apparently filing the tops of the chain guides each time helps more than I would have guessed.
     
  23. Russell Nugent

    Russell Nugent

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    I have the same saw with a 20 inch bar. It's all I've needed so far. Fyi be careful opening the fuel cap, the tank becomes pressurized and if it's not close you empty you can get a little fuel spraying out.
     
  24. Mike Zip Hamilton

    Mike Zip Hamilton

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    Russell, thanks for the heads up. I also got the 20" bar.
     
  25. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    I also have that saw and have found that it is underpowered for full length use of the 20" bar. The local saw shop says it puts excess stress on the motor. Stihl's standard bar for the 271 is the 18" bar, but some retailers have taken to selling with the 20". That said, you can put the full length of the bar to work, but if you have that kind of work routinely, you might be better off with a different saw.
     
  26. Mike Adams

    Mike Adams

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    Bloomfield, New Jersey
    Pferd makes a model similar to Stihl's. Either one is worlds better than sharpening the chain teeth with a round file and then going through it again to file down the chain guides.
     

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