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  1. #1
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    Default Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    I'm mostly an occasional chainsaw operator...

    I always keep my little Echo 341 gassed and ready in the truck and also have a Stihl MS250... there are others sitting on the shelf that I've picked up over the years... never have fooled with them.

    Years ago, I used Oregon Barracuda Chain... it was very impressive, cut like there was no tomorrow and then found out it was no longer available for my "Home Owner" saw because of kick-back danger.

    I know my Stihl Chain is the OEM for my MS 250...

    Reading posts it seems the right chain is half the saw...

    I cut mostly Oak, Bay and some Pine.

    Can anyone school me on the benefits/options available for my saws?

    A logging friend recommended Carlton K3L skip 68 link???

    Another thing, I've always taken my loops to the saw shop... never tried sharpening at home... I imagine most here sharpen their own chains?

    Plenty of wood on my woodlot... can't really use much anymore due to the Air Quality Management District restrictions.
    Last edited by ultrarunner; 01-05-2011 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    Your saws probably have 325 chain. You can buy all types of chain in 325 from factory safety chain to full chisel. You need to buy one with the correct number of drive links for your bar. There is an increased chance of kickback with chains that are semi chisel and full chisel. I mostly use full chisel because it cuts more aggressively.

    You do not need skip chain on your saw unless you are using a bar longer than standard for that saw. Your 250 would probably be at its best with a 16 inch bar. If you needed to put on say a 20 inch bar which would be long for the power of your saw, you may wish to use skip chain. Skip chain simply does not have teeth at the standard interval, but in facts "skips" chain links between the normal cutter spacing.

    There are guides which are not expensive to buy to properly manage the angles of your file when you file your chain. They are an immense help in getting your skill honed when learning how to use a file to sharpen your chains. As a rule I touch up my chains with a file say every 3-5 tanks of fuel, or if I hit a rock or nail. It is easier to keep your chains touched up than just using them until the saw just no longer cuts. It only takes me a few minutes to touch a chain up, but if I just run it until it is super dull, it may take 30 minutes or more to get it sharp again.

    Lots of good info on chain saws over at arboristsite. Spend some time reading over there, it is quite enlightening.
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  3. #3
    Gold Member gladehound's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    I can't believe a good saw shop would tell you a chain wasn't available for your saw due to kick back danger! I think this country has gone way overboard with safety and trying to make everything idiot proof! I've never had a problem with kickback from any sharp chain. In fact, a dull safty chain can kick worst than a full chisel.

    Any chisel chain from a reputable manufacturer would work well. I like the Stihl RSC, Oregon LPX (I like LGX better but it is not made in 0.325"), the Windsor chisel I just put on my dad's saw runs real nice too. Since you mentioned 68 links I'm guessing you have a 0.325" pitch, 0.63 guage, and a stihl "18 inch" homeowner's bar which is really just a little over 16" from the front of the saw, since this is exactly what my dad has and it is a 68 link loop.

    I see no reason to go with a skip tooth chain unless your saw is having trouble pulling the chain through the wood you are cutting.

    Go to a good chainsaw shop. A good shop will have rolls of various chain and will make a loop any length you want. The 3 Windsor chisel chains I just had made up for my Dad's Stihl MS250 cost me $43 for all three including tax. Just tell them you want a good chisel chain and see what they have for your saw. Take your saw with you if you have any doubt about what chain length, pitch and gauge you need.

    I just posted this video on aother thread but I'll post it here since it is your exact saw with a Windsor chisel. If your saw is not cutting like this one then you need a better chain. Also check you air filter. I lot of people neglect that too long. You also may want to read the discription on Youtube. You're absolutely right, the chain is everything and most homeowners keep them so dull that a properly maintained saw with half the displacement will cut faster.

    YouTube - Stihl MS250 in 16 inch pine

    As far as sharpening goes, there are good instructions on the Oregon web site.

    OREGON , a world leader in chainsaw chain, guide bars, sprockets and manufacturer and supplier of lawn mower blades and mower parts.

    Here is information for sharpenning the Oregon LPX chain.

    http://www.oregonchain.com/pdf/chain/fb_LPX.pdf

    Get a good chain and enjoy cutting again!
    Ron
    2004 Kioti LB1914 w/ FEL
    2013 Kioti DS4510HS w/ FEL

  4. #4
    Elite Member Chilly807's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    I'd recommend the Oregon 33, 34, or 35 series low-profile .325 pitch chains. My Stihl 023 has one, and cuts very well with it. The 20 series chains are a bit more aggressive, the 250 might not have enough power to make the most of it.

    I heard that Oregon was discontinuing the 30 series chains, which is a shame in my opinion, I'm quite fond of mine.

    I sharpen my own (hand file), always have, always will.

    Sean

  5. #5
    Super Member Scooby074's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    Buy Stihl chain. Ill never go back to Oregon on my Husky

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    The HD box store doesn't sell Orgeon brand chain saw chains anymore. The are now selling "power something brand" made in china. Don't buy them they are crap. Made of soft metal. I have been using the Stihl saw chains and they work great.

    Just as an FYI, I needed a replacement chain and bought the "power crap" saw chain, After cutting for 15 minutes (literally) with it, it popped off the bar. I went to re install it and the drive teeth were bent and chipped. I put my old Stihl chain back on and filed it back sharp. Went back to cuttin...

  7. #7
    Super Star Member LD1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    Basically there are three main types of chain.

    1. Full chisel chain AKA square back chain. This is the fastest type of chain you can buy. But it also dulls quicker. What makes it "square" is that the side and top plates of the cutter itself form a 90* angle. This creates a really sharp point when sharpened. And typical sharpening angles for this type of chain are 30* with a tilt of 10*.

    2. The nest type of chain is chipper chain AKA round back chain. Instead of the side and top plates forming a square 90*, they are rounded off. This chain cuts slower but stays sharp much longer. Typical filing angles are 30* and 0* tilt.

    3. The next style is semi-chisel AKA semi-round chain. This type is similer to full round chain but the radius is less extreme. Sort of a comprimise between 1 and 2. Cuts faster than round, but not as fast as full chisel.

    Then there is saftey chain. Mainly in either round or semi chisel. Also called "low-kickback" chain. These have an extended peice on one of the sideplate straps between the cutters. When the chain goes over the tip of the bar, this extended peice raises up higher than the cutter tooth. Since it is not a cutter, it has less of a tendancy to grab and kick-back.

    here is a good link that shows the difference

    <Chainsawcutterprofiles>

    As far as brand of chain. Stihl hands down is the best. Supposidly they put more chrome on the cutters, which help them stay sharp longer. I have also had good luck with the full chisel oregons that have the bluish teeth. This last round we bought woodland PRO chain from baileys. I wouldn't reccomend it to anyone. It doesnt seem to stay sharp long at all, and out of the box it had the cutters @ 35*. Even after we changed that back to 30* they still dont seem to stay sharp of even cut as fast. We went to 24" bar and chain combos on the 6400's, and the stock dolmar chain will out-cut this woodland pro chain by several seconds.

    And Add me to the list of those that would encourage you to learn to sharpen your own chain. We do all of ours with the oregon version of a granberg file jig. Which can be had for ~$30. Only takes a few minutes once you get the hang of it and you dont even have to take the chain off the saw.
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  8. #8
    Silver Member adjusterr's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    take your saw to a Stihl saw shop and let them make up a chain for you, takes only a few minutes and cuts great.

  9. #9
    Super Member
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    Thanks guys... really appreciate the help!

    Just picked up a new ms 250 with 18" bar and have not had a chance to try it out... way too much mud with the rain we are getting in CA right now. A large Oak blew over in last weeks storm.

    Just itching to get out and give it a try... I guess Christmas is late this year.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Chainsaw chain... please school me.

    Well, guess what...

    I had a local shop that would only sell safety chain since I was not a "Pro". Funny, it was for a Pro saw, that I bought from them a couple years before, when I had a little landscape company.

    I don't go there for chain(or much else) any more.

    Quote Originally Posted by gladehound View Post
    I can't believe a good saw shop would tell you a chain wasn't available for your saw due to kick back danger! I think this country has gone way overboard with safety and trying to make everything idiot proof! I've never had a problem with kickback from any sharp chain. In fact, a dull safty chain can kick worst than a full chisel.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

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