Chainsaw Bar Length?

   #1  

HillStreet

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I have a Stihl 029 Super with a 20 inch bar, and have used this saw for 20 years. Just serviced it with new filters, fuel line, and spark plug. Since it runs so good I will keep it in service as my only chainsaw.

However, I am thinking about buying a shorter bar, maybe 16 or 18 inch. I have a 9 cord load of log length to cut, with the largest logs no more than 14 inch diameter. I do not need a 20 inch bar because I'm retired and don't plan to fell trees like I once did (my property is finished, no more big jobs).

Here are a few questions:
Can I shorten my 5 chains to fit the new bar, is it hard to do?
Is a shorter bar safer, or easier to use?
What would be the benefit of a shorter bar versus a 20 inch bar?

Thanks
 
   #2  

2458n

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Yes, you can shorten your existing chains. I have the tools to do so, but not the repair links. The saw probably has a good balance with the 20 inch bar. You will not be saving much weight at all. Going 4 inches shorter will not gain you a thing in my opinion. If you just want to buy something get on E-bay and buy a 16'' bar and two loops of chain that matches your existing sprocket.
 
   #3  

MossRoad

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As I see it, the advantage to a shorter bar is you have more power in reserve should you start to bog.... and that shouldn't happen with a properly sized bar and engine. For example.... I have an 18" Poulan that if I put a really good, sharp chain on, I have no problem stopping the saw on really hard 16" logs....I.E.... the saw is gutless! :laughing: It would be perfect for a 14" chainsaw. The advantage to a longer bar and an engine that can handle it is that there are more cutters, so the chain should stay sharper longer on smaller wood.

Another advantage to a shorter saw is its easier to maneuver and nice for limbing. But with a longer bar, you don't have to reach as far. Given the choices that you mention, I'd buy a second, shorter bar and chain and see how you like it. If you like it, get a couple more chains. You can pretty much guarantee that if you go through the bother of shortening your chains, a really large tree will need cutting soon thereafter. :laughing:
 
   #4  

turnkey4099

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I have a Stihl 029 Super with a 20 inch bar, and have used this saw for 20 years. Just serviced it with new filters, fuel line, and spark plug. Since it runs so good I will keep it in service as my only chainsaw.

However, I am thinking about buying a shorter bar, maybe 16 or 18 inch. I have a 9 cord load of log length to cut, with the largest logs no more than 14 inch diameter. I do not need a 20 inch bar because I'm retired and don't plan to fell trees like I once did (my property is finished, no more big jobs).

Here are a few questions:
Can I shorten my 5 chains to fit the new bar, is it hard to do?
Is a shorter bar safer, or easier to use?
What would be the benefit of a shorter bar versus a 20 inch bar?

Thanks

Any place that services saws will shorten them for you. Only cost a couple dollars each.

As others have said, you won't really notice much difference with the shorter bar.

I prefer short bars for limbing but I run 3 different sizes of saws/bars.

Harry K
 
   #5  

vtsnowedin

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central Vermont
A shorter bar will kick back quicker then a long one. Not that you should notice that if your running it right and the chain break works properly. I like 20 inch bars on a saw large enough to run it as it reduces the amount you have to bend over to limb stuff on the ground. Other then that the longer bar means you have more teeth to file when it needs it. Try a 16" bar and chain. You can always switch back if you don't like it.
 
   #6  

JDgreen227

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Nov 2, 2003
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Central Michigan
I have never had a chainsaw with a bar longer than 18" and never wanted one because I don't do serious cutting, indeed, most of my saw use now is with a 14" bar and chain fitted to a 42cc Craftsman. About kickback....what's kickback? Have always used low-kickback chains and although cutting performance is reduced I don't care because trading off speed for safety is a fair deal IMO.

I must disagree about the benefit of a longer bar for trimming up stuff on the ground, to me the longer bar would just mean I would be more likely to run the tip into dirt. Come on now...even if you were to hold the saw at a 90 degree angle, 20" bar vs. 16" bar would be only 4" difference...and NOBODY holds a saw at 90 degrees.
 
   #7  

peterc38

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I must disagree about the benefit of a longer bar for trimming up stuff on the ground, to me the longer bar would just mean I would be more likely to run the tip into dirt. Come on now...even if you were to hold the saw at a 90 degree angle, 20" bar vs. 16" bar would be only 4" difference...and NOBODY holds a saw at 90 degrees.

The OP is cutting up a 9 cord load. Typically, these are laid cross wise across 2-3 stringers and are not "on the ground". I have cut up many loads like this and like the longer bar for working the ends of the pile. It does reduce the amount of bending over.
 
   #8  

Redbug

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If it were me...I would get another saw with a shorter bar. There are many times when two saws are needed. Sometimes one stops running for one reason or another. Maybe one saw gets pinched in a kerf. Having a backup is good reasoning.

I have several Stihls. They all have the same spark plug number, and the bars and chains are interchangeable between saws. If you get another saw, make sure the new saw has the same chain pitch and gauge, and the bars can be swapped. The same tools and files can be used on both saws. That way you are more versatile.
 
   #9  

oosik

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I still have three saws from days when I cut firewood for heat. A Husk - 20', a Stihl - 20" and a Stihl - 14". I used to have a Stihl 66 with a 38" bar for cutting the huge Ponderosa pine on the property. I got rid of that - it could have been a real toe lopper. I only use the saws with the longer bars now if I occasionally have to fall a big tree. The little one is used to thin the small pines so I can chip them. I got the little Stihl because it is so much lighter and easier to use as I thin the stands of small pines. I used the larger Stihl to thin but I would soon get tired - and dangerous.
When fallen larger pines I always like a second saw. It was a lot easier to remove a pinched saw with a second saw.
 

dmccarty

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I don't have the money for more than one saw so I make do with one. I do have multiple bars and chains which has come in handy when I pinch a bar/chain so bad I could not remove the saw. With another bar and chain you just have to remove the saw engine and put on the replacement bar/chain and fix the pinch. Thankfully, I have not had to do this often. A second saw would be faster but I cannot justify the money even though it would be real nice to have a smaller, lighter saw for topping off trees. Plus it is one more engine to feed. :D

I have thought about getting a smaller bar and chain but the weight savings for my 048 would be minimal and I like the current balance of the 20 inch bar/chain. The 20 inch bar is about right size for me when having to cut close too, or on, the ground. The bar size minimizes bending over, which not only stresses your back and legs, but is dangerous. I try to kneel or squat to minimize/prevent bending over. Usually when I am topping off a tree, I will go from the smaller limbs to cutting the trunk where I need the 20 inch bar.

Danged if I do, danged if I don't. :laughing::laughing::laughing:

Later,
Dan
 
 
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