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Thread: Chainsaw Link Removal....

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Childress, Texas, USA
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    Chainsaw Link Removal....

    I have two chains that I've sharpened a few times - myself - so they are still in good shape... toothwise. Trouble is, they've stretched beyond the capabilities of my Stihl's bar-movement range to take up the slack. I've had a link taken out of each of them.
    I'm curious... How safe is this? What are some pros/cons of having them shortened like that? (I've never done this before, and don't want to wrap that chain around my head someday when I'm cutting wood.)
    Allen
    The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
    And.... I'm located just 1,075 miles SW of Steve Schlumpf.

  2. #2
    No problem. I've done that many times.
    I have my own tools to do it with.


    Buy quality chains. They don't stretch as bad.


  3. #3
    Allen,
    An active and knowledgeable operator with a chainsaw will sharpen the chains till the teeth are almost gone before retiring the chain. I've always found the chains stretch the most at first, then settle down and don't change length much.
    It is standard operating procedure all around the world to make up chains from bulk 100' or 250' long reels of chain and the regular chaisaw places charge by the connecting links, say 22 cents a link.
    Anyway, the shortenting by a link is fine.
    That said, you mentioned Still chainsaws, and they would come with Stihl chains, which are recognized as some of the very best available. So why would this happen?
    The engineer in me says something funny is probably going on, but don't know what. The simplest thing is to replace them, and they would only run about $14 each or so at baileysonline.com.
    Rich S.

  4. #4
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    Folks, it's not all in the chain. The bar also wears and in a sense shrinks. This combined with the chain stretching is two fold.
    When one buys a new chain and installs it on an old bar it starts off to big.

  5. #5
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    Steve and Rich thanks for the replies.
    These are Stihl Chains that I bought where I got the saw, so I know they are some good chains. I have an MS310, the Oiler works just perfectly, but maybe I'm putting too much tension on the chain, which causes it to stretch more than normal? How can you tell if you've got it too tight? I always leave the saw with a slack chain when I quit for the day. When I tighten the chain, I just tighten until there is no space between the chain and the bar. Is that too tight?
    Allen
    The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
    And.... I'm located just 1,075 miles SW of Steve Schlumpf.

  6. #6
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    Allen,
    You should be able to move the chain fairly easily by hand after adjusting. If you can not, it is too tight.

  7. #7
    Yep, bars shrink, chains stretch, adjusment slots get bigger. take a link and toss and keep on cuttin...
    John 3:16

    Altho "one may not have enough tools ... one can never have too many"
    some wise guy quote ... 'least thats what I told my wife

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    All good advice!

    When you punch out a link, you might want to examine it for wear in the rivet part. I have seen what happens to flesh when a chain comes loose. Ain't pretty!
    Bob

  9. #9
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    A properly adjusted chain == Grab the top of the chain in the middle of the bar and pull up. If the guide tooth almost comes out of the bar track it is properly adjusted. That is the way I was taught when I worked for the US Forest Service. Be very generous with the oil as you operate the saw. You will very likely need to readjust the chain tension after say 15 minutes of operation as it will loosen from the heat generated as it works.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    43 Norway Spruce Street, Stittsville, Ont, Canada
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    Well, someone has to be the wet blanket here, so I guess I'll do it...

    Saw chains don't stretch .... they wear internally where the links pivot inside the drivers. When you take out a link and the chains fits properly again, you're shortening the chain by the amount of cumulative wear in all the links...stop and think about how much wear that really is.

    Bars with roller sprocket tips don't contribute very much to the slack in a chain unless the bearing in the sprocket tip is worn out. Yes, the top and bottom rails do wear, but that has very little effect on the length of chain required. Mostly it affects how straight the chain cuts in the block.

    What are the odds that a shortened chain will break and cause damage to the operator?.... very very little. On the other hand, how much is a chain worth?

    For many years I ran (and it is still running since I sold it) a lawn and garden equipment dealership. We became a Stihl dealer in 1993 and the store still is a Stihl dealer. It was a rule of ours that we would NOT shorten chains due to wear in the links. It was a cheap insurance policy against the potential for problems caused by an increasingly litigious society.

    Personally, I would buy a new chain, but you may wish to do differently.

    just my $0.02

    cheers eh?

  11. #11
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    I agree with John,

    It is very unlikely that the chain will break, but a new Stihl chain can be had on Ebay for less than 20 dollars. Also I would ask you if you are filing down the raker proportionally when you file the teeth? If you are using an electric sharpener, that should be done by hand, but there are sharpeners such as the pferd which do it automatically. I'm no engineer, but it seems to me that-as John suggested- that you may be doing something that causes the problem. When it comes to chainsaws, err on the side of caution. They are the number one tool in the U.S. causing injury and death.
    Hilel.
    No one has the right to demand aid, but everyone has a moral obligation to provide it-William Godwin

  12. #12
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    OK fellers,

    Sorry I stated the chain stretches, I will clarify that, the chain assembly just gets longer.
    For those that don't have the sprocket nose tips, which most don't, that just have a chain saw for fire wood and turning stock, the total wear in the bar will contribute to the overall free air space between the chain and the bar.

    I cut timber in the Adirondack mountain area where I lived for 15 years. After working my day job, --during the afternoon, and on the weekends. I cut Ash and supplied the local baseball factories with "thousands" of board feet, semi loads, of Ash. A substantial amount more than any turner will ever in a lifetime cut.
    When my chains were beyond resharpening, and some what longer, I just pulled a new length off the real and maid up a new one.
    Never thought about removing a link, never got to that point, never enough chain left to worry about it.

    My biggest concern was, looks like I may need a new saw soon.

    My opinion FWIW, it's time to just get a new chain if you have no slack adjustment left. Or, you may wish to check your adjustment area, something may need your attention????

  13. #13
    Chain adjustment is hot or cold? Chain seems to get loose, so is Al's method by USFS hot or cold (which is the method I use but seems the chain is too tight). Also have the Stihl MS310.....cuts so smooth, does not need sanding.....
    Might have someone who builds the chains from bulk stock to show how the ends are joined safely, just in case.

  14. #14
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    After reading Al Wasser's post, it could be that I've been making my chain too tight to start with. I'll adjust it the same way I always do tomorrow, and then check the tension like Al says, and see what it's like.
    Seems like it might just be the safest bet to buy a new chain, rather than having the link removed. If it's wear instead of stretch that gives me something else to think about.
    I really do appreciate all the comments and suggestions. That's the great thing about this forum. All good folks. Thanks again.
    Allen
    The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.
    And.... I'm located just 1,075 miles SW of Steve Schlumpf.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Stevener View Post
    OK fellers,

    Sorry I stated the chain stretches, I will clarify that, the chain assembly just gets longer.
    For those that don't have the sprocket nose tips, which most don't, that just have a chain saw for fire wood and turning stock, the total wear in the bar will contribute to the overall free air space between the chain and the bar.

    I cut timber in the Adirondack mountain area where I lived for 15 years. After working my day job, --during the afternoon, and on the weekends. I cut Ash and supplied the local baseball factories with "thousands" of board feet, semi loads, of Ash. A substantial amount more than any turner will ever in a lifetime cut.
    When my chains were beyond resharpening, and some what longer, I just pulled a new length off the real and maid up a new one.
    Never thought about removing a link, never got to that point, never enough chain left to worry about it.

    My biggest concern was, looks like I may need a new saw soon.

    My opinion FWIW, it's time to just get a new chain if you have no slack adjustment left. Or, you may wish to check your adjustment area, something may need your attention????
    Well Bill, I said the stretch word also.

    But I thought it was common for folk to just say the chain stretched, instead of saying the long technical term of..... my barisworeandthepinsareworeandthelinkholesaresloppe dout.

    Just like the old timing chains on cars, most mechanics say stretched when the timing chain has become to loose from metal wear and slipped on the gears.


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