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Determining Guide Bar & Saw Chain Compatibility
In order to figure out if the Guide Bar and Saw Chain you plan to use together are compatible, there are (3) key specifications that you must match up:
(1) Pitch, (2) Gauge, and (3) Drive Link Count.
Your bar and saw chain must have the same exact specifications, otherwise they will not work together. Please see the rest of this guide, and/or utilize the in-page navigation links to determine how you will find these exact specifications.
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FYI, many retailers call out the length of the saw chain (in inches) as a starting point for customers, but please be aware: determining compatibility solely by length is the most common reason we see for incorrectly ordered saw chains. While a saw chain and guide bar may be the same length in inches, the rest of their specs (Pitch, Gauge, or Drive Link Count) may differ, making the pair incompatible. Again, the only specifications you really need to ensure compatibility are Pitch, Gauge, and Drive Link Count of both your guide bar and saw chain.
Measuring Your Chainsaw Chain
We'll let you in on a little secret. There are two ways that you can figure out the size of your replacement chain even without access to a product manual:
How to Measure Chainsaw Chain Yourself
To find a chain replacement, you'll need to figure out three numbers:
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Chain pitch is the length of the links in the chain. To determine the pitch, you'll need to measure the distance between any three consecutive rivets, then divide the result by 2. The rivets are the small, round pegs/studs that hold the chain segments together. Measure from the first to the third, then divide that number in half to get your chain pitch. Pitch is important because the drive sprocket (and if applicable, the bar nose sprocket) of your guide bar must be the same pitch as the chain.
The most common measurements of pitch you'll see on replacement chain are 3/8" and .325", but may also be .325” Low Profile, .404”, ¼”, ¾”, or ⅜” Low Profile.
<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/measuregauge_0483ddc9-e62a-4f66-ba60-2f07f2813d2a.png?v=1673900247" />
Chain gauge, on the other hand, means the thickness of the drive links of the chain. Your saw chain’s gauge can be determined by measuring the portion of the drive link that fits into the groove of the guide bar, usually expressed in thousandths of an inch. For your reference, normal wear can make it difficult to accurately measure chain gauge on a worn chain.
The most common saw chain gauge sizes are .043" (1.1mm), .050" (1.3mm), .058" (1.5mm), and .063" (1.6mm), but may also be .080” or .122”.
Measuring Drive Link Count
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Count the number of drive links on your old chain loop to get the correct replacement chain. Simply count the drive links around the entire loop of saw chain. The drive link count is the last 3 numbers before the last letter on the Oregon chain part number.
For Example, 72LGX072G = 72 Drive Links; 18HX078E = 78 Drive Links.
Where to LOOK for Measurements on your Saw Chain
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<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/stihlchainmarking_cb44045a-61f4-4755-a94e-e7c3d2ca5531.png?v=1673900250" />
Your old saw chain (that you are replacing) may also contain all the info you need, as the type of saw chain is typically stamped right onto the drive links. The specific saw chain type will provide you with the Pitch and Gauge. For your reference, Stihl uses an extra marking on the tooth link to determine size.Please view the different brands’chain codes, their meanings, and brand-to-brand conversions to Oregon saw chain, below. Once Pitch and Gauge are figured out, all that’s left to do is count and match up the drive links.
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Oregon Chain Families: Understanding the Differences
We understand that the needs of woodcutters – professionals and novices – are as diverse as the terrains and environments in which they work.
Oregon has organized their saw chains and guide bars into product families with key characteristics that different users will value. These product families will ensure that you choose the right chain and bar based on your everyday needs. It will make understanding the differences between our products effortless. Feel free to click on the titles below to see our company's saw chain offerings.
Determining Guide Bar & Chainsaw Compatibility
In order to figure out if the Guide Bar and Chainsaw you plan to use together are compatible, you will need to determine (3) key specs for your chainsaw:
(1) “Required Bar Mount,” (2) Pitch, and (3) Gauge
By definition, replacement bars that are interchangeable with the original bar are those that both fit your saw (bar mount and pitch) AND take the same type of chain (pitch and gauge).
<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/BarMountCompatible2_0cad2048-2aa8-4c14-9a91-2dacffd727da.png?v=1673900251" />
In practice, there are several different mount, pitch and gauge combinations in use - even in the chainsaws and bars of a single manufacturer - meaning most guide bars are mutually incompatible. Please view the rest of this guide to learn best practices of finding this info yourself.
Measuring Your Guide Bar
Many retailers call out the guide bar's length as a starting point for customers.
While the guide bar length isn’t always necessary to know when trying to determine compatibility, it will help us narrow down what size of bar you’re looking for.
You'll be measuring the usable length of the bar, also called the cutting length, or the called length.
To find the called length of your chainsaw bar, measure it from its front tip all the way back to the cutter closest to the body of the saw.
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Round this measurement up to the nearest inch. For example, a bar that measures 19 3/4" will actually have a called length of 20".
You then could look for a new bar with a 20" bar length.
Most chainsaw bars use a superficially similar arrangement of slots and holes for mounting to the chainsaw body. This arrangement is called bar mount (or tail mount). To be compatible, a guide bar and a chainsaw must have a matching bar mount type.
Notice in the photo below the many variations that bar mounts can be oriented. Size and relative location varies between brands and also product lines of a given brand. Sadly, small differences make mounts incompatible: if the holes do not line up, the bar won’t fit or won’t work properly.
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To make it easy, we only sell Oregon-brand guide bars. Each chainsaw brand/model will utilize one Oregon bar mount (possibly two, depending if the “old” bar mount has been discontinued/superseded by a newer one).
If you are replacing an old Stihl or Husqvarna guide bar, please take a look at our bar mount conversions below to determine which Oregon bar mount you will need for your chainsaw.
<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/Oregonbarmounts_aa5c9c81-7ced-4472-bcc5-2e1172608e78.png?v=1673900249" />
Converting Your Bar Mount to Oregon's Bar Mount
Oregon has dozens of bar mount variations that are used to accommodate an array of different chainsaws and brands. Oregon’s bar mounts are indicated by the last 4 digits of the part number (one letter followed by three numbers). For example, the Oregon 200RNDD025 would utilize bar mount D025.
Depending on the brand and age of guide bar you use, you'll most likely be able to find your guide bar's bar mount by looking at the part number, guide bar etching, or online using your chainsaw's Brand and Model #.
***If you have trouble finding this info for yourself, please reach out to us with your chainsaw's Brand and Model. We understand this can get quite confusing.***
Please view some of the common Stilh/Oregon & Husqvarna/Oregon Bar Mount Conversions, below:
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Stihl bars use three types of bar mounts that can be determined by looking at the first 4 digits of the guide bar part #, usually etched into the guide bar itself:
“3005 - small” (converts to Oregon’s A074);
“3003 - medium” (converts to Oregon’s D025);
“3002 - large” (converts to Oregon’s E031 or E099).
<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/H110-0595_3aba30b9-e77c-4142-bffe-26e7f5e8b567.jpg?v=1673973223" />
Husqvarna uses two bar mounts that can be determined by the model number of the chainsaw you're using:
“small” (converts to Oregon’s K095)
“large” (converts to Oregon’s D009).
<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/HusqBarMountConversions_cab387b3-bddf-47ab-b84a-aa7835ef3514.png?v=1673900249" />
Where to LOOK for Measurements on your Guide Bar
Your chainsaw’s guide bar may have all the information you are looking for stamped right into it. It can usually be found near the back of the bar, where it mounts to the saw.
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For instance, in the example above, the chain is 3/8” pitch and .050” gauge with 72 drive links. This, along with the bar mount conversion from above, should be all the information you will need to get the proper replacement guide bar.
Oregon Guide Bar Families: Understanding the Differences
We understand that the needs of woodcutters are as diverse as the terrains and environments in which they work. We’ve organized our guide bars into product families with similar characteristics to help you find the right guide bars for your work.
Sharpening Your Saw Chain
If your saw chain is no longer self-feeding, you have to push on the saw, or the waste material from your saw creates sawdust, it is time to sharpen your chainsaw chain. A good rule of thumb is to sharpen your chain every time you refill gas.
Please view the video below to see how Oregon recommends sharpening saw chain with files:
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Please view the videos below to see how Oregon recommends grinding saw chain with their 520-120, 620-120, 410-120 Bench Grinders, as well as their Sure Sharp Mini Grinder. Please use the video time-stamps to jump to the section of the video that you need.
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Determining the Correct File to Use for Your Saw Chain
There are a handful of file sizes that are each meant to sharpen different saw chains, determined by the Pitch of the saw chain. In order to determine the correct file for your needs, you would need to locate the Pitch of your saw chain by using one of the methods mentioned above: finding the code on drive links, etching on bar, or directly measuring the saw chain.
<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/ChainPitchtoFileSize_e0c1f021-3288-4be5-bb11-e248f2d61b4a.png?v=1673900250" />
If you have determined the pitch of your saw chain, this table above can be used quite universally with most brands of saw chain.
However, there are some key notes to be careful of when determining the right file:
File Size Conversions by Popular Brands
Please view the recommended file sizes for common Husqvarna saw chain and Stihl chainsaws, below:
<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/HusqvarnaFileSizebyPitch_8de3e02f-81a6-4793-a728-12d3c2e9728b.png?v=1673900248" />
<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0576/5591/8746/files/StihlFileSizebyPitch_93edb8f9-c71b-4d69-b269-948d578e791d.png?v=1673900248" />
Filing and Grinding Sizes/Angles for Oregon Saw Chain
If you are filing/grinding a saw chain other than Oregon, please use the saw chain converters above to determine the correct angles for your saw chain. Grind your chain so that it meets the recommendations of the manufacturer.
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Saw Chain Lubrication
Fill your oil reservoir each time you fill your chainsaw’s gas tank. Make sure that your saw chain, guide bar, and sprocket are always receiving oil from the saw during operation.
Keep your saw's chain-oiling system filled with clean bar and chain oil. Oregon bar and chain oil is specifically compounded to provide extra high tackiness and prevent "throw off" even under adverse weather conditions.
As a rule of thumb, you should never put used oil or old motor oil in your saw or on your chain. Used motor oil contains metal shavings that reduce the life of your bar and chain. Additionally, lubricating your bar and chain with used motor oil will void your warranty.
Tips for Dealing with Cold-Weather Wear
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CHAINSAW POWER REQUIREMENTS
In general, you will need at least 50cc to run our smallest mill (G777). The more powerful your saw, the easier your milling experience is going to be. Consult the chart to see if your chainsaw has enough power to do the job you want it to do. Under-powered saws will take longer to make a cut and may overheat and possibly fail. You will definitely want to use a ripping chain and take your time. Granberg will not take responsibility for damage caused by using saws that are under-powered. We also recommend against using battery or electric saws.
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WEDGING TECHNIQUES FOR USE WITH MILLS
It's important to have proper wedges. Depending on the size of the log you are milling, the weight of the slab or beam may be pinching the chain. Using wedges as you move through the cut can help lift the wood out of the way. Wedge early, wedge often. You can buy some on our website here if you don't have any at home.
A good wedge is at least 6″ long, 3″ wide and tapered from 3/4″ to 0″. Best to put at least 5 in your back pocket or tool pouch. After you cut into the log, about 2 feet, put the first wedge into the beginning of your cut. Then put a wedge in every two feet.
Larger, thicker slabs require more support, meaning use more wedges and tapping them in really well.
Lighter, smaller slabs require less support, meaning use less wedges and giving just a quick tap.
CAN I PUT A LARGER MILL ON A SMALLER BAR?
Yes, all of the Alaskan mills we carry can be adapted to fit a smaller bar, because the thickness rails have a channel all the way down that will allow the depth post to be moved. So, if you have a 32” bar, you will want a 36” mill (G778-36). The nose end depth post can be adjusted down to fit the smaller bar.
Likewise, if you have a 36” bar at the moment, but are maybe thinking about investing in a larger bar, you can buy a 48” mill (G778-48) and put it on the smaller bar until you get the upgrade.
One consideration you will have to make is although you can put a larger mill on a smaller bar, the mill size itself will not change, so you will need enough room to operate a 48” mill even if you are only using a 36” bar. This is really only an issue in the thickest of brush. If you’re milling in your driveway or front yard, you shouldn’t have a problem.
MILLING TIPS FOR FIRST TIME USERS
Learn from Mr. Erik Granberg, President of Granberg International the tips and tricks to getting the best results from your Alaskan Chainsaw Mill.
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1. THREE important things to consider before milling. One, does your chainsaw have enough power? (see bar/power reference chart). Two, ripping chain is necessary! Three, a first cut system to assist in your first cut. (0:35)
2. Inspect log and debark. Check diameter of log vs the cutting width of mill. Is your mill going to make it through the cut? There may be a section that is too wide. This can be trimmed before milling. (2:00)
3. Mount Alaskan Mill onto bar. Adjust to fit bar. Avoid clamping down on the sprocket nose. Tighten all hardware. The clamping bolts for the bar and end bracket require 10-12 pounds of torque. Tighten evenly. All other carriage bolts use 8-10 pounds of tightening torque. Do not over tighten, this only weakens the bolts. (3:15)
4. Tool kit check. (11:07)
5. Safety Equipment. Chaps, gloves, boots, eye and ear protection are required! (11:51)
6. Make sure your wedges are handy! (12:20)
7. Best way to start your second cut. (13:17)
8. Wedging tips while milling. (14:18)
9. What to look, listen and feel for while milling. (14:54)
10. How to exit the cut. To keep the mill from dipping when exiting cut, put a little back pressure on upright handle and support the powerhead. (17:24)
SELECTING the Rope
Selecting a rope involves evaluating a combination of factors. Some of these factors are straight forward like comparing rope specifications. Others are less quantitative like a preference for a specific color or how a rope feels in your hand.
Fiber and construction being equal, a larger rope will outlast a smaller rope, because of the greater surface wear distribution. By the same token, a stronger rope will outlast a weaker one, because it will be used at a lower percentage of its break strength with less chance of overstressing.
Consider the opinion of professional climbers who may have more experience as to how well a rope performs. Consider also the reputation of the rope manufacturer. Are they involved with and supportive of the arborist industry? Do they stand behind their products with consistent quality and reliable service? Buying unproven ropes because they are a little less expensive is false economy and can lead to disaster
Some things to consider when looking at ropes are:
USING the Rope
Proper use of your ropes, maintaining them, and staying within recommended working loads will allow you to get the most from your rope investment. Working loads are calculated to maximize safety and extend the working life of both climbing and rigging lines. Dirt and grit embedded in the fibers can also significantly shorten rope life. Keep them clean, bagged and properly stored when not in use.
RETIRING the Rope
One of the most frequently asked questions is “When should I retire my rope?” The most obvious answer is before it breaks. But, without a thorough understanding of how to inspect it and without knowing the load history, you are left making an educated guess. Unfortunately, there are no definitive rules nor industry guidelines to establish when a rope should be retired because there are so many variables that affect rope strength. Factors like load history, bending radius, abrasion, chemical exposure or some combination of those factors, make retirement decisions difficult.
Inspecting your rope should be a continuous process of observation before, during and after each use. In synthetic fiber ropes the amount of strength loss due to abrasion and/or flexing is directly related to the amount of broken fiber in the rope’s cross section. After each use, look and feel along every inch of the rope length inspecting for damage as listed below:
There are dozens of pulleys and blocks available for the use of arborists today. However not all are created to the same specifications, and there are many applications which will put high demand on the hardware and for which only certain blocks should be used. While the terms "block" and "pulley" are largely interchangeable, we have divided them into two main groups for clarity:
Other factors to consider when choosing a block or pulley are: