Weekend lumberjacks count on their chainsaws to cut through big projects in half the time. It does so much with such little effort, but are you getting all you can from the saw you have on hand? The right chain on your blade in the right hands can save energy and hours. Consider the chain size when you are purchasing a chainsaw. If the chain you have on your saw isn't cutting it, you might be able to switch it out for a different size with little trouble and maximum payoff.
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Chain Sizing Breakdown
A chainsaw is a serious help when you need it in a pinch but it may be difficult to choose the size blade you need. There are two types of chains and they do two different types of jobs. The .325 and three-eighths (.375) pitches pertain to the spacing between the rivets. That spacing is important when you are cutting.
The .325 is a smaller top cutter and tie strap, which makes it easier for the saw to turn and draw less energy, particularly from the user. It holds enough horsepower to get through most jobs with relative ease. It tends to work better with small saws that have a high RPM because it causes less drag.
The three-eighths chain is a beefier saw and better suited to one that has more horsepower. It has larger teeth and a heavier duty chain, so it requires more horsepower to operate correctly. Older saws tend to have a three-eighths chain and tends to be less expensive than its newer cousin. The three-eighths chain's larger teeth make it easier to sharpen as well. A general rule is to use a three-eighths-inch chain for any saw under 40cc. Move to the .325-inch chain for those saws between 40 and 60 cc.
Advantages of Switching
Under the right circumstances, you can switch your chain size up or down. The .325 may be smaller and faster, but it may not be your best bet for your everyday needs. The three-eighths-inch chain is durable and lasts longer than its smaller cousin. This makes it one of the more popular switches for chainsaw users who want to get more out of their saw. When you plan to convert your saw from one size chain to another, make sure you have the correct sprocket and bar to match the chain. Follow instructions for basic chain replacement to get the new chain to fit correctly on the bar.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.