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Chain kerf specs? .404 vs .375

Discussion in 'Milling & Saw Mills' started by Art_H, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Art_H

    Art_H New Member

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    I'm looking to start milling, and want a strong chain, but with the narrowest kerf. I've searched but haven't really found the info I'm looking for.

    What are the parameters that determine the chain's cutting kerf?

    .404 vs .3/8 is just the pitch and link length, not the width.

    Gauge from .50-.63, does that change the kerf? Why don't the saw chain manufacturers list the chain's cutting kerf?

    Is 0.063 gauge stronger and more wear resistant? What are the benefits?

    Thanks
     
  2. Timberframed

    Timberframed ArboristSite Operative

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    When running big bars I personally never considered kerf over safety. So you lose a slab or two on a big hardwood due to kerf. Some guys might try rigging a 72"bar with .375 or .325 though I would never consider it. Bigger chain = somewhat safer conditions like ripping through a hard knot the size of a football.
     
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  3. mtngun

    mtngun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Generally, the smaller pitches have a smaller kerf. It also depends on the particular brand/model of chain and on the top plate angle.

    Maybe, maybe not. If you have a 120cc saw, you pretty much have to use 063 gage because you won't find a large mount bar made for anything else.

    There is no problem running 050 gage on 90cc saws, though.
     
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  4. Art_H

    Art_H New Member

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    Thanks again, I just picked up a 36" 0.063 3/8 bar for milling only. Should I get a .404 instead? I want to eventually go to a 48" setup.

    I'm planning an engine driven chain mill with a frame and rolling cutter. I figure the cost for a well powered saw is a little much when they would be run hard. So with a permanent setup there are better options than chain saws, but I like the idea of the chain cutting system.
     
  5. mtngun

    mtngun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Depends on the powerhead and the bar length.

    I don't have any experience with 4-stroke driven chainsaw mills so I don't honestly know what to tell you. You'll likely end up running lower speeds and higher raker angles compared to a chainsaw, so chainsaw rules may not apply.

    Try the 3/8. If it breaks, you may need to move up to 404, but if it doesn't break, then you're good.
     
  6. greg176

    greg176 ArboristSite Member

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  7. Art_H

    Art_H New Member

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    That's pretty much the standard design I was thinking. Thanks for the link. Even close to home.

    I need at least a 20 ft cutting length, with maybe another 20 ft add on extension. Chain mills excel for long beam cutting. Our other band mill only cuts 20 ft.

    Will a 0.058 gauge .404 have less curf than a 0.063 .404?
     
  8. greg176

    greg176 ArboristSite Member

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    If you look at the chart at Bailey's the .404 is not available in a .058 ripping chain.i ended up going with a 42" .063 Oregon bar with a .375 nose.I also will be running a .058 .375 36" Cannon bar.For the small stuff I bought some loops for my .375 .058 28" Oregon bars.The Cannon bar may end up being the workhorse for most jobs.
    I was watching that add for some time now but have decided after much research to go with an Alaskan mill. Here is another link to a guy doing something similar to what you have in mind.TJ's Woodshop - Building The Second Sawmill
     
  9. BlueRider

    BlueRider AboristSite Guru

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    if you are contemplating an engine driven mill with a chain saw one of the issues you will need to address is chain speed. most chainsaws run around 9K while most 4 stroke engines ore around 2k or a bit more. with this in mind I would sugest .404 purely because of its effect on chain speed of 3/8 with the same size sprocket. i would also sugest running a harvester bar (up to 44") and a 13 tooth harvester sprocket(lots of arbor options).

    you can increase the raker depth to allow for more material to be removed but you will be limited by the space required for the swarf. with this in mind I would suggest looking at using lucas milling chain with its hyer skip tooth design.

    You are talking about building a lucas type slaber for less than the $15k price tag. I think you could do it but it will still cost a few bucks. Look at bar and sprocket options and make a decison early on in your design so you have the parts on hand to build your mill around. I would also suggest looking at what Jerry built. do a search for wards820
     
  10. gemniii

    gemniii Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Without spending a lot of time researching - I thought that on some chains (depends on mfg) the "tang" that rides in the groove was different between .404 and .375, but again depending on the chain mfg. the actual cutter width, hence kerf, may be the same.

    /edit I should of said the groove and tang was different between 063 and .050 but the cutter was the same
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011
  11. BobL

    BobL Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Kerf width on chain is not a single value as it varies with things like cutter length and to a lesser extent with top plate filing and angle and maybe even wood softness, skip or no skip.

    The sort of 4 stroke you will be looking at for a mill will have lower RPM than a CS so you will have to run a bigger drive sprocket and lower rakers to maintain a reasonable cutting speed. It's not unusual to run 0.045 to 0.060" rakers on new chain and for that sort of load you should not use anything less than 404 chain.

    Don't be fooled by the similar price of a CS and a 4 stroke engine and then the higher prices on a full blown mill. On bigger mills like a Lucas and also bandsaw mills what you are really paying for is a rugged system that quickly reproducibly places the engine and bar/blade in positions that are constantly parallel to each other over a wide area. Systems that involve lifting big logs over that area are not as easy to implement.

    I seen and heard a lot of wannabe four stroke millers that start out with a 4 stroke engine on the floor of their shed and an interest in making a 4 stroke mill, but relatively few end up making a successful mill.
     
  12. northwest coast

    northwest coast ArboristSite Lurker

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    is the benefit of .404 strength only ? its all i use for milling but could i get away with 3/8 ? i usually run a 36" bar except for the occasional big stuff.
     
  13. mtngun

    mtngun Addicted to ArboristSite

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    For best speeds:

    120cc saws 50" and over, run 3/8"

    120cc saws up to 40-something inches, run 0.325.

    90cc saws up to 36", run lo-pro or 0.325

    Most people run 3/8" because 3/8" ripping chain, bars, and sprockets are readily available. But if you are willing to make the effort to round up the components, the smaller chains will cut faster.
     
  14. northwest coast

    northwest coast ArboristSite Lurker

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    yeah okay i was about to buy a roll of .404 ripping chain but maybe i'll work on converting to smaller chain. thanks, it'll be nice to get a bit faster cuts happenin.
     

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