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What Are Semi & Full Skip Chains About?

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by StihlRockin', Feb 9, 2008.

  1. StihlRockin'

    StihlRockin' AboristSite Guru

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    I have seen mentioned several times here about people using the semi or full skip chains and have even seen them in the catalogs. I'm still at a loss when it comes to understanding their function and advantages.

    Most all my saw needs are for residential tree removals. No logging or milling. My #1 chain I use is a full chisel and I like it. This year I was going to try the semi-chisel or rounded corner teeth because I know they can take a little more beating when it comes to cutting dirty wood. I was going to use them for stumps, but then I see a chain that is partial tungsten/carbide treated, so I'll be using that instead for cutting stumps off low to the ground to prep for grinding.

    My question is: What are the skip chains functions and advantages over a chain I like to use, the full chisel?

    Are they suppose to cut faster? Be more durable? Cheaper?

    Do they have different tooth designs or do they primarily come in one style? If so, which one?

    Thanks,

    StihlRockin'
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2008
  2. COLD_IRON

    COLD_IRON Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Skip chains are mainly for longer bars to allow the saw to not work as hard, and allow for better chip clearance. And with 2/3 the number of cutters, it takes less time to sharpen. You can get full chisel full skip chains or even semi-chisel full skip chains. The semi-skip chains I have seen are all square ground.

    I use full skip chain myself for general green wood cutting.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2008
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  3. pbtree

    pbtree Addicted to ArboristSite

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    What he said. Most of the time you will not derive a benefit on a bar under 24 inches...
     
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  4. Freakingstang

    Freakingstang Doctor Freakinstein

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    Yup, what those guys said. Full skip is two tie straps between teeth and semi skip alternates between cutters...

    cutter, tie strap, cutter, tie strap, tie strap, cutter, etc.


    They are most popular on the west coast. I rarely see them east of the miss. river. They are also used sometimes on saws that are slightly underpowered for the bar, example would be an 036 with a 28" bar. Seems that is a common setup with full skip in other parts of the country
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
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  5. StihlRockin'

    StihlRockin' AboristSite Guru

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    Well, that's about a straight-up, to the point and precise answers a guy could get. Thanks! Just what I was looking to see.

    StihlRockin'
     
  6. Zodiac45

    Zodiac45 Paleostoveologist & Sawwhisperer

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    Just as you said Semi chisel is used for dirty wood thats been skidded in mud etc. It's not quite as fast as full chisel, but it's much more forgiving of the dirty conditions. Did you say you were using carbide tipped for stumping? Or was that, you were thinking about it? Carbide tipped is usually used on rescue saws for cutting people out of burning houses through the roof etc.. I guess you could use it but have you seen the price? It's 5 times the price of a loop of regular chain. :jawdrop:
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  7. engineeringnerd

    engineeringnerd ArboristSite Operative

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    Also, be a little more careful with skip as it is much more prone to kickback and a little more jumpy than full comp. If you bore cut, be sure and get the bottom of the tip fully in and push the bar in at an angle (keeping the tip clear) before engaging the top of the tip.

    I'd stay away from skip on any limbing activities.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  8. tree_beard

    tree_beard ArboristSite Operative

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    all good info so far

    skip for long bars and saws pulling above their weight....

    some swear by it because you have less sharpening to do... but in reality you should have to sharpen a 1/3 more often... less cutters to sharpen, but more wear on the cutters that are cutting...

    ive heard that some of the largest displacement saws tend to hit the rev limiter the whole time when run with 3/8 full skip on bars shorter than about 42" (refer to b turner's 3120/880 threads)

    skip chain is pretty much impossible to get in saw shops here in the u.k. gotta order it in from the u.s.... i dont think it is common at all in europe
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  9. Big Neb

    Big Neb ArboristSite Operative

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    I agree completely. My experience may be a bit limited with skip. When I first purchased my 32" bar I picked up a couple of loops of full chisel, full skip. It is really grippy and I would not do any limbing with mine. Time for the dual dawgs. It does do what it is intended to do and cuts very well and fast.

    I honestly prefer full comp as it gives me a much smoother experience on both my 28" and 32". I'll replace the few loops I have of full skip with full comp as I wear them out. Of course I don't make a living slinging long bars.
     
  10. pbuehning

    pbuehning ArboristSite Operative

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    As it was explained to me:
    "There are 2 instances that it's good to use skip chain. One is with big saws and long long bars. Cutters are cutting from the time they enter the wood till the time they exit, and on really long bars, the chips build up to the point that they hold the cutters out of the wood. Skip chains have more space between the teeth for chip buildup."

    The other instance that you might use skip chain is when you are using a bar that is on the verge of being too long for the saw. Fewer cutters in the wood take less power to pull and the saw doesn't bog as badly.

    Also works well when I have to rip a section, doesn't load up as bad (assuming no chipper chain).

    The disadvantage as I understand it is that they are grabbier, aren't as smooth in the cut and are more prone to kickback than full compliment chain.":confused:
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  11. West Texas

    West Texas AboristSite Guru

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    Semi and full skip are also good on, even small saws, when clearing out greem Juniper trees on fire lane work. The wood in green junipers is so soft, wet and gummy that the chips will build up under the chain guard and jam the chain to a halt when using regular comp chain.
     
  12. T Berry

    T Berry ArboristSite Lurker

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    For me full skip has proven to be the better choice, I pay $15.90 for 33RSF72 vs $20.90 for 33RSC72, chain maint turn around is quicker and I would need more daylight to cut before speed even factored in. It is rougher / kickback to bore cut with but that was just a short learning curve, In safety aspects it is a more unforgiving chain, I for one consider that a good thing, it forces me to PAY ATTENTION. I apoligize for I did not pay close enough attention to the title
    I have never ran semi skip.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  13. Torquin

    Torquin ArboristSite Operative

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    To elaborate a bit more on Freakingstang's post:
    Full skip (every other cutter "missing", but still balanced from right to left)
    Left cutter, tie strap, tie strap, right cutter, tie strap, tie strap, left cutter, etc.
    e.g. /--\--/--\--/--\--
    Semi skip (every third cutter missing, but still balanced from right to left)
    Left cutter, tie strap, right cutter, tie strap, tie strap, left cutter, tie strap, right cutter, tie strap, tie strap, left cutter, etc.
    e.g /-\--/-\--/-\--

    Where / and \ signify the left and right cutters, and the - is the tie strap.

    I'm running a fill skip on my MS290 with 20" bar and love it. Man that thing cuts fast. Usually don't even use the dogs because it cuts fast enough with the weight of the saw.
    Of course, the bigger bars also have full skip, 32" and up. Now that I have seen the speed difference I won't go back.

    You should be able to get semi-chisel in semi or full skip if you want. That would make good sense for stumping.

    Chris
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2008
  14. super3

    super3 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I think he was refering to diamondized{carlton} or inject-a-sharp {oregon} I've used the carlton and it holds an edge quite a bit longer than standard chain and runs about 30 bucks for a 24"
     
  15. StihlRockin'

    StihlRockin' AboristSite Guru

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    Yes, what super3 said about Zodiac45's post. I am not referring to the full carbide toothed chains, just the one that is slightly covered... the lesser cost model. Seems would be an excellent choice for a chain that will be mainly used to cut off stumps low at an excellent value.

    I bought one of those expensive bad boys once at over $100 and that was 14-15 years ago. What sucked is the very first time I pulled out the chain, I was cutting off an old stump in the city and hit something solid. I eventually found out there was an old hollow cavity and someone, years ago, filled it with cement... and not the cheap soft stuff they have nowadays, but the old sold-as-a-rock stuff of the yesteryears. Needless to say, the chain was toast and my $100 bill didn't get me squat for a return. LOL!

    Thanks for the additional replies. Always is interesting to learn new things. I've been doing tree work for over 25 years and never got into the technical stuff. You'd think after this much time, I'd be burned out, but I feel like I'm just getting started!

    Thanks!

    StihlRockin'
     
  16. clearance

    clearance Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'd suggest you and others learn how to use a saw properly.
    Not being a knob, but the chain doesn't matter, nor should it, you should never put yourself in a bad postion. Know where the tip is at all times, and never stand right behind the saw, if it kicks bad it will be coming back hard, right at your head, or not, depending on where you stand.
    Be safe out there/Jim
     
  17. 2dogs

    2dogs Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Full skip is never a low kickback chain and should not be used by home owner/occasional users/tree service/fire dept types. It is grabby and takes more skill and more strength to use safely.It also vibrates more. It shines with longer bars and big softwoods but will work about anywhere you care to use it IF you have experience using full skip. I didn't know about the claim re long bars on small saws.

    Each cutter is a little positive displacement chip pump. The volume between cutters on a full skip chain is greater than with full comp chain which alllows a greater volume of chips to be moved. This gives much faster cutting in big wood.

    Many agencies and private businesse mandate an ANSI low kickback chain for all applications regardless of the wood being cut. Look for the approval required for your work.
     
  18. 2dogs

    2dogs Addicted to ArboristSite

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    +1. Well actually the chain does matter but not nearly as much as technique. Always be ready for a kickback. You can't react to a kickback once it has begun because it will be over before your brain recognizes it.
     
  19. COLD_IRON

    COLD_IRON Addicted to ArboristSite

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    +1

    The only time I have had skip chain be "grabby" is when cutting brush. Never had a problem when it's in wood, and I have never noticed skip chain "vibrate" more. In fact, to me - RSF feels smoother in the cut than RM chain does.
     
  20. jefferyc22

    jefferyc22 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Run Stihl chain NOT Oregon as the Stihl chain WILL hold an edge longer which is even more important with full skip as the bits get worked even harder.
     

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