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Gauge of chain

TrekJeff

TrekJeff

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Searched and looked but I still don't see an answer, please advise...

Saw will be a MS 660, Alaskan milling Michigan hard and soft woods with a 36" bar. Question is.....what gauge chain/bar? I see .05 .058, .063....what's the most common/best...or is this more of just a personal preference?
 
TrekJeff

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My 36" for my 395 is .063. It was cheap and available. Theoretically for milling the more oil the better and a wider groove will allow for more oil if your oiler can provide it.
Thanks...I was stuck on a thread that was saying the .050 being smaller takes less force to work, resulting in smoother and smaller cuts (kerf) and more efficiency for the saw...but I saw nothing more supporting that. Read through Will Malloff's book and he only mentioned .063...so just figured I'd check. Getting set up and trying to get the ducks in a row from the start.
 

J D

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.063 supposedly oils better, although I went from .063 to an .058 setup & noticed little if any difference. Pico stuff aside, Stihl tend to run .050 on smaller saws & .063 on larger, while Husky favor the .058 more. As bars get longer more tend to be .063. I would suggest you find an appropriate length/quality/price bar then match your chain to that. One advantage of a narrower guage is as the bar grooves wear you can transition to a wider chain. A narrower guage doesn't necessarily mean a weaker chain or narrower kerf either, this is more manufacturer & chain design dependant (although specific narrow kerf chains are narrower guage).
For your MS660 I would say you'll have the most choice, availability, & re-saleability by going .063. Smoothness of cut will be affected more by your sharpening & feeding. Kerf will change more by chain profile & new vs end of life chain
 
TrekJeff

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.063 supposedly oils better, although I went from .063 to an .058 setup & noticed little if any difference. Pico stuff aside, Stihl tend to run .050 on smaller saws & .063 on larger, while Husky favor the .058 more. As bars get longer more tend to be .063. I would suggest you find an appropriate length/quality/price bar then match your chain to that. One advantage of a narrower guage is as the bar grooves wear you can transition to a wider chain. A narrower guage doesn't necessarily mean a weaker chain or narrower kerf either, this is more manufacturer & chain design dependant (although specific narrow kerf chains are narrower guage).
For your MS660 I would say you'll have the most choice, availability, & re-saleability by going .063. Smoothness of cut will be affected more by your sharpening & feeding. Kerf will change more by chain profile & new vs end of life chain
Thank you for the explanation. Now it’s simply availability. I’ll be ordering the saw this week. I just prefer to talk to the dealer with a bit of knowledge. This site helps with that. Not that I don’t trust my local dealer lol
 
TrekJeff

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Also, if you're buying a 36" bar to go with a 36" mill you will find you need a 42" bar to max it out (you loose about 6" to clamps, sprocket nose, etc)
Mill was a gift actually , Cayam (or something like that) 14-36"....good point 42", I didn't think of that...although the majority of the time I'll be using it on the red pine on the property.....BUT I like the though of being able to go after some of the old maples that are droping "branches" that turn into a cord of fire wood.
What Pitch are you getting?

3/8 or .404?

I think that pitch is going to have a greater affect on kerf width than gauge


Doug
3/8 based on what I've read and cost/availability here in Michigan
 

J D

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If you go with a 42" bar a 395 would be a better saw to drive it. I'd also suggest getting a shorter bar to compliment it for when you're milling less than 2'. It's more efficient to use the shortest bar you practically can when milling. The best saw for you will depend on how much you plan to use it off the mill, what bars & chains you already have & what the local support for them is like. The Husky will probably be cheaper to maintain down the track but not so much fun to swing around off the mill.
 

J D

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If you haven't already seen it there's this discussion too...
 
TrekJeff

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If you haven't already seen it there's this discussion too...
Thanks, the 660 got ordered this morning. But great suggestions on picking up a shorter bar.
 

J D

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Thanks, the 660 got ordered this morning. But great suggestions on picking up a shorter bar.
A 36" bar is a good match for the 660. If you go the 42” it'll be on the long side of what it will pull well but you can get around that running a Granberg or skip tooth chain. I'd be looking into fitting a high volume oiler or aux oiler for anything over 36" (maybe even with the 36"). Definitely get a shorter bar too if you go for the 42"
 
SeMoTony

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Mill was a gift actually , Cayam (or something like that) 14-36"....good point 42", I didn't think of that...although the majority of the time I'll be using it on the red pine on the property.....BUT I like the though of being able to go after some of the old maples that are droping "branches" that turn into a cord of fire wood.

3/8 based on what I've read and cost/availability here in Michigan
I picked up a ported 661c for less than new from dealer awhile back! Once it got broke in :yes: it pulls 60" square chisel skip to allow for chips not binding up in the cut. .063 3/8 is my chain of choice to fit 046 460 or 661c. It came on the 460 w/20" bar, now have from 18" to 72" for flexibility of cut. 42" + less usually are on 460. All .063 bar.
Having trouble getting pics to load from original cut. 20210224_150428.jpg so today; the reach with 60" bar just barely got past the outer points. Maple in mechanics yard a while back
I drill the center of the bar sprocket for 1/4" bolt to go into 3/4" -1" square aluminum bar. Gives almost 2 inches wider cut and locks height as well as original equipment out there.:) so there is almost 69" available cut from the 72" forester bar in my inventory
 

BobL

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Theres not much difference in Kerf sizes from using different gauge chains.
Have a look through this "nerdy thread" to see some measured kerf sizes

To get a significant difference in kerf size you have to go for a different type chain as well as. One if these chains is the "lopro" (low profile) type chain. Its 0.050 gauge but is an odd size pitch. It's sold as 3/8 but its not (neither is real 3/8 chain either) so it requires a special bar and drive sprocket which I have not been able to get.

I made my own drive sprocket by turning down a used 404 sprocket on a lathe, and used a new 0.050, 3/8 tipped bar and kept the chain tight for a the first few logs. If a standard 3/8 drive sprocket is used the chain will continually jump the sprocket but it won't usually jump the nose if kept tight. Eventually the sprocket on the nose wears enough, and the chain stretches enough to ride OK on the bar nose (but not a 3/8 drive sprocket). or logs <18" When starting a new chain on a used nose sprocket its a tad easier than when starting with both new.

I use this type of chain with a raker angle of around 7.5º on a 041 with a 25" bar on my small mil (<18" diam logs) as its much easier to handle on small logs.
 

J D

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Theres not much difference in Kerf sizes from using different gauge chains.
I once did a very non scientific experiment milling with first a half used 3/8 .058 Semi-chisel chain, & then new .325 .058 Semi-chisel. Same wood, same saw & identical bars (with different sprockets). Saw felt like it cut better with the .325 (possibly due to the larger rim sprocket making more chain speed). Given the 3/8 chain was half filed back I expected kerf to be similar, but to my surprise the .325 kerf was quite measurably greater. At some point I'd like to repeat this experiment with new or at least evenly sharpened chains
 
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