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Half or full skip chain?

Discussion in 'Forestry and Logging Forum' started by slednut3, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. slednut3

    slednut3 ArboristSite Lurker

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    After speaking with a few of the local loggers, I am thinking of getting either a few half or full skip stihl chains for my 460. I mainly would use them for cutting up felled trees. What are your experiences and/or recommendation?
     
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  2. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob ArboristSite Guru

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    The idea behind a half or full skip chain is to keep the speed of the chain moving fast when you have a longer bar.

    There is only "so much power" with the chainsaw motor...

    And the more teeth you have cutting at the same time, the more of a load on the engine. And with longer bars, you have more teeth cutting at the same time.

    If the chain speed slows down, then it will take forever to make your cut.

    So basically the idea is to remove some teeth, then there are fewer teeth cutting at the same time, then the chain speed remains FAST. Your cuts are therefore fast even though you are using a long bar!

    For example on my 32 inch bar saw and on my 36 inch bar saw, I have full skip chains. But on my 20 inch bar saw and on my 14 inch bar saw, I have regular non-skip chains (full comp).

    Another thing to consider is the wood shavings building up between teeth. With a longer bar and cutting a large diameter tree, the tooth starts cutting at one end and keeps cutting all the way through. Thus you have more shavings. And need more "room" between teeth for all those shavings. So another reason to use half or full skip chains.

    Then I suppose the type of wood you are cutting would be another factor. And the depth of the "depth gauges" (rakers) you have on your chains.

    A softer wood would be easier to cut and the chain speed would remain fast.
    A harder wood would slow the chains down.

    Higher depth gauges (rakers) would make a more shallow cut and keep the chain speed fast.
    Lower depth gauges would make deeper cuts and this would be more of a load on the engine.

    So I guess if the chain is slowing down (depending on bar length, type of wood, etc.), you would want to go to a chain with a larger skip.
     
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  3. slednut3

    slednut3 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thank you Billy Bob...that was a great explanation. So, in your opinion, a 20 inch bar does not need a skip chain in most circumstances. I was told that if I put a skip chain on my 20" bar, it would buzz through stuff like butter. Are you saying there is a point where the advantage of a skip chain nullifies itself because the size of the log, the type of wood, and the hp of the saw can keep a higher rpm with a nonskip chain on a shorter bar? I hope that made sense.
     
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  4. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob ArboristSite Guru

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    I would say if your non-skip chain is keeping up its speed and cutting fast, then there would be no reason to go to a skip chain.

    But being as you were going to buy a skip chain, it would be interesting for learning to test the two on a 20 inch bar and see which is faster!

    BUT the only fair test would be to buy two brand new chains...

    One chain a non-skip, the other chain a full skip. And same type/design cutting teeth on the two chains.

    If just buying a new full skip chain, it might be faster than an older non-skip chain because the teeth are all the same exact height, the teeth are sharp, and the depth gauges (rakers) are set as they should be.

    Or an older non-skip chain might be faster because the depth gauges were filed down to be lower than factory specification.

    So the only fair test would be two brand new chains where the only difference between the two was the skip.

    Also I might add to my previous post, that when using longer bars, you can get a saw with more power, BUT the saws with more power have more weight. I have two MS460's which are reasonably light (to me, some people think they are quite heavy), but the next step up in power model is quite a bit heavier.

    And the idea is to get the work done and conserve your energy. Lugging around a heavy saw would tend to use up my energy faster, so I like using the lighter saws.
     
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  5. 2dogs

    2dogs Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Sorry but that is not correct.

    The pupose of skip chain is to be able to saw efficiently with a long bar and a BIG powerhead. With softwoods in particular the saw will cut so fast that chips build up betwen the teeth of a full comp chain and the chain will stop cutting. Full skip chain has enough room between the cutters that it can fill up but still allow the chain to cut. Some reaming (seesawing) is still necessary from time to time. Full skip has 2/3 the cutters of full comp so sharpening goes a little faster. I use full skip on all my bars 20" and longer because of that. I even have some skip chains in 18" for cutting redwood, pine, and fir.

    Lately I have been running semi-skip on my 28" MS460. I freind of mine who is a pro faller recommended it but the verdict is still out.

    Many people say that full skip dulls faster than full comp when run in hardwoods. I have not found this to be true but maybe east coast hardwoods are different than our west coast hardwoods. I am happy running skip in oak and eucalyptus.
     
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  6. Billy_Bob

    Billy_Bob ArboristSite Guru

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    From the following link...

    ["The skip-chain is less likely to bog down the saw when cutting larger pieces of wood because there aren't as many cutting links in contact as there would be with a regular chain. Because it has less drag, the motor of the saw runs at a higher RPM. This gives the chain more speed so it cuts faster."]

    http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/gregersen119.html
     
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  7. RandyMac

    RandyMac Stiff Member

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    2dogs has it, skip works for big saws, the chip clearance thing, skip is also good with small high rpm saws that lack the guts for full comp on longer bars.
     
  8. 056 kid

    056 kid Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I have noticed at times that a full skip chain looses its edge alittle faster, I prefer it though.
     
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  9. ray benson

    ray benson Tree Freak

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  10. M.R.

    M.R. ArboristSite Operative

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    Madsen's is spot on, what they're not saying or covering when limbing --on the full skip is the amount of small limbs/twigs the chain brings to you and into the saw. One thing I've noticed is: It dosen't seem to take nearly as long to get the stretch out of the full skip chain. [shock loading/ or the grabbing effect when in the small stuff]]
     
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  11. Noko

    Noko ArboristSite Member

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    Thank you for interesting information.

    I have been using full-comp chain on 28" bar on my 460 (stock) for bucking mainly white oak and red oak in diamter averaging around 40".
    This configuration has been working fine for me.

    I have not used skip chain, but next time I need a new chain, I may try full-skip and see how it works.

    Noko
     
  12. hammerlogging

    hammerlogging Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I cut good size Appalachian hardwood all day every day, I run half skip on 32" bars, lately switched to square filed but may revert back due to how much the damn files cost. Anyhow, the other fallers run full skip without complaint, but half skip is smoother. Can't STAND filing a full comp chain. I run 460s and 660s. Try it.
     
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  13. Wishie22

    Wishie22 ArboristSite Operative

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    The 460 should not be loosing rpms or having a chip clearing problem with a 20" bar in hardwoods or softwoods. Unless your bogging out or just personal preference, I don't see the need for semi or skip tooth. It would just take longer to get through the wood and get work completed.

    I could see if you were working a larger bar in larger wood. I have full chisel chain on a 28" bar that I am running on a 79cc saw. Had that buried in white oak, red oak, and seasoned maple with no problems.
     
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  14. hammerlogging

    hammerlogging Addicted to ArboristSite

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    With all due respect, disagreed. You will bind up from clogged with chips felling trees 24" stumps and greater, with sharp chain that is.... Also, that 79 cc saw has to be held back to maintain chain speed because (atleast the 460) is lacking the torque to pull as hard as the chain wants to dig when in bigger wood. IMO, holding the saw back to keep chain speed up takes as much energy as carrying a 660, thus saw selection depends on timber type, density, avg. diameter, (and which one is running):cheers:
     
  15. 056 kid

    056 kid Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I wanna cut with you for a day or so this winter break..
     
  16. Wishie22

    Wishie22 ArboristSite Operative

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    Agree with a larger bar he may want to use semi or full skip. As an example I stated that I have tested out my saw with a 28" bar full chisel chain with no real problems (on felled wood), will utilize skip tooth on this 28" bar as well for other purposes (for felling).

    The OP is running a 20" bar on a 460 (76.5cc), which should not have a problem running full chisel. That is maybe 18" of cutters in wood after dogs to tip. He is also cutting up felled trees.

    Since the OP is not felling (sounds like he is bucking or blocking) what would be the advantage of running semi or full skip on a short bar (I am basing the question on cutting time through a days production work) vs using full chisel?

    I am open minded and willing to learn. :cheers:
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  17. Cedarkerf

    Cedarkerf Known to some as....

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    Im a semi skip fan ran full skip for years. Did side by side comparison on some fairly big 34" + Doug fir brand new full comp brand new semi skip brand new full skip. Green growing Douglas fir fell it and bucked it,. My observations were full comp cut fast but required lotta reaming to keep speed up,semi skip seamed to cut just as fast and didnt require reaming the cut to keep speed up. Full skip cut as fast as full comp because it cleared chips a lot better. That was couple years ago and run semi on the 066 and ported 372xpw 32" plus bars. On our PNW soft woods with a fast cutting sharp chained saw chip clearance is an actual issue.
     
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  18. oregoncutter

    oregoncutter ArboristSite Operative

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    I don't claim to be an expert but have spent a fair amount of time bucking and limbing logs (chasing) on a landing, Use the back of You're bar when You're limbing (bumping knots) whenever possible, that eliminates alot of the grabbing, and pulling chip, twigs, and stuff in general to You, and the saw, and instead sends it away from you. I run full skip tooth, on all my saws just my preference, allways worked for me so why fix it if it's not broke..;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
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  19. 380LGR

    380LGR ArboristSite Operative

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    I run my 046 with a 8 tooth drive instad of the stock 7 with a 20" bar no skippy crap dulls to fast.
     
  20. woodfarmer

    woodfarmer ArboristSite Guru

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    full skip on the 066 with 25" bar
     

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