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How do you tell if your bar groove is worn to wide?

jwp

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My saw has started cutting to the left pretty bad. I sharpened the chain so sharp that I was afraid of it while paying close attention to the right side to make sure that the chisel tip was sharp. It is still cutting to the left. I filed the bar to make sure that there were no burs along the bar. Still no joy.

In the past I have had some success by running the chain tight when a side cutting problem occurred.

So what is the procedure to determine if the bar is just worn out. I have feeler gauges and a micrometer so if I need to get down to fine measurements I can. But I don't know what readings are acceptable.

The saw is a husky 55 rancher.

I only noticed the problem when I started cuting 3' diameter wood. It is so bad that it will make a u turn in a piece of wood this large. It is sort of funny the first time that it happens but after trying to fix it I am no longer laughing.
 

jwp

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Can you tell a worn bar by pushing on the side of the chain and seeing how far it leans to the side?
 
hillwilliam

hillwilliam

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I have precise shims that I use to close a bar groove. Somewhere on AS I learned about the $0.36 bar gauge: A dime is .050", a penny is .058", and a quarter is .063". Cool trick.

It's said to be inadvisable, but I've gone up to the next gauge of chain on a very wallowed-out bar.
 
Old Doug

Old Doug

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How do you close the Groove ? I have a saw that geting weak and i hate to buy a bar for it.
 

jwp

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I am at the point of just experimenting now to see how I can make the saw cut. Today I decided to file the right side of the bar down so that the chain would be leaning to the right on the bottom of the bar to see if I could get it to stop cutting to the left. This didn't make much of a change at all to how the saw cut.

Next I decided to file the teeth way down on the left side to see if this would make the right side of the chain cut more. This didn't make much of a change at all.

I had both sides of the chain filed with an angle of 25 degrees so I decided to file the right side of the chain to 27 degrees to see if I could get the right sided to cut more. This did not affect the cutting very much.

So now I have filed the rakers down a little on the right teeth to see if this will make the saw start cutting straight or maybe to the right. It will be a few days before I get to test this change.

I keep thinking that if the bar groove is too wide that sometimes the saw should cut the the right and not to the left all the time especially when I make sure not to let the body of the saw or the dogs touch the wood that I am cutting.

I keep thinking that if I can get this saw to cutting correctly that I will have accumulated some valuable knowledge. This gives me motivation to keep trying.

The next time that I have the chain or bar off I am going to do some measuring of the groove width and the width of the drags.
 
Old Doug

Old Doug

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If i was you i would take your chain and have it sharpened and let them look at the bar. If your saw is good why not replace them ? If my saw was in better shape i would spend the money and get a new chain and bar. I am going to buy a new saw but the money i am going to use is not in my hand long storie.
 
hillwilliam

hillwilliam

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How do you close the Groove ? I have a saw that geting weak and i hate to buy a bar for it.
Bailey's sells a roller-type bar rail closer that should work well.

What I do is:
1. Flat file the rails only enough to even them up. I have a jig for this that takes a stub of a small file, but haven't used it for a long time. I just carefully use a big bastard now.

2. File the burr off the outside edges of the rails.

3. Using the appropriate shim, beat the groove to the proper gauge with a hammer.

4. Almost left out this step - tune the chain so that each parameter is uniform.

Not as good as a new bar, but pretty good.
 

jwp

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If i was you i would take your chain and have it sharpened and let them look at the bar. If your saw is good why not replace them ? If my saw was in better shape i would spend the money and get a new chain and bar. I am going to buy a new saw but the money i am going to use is not in my hand long storie.
I could and will replace the parts if needed but this is a great opportunity to learn about what causes the saw to cut crooked. Once I know what tolerances are for the groove and the chain drags then I can make the measurements and then make the call as to what needs replacing. I really don't like not knowing what I am doing. Knowledge is power.

I also like the thought of hammering the rails back together and getting more life out of the bar. What a concept repairing a part instead of buying a new one.

I need to take a look at the chain info for my saw and see if it gives the dimension of the drags. I think that they are .050" but I could be wrong.
 
kenfain

kenfain

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crooked cut

Sometimes my saw gets to cuttin that way. Usually if I've had it in the dirt a few times. But I always get a little more mileage outa the bar by flipping it over. Just bolt it back on and good as new. But you probly tried that already _
 
farmboss45

farmboss45

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One thing you can try is to flip the bar over as was suggested already. Something else you can try is "dress" out the bar on a bench grinder. Carefully draw the bar across the stone on the tool rest to take the "cup" out if there is one. Take care not to take too much material off and make sure it blends in with the tip. Then ake sure you take the burr's off the sides. As far as the chain, try sharpening the cutters on the oppisite side of which way it is cutting. If going to the left, sharpen just the right and vise-versa. As far as closeing the gap, there was a suggestion I saw on a roller, I have no experience on doing that.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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How do you close the Groove ? I have a saw that geting weak and i hate to buy a bar for it.
Bailey's sells a roller-type bar rail closer that should work well.
The bar closer might work for a slightly spread bar and help you put off a new bar for a while. But it only squeezes the tops of the rails. If the bottom of the groove is worn, the drive links can still rock side to side.

On really expensive bars, there are guys who can re-mill a groove (make a .050 bar into a .058 or .063 for example). In that case, it might be worthwhile to use different chains for a while instead of replacing an expensive bar. You will have narrower rails, but it still may work for you, depending upon the bar.

For most consumer level bars, it is usually not worth doing this (unless you have a buddy who works in a machine shop willing to do this for free.

Philbert
 

jwp

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I just finished doing the straight edge to the bar and chain test and it is showing that my bar groove is worn. The chain at the bottom of the bar is leaning severely to the left such that the right side teeth can be pulled away from the straight edge when the straight edge is on the right side of the bar.

The chain will lean just a little to the right. The left side of the chain can't be pulled away from the straight edge but the straight edge does not have any space between it and the bar while touching a left side tooth.

So I am guessing that this is the cause of my crooked cuts. I am also assuming that my sharpening technique is not the cause of the crooked cuts.

At this point I would like to be able to tell for sure that the bar is the problem and not wear on the chain drags. Is there any way to do this? I am thinking that maybe the bar is good but the chain drags may have worn more on one side than the other.

Thanks Philbert for the info on how to check for bar wear.

I guess that I will start looking on line for a new bar.

Thanks for all the help.
 

jwp

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I just had a thought. If I put the chain on backwards and then do the measurements for groove wear and get the same results, would this prove that the wear is all in the bar and not in the chain drags?
 
Philbert

Philbert

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I am also assuming that my sharpening technique is not the cause of the crooked cuts.
I don't know the history of this bar and chain. Bar wear is normal - bars are a consumable part, just like tires on a car wear out eventually. But just like tires, certain types of uneven wear might be due to an alignment problem, and certain types of uneven bar wear could be due to some underlying factors. The Oregon manual I mentioned above has good sections on diagnosing causes of bar, chain, and sprocket wear. I reference it a lot because there is a a lot of very good, basic information in it.

OREGON Maintenance and Safety Manual

At this point I would like to be able to tell for sure that the bar is the problem and not wear on the chain drags. Is there any way to do this?
Try the test with a new chain. It never hurts to have an extra chain anyway.

Philbert
 
Old Doug

Old Doug

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I ran a compresstion test on my saw that needs a new bar and chain. It only had about 95 so i will save my money for a new saw.
 

jwp

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I have done some checking on a new bar and a chain. Forester sells bars with chains for around $30 and oregon and husky are about twice as expensive. So if forester is a decedent product I will buy it because most of my sawing is light duty. Just for my personal fire wood and to clear small plots and roads for hunting.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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I have done some checking on a new bar and a chain. Forester sells bars with chains for around $30 and oregon and husky are about twice as expensive. So if forester is a decedent product I will buy it because most of my sawing is light duty.
Check out Bailey's, and maybe some of the other site sponsors. They frequently have close out deals, or bar and chain deals, etc. I don't know what size or brand saw you have, but I frequently see bar and chain combos for around $30.

Philbert
 

jwp

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I finally got around to doing some measuring. The chain drags are .050" thick and the bar groove is .057" wide.

If it was .058" wide I might be able to run a chain with a thicker drag and keep on going.

So is there a good chance that a worn bar is my problem?
 
Naked Arborist

Naked Arborist

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Try this. Get a round spark plug gapper. Run it down the bar groove and it will tell the tale. Keep it tight and fitting the groove. I use my vice to squeeze them down a bit under and reopen the rail with a large wide screwdriver. Easy fast and don't usually need a hammer. Time and patience is whats needed. The hammer can still be used to release metal tension :) Dress bar with a fine vinaigrette ;) file lightly or break out the cookie on a die grinder.
 
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