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Philbert's Chain Salvage Challenge

Jhenderson

Jhenderson

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Challenge Chain # 29

View attachment 611445
This chain came on an electric chainsaw that a friend got at a garage sale: 3/8 low profile, low kickback, low value. I fixed him up with a reconditioned Oregon chain, and he was very happy.

Lots of rust - some links completely covered/encrusted. Lots of wear along the side plates, like, maybe, someone was cutting next to a stone wall. Lots of neglect. Surface rust might not be that hard to remove - did lots of this in earlier threads. Could grind the cutters back, past the heavy abrasion (remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the remaining cutters?). Could break out a few of the really bad cutters and spin it down to a smaller size loop.

Just would be a lot of work for a low value chain. If it was the only one like it, or if I really needed 3/8 low profile chains, it might be different. Headed to the recycling bin, where it can cross the rainbow bridge, and maybe come back as a new chain!

WINNERS? Entropy. Neglect. Carelessness.

LESSONS? Sometimes it is worth it, sometimes less so . . .
Please tell us how one " Reconditions" a chain.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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Please tell us how one " Reconditions" a chain.
All in this thread, and in the 'Philbert Meets the STIHL RS3' thread.
https://www.arboristsite.com/community/threads/philbert-meets-the-stihl-rs3.202969/

Starts with cleaning;
Then inspection;
Repairing or replacing damaged components;
Sharpening / evening out the cutters;
Clearing the gullets;
Adjusting and rounding the depth gauges;
Re-lubing.

Skip any steps not needed. Add any (e.g. surface rust treatment) needed.

Philbert
 
Philbert

Philbert

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In other words, standard maintainance.
For some.

Many guys toss a chain if it needs more than a simple filing. That was the point of this thread, that a lot of usable chains go to waste.

Some guys don't want to take the time. Some don't know how. Some guys howl when I mention 'cleaning a chain'!

Some of the chains I recondition (see photos in this thread) are so covered in gunk that you can't even tell for sure what brand it is. Some have rust. Some have burred drive links that won't even fit into the bar grooves. Some have cutters on one side that are half the length of the other side, or filed at completely different angles. Some have hit rocks, damaging the cutters at least half way back. Some need to be shortened, lengthened, or have new cutters / drive links / tie straps spun in. Sometimes it is taking a chain that was damaged, abused, neglected, or just not usable and making it cut efficiently. Other times, a chain just needs a light cleaning and a good edge.

If this stuff is standard maintenance for you, then you should also be able get the full, useful life of chains that others discard.

Philbert
 
ken morgan

ken morgan

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Thanks.

Hope that you may have some 'tricks' or experiences to share as well.

Philbert
Gotta admit as I read this that you covered all of the normal things I would have tried (ATF kerosene, phosphoric, muratic, (acids) and citrus based type cleaners as well as the normal suspects like liquid wrench, as well as things I had not thought of (ultrasonic cleaning? sounds like something for hospital or dental tools to me) Your heating in an oven kinda covers the whole heating and breaking of rust, though I honestly think you could go a little hotter without damaging the temper of the parts. one thing I would try would be a micro butane torch or jewelers torch along with something to rapidly cool the part. as in heat just the area where the rivet goes through the pivot point while simultaneously cooling the rivet itself the thermal shock might be enough to break any rust loose t then allow the usual suspects to get in and do their jobs. (though at this point it might be just splitting hairs. ) regardless a good read, well documented and a treasure trove for those trying to restore an older chain that is no longer readily available.
 
Philbert

Philbert

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Challenge Chains 30 A, B, C, D E

A set of five, 3/8 low profile chains, with significant rust and gunk visible. Different brands and different DL counts. Not sure if they all came from the same user. A couple of the loops rusted so bad that parts were frozen in shape and would not move.

IMG_1492.jpg

IMG_1493.jpg

U-G-L-Y !

IMG_1494.jpg


First step is always cleaning.

IMG_1496.jpg

Two of the five chains cleaned up OK . The one on the top was worn down to the nubs (looks even more worn from the top - not shown). What I like about that is the user got full use of the chain - nothing left on the table - but the drive links and tie straps still look good, which means that it was well treated: chain tension, bar oil, and sprocket condition. The loop on the bottom needs to be sharpened, and has over 1/3 of it's useful life left.

IMG_1497.jpg
These 3 loops did not fare as well. Cleaning revealed that part of each loop (top parts in this photo) has significant rust, while part of each loop (bottom parts in this photo) cleaned up pretty good. If these were special or unique chains, it might be worth trying some of the rust removal methods, used in the early part of this thread, to save additional links.

IMG_1499.jpg

Instead, I decided to just break off the good links to use for repair parts. These are fairly common chains, but there are many variations of tie straps, drive links, and bumper links that it is nice to have a variety of links to match if repairing or lengthening a loop. Rusty parts get recycled.

WINNERS? The original user of one chain got his money's worth. Rust and neglect won some. I got one clean loop and several sections of repair links.

LESSONS? Rust never sleeps, but sometimes you can get in before it has completed its job completely.

Philbert
 

svk

A little bit of everything
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In your opinion, are the "tri bumper" depth gauges more or less work to readjust than the bumper drive link version?

I see some McC chains in there. Perhaps those came from Iowa via Steve's courier service. ;)
 
Philbert

Philbert

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In your opinion, are the "tri bumper" depth gauges more or less work to readjust than the bumper drive link version?
Older style low-kickback chains used bumpers on the tie straps, like those in the photo above. Oregon used those solid bumpers, and later, bumpers with a hole / slot to reduce weight. Those chains were produced for a number of companies, and stamped with different names, including McCulloch.

The McCulloch 'Mini' chain above looks more like a Carlton chain. Tri-Link has copied this design on some of their current chains. In addition to the unique bumper fins, note how the cutters on the cleaned chain are chromed across the top, with a clear line, whereas the Oregon cutters appear to be chromed on the cutting portion only, and not on the depth gauge. I get a lot of old McCulloch chains as they were once one of the two, dominant chainsaw companies in the US, and these chains are hanging around in garages, basements, etc.

STIHL used a triple humped version of these tie strap bumpers which overlap the depth gauges more than the Oregon - this makes it a bit harder to file / grind the depth gauges, and especially to round the depth gauges over, after adjusting. Still a good STIHL chain, so it is usually worth the extra hassle.
Screen shot 2017-12-26 at 8.55.21 AM.png

The newer chains mostly use the drive link bumpers, which interfere less with chip carrying. However the bumper tie strap chains provide a smoother cut on smaller branches (apparently what they were originally designed to do), and some people still prefer this style for pole saws.

Philbert
 
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svk

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The newer chains mostly use the drive link bumpers, which interfere less with chip carrying. However the bumper tie strap chains provide a smoother cut on smaller branches (apparently what they were originally designed to do), and some people still prefer this style for pole saws.
Learned something today. I guess I have seen bumper tie strap chains many times but never consciously recognized that they had the depth gauges on the tie strap versus the driver.

Most of my low profile chains are either the bumper DL/bumper TS version (either Oregon or virtually identical McC branded), 91 with the low ramp in the DL and the true depth gauge on the cutter, or 91 VX/VXL with no ramp. Usually when I sell a small saw I will throw in a spare bumper loop to simplify my life. I'd love to just run Stihl PS on all of my little saws but it seems like every little saw I acquire comes with multiple spare safety chains which I am not about to throw away.
 
Philbert

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. . . never consciously recognized that they had the depth gauges on the tie strap versus the driver.
All of these chains have the depth gauges on the same link as the cutter. Then they have low-kickback bumpers on either the tie strap or drive link.

Tie strap bumpers, such as on Oregon 91 VG (top)
Drive link bumpers, such as on STIHL 26RM3 (bottom)
VG RM3.jpg

Drive link bumpers are less intrusive: act more like 'yellow chain', except as the cutters round the bar nose. Tie strap bumper can cut slower, especially in large wood, and make it even harder to bore cut. But, as noted, provide a smoother cut with smaller diameter wood.

. . every little saw I acquire comes with multiple spare safety chains which I am not about to throw away.
I might have a suggestion!

Philbert
 
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svk

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Thank you, sorry for using the wrong terminology!

Those "adopted" chains are great for cutting gritty wood. I always leave a small saw wearing safety chain at the landing for bucking skidded wood.

If only Stihl, Echo, and Homelite that wear low profile chain didn't feel the need to reinvent the wheel with their proprietary bars that are always one or two DL's off from the rest of the major Mfg's!!!

I have two Disston branded bars that fit both small Stihl and the common A041 mount and use the standard 52 DL chains for 14".
 

svk

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This is the strangest chain I’ve personally seen. Came on a 032 I bought last weekend.

Some of the cutters have no width, the rest are sharpened at a very slight angle.

The funny thing is the small cutters are always 2-4 in a row then back to regular cutters.

756AFCAC-81C9-4B70-93CF-32EFAE3EFC0B.jpeg A715A358-140F-4D02-8DAA-BD642BA72812.jpeg 3F1DFB08-899A-4640-B03F-30C5DCE06BD4.jpeg 5F0DCEF7-FE46-4797-A119-33DC4402CF48.jpeg
 
Philbert

Philbert

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This is the strangest chain I’ve personally seen.
Some of the cutters have no width, the rest are sharpened at a very slight angle.
Filed for ripping?
Yep.

Granberg sells pre-made ripping chain like that, with extra scoring cutters. Ripping cutters are typically ground at 5° to 10° instead of 30°.
My local STIHL dealer still modifies chains like that for customers that ask for it, so they may have made that loop!
https://granberg.com/product/g728-0-325-pitch-050-gauge/

Touch up the edges and try ripping with it, to see if you notice a difference, compared to conventional crosscut chain.


Philbert
 
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briantutt

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Yep.

Granberg sells pre-made ripping chain like that, with extra scoring cutters. Ripping cutters are typically ground at 5° to 10° instead of 30°.
My local STIHL dealer still modifies chains like that for customers that ask for it, so they may have made that loop!
https://granberg.com/product/g728-0-325-pitch-050-gauge/

Touch up the edges and try ripping with it, to see if you notice a difference, compared to conventional crosscut chain.


Philbert
Yep. I bought ripping chain for my husky 65 and it is ground at probably 10 degrees, works great.

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk
 
Woodslasher

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While I've successfully restored roller nose bars before, chains are a new challenge for me. I've decided to try 2 chains in recycled red dye diesel and 50ft of nos 404 in a tank of solvent. If they don't work, they'll get soaked in vinegar which is my personal preference for de-rusting. Overnight the red dye mostly fixed one chain, but the other will take a little more work. I'll post updates when I can. Sorry for the bad pics, they looked better on my phone than they do here.
IMG_4011.jpeg IMG_4012.jpeg
IMG_4015.jpeg
 
Philbert

Philbert

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I've decided to try 2 chains in recycled red dye diesel and 50ft of nos 404 in a tank of solvent. If they don't work, they'll get soaked in vinegar which is my personal preference for de-rusting.
I tried a lot of things, and posted quite a bit in the early pages of this thread, on removing rust. Several things can work: some advantages / disadvantages to each.

Philbert
 
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