Ripping chain/bar compatibility issues in Canada

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TheKarmaHammer

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Hey guys,

Have been poking around for the last hour or so on the site and haven't been able to find anything regarding this problem. I'll try to keep it short!

I'm just getting started with chainsaw milling - recently bought a Stihl 291 MS, 18" bar. Calls for .325 - .050 - 74 chain.

I have spent literal HOURS online trying to find a ripping chain that fits.. all the top rated/common sellers on amazon don't have combinations that work for me. All the sellers that say 'fits Stihl 291' have a .063 gauge, and the one 18" ripping chain I could find at .050 was 72-link and I need 74.

Is this a Canadian thing..? I seem to have gathered anecdotally that Stihl in US is generally .063 and Europe/Canada is .050. I know ripping chains are already a niche, and probably 1% of chain sales, and I imagine we're probably a smaller market up here, but I'm just surprised I can't find anything 'standard' that fits - seems I may have to learn how to link my own chain, or buy custom cuts from Granberg and wait 2-4 weeks - hah.

Has anyone else had this issue, or have any suggestions for me? Perhaps I should just buy a new bar for that saw that will accept the common ripping chains - just seems like a shame to have to buy a new bar for a brand new saw..

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

Jeremy
 

tfp

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Convert your sprocket / bar / chain to a type that you can find chains for if none are available for the current configuration. Ripping chains for backyard mills are usually 3/8 or above.

Or get a new chain that fits your sprocket / bar and file the top plate angle to 10 degrees. Your chain will lose some life. If by hand, it's a bit of work. If you have a grinder, maybe it would be quicker.

Archer makes a 3/8 .063 semi chisel skip tooth ripping chain that could get you in the game cheaply to see if it works out. Move on to a better chain once you mill a few things.
 

J D

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The reason you can't find a ripping chain for that is it's really not a good choice for milling.
What are you planning on milling & what kind of attachment do you intend to use?
This might be worth a read
 

TheKarmaHammer

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The reason you can't find a ripping chain for that is it's really not a good choice for milling.
What are you planning on milling & what kind of attachment do you intend to use?
This might be worth a read
Using the Granberg G777, said 16" - 20" bar length for the mill, figured I could find ripping chains in that size. I know its small/not ideal, its just my gateway drug into milling without dropping 2k-3k to get started - hah! Wanted 20" bar for the MS 291 but my dealer didn't have any.

No specifics for what I'm milling, just trying out making some timbers/planks on smallish trees. I'll take a read on that link, thanks.

I was more just curious about the regional compatibility - this item says its 'compatible' with my exact saw and bar, yet is .063, NOT the .050 that came with it..? Obviously that's a generic off-brand dealer, but seems to be well reviewed/purchased. Would a 291 in another place maybe come with a bar that accepts .063?


Thanks for the reply.
 

TheKarmaHammer

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Convert your sprocket / bar / chain to a type that you can find chains for if none are available for the current configuration. Ripping chains for backyard mills are usually 3/8 or above.

Or get a new chain that fits your sprocket / bar and file the top plate angle to 10 degrees. Your chain will lose some life. If by hand, it's a bit of work. If you have a grinder, maybe it would be quicker.

Archer makes a 3/8 .063 semi chisel skip tooth ripping chain that could get you in the game cheaply to see if it works out. Move on to a better chain once you mill a few things.
Thanks for the reply!

I've thought about converting/filing a standard chain down to the 10 degrees or so, was just hoping to find something 'off the shelf' if I could.

Obviously the part conversion is a possibility too, but again, I'm surprised I can't find anything 'standard' that fits. This is an amazon seller (obviously generic/off-brand) that lists my exact saw as compatible, but is the .063 gauge instead of the .050 that came from my dealer (Ontario, Canada).


I was mostly just curious if that was a regional thing, and it might have come .063 in another place. Perhaps its just the ripping chain options for such a small saw aren't really ideal, I know its basically the smallest you would ever want to try using, but I have the Granberg G777 that says 16"-20" bar so that's what I bought, hah.
 

TRTermite

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@BobL Has a thread in "Chainsaw milling" A VERY good read (OR 3 or 4 READS) He states that most all of his ripping chains started out as regular saw chain and he stats filing until he hits the 10* angle. @huskihl says a regular chain cuts smoother(I hope my memory is getting things right) and quicker but needs sharpened frequenter. As for .050 vs. .063 just get the chain that fits the bar. Also a Semi Chisel will cut smoother but slower yet stay sharp longer.
CS Milling 101, Hints tips and tricks
 

J D

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I was more just curious about the regional compatibility - this item says its 'compatible' with my exact saw and bar, yet is .063, NOT the .050 that came with it..?
It's not unlikely that in some locations, at some point in time the 291 was sold with an 063 gauge setup. You need a chain to match your bar. The most cost effective & least hastle way to get that is going to be sharpening a standard chain back to 10°. As previously mentioned, you can mill with a standard chain & bring it to the angle you want over multiple sharpenings
 

cscltd

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.063 for .325 is super rare in Canada in rip or non rip
I would not recommend getting .063 bar as you will have problems getting chain unless your going the small business killer way (Amazon)
some specialized shops can make rip chain for that bar or as mentioned make it your self.
it’s very rare that .325 is used or asked for as rip chain in general,hence why it’s not off the shelf
 

BobL

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@BobL Has a thread in "Chainsaw milling" A VERY good read (OR 3 or 4 READS) He states that most all of his ripping chains started out as regular saw chain and he stats filing until he hits the 10* angle.
To clarify this I start with regular chain, and over successive filings convert it to the 10º Top plate angle. I don't notice any difference in finish or cutting speed (although I have not done any timing tests). As far as finish goes most (as much as `90%) of the finish is not chain but operator dependent.

Some tips.
- constant/even pressure needs to be applied across the whole mill. Intermittent pressure applied mainly at the powerhead end will cause the chain to move sideways on the bar causing what I call "jaggies" o the cut surface. Winches or sloping logs help with constant pressure. Making sure you have enough places/handles across the mill to hold/ maintain even pressure is worth considering.
Note all the handles on this mill. I use inverted mountain bike handlebar stems and add soft rubber handlebar covers.
wholemill.jpg
- Avoid sideways see-sawing the mill down the log. This can twist the mill/bar and generates "jaggies"

- Avoid fanging the WOT saw into any cuts, ease the bar in and wind up the throttle accordingly. Running WOT saw into a cut will agin cause the chain to dive slightly sideways - more jaggies.

- use a decent set of wide log guide rails for the first cut - on wide logs I use them on all cuts. Your finish can only ever be as good as your reference surface ie the guide rails.

- When not using log guide raids on subsequent cuts make sure the cut surface them mill is riding on is is clean before cutting and kept clean while cutting.
 

Bubster

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I would think that with your setup,especially with clean logs, one ripping chain should last you quite a while. Not putting down your 291, but you will find out soon enough that a chain saw mill is not as fun as it sounds. Even 70-80 cc saws struggle. So getting a chain made 1 or 2 times a year shouldn't be much hassle. I found Archer chains on Amazon for $22. Found a 3-pack of 8 Ten chains for $34 .All in the size you need. I guess Canadian Amazon is different.
 

sean donato

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I would think that with your setup,especially with clean logs, one ripping chain should last you quite a while. Not putting down your 291, but you will find out soon enough that a chain saw mill is not as fun as it sounds. Even 70-80 cc saws struggle. So getting a chain made 1 or 2 times a year shouldn't be much hassle. I found Archer chains on Amazon for $22. Found a 3-pack of 8 Ten chains for $34 .All in the size you need. I guess Canadian Amazon is different.
Ditto... really want a 90+cc saw for milling. Even then it's hard work for the saw and operator.
 

BobL

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Agree - CSMing is hard slow work compared to other forms of milling.
However I wouldn't let that put you off, especially if you tailer the size of saw depends to the size of log, and look carefully at optimising your whole setup. Even a 50cc can cut small logs OK.

My 70cc 441 with a 25" bar running Lopro low raker chain in <20" wide wood is just as much fun as the 880 with the 3/8" chain in 36" wood. Some of this is due to the reduced weight of the 441.
 

Elitebowman

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Hey guys,

Have been poking around for the last hour or so on the site and haven't been able to find anything regarding this problem. I'll try to keep it short!

I'm just getting started with chainsaw milling - recently bought a Stihl 291 MS, 18" bar. Calls for .325 - .050 - 74 chain.

I have spent literal HOURS online trying to find a ripping chain that fits.. all the top rated/common sellers on amazon don't have combinations that work for me. All the sellers that say 'fits Stihl 291' have a .063 gauge, and the one 18" ripping chain I could find at .050 was 72-link and I need 74.

Is this a Canadian thing..? I seem to have gathered anecdotally that Stihl in US is generally .063 and Europe/Canada is .050. I know ripping chains are already a niche, and probably 1% of chain sales, and I imagine we're probably a smaller market up here, but I'm just surprised I can't find anything 'standard' that fits - seems I may have to learn how to link my own chain, or buy custom cuts from Granberg and wait 2-4 weeks - hah.

Has anyone else had this issue, or have any suggestions for me? Perhaps I should just buy a new bar for that saw that will accept the common ripping chains - just seems like a shame to have to buy a new bar for a brand new saw..

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

Jeremy
hi Jeremy, have you looked on Ebay? Usually if I look on that site I can find the chain I am looking for . I just bought a ripping chain on there. Cheaper , way cheaper than the Granberg option. I bought from devonosion , it is a Holzfforma ripping chain.
 
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Might want to look into a 3003 mount 3/8" 0.050 lowpro/picco bar, drive sprocket, and ripping chain. Stihl (63PMX) and Woodland Pro (63RP) offer ripping chains, or you could buy the crosscut versions and work the angle back to 10 degrees as mentioned for other chains. The narrow kerf will help out with the small saw.
 

jstreet57

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Hey guys,

Have been poking around for the last hour or so on the site and haven't been able to find anything regarding this problem. I'll try to keep it short!

I'm just getting started with chainsaw milling - recently bought a Stihl 291 MS, 18" bar. Calls for .325 - .050 - 74 chain.

I have spent literal HOURS online trying to find a ripping chain that fits.. all the top rated/common sellers on amazon don't have combinations that work for me. All the sellers that say 'fits Stihl 291' have a .063 gauge, and the one 18" ripping chain I could find at .050 was 72-link and I need 74.

Is this a Canadian thing..? I seem to have gathered anecdotally that Stihl in US is generally .063 and Europe/Canada is .050. I know ripping chains are already a niche, and probably 1% of chain sales, and I imagine we're probably a smaller market up here, but I'm just surprised I can't find anything 'standard' that fits - seems I may have to learn how to link my own chain, or buy custom cuts from Granberg and wait 2-4 weeks - hah.

Has anyone else had this issue, or have any suggestions for me? Perhaps I should just buy a new bar for that saw that will accept the common ripping chains - just seems like a shame to have to buy a new bar for a brand new saw..

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,

Jeremy
sstuffso get different bar and sprocket for your saw..i always set my saws up to run a certain pitch of chain so when I get new saw I have sprocket changed to match what I already have..this way I can run any bar I have on any saw I have and don't have to try to remember this bar is for that saw but not this one. I I had chance to get cheap chain that was different pitch then I might switch but I like my skip tooth
 

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