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Author Topic: Saw-chain type for felling  (Read 1573 times)

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Offline 54Dutchman

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Saw-chain type for felling
« on: December 18, 2015, 12:34:33 PM »
This may have been asked many times before, I am guessing, but I am not sure how to search for it.
I have a Stihl MS 460, will be cutting down mostly elm trees for lumber and firewood.  What would be the recommended chain type? Chisel, semi-chisel or square chisel?  Trees will vary from 12 inch and up for diameter.  Looking for a aggressive bite with good chip removal.
Thanks Gene. ??? ???

Offline beenthere

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2015, 01:27:19 PM »
What chain have you been used to using, and how do you sharpen... send out, by hand, or by grinder ?

south central Wisconsin
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Offline OldJack

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2015, 02:06:12 PM »
It looks like sharpening square chisel is a whole 'nuther ball game. Conventional grinders don't work and one that does costs $800 - $1000. Check out this thread.

http://firewoodhoardersclub.com/forums/threads/square-filing-chains.5670/

Online John Mc

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2015, 02:20:53 PM »
For me, the choice would be chisel for felling. Usually the tree is still clean while it's standing, so no need to consider semi-chisel.  I personally find square chisel not worth the extra effort for the performance gained (though I agree it does cut nicely). If I were cutting for a living, or cutting something different than what I'm doing these days, I might feel differently.

With the MS 460, that would be 3/8" chisel, since the saw can certainly handle it. I think 3/8 clears chips a little better than .325 pitch.  If you are getting into really large wood, you might consider a skip-tooth chisel chain. It takes a little less power to pull through the wood, an dI've heard it clears chips from the groove better. I haven't had occasion to use it myself.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Online John Mc

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2015, 02:24:02 PM »
BTW, is this American Elm? I don't run into any that big around here. Dutch Em disease tends to kill them off before they get that big.

BTW, if it is American Elm, have fun splitting it. (It's a good way to knock that any "tough-guy" city slicker friends of yours down a peg. Get yourself some white ash, and give them the American Elm and have a hand-splitting contest.)
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline 54Dutchman

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2015, 03:35:45 PM »
Yes american elm, chain 33RCS-91,I use a fiskars  X27 for splitting. 
The MS460 does not seem to be working to hard with this chain. ;D

Online John Mc

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2015, 04:44:03 PM »
If you are splitting American Elm by hand, you are a better man than I, even with an X-27 (I use an X-25 to split about half my personal-use firewood, but any Elm goes to the hydraulic splitter). Enjoy your work-out (if you are not getting a work-out, it would make me question whether it's really American Elm).

Even when I use the splitter, I have to drive the ram all the way through the wood - and even then sometimes that last inch that my ram won't move is a problem - I have to throw in a spacer t close that last gap.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2015, 05:15:01 PM »
chain 33RCS-91,
The MS460 does not seem to be working to hard with this chain. ;D
33RSC on a 28" bar is all the chain you need. Stihl has been marketing that style of chain on their larger pro saws for decades.....that right there is the best selling chain/MS460 powerhead combo.
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Offline JohnG28

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2015, 11:25:55 AM »
I believe the 33RSC has a ramped raker, the C being for comfort=lower vibe=ramped/bumper link. It has the same cutter as 33RS, just different raker setup. For felling I doubt you'll notice much difference, but it will be harder to bore cut with. 33RS is full chisel, round ground with normal raker. I have a bunch or 33RS chains, they're good stuff.  8)
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Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2015, 02:57:30 PM »
I believe the 33RSC has a ramped raker, the C being for comfort=lower vibe=ramped/bumper link. It has the same cutter as 33RS, just different raker setup. For felling I doubt you'll notice much difference, but it will be harder to bore cut with. 33RS is full chisel, round ground with normal raker. I have a bunch or 33RS chains, they're good stuff.  8)
Actually the Comfort feature is not in the depth gauge at all, its in the heel of the cutter.

It must be almost 10 years ago now that  Stihl and Oregon redesigned their chains...... VibBan for Oregon, Comfort for Stihl.
They removed a portion off the bottom of the cutter under the heel behind the rear rivet. This clearance acts as a shock absorber as the chain is cutting reducing vibration.
Stihl stamped a C on the side of the cutter, Oregon uses a 1 barbed arrow.
I can show you a RS chain from the 1980s / 90s. Still a chisel cutter but a straight verticle front depth gauge with a ramp directly in front of it on top of a side link.
Took Stihl about 10 years to adapt the 33RS to the 1982 Oregon 72LG design.
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Offline CR888

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2015, 12:09:49 AM »
I agree with Holmen with regard to chain choice with the exception of gauge choice.....I'd run 36RM or 36RMC if l could not get 36RM. I prefer .063 on high power saws in hardwood. I read Elm is a pretty hard species for what you have over there. Spread the load on the drive tangs and have them last the life of the chain. In our wood 050 makes big bars with big saws get really hot bars and chains.....it  won't clear chips and don't move oil. Drive tang maintenance is as important to me as depth gauges. All this may not be an issue for your part of the globe though. Still Aust delivers all new saws not running picco with 063 gauge chain. After l bought a bunch of big 050 bars out of the US......I learned 'why' this is the case, pity l did it the dumb/hard way! I have Sugi lights in 24" 28"32" 36" that sit piled in my shop as they are 050. I thought l was clever being 050 they could run picco milling and standard 3/8 bucking/felling. Expensive mistake!! In our hardwood in one/two cuts you can render a full chisel chain 'out of service' till it sees a grinder. 063/semi chisel is what works here.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2015, 01:55:27 AM »
I agree alot of tougher wood fiber down under where you are and I see some of my .050 drive links losing chunks outta them when in steady hardwood.
We cut quite a bit of softwood here in the central to western America's where the thinner bars do better in the kerf binding softwood fibre, especially cedar......kind of like cutting palm.
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Offline 54Dutchman

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 10:26:13 AM »
Sounds like I am on the right track with the chain; Thanks ;D ;D.  As far a splitting the elm, I use the 'peeling method', aim for 3 or 4 inches from the side and peel off the pieces.  If you 'try' to split the wood through center you will get your work out with out getting split wood.  I tried a small 5 ton electric splitter for use in the garage and it only lasted a year (it was not new), motor ran but did not move ram.

Online John Mc

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 11:41:46 AM »
Sounds like I am on the right track with the chain; Thanks ;D ;D.  As far a splitting the elm, I use the 'peeling method', aim for 3 or 4 inches from the side and peel off the pieces.  If you 'try' to split the wood through center you will get your work out with out getting split wood.  I tried a small 5 ton electric splitter for use in the garage and it only lasted a year (it was not new), motor ran but did not move ram.

I wonder if there is an official name for that technique. I always called it "flaking", but that's just my own term. I've heard a friend call it "slabbing" - I guess it is kind of like what you get when you cut a slab on a sawmill.

I don't have much Elm bigger than 7 or 8", so there is not much to work with with that technique. It does work well on the occasional larger pieces I run into.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline beenthere

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2015, 02:33:12 PM »
Flaking is a good term.. and the technique works well for splitting elm... when I used to do it by hand splitting maul.
south central Wisconsin
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Offline CTYank

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2015, 07:13:15 PM »
Sounds like I am on the right track with the chain; Thanks ;D ;D.  As far a splitting the elm, I use the 'peeling method', aim for 3 or 4 inches from the side and peel off the pieces.  If you 'try' to split the wood through center you will get your work out with out getting split wood.  I tried a small 5 ton electric splitter for use in the garage and it only lasted a year (it was not new), motor ran but did not move ram.

I wonder if there is an official name for that technique. I always called it "flaking", but that's just my own term. I've heard a friend call it "slabbing" - I guess it is kind of like what you get when you cut a slab on a sawmill.

I don't have much Elm bigger than 7 or 8", so there is not much to work with with that technique. It does work well on the occasional larger pieces I run into.

Some call it "daisying"- sometimes the connotation applies. :')

Some fiskars-folks (that I've seen) approach 'em all that way, even red oak, that they could pop right down the middle for starters.
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Offline Greyhound

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2015, 07:44:58 PM »
I totally agree.  3/8ths, full chisel, round ground, Stihl = RS, Oregon = LGX.  Do not use any  "reduced kickback" style chain with the extra bumpers.  It makes bore cutting a PITA.  Gauge 0.050 vs. 0.063 is basically irrelevant.  Use whichever matches your bar. Have fun and be safe.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Saw-chain type for felling
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2015, 10:25:49 PM »
Here's some measurements I took of the differences in thicknesses of .050 and .063 bars.
The .050 bar is .028" thinner then the .063 bar.
Think of a plate of steel over a half drive link thick over a 3 foot long bar. That's alot of extra weight and extra kerf binding in softwood. ;)
 

  

 
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