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Author Topic: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)  (Read 698 times)

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Offline ljohnsaw

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What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« on: June 29, 2019, 02:35:30 AM »
Four or five years ago I bought a Stihl Farm Boss (029 I think?) with a 20" bar.  The bar is marked .325 NL 20".  Along with the saw, I purchased a spare chain.  He didn't have the chain in stock so he made up from bulk and put it in a generic Stihl box without marking what it was.  The chain has N4 on the links, a 6 (or a 9 depending on how you look at it) on the guide links and Stihl with a C below on the tooth links.  It has a lime green link that I think indicates that it is an anti-kickback. 

My original chain is pretty far gone - not much left of the teeth.  They are at or past the little etched EOL mark and a few have gone missing.  I put the new chain on and its like I have a brand new saw! 8)  I can't believe I wasted so much time on the old chain trying to cut wood!  I'm keeping the old chain for "rock" wood like root balls.

The box lists all sorts of chains with their file size and file angles for sharpening.  It list various numbers and letter combinations - like 23 RMC, 33 RMF, 46 RC - again, nothing marked or otherwise indicated.  So, what is this chain called?

Also, my bar is pretty well worn.  I filed off the burrs on the sides but there is a visible V-ness to the groove in the bar.  When you look down it, it is not flat across.  It is V shaped, not ^ shaped.  I suppose I could spend a lot of time filing/grinding it?  Or would I be better off replacing the bar?  If so, with what?  Keep in mind I don't make a living with this saw - just cutting tress down to make my cabin.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Online doc henderson

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2019, 03:21:28 AM »
john, I would try to get it flat.  it supports the chain in the cut.  if the process makes the grove to shallow, then you need a new bar.  sounds like you got quite a bit of use from this one.  if you leave the groove it will finish off your bar, and poss ruin prematurely your new chain.  If you want perfection cut after cut...  could take it to your dealer to help with the codes.  I have a chart at home, but am at work now.  they may have specs on the bar, and can make a recommendation on the wear left in the bar, and consequences of using it.  although I would not be surprised if they just recommend a new bar.  if you replace the bar, prob. time for a new drive sprocket too.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Ianab

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2019, 03:57:30 AM »
If you buy a new bar, then you KNOW things will cut perfect. Then you can grind / file down the old bar, and keep it as a spare. If (when) you get your saw pinched, you can take the powerhead off and fit the old bar and chain to cut yourself out of trouble. ;)

The groove in the bar is usually deep enough that it can be "dressed" (ground / filed)  several times before the bar is toast. If the drive links are hitting the bottom of the grove, instead of the sides of the cutter riding on the rails, then it's worn out. 

Check your drive sprocket as well. If that's badly worn it will chew up your new chain. But chances are if you have only worn out 1 chain, it should still be OK. 
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Offline lxskllr

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Online Old Greenhorn

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2019, 07:01:35 AM »
You say you have already filed the sides of the bar flat, and that is good. To do the top of the bar you need a dressing tool, $15-30 from many outlets. I got mine on ebay cheap. That will keep the top square to the sides. If the bar is really messed up it may take some time. I got some Asian bars that I had to dress quite a bit before I would put them on the saw new.  
 The slot should be straight, the sides should be flat all the way across, and the top should be square. If, when you get done with that, the groove still looks V shaped, the bar may be shot. Put a chain in and see how much wobble you get sideways and compare it to a new bar. Having a second bar is almost as good as having a second saw.
 Good Luck.
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Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2019, 07:20:22 AM »
You say its .325 and a 20" stihl bar, I'd get a box or 2 of 26 RS .325 .063 81 drive link. Thats the common chain for a .325 20" stihl bar, if shes not cutting straight I'd replace the chain first to see if its the cutters if that doesn't help the bars rails could be worn or the rails could be spread out. That would cause the chain to wobble side to side and not correctly engage the teeth into the wood. Replacing both the bar and chain eliminates all of those problems.
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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2019, 07:24:39 AM »
Having a second bar is almost as good as having a second saw.


Many good reasons to have a second bar.  No reason not too.
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Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2019, 02:18:46 PM »
Thanks for all the great feedback! 

So still the question, is a bar a bar or should I stick with Stihl or Oregon or ?  Mine has a roller sprocket on the tip.  Even though the bar is a bit worn, it still cuts straight.  I like the idea of a spare bar/chain for the got-it-stuck situations!  I need a new bar because it looks bad/worn but I'll go ahead and refurbish it when I get a new one.  IIRC, there is a little wobble side to side.  When I get a new bar, I'll check the difference between them.

The drive sprocket has a little wear, maybe 1/32" deep x 3/32" wide in the teeth.

Delawherejoe,
When you say a box or two, do you mean made up chains or bulk chain?  If bulk chain, is there a recommended chain break (for popping links together)?

OG,
Isn't the dressing tool just a file?  I know how to hold and use a file correctly.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline lxskllr

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2019, 02:36:57 PM »
I like Stihl bars, but they do cost more.

If you do a lot of cutting and/or have multiple saws with the same type chain, a reel might be worth getting. I pretty much buy by the reel now. I don't do a huge amount of cutting, but I like the self sufficiency of being able to make my own chain as-needed. I also prefer Stihl chain, and hunting around ebay and whatnot can get you decent prices on reels saving a good bit over buying loops, especially if your dealer is expensive as my last dealer was. I currently have ~150' of chain, and a bid in on another 100' reel. I use a pocket breaker and a hammer to break/mend chain. I like the simplicity, and it's cheap, but it isn't as convenient as a bench breaker/spinner. A bench system will eat into your savings on bulk chain if you aren't using a lot of it.

Online doc henderson

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2019, 02:38:18 PM »
I use all Stihl stuff.  In Ks logging is not a big profession other than tree service guys.  So there is not a saw shop on every corner.  I can buy Oregon at TS, but not worth it to me to save 5 bucks.  The bar and chain are made to work together.  The RS chain cuts faster (bigger chips)  but reportedly more prone to dulling with dirt and sand in bark ect.  The RM chain is more resistant to dulling from soil, but takes smaller chips.  Stihl makes chain breakers and rivet spinners.  you can buy cheap ones as well.  more important for the guys who want to buy in bulk chain and make and or repair their own chain.  If you are low volume, it is not worth your time and money as the rivet spinning has a little learning curve and art to it.  get a new bar and sprocket with a couple new chains and you're should be set to build your home. they make a little tool that is a flat style screw driver on one end and a J hook on the other to help clean out the groove.  I just use  a file to flatten the rails.  keep everything clean and lubed.  when I change to a new chain, I usually go into the shop, clean off pitch on the sides with WD 40, clean the groves and blow everything out with air.  the bar tip sprocket should sound like a kids whistle or a turbo/jet engine when you make it spin with compressed air.  You prob. know that the bar can be turned over to spread the wear over both sides of the bar.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline Mad Professor

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2019, 09:58:42 AM »
If the bar rails are just uneven and the groove is still the correct width, I dress the bar with a vertical belt sander.  It gets things back to perpendicular.  Then I remove any burrs and draw file the rails a bit to smooth  things from the sanding.

If the rails are worn inside too much you need to close the rails or toss the bar.  Also need to toss bar if the groove is not deep enough for the drivers.

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2019, 11:49:53 AM »
OK, so I think I took care of the first part.  I hit up eBay and Amazon.  I found two of 26RS 81 chains for $45 (Stihl, new) with free shipping on Amazon.  Next best was $36 for one.  I used my gift card balance (Blood money from donating blood ;)).  I still don't know what my chain is for sure but with the chartreuse link (not green, not yellow), I'm thinking it is more of an RS than a RM the way it cuts (WAY fast and harder to start a plunge cut - likes to kickback).  Stihl says the RS is faster but more likely to dull from dirt/rocks and the RM cuts slower but more forgiving of dirt/rocks.  So I decided to go with RS - since I never cut dirt or rocks ;)

The bars were pretty expensive on Amazon but I found a new 20" Stihl bar for $58.95 on eBay.  I offered $52 with free ship and he took it!  I think I did pretty good.

I'm off to my cabin build for 10 days while my son is at camp.  When I return, I'll dress the old bar and keep it for got-it-stuck situations.  Knock on wood, only did it once, so far.

Thanks all for your guidance.
John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline lxskllr

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Re: What chain is this? (Stihl Farm Boss)
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2019, 12:26:21 PM »
Not sure how familiar you are with plunge cuts, but you need to go in full throttle, or it can get kicky, especially if your rakers are a bit low. Start with the bottom nose of the bar(I do this part throttle as a last check to be sure I'm happy with the position), open it up full then slow(ish)ly bring the bar perpendicular to the stem as you're going in, then straight in, WOT the whole way. If the stem's big you may have to pull it out a bit to clear chips.

edit:
I mention this cause I had that exact issue last time. I knew better, but somehow forgot. I tend to be a little tentative with my cuts in general, and it's a bad habit. Most times it's best to attack the tree like you know what you're doing. It's how the saw works best, and makes the whole process smoother.


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