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Author Topic: Ripping chain vs Skip chain  (Read 711 times)

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Offline Mesquite cutter

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Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« on: February 03, 2020, 03:00:13 PM »
For cutting slabs what would best/fastest and why?

Online doc henderson

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2020, 03:09:49 PM »
Welcome to the forum .  I do not chainsaw mill.  I have a skip toothed chain for my 880 for a 59 inch bar.  It allows a little less pull through a harder bigger crosscut.  @Mesquite cutter   I will reference @Brad_bb s he does timber frames and does CSM.  There are others but he comes to mind.  good luck.  the ripping chain will be ground different, but to compare and contrast the two, I cannot.
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Offline Tropical Sawyer

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2020, 05:03:30 PM »
Ripping chain is ground at a less aggressive angle which allows for a smoother surface finish on the slabs you cut, therefore you should probably be using ripping chain.

A skip chain has less teeth on it than a chipper chain of the same size. If your cut width is to large for your saw and it is bogging down, you may consider switching to skip chain as it reduces the load on the saw. If you could give us some data regarding your saw size, cutting width and log species then i'm sure someone could chime in and let you know whether you need skip chain or regular chain.

I haven't heard of a factory skip tooth ripping chain, but if you wanted both features then you could buy regular skip tooth and grind back the top angle.

Hope this helps.
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Offline esteadle

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2020, 07:15:37 PM »
Ripping chain = cuts with the grain
Crosscut chain = cuts across the grain
Skip tooth chain = chain with cutting teeth on every other cutting link (instead of every cutting link). 

There's no reason a cross cut chain can't have every other tooth removed. No reason a ripping chain can't have every other tooth removed. So Ripping and Crosscut chains can both be Skip Tooth chains too. Skip tooth just means it has every other cutter removed. 

You can't say one or the other is better unless you know the powerhead (how much power) and what you're cutting (type of wood -- how tough it is). 

Skip chains are meant to allow cutting bigger widths with less horsepower. Fewer teeth engaged and cutting in a cut mean you need less Horsepower / watts to pull that chain through the wood it's cutting. If you have a power head with enough HP, you can run a regular ripping chain - no need for skip tooth chain. 

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Offline Ianab

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2020, 08:06:25 PM »
I haven't heard of a factory skip tooth ripping chain, but if you wanted both features then you could buy regular skip tooth and grind back the top angle.


There is Oregon 27RX which is a "hyper skip" ripping chain. It only has a pair of cutters every 9". It's made for extra wide slabbing mills like the Peterson / Lucas machines, 5ft or longer bars.  

But again the idea is the same, less cutters can give a better result in wide cuts. You have less teeth in the wood, but each one is being driven with enough power to cut properly (and not bog down the motor). If you have to ease off the feed pressure, then the cutters start taking really fine dust, your cut slows down, and the chain dulls faster. 
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2020, 01:02:28 AM »
I have an old 56" Granberg mill with a Stihl 090 sawhead (137cc).  I use the rip chain sold by Granberg.  They don't make it, not sure who they source it from.  Seems to work ok.  I've milled 9 or so logs from 36" to 50" dia., the max I can do on my mill and that took a little trimming of the crotch. 

What rig and sawhead are you going to use?  More cc's is better with chainsaw milling.  There have been quite a few threads on CSM (ChainSaw Milling).  It's hard work.  It's relatively slow.  It has it's place, but I have a bandsaw for regular milling.  

I recently bought the "Alaskan Winch System" that I will adapt to my chainsaw mill.  I'm hoping it will help reduce the physical effort I've had to put out to push the saw through the cut.
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Offline mmartone

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2020, 09:09:59 AM »
Just like Ianab, The ripping chain I have on my 3120 has large gaps between sets of teeth. I got it from loggerchain.
Remember, I only know what you guys teach me. Lt40 Manual 22hp KAwaSaki, Husky3120 60", 56" Panther CSM, 372xp, 345xp, Stihl 041, 031, blue homelite, poulans, 340

Offline Mesquite cutter

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2020, 01:49:34 AM »
I have an old 56" Granberg mill with a Stihl 090 sawhead (137cc).  I use the rip chain sold by Granberg.  They don't make it, not sure who they source it from.  Seems to work ok.  I've milled 9 or so logs from 36" to 50" dia., the max I can do on my mill and that took a little trimming of the crotch.

What rig and sawhead are you going to use?  More cc's is better with chainsaw milling.  There have been quite a few threads on CSM (ChainSaw Milling).  It's hard work.  It's relatively slow.  It has it's place, but I have a bandsaw for regular milling.  

I recently bought the "Alaskan Winch System" that I will adapt to my chainsaw mill.  I'm hoping it will help reduce the physical effort I've had to put out to push the saw through the cut.
I am using a Husqvarna 390 XP chainsaw.  I think I have a 28 inch bar on it.   I am using this until I build my sawmill.  It maybe a while.  You are correct about the hard work using an Alaskan style sawmill.  I would not want to sawmill long term using an Alaskan sawmill.  

Offline mredden

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2020, 10:26:05 AM »
I also use a 390xp. With a 28" bar, you will only be able to mill a log under about 22 inches in a Granberg style mill. Subtract @ 6 inches for powerhead and tip clamp - you can cheat some to get a little more. The 390 will mill that easily. My needs are for 24"+ boards so I generally run a 32 or 36 and occasionally a 42 ( all with nose oilers)

My saw doesn't like the 42". I came to feel that I absolutely have to use a skip when running that length. I bought a full skip, full chisel (round file) chain from my local dealer for my last log. It's cutters came at 30 degrees (maybe 35 - I can't remember). I used it that way for the first cut on a log, then filed it down by about 5 degrees between each successive cut until I reached 15 degrees.

Each 5 degree angle reduction made it cut smoother but dull quicker. By the end of a 12 ft log, it took some "umph" at 15 degrees. (My logs are 28"-34' hard, pecan/bitternut hickory with sand embedded bark). Others may not get dulled this quickly, but that's why I stopped at 15 degrees rather than the 10 degrees that so many people espouse. I feared that if I filed down to 10 degrees, I might have to stop and re-sharpen before I completed the full 12" cut

I mill for  "personal wood" that I can make into live edge countertops and bookend table/island tops. I don't mill for others, and selling lumber is not a goal. Three or four good logs a year is all I need. Therefore, the price of a mill is not justifiable to my limited wood needs. Yes, the chainsaw mill is hard work but sharp chains and a downsloping log at an appropriate height lightens the load on your back. Set up and sharpening is the key to saving your back. Unfortunately, I just can't get the hang of winching.

Offline Mesquite cutter

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2020, 12:12:50 AM »
Where did you get he 32 and 36 inch bars?   I want to install at least a 36 inch bar. 

Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2020, 08:33:23 AM »
There is Oregon 27RX which is a "hyper skip" ripping chain. It only has a pair of cutters every 9". It's made for extra wide slabbing mills like the Peterson / Lucas machines, 5ft or longer bars.   But again the idea is the same, less cutters can give a better result in wide cuts. You have less teeth in the wood, but each one is being driven with enough power to cut properly (and not bog down the motor). If you have to ease off the feed pressure, then the cutters start taking really fine dust, your cut slows down, and the chain dulls faster. 


This is all words of wisdom. An addition: 1 chain isn't an end-all. I do BIG cuts with my Peterson DWS and it seems like each log behaves a little differently. The hyper-skips that @Ianab mentions are good, but I have gotten into logs that they REFUSE to cut and have had to go to a standard cross-cut chain, especially in crossgrain situations like crotches, etc. 

Precision sharpening (correct angles and consistent tooth measure right and left), proper raker depth, bar quality and dressing, chain tension all matter. The wider you go, the less margin of error also. Pay attention to details.
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Offline mredden

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2020, 12:31:32 PM »
Where did you get he 32 and 36 inch bars?   I want to install at least a 36 inch bar.
My local Husqvarna dealer carries bars up to 32". I ordered my 36" and 42" bars online. Mine are all Husqvarna/Oregon laminated bars available from numerous online sellers at around 100$ or under.

Just google "36 inch guidebar" and your pitch/desired gauge and powerhead brand/model. Ads will magically pop up. Make sure it is a proper fit for YOUR powerhead. For example, Stihls and Husqvarna are generally not inter-changeable due to differences in bar mounts. Some models are not even interchangeable between brands. I think the Stihl 661 and 880 don't have the same mounts (but don't quote me. I'm a Husqvarna man).

My 32" started delaminating last workday, so I'm going to upgrade to a Canon Super bar. Looks like it will cost me about three times as much, but hopefully I'll get triple the wear.

PART II
"Skip chain" and "milling chain" are not mutually exclusive concepts.

"Milling chain" is generally just a chain that has a smaller angle than crosscutting chain. Most advertised "milling chains" have cutters that are filed at 10 degrees rather than 30/35 degrees.

Skip chain can also be filed to 10 degrees. I buy regular 30/35 degree skip chain and file it down to my preferred angle of 15 degrees.

Offline Mesquite cutter

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Re: Ripping chain vs Skip chain
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2020, 01:27:22 AM »
Where can I get the extra oiler for the end of the guide bar? 


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