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A Guide to Learn How to Measure a Chainsaw Bar

Last Updated: 26 April 2021

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You need to check all parts on your chainsaw as time passes. If you use it frequently, there is a big chance that the chain and the bar will wear out. That’s the moment when they have to be replaced. If it’s the case, you will need to know the length of the chain and the bar as well. That information should be available on the owner’s manual, but it can get lost or misplaced.

What Chainsaw Chain Do I Need

If you decide to change the parts of your chainsaw, you may need a little guidance. Measurements probably sound like no great thing, but when it comes to precision tools like chainsaws, this information can help you do things right and keep you safe. In the following lines, you will learn how to measure a chainsaw bar.

As you check your device, you will notice a lot of numbers on the bar. Let’s start from there and move forward.

What Chainsaw Chain Do I Need?

Before starting any maintenance, you need to know the type of chain your device uses. You should look for it in the user’s manual since it will surely have all the information about your model. You will need the measurements of the pitch, the gauge, and the number of chain links. We’ll give you some tips about that number right after this part.

Consider that you can also look at the chain arrangement to have a better clue of what you need. There are a full complement, skip, and semi-skip chains. The last feature you can take notice of is the chisel. There are full chisel, semi-chisel, and low-profile chains. They are all created with their unique features to accommodate the users’ needs.

What Do the Numbers on a Chainsaw Chain Mean?

What Do the Numbers on a Chainsaw Chain Mean

If you are seeking for chain replacements in your convenience store, you will notice three numbers on the chain package. These numbers are the measurements for the pitch, the gauge, and the number of drive links. Each one of them is specs to every single chain out there. They also work as compatibility numbers that will make the chainsaw run smoothly. Once you have full knowledge about them, you’ll stop asking yourself, “what chainsaw chain do I need.”
Here is an explanation about each.

Oregon 105667 14 - Inch Guide Bar and AdvanceCut S50 Chain Combo , Fits Stihl Chainsaws
  • 14-Inch chainsaw bar and chain combination made by the world’s leading saw chain manufacturer. Pitch: 3/8" low profile, Gauge: .050", chain drive link count: 50
  • Fits several Stihl chainsaw models including MS170
  • Lubritec keeps your chain and guide bar oiled for less friction and longer life
  • For saw sizes up to 42 cc
  • Saw chain met the kickback performance requirement of ANSI B175.1-2012 when tested according to the provisions of ANSI B175.1-2012. Low-kickback saw chain meets the kickback performance requirement of CSA Standard Z62.3

The Pitch

The pitch of a chainsaw chain is the number marking the distance between every link on the chain. It is not related to the length of the chain links. Most chainsaws have this number stamped on one side of the tool. It can also be highlighted in the user’s manual. The most used pitch sizes are 1/4,”, .325″, 3/8″, and .404″. The best chainsaw under 200 averages 3/8″.

The Gauge

Take a minute to check your chainsaw. You will notice how the chain is secured to the bar by drive links at the bottom that fit into it. They are opposing the cutting teeth. The gauge on a chain determines the thickness of the drive links. To replace the gauges, you need to know the size used by your chainsaw. There are four sizes only: .043″, .050″, .058″, and .063″. Even the best cheap chainsaw follows these specs.

Drive Links

You probably noticed that we often mentioned drive links in the previous section. That’s because gauge and drive links are too linked to speaking of them separately. Most of the time, chainsaws are sold based on the size of the guide bar. When you need a replacement, the best way to make sure you are getting the right one is to follow the number of drive links required. Most devices have this number printed or written in the user’s manual. If you don’t have the information on any of these sources, you only have to determine the number of drive links on your own.

Chain Measurements

The numbers marked on the pitch determines chain measurements. They never change and are always the same regardless of the model you use. There are only four measurements on the pitch: 1/4″, .325″, 3/8″, 3/8″ low-profile, and .404″. 3/8″ models are the most common ones among professionals.

How to Measure Chainsaw Chain

Now that you know the name of parts you need to measure on your chainsaw let’s move to the specifics of measuring the chainsaw itself. The first number you need to know is the pitch. To get the most accurate measurement, you need to put a figure on the distance that begins at the center of the first link and goes straight to the center of the third one. After that, you need to divide the number obtained by two. Average pitches on the best chainsaw for home use are usually 3/8″ or 0.325″.

The gauge on the chain is the width of the groove that is on the bar. You can get the right measure of it using coins. Find a quarter, a penny, and a dime. Now clean the groove. After that, try to push the coins on the groove and see which one fits. If the quarter fits, the gauge is 0.063″; if the penny fits the gauge is 0.058″; If the dime — the gauge is 0.050″. Problem solved.

Husqvarna 531300438 18-Inch HLN250-72 Pixel Chain Saw Bar, .325-Inch by .050-Inch , Grey
  • Fits the following Husqvarna Chainsaw Series: 435( e), 440( e), 445( e), 450( e), 450 Rancher, 543XP, 545 (MII), 550XP (MII)
  • .325-Inch Pitch
  • .050-Inch Gauge
  • Ideal for professional users in demanding conditions
  • High-performance, low vibration chain

How to Measure Homelite Chainsaw Bar

With so many chainsaw bar sizes, there is no average number on this measurement. As you check online, you will probably find that everyone talks about two ways to measure the length of the bar on your chainsaw. There is an effective length and true length. That is how each of them works:

  • The sufficient length is an average measure obtained imprecisely. The number is shorter than the real extent of the bar. You need a standard measuring tape that you will be using from the base of the bar that holds the blade to the part where it ends.
  • True length is the exact measure of the bar itself from one end to the other. You will need a socket driver and a wrench set to remove all the bolts that keep the cover of the chainsaw in place. As you probably guess by now, you will have to disassemble the device to get this chainsaw bar measurement right.

How to Measure a Husqvarna Chainsaw Bar

If you are wondering ‘how to measure bar length on a Husqvarna chainsaw,’ take notes of the type of measurement you need from the previous pint and follow the pro-tips below. They work with all chainsaw bars in the market.

Can I Put a Smaller Bar on My Chainsaw?

Can I Put a Smaller Bar on My Chainsaw

No, that would pose a huge risk for you and anyone close to you. A shorter bar on a larger blade means less grip to hold the chainsaw. It also means less balance. The minute you fire it up, it will be waving in your hands out of control. You will probably end up hurting yourself. The best you can do is make sure you have the right bar to prevent any accidents. If your user’s manual doesn’t have the needed data to change the bar on your own, take it to a specialized service or follow the instructions of this guide.

Pro-Tips to Measure a Chainsaw Bar

Follow these steps to get the true length of the bar and do precise work.

  • When measuring a chainsaw bar, the first thing you need to do is to make sure the device is turned off if it’s an electric model. Using a wrench key and a screwdriver, take apart the first case and protective covers. Make sure to work on a large table. Place all the parts on a cloth, following a scheme that makes it easy to remember the placement of each piece.
  • Follow these steps to get the true length of the bar and do precise work
  • If you are dealing with an electric chainsaw, you will need to remove the plug wire and grasp the boot that covers the plug. Then, you have to remove the wire by pulling the boot. The analogic structure of the gas-based model makes this process safer as long as the containers for gas and oil are empty.
  • With the case of the chainsaw open, you will take a measuring tape and place the end of it against the case, on the point where the bar begins.
  • Now you will have to stretch the tape to the opposing direction of the bar and read the number on the cutter placed exactly at the bar tip.
  • Once you have the number, you can round up the measurement to the nearest inch. If you get 14 and 7/5″ from the case to the cutter, you will need a 15-inch bar.

With this little guide, you will be able to get the measurements of your chainsaw like the best experts. Since you have already used your chainsaw to get your hands dirty, you do a little more to keep your tools working at all moments. Also, don’t forget your best chainsaw chaps; you’ll find them very useful during the whole process. If you feel the need to contribute, hit us with your comments and suggestions here on HandyHomeMaster.com!

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