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Guide Bar Size And Purpose



Chainsaw Bars



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When you look at a chainsaw you will see that it is made up of 4 basic main components. These components are the body, the engine, the guide bar and the chain. All work in conjunction with one another to produce a highly efficient cutting tool.


If one of these components is not working or missing then the chainsaw will fail to perform it’s task. That is why it is difficult to say which is the most important component of the chainsaw.


They all have an equally important task to play in combining together to form an efficient petrol chainsaw.


Chainsaw bars, or guide bars as they can be referred to, are the components on the chainsaw that go from the body of the chainsaw and support the chainsaw chain. Pretty much like an elongated nose. These chainsaws must be attached correctly to the chainsaw and be in perfect condition.


Their role is extremely important in ensuring that the chainsaw chain remains in control and flows around it smoothly in order to perform the cutting cast. A faulty or damaged chainsaw bar will render any chainsaw useless and dangerous.



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If you want to have a chainsaw for occasional work around your garden to perform light cutting tasks and hobby work, having a guide bar of about 12 to 14 inches is perfectly adequate. For a chainsaw that will be performing slightly heavier tasks you need to be looking at a chainsaw bar of at least 16 inches. For heavy work such as cutting large branches and felling trees the minimum requirement is a chainsaw bar of 18 inches. A 20 inch guide bar is essential fro frequent and heavy work.


When you set the tension of the chain the tie straps must meet the guide bar rails. If they don’t then you must replace the straps.


If the rails are uneven on the guide bar then your chain will cut at the wrong angle. If you are not comfortable with filing the guide bar yourself, then a chainsaw specialist can grind the bar even for you.


If you look at your chainsaw bar and it has a blue colouration on it’s tip, this could be a sign that the chain is too tight, lubrication is poor or the wrong cutting method is employed. You can find out which by the process of elimination.


Never transport a chainsaw loose. This can result in the guide bar being bent. Always protect the chain and bar with a chain guard or case.





To Care Is To Share

If you are going to perform large diameter cutting with your chainsaw you will need to upgrade your guide bar to a longer one than is ideal for just cutting logs for firewood. In a professional capacity, chainsaw bars are a minimum of 20 inches and can be as long as 36 inches. But remember with a long chain bar such as this your engine in the chainsaw must have a displacement of at least 50 cc to accommodate it. If the chainsaw engine does not have the sufficient power to cope with a long chainsaw bar then the whole chainsaw can become unbalanced, making it very difficult to control and in extreme cases potentially dangerous.


When you buy a new chainsaw it will be supplied with a guide bar. In our experience these guide bars are short, and even though they perform well, they are not the optimum for that particular chainsaw. You can ask the dealer to change the guide bar, but more than likely you will have to pay extra for that. This is ok if it is a must. However it is always wise to know the best size of chain bar for your chainsaw.



Maintaining Chainsaw Bars


It is essential that you take good care of your chainsaw bar and maintain it properly. It is pretty basic work, not difficult or time consuming. There are a couple of tools and items your require to perform the maintenance. These items are: chainsaw instruction manual, lubrication, putty knife, wire, wrench and a screwdriver. Now on to the maintenance;


Before even working on the guide bar take your chainsaw and start it up. While it is running push the oil squeeze bulb so that the oil reaches the guide bar and chain. THEN TURN OFF THE CHAINSAW.


The next step is to remove the chainsaw bar from the chainsaw. Do this in the correct fashion for your particular model. Most models require you to remove the sprocket case and then undo the guide bar nuts.


Once the guide bar is free from the chainsaw you need to clean it and remove any debris and sawdust from it. You do this with the putty knife or a wire brush. You clean the guide bar in one direction, from the nose to the base.


The oil slots for the chainsaw chain and chainsaw bar need to be cleaned and free of any debris to ensure good oil flow. You can do this now and in future this particular task should be performed after every use of the chainsaw.


When the chainsaw bar is clean check it’s side for any burs. You also want to ensure that the sides of the guide bar are always square. So file when necessary. It is a good idea to flip the chainsaw bar after every 10 or so hours of use. This will increase the lifespan of the bar as well as preventing uneven wear.


While checking over the chainsaw bar also keep your eyes open for any bends, cracks or uneven wear on the rails. If you come across any of these symptoms don’t even consider repairing them. Just replace the chainsaw bar.


Replace the chainsaw bar making sure the anchor nuts are tightened properly and ensure that the chain is at the required tension ( the lowest straps and cutters must come in to contact with the bottom of the bar).


Tips For Chainsaw Bars