Worn chainsaw bar Tree and Forestry

How To Recognize A Worn Chainsaw Bar

Ah, the noble chainsaw bar, the unsung hero of the saw that drives the majority of logging endeavors. When we think of this vital piece of outdoor power equipment, we can easily focus on the chain that cuts, or the motor that drives the chain, but we might not spend much time considering the bar that holds it all together. A chainsaw bar in good working order will provide stability, guidance, and efficiency, but a worn chainsaw bar can make your logging and limbing projects a real chore. So, how can we recognize a worn chainsaw bar that needs replacing?


How To Recognize A Worn Chainsaw Bar

As a chainsaw bar wears out, you’ll lose cutting accuracy and efficiency. If the same type of cuts that your saw used to breeze through are now taking twice as long, and you’re sure that your chain is sharp enough, you might look at how worn your bar has become.Worn Chainsaw Bar

Thankfully, there are a few simple ways to check this. The first thing you’ll want to do is, with your chain tensioned, wiggle the chain back and forth laterally. You shouldn’t notice a whole lot of back-and-forth, but a worn chainsaw bar will allow a lot more movement side to side.

There’s a reason for this. Your chain fits into your bar tongue-and-groove style. A new bar’s groove will have a U-shape to it, but as it wears down, that U turns into a V-shape. Obviously, this V-shape will allow more room for a chain to wriggle around.

Straight Edge Test

Of course, even new bars will allow for a tiny bit of lateral movement. When is a little bit of movement too much? There’s an easy way to figure this out. Tension your chain, and then take a straight edge, be it a ruler, speed square, pencil, whatever. Press it up against the side of the bar and an outside tooth on your chain. When you press, is there still a gap between the bar and the straight edge? If so, you’re still in pretty good shape.Worn Chainsaw Bar

With a worn chainsaw bar, when you press your straight edge against that outside tooth, that straight edge will lay flat against the bar with no gap between the two. This indicates that your chain has shifted to accommodate the pressure. If you can basically shift the chain over that far with your finger, how much worse do you reckon it is when bearing down on a branch or log?


Precautionary Measures

Of course, you can extend the life of your bar by taking some precautions. Before using your chainsaw, you’ll want to tighten up your chain tension. When the job is done, and you’re storing your chainsaw away, you’ll want to release some tension. You should make sure that your chain stays oiled while in use; double-check that your oil port is clear of any blockages. Also, every time you sharpen your chain, use the opportunity to flip the chainsaw bar upside down.

Taking these steps toward preventative maintenance should keep your chainsaw bar from wearing out prematurely. When a new chainsaw bar can run anywhere between $30 and $60, you’ll appreciate it when you have to throw away a worn chainsaw bar less often.





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