Chainsaws are precision tools that rely on many features and components to run safely and effectively. A chainsaw is an extremely convenient tool to have access to but it is also one of the more dangerous tools that people frequently use.
It can be difficult to know exactly what to do and when. Especially because there are so many parts. One of the less obvious aspects of chainsaw maintenance is proper inspection and management of the chainsaw bar. Whether you have a 6” for 32” bar maintenance is one of the most important parts of chainsaw maintenance.
Bends Are the Most Common and Obvious Reason
The chainsaw bar is the essential component of a chainsaw. And it’s also the most prone to damage. And any damage to the bar will drastically decrease your saw’s performance. On top of that, chainsaw bars are notoriously easy to damage because of their engineering.
They’re long and thin and they experience a lot of stress and various kinds of impacts and torsions. The typical chainsaw bar will be compressed, twisted, and impacted nearly every time it’s used.
It’s important to inspect your chainsaw bar for bends and twists on a regular basis. Twists and bends will drastically reduce the efficiency of the saw’s performance and can cause the chain to slip off frequently. This not only wastes a lot of time and energy, but it’s also extremely dangerous.
If you have a twist or band in your bar then it’s time to replace it. You should consider a higher quality bar so that you don’t have to deal with these kinds of issues as often. You can read some reviews about the highest quality bars at https://www.backyardmike.com/best-chainsaw-bar-reviews/ to get more informed. Don’t be shy to customize your chainsaw like an aftermarket drift car. Customizing your saw with aftermarket parts is a fun and useful approach to chainsaw maintenance.
Crimped or Pinched Rails
Another delicate aspect of the chainsaw bar is the rails. The rails make up the grooved edge of the bar. The tongue on the chain slides within this groove. The chain and bar interact with a tongue and groove junction. These rails are thinner than the rest of the bar and are more prone to become damaged than other parts of the saw. They also experience a lot of direct stress in the form of crimping.
Having a crimped groove will affect your saw’s performance. Remember, the chain needs to slide through that groove smoothly and without a lot of friction or resistance. Any resistance will cause further damage to the bar and the chain, not to mention a lot of heat. It will put undue stress on the motor. It’s just not good and discovering a crimp on your bar is a cause for replacement.
Cracks and Other Damage
Bars can also become cracked. This is somewhat less frequent but still a common problem for chainsaw bars. The problem with a bar crack is that people don’t often see it. Cracks are notoriously difficult to spot especially if it’s a black bar. It’s important to inspect your bar for cracks for this reason. Putting a slight amount of pressure on your bar while both twisting and bending it will allow you to investigate the surface for cracks.
If a crack has been discovered, the bar needs to be replaced. There’s no way to repair a bar of a crack. If a crack is neglected and the bar is kept in use, it may suddenly crack while in use and the rapidly spinning chain will send the sharp piece of metal flying through the air. Not to mention, rapidly spinning and flailing chain that you now have to deal with.
Uneven Wear on the Bar Edge
Depending on use, sometimes the rails can become worn down unevenly. This means that one side of the bar is worn down more than the other. When you have this problem, the chain easily slips off with use. If you discover that your bar rails are worn down unevenly, it’s time to replace the bar.
Nose Sprocket Problems
Some chainsaw bars come with the nose sprocket. The nose sprocket is like a nut that fits into a tapped hole on the end of your chainsaw bar. Sometimes these nuts start to wobble and become loose. After attempts to tighten them down, they just become loose immediately again. When this happens there are a few possibilities about why.
First, it could be that the nut is damaged. The other option is that the tapped hole on the end of the bar is damaged. Or it could be a combination of either. If you believe the nut is the source of the problem, try and replace it. If it doesn’t work, then it’s the bar that has an issue. Reclaim your new sprocket nut and replace the bar.
Abnormal Gap Changes
The gap refers to the groove made by the bar rails. The gap distance is important to keep the tongue movement under control. As previously mentioned, if the gap becomes pinched the bar cannot move. Conversely, if it becomes too wide or develops an uneven shape, irregularities of chain behavior will result.
The most common gap issues are the development of a v-shape or general gap widening. If your bar has lost its characteristic u-shape, it’s time to replace the bar.
Bars are so essential for proper saw functioning that they are perhaps the most important aspect of your pre-usage checks and weekly maintenance inspections. Their flimsy and delicate design combined with the challenging work they are required to complete means that they are the star of your saw. Bars generally cannot be repaired.
While some minor bends or twists can be reduced to complete a job, they’ll need to be replaced as soon as possible. It’s not advisable to attempt to repair your chainsaw bar. Any damage will affect the saw’s performance and more importantly, your safety. So if you notice a bar issue, replace it. If your work is really important and can’t wait, you better carry a few spare bars with you.