When it comes to chainsaws, there are a lot of things you have to keep in mind. While usually simple to operate once you get used to them, there are so many variables when using a chainsaw that it’s easy to forget something important. Like how tight your chain should be, for example. This might seem like a fairly straightforward question, but there are actually quite a few factors that will affect the answer. If you don’t keep these things in mind while operating your chainsaw, you could end up doing more damage than good and putting yourself at risk of injury as well as destroying your saw and anything else unfortunate enough to be in its path. Here’s everything you need to know about how tight a chainsaw chain should be and why.
How Tight Should A Chainsaw Chain Be?
It depends on the model of the chainsaw and the chain. Generally, on average, a chainsaw chain should be tight enough to cause some resistance when turning the chain bolt. If it turns too easy, it’s too loose. If it’s too hard to turn it probably needs to be tighter. You want it just right so that you can’t turn it with your hand, but with body weight alone the chain will turn freely. Some chainsaws have a tensioner that can be adjusted to provide additional resistance. These are not necessary unless the chain is very loose.
Why Is A Tight Chain So Important?
A Tight Chain Produces Consistent Quality
A tight chain produces consistent quality. This means that every part of the chain will be the same, even if the parts come from different places. This is possible because companies use consistent quality measuring tools. These tools help the supply chain team know exactly what they need to do to produce the right quantities of materials. In other words, an employee doesn’t have to guess what the right amount of materials are needed. They can just use the tools that are in place to help them coordinate and manage the entire process.
A Tight Chain Reduces Waste
A tight chain reduces waste, especially in the areas of procurement, inventory, and transportation. It’s important to make sure you’re ordering the correct amount of materials from your suppliers. Otherwise, you’re likely to waste materials because you need more or less than you should. If your supply chain isn’t tight, it can be difficult to make sure you’re getting the correct amount of materials from suppliers. A tight chain will make sure these materials are available when you need them and in the correct amounts. In addition to ordering the correct amount of materials, a tight chain reduces waste by making sure you’re storing the correct amounts of materials in the correct places. For example, a tight chain will help you make sure you’re storing enough materials in your warehouse so that you have enough supply to match demand. It will also help you make sure you’re not storing too many materials in your warehouse. This can create new waste, such as paying for extra storage space.
A Tight Chain Improves Communication and Coordination
A tight chain improves communication and coordination between employees who are on the supply chain team. This is important because it helps companies avoid miscommunications and misunderstandings between suppliers, manufacturers, and transportation companies. In other words, it helps you have better and clearer conversations with your partners. This is important because miscommunications can lead to delays in the supply chain and cost your company money. For example, if you need materials from a supplier but there’s a miscommunication and the supplier doesn’t get the information they need to deliver the materials, you’re going to wait longer for them to arrive. A tight chain will help address miscommunications by giving employees specific instructions on how they should complete tasks. This will make sure everyone understands what they need to do at each stage of the chain and that they’re communicating with each other effectively.
Tight Chains Require Shorter Lead Times
A tight chain also requires shorter lead times on purchases. For example, if you’re buying fabric from a supplier, you’ll need to make sure you communicate the correct lead time to that supplier so they can have your order ready at the right time. If your chain isn’t tight and you don’t communicate the correct lead time to your suppliers, they may not be ready when you need them. A tight chain requires shorter lead times because it’s more efficient and consistent. If you’re not communicating the correct lead times to suppliers, then you’re going to slow down your entire chain. A tight chain requires shorter lead times so that everything is ready when it needs to be and nothing is delayed.
How To Check If Your Chain Is Currently Tied Properly?
- First things first: Before you go any further, you should check to make sure your chain is currently tied properly. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to do so.
- First, you want to make sure the chain is aligned with the bar by checking the pitch of the sprocket. The pitch of the sprocket will be either 1/2” or 3/8”, and it will be printed right on the sprocket itself.
- If you’re using a chain saw with a fixed sprocket, you can measure the pitch by matching the pitch of the chain with the pitch of the sprocket.
- If your chain is a size that matches the pitch of the sprocket, the pitch will be the same on both ends of the chain.
- If you have a chain that doesn’t match up, however, you can line up the pitch on one end of the chain with the pitch on the sprocket. Then, you can use a file or a gauge to correct the pitch on the other end of the chain.
How Tension Should Be Measured For A Chainsaw Chain?
- Now that we know what the proper chain tension should be and we know how to check to see if the chain is currently tied properly, we should also know how to actually measure and set the tension of the chain correctly.
- For a 1/2” pitch chain, you want to set the tension so that the top of the chain is one-half inch above the top of the guide bar.
- For a 3/8” pitch chain, you want to set the tension so that the top of the chain is one-quarter inch above the top of the guide bar.
- If the chain’s tension is too low, you’ll have excessive play, which can cause the chain to jump off the guide bar or cause kickback.
- If the chain’s tension is too high, you’ll have difficulty engaging the chain and it could cause excessive wear on the chain and your saw.
When You Should Tighten Your Chainsaw Chain?
- Now that we know when to tighten a chainsaw chain, we also need to know when you should do it. If your chain is excessively loose and has lots of play, you should tighten the chain before using it since the play could cause it to jump off the guide bar and cause kickback.
- If your chain is on the looser side but is still within the proper range, you don’t necessarily have to tighten the chain right away. However, you should keep a close eye on it and tighten it immediately if it starts to fall out of the proper range.
When You Don’t Need To Tighten Your Chain
- If everything is tied correctly, there should be just enough played in your chain to let the blade pass through a log with enough resistance to make efficient use of your fuel while still cutting effectively.
- However, if your chain is currently within the proper range but you want to make it just a little bit tighter, you don’t have to completely retie the chain. All you have to do is remove a couple of links, then put the chain back on the saw and retie it.
As we’ve seen, a chainsaw chain that’s too loose can be dangerous and inefficient. It can also cause a lot of wear and tear on your chainsaw, which means you’ll need to replace it sooner than you would if it were tied properly. That’s why it’s so important to get in the habit of checking the tension of your chain regularly. Plus, it won’t take long at all. You just need to make sure your chain is currently tied properly, then use a tension gauge to measure the tension of the chain. If your chain is too loose, you can tighten it and make your saw more efficient once again.