Chain Saw Bar Wear

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I am a relatively new chain saw owner who has Googled extensively and read the owner's manual several times. I have a good degree of common sense, and try to take care, but I am destined to make stupid mistakes anyway.
After about 2 hours of use on the new saw going through cherry and ash, I started into some oak about 12" in diameter with a 20" bar on a Husky 346XP (fast saw). I worked through this for about an hour and noticed that the the oak seemed to be getting progressively harder to cut, requiring more pressure on the saw as I moved toward the base of the tree (tree had been felled already). Eventually, the bar and chain began to smoke, and I probably made 7 or 8 cuts until the bar and chain were smoking so badly it became obvious that something was seriously wrong... the bar oil on the bar was bubbling from the heat. I removed the bar from the log and ran the saw for about 30 seconds to oil the bar and allow the smoke to dissipate from the bar and chain.
I inspected the bar and noticed that the paint had disappeared along the edges of the bar, the Husky lettering in the center of the bar was completely gone, and there were a couple of spots in the center of the bar where the paint had disappeared. I suspect that the paint had simply burned off at these locations.
Obviously, the chain was dull. Why that wasn't obvious when I had to force the saw to cut is beyond me. That's the bad news.
The good news is that I inspected the bar and didn't see any obvious signs of damage. I didn't notice any "bluing" of the bar metal where the paint is gone, and I didn't notice any burring or flaring of the bar rails. I did flip the bar over and put a new Oregon chain on it, and the saw now cuts like a champ. I am not sure why the original Husky chain became so dull after only 3 hours on the saw, as I took care to keep it out of the dirt and certainly didn't hit anything other than wood during operation.
My question: What signs of damage to the saw, bar, or chain should I be looking for at this point? I suspect that the paint burning off of the bar is premature wear at this point, but I'm not sure if that is a indicator of damage. Does it sound like I got lucky this time, or could something have been damaged that is not yet obvious?
Thanks, JKG
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There probably is very little or no damage to the bar. How long a saw chain will stay sharp depends on the quality of the chain and what you are cutting. You may have hit a small stone or nail imbeded in the wood you are cutting. Dirt, stones, nails, wire, and more can be found in trees and you could cut into one with out even knowing. As your experiance grows you will realize when to sharpen, or change saw chains. Change them often! Do not force the saw to cut, just guide it throught the cut. If you plan on cutting a fair amount of wood you should have 5-6 spare chains. Greg
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Well, letting the smoke out is never a good thing to do. You should touch up the chain every time you fill the tank. More if you suddenly feel it start to cut poorly, like you have hit something.
A touchup like that only takes a couple of minutes and gives you a chance to rest and think about safety. There's no reason to overload the engine or ruin the parts prematurely, or to waste time cutting slowly.
If you damaged the bar by softening it, you'll soon see the saw veering off line when you cut. As soon as that happens, you have to dress the bottom of the bar to make the two sides exactly parallel. If the blade has softened, it will soon wear unevenly and veer again. Good shops can dress the bar pretty well, but if it is bad it will pay to get a new one.
My troll alarm is tinkling on this, but maybe the advice will be useful to some beginners.
ALL CHAINSAW USERS SHOULD BE CAREFUL! Keep the bar away from the legs and keep the tip out of the cut. Be sure you aren't cutting something that can spring up or fall. Take the time to look at each cut and think what will happen when you cut through. Hearing protectors work!
Wilson

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You know, I'm always amazed at how some folks can't help but beat their chest and display their ego every time someone asks a legitimate question.
First of all, I never said anything that indicated that I wasn't being safe with the saw. This was my first cut into oak with this saw, and the high degree of smoke did tip me off that something wasn't right, even though I now realize (with a new chain) that I shouldn't have had to work nearly that hard to cut through even seasoned oak. However, I suspect that I did little more than burn some bar oil off the bar and chain, along with some bar paint.
Secondly, I'm not sure what caused your "troll alarm" to start "tinkling," but I don't appreciate the suggestion that this question is somehow a troll. If you don't feel that a question is worthy of your great body of knowledge, you are always free to not reply.
I will state that I do appreciate thoughtful replies from those who don't have anything to gain by making snide remarks.
JKG
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[...]

... speaking of Chainsaws: A (local fool) buys a new chainsaw, impressed by the dealers promise that he can fell 100 trees per day with the saw. Next day he returns furiously to the shop and complains: "A hundred trees? I did not even manage one, and i was all woked out! The saw cuts very poorly." The dealer is astonished, takes the saw to see if anything is wrong, pulls the starter cord, the saw starts up all right. Astonished buyer: "What's that for a strange sound?"
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
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I will admit to being amazed at how much trouble some folks have starting chain saws. The saw that I purchased doesn't have a compression release, and it's almost easier to start than my car. I really don't understand where the problem is for folks, particularly with a new saw.
JKG
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Jonathan Goodish wrote:

It's really quite simple. You've got that old fuel mix from last year (or was it the year before?) so why mix up new stuff? Changing spark plugs isn't really necessary. Don't bother with the air filter either. Choke? And remember, never ever RTFM.

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wrote:

A couple years ago I pulled my old big McCulloch out of storage and went to start it. There was still a bit of gas in it from 4-5 years earlier, so I just popped the compression release, set the choke, held the throttle and gave it a spin to see what it would do. Started on the second pull. Smoked like crazy because about half the gas had evaporated, leaving a pretty oil-rich mix, but I was sure surprised when it fired up.
Tim Douglass
http://www.DouglassClan.com
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On Mon, 17 Jan 2005 17:56:53 -0800, Tim Douglass

It's a McCulloch. I wouldn't rave about them as saws, but they have a very good little ignition system. You can buy it as a spare part and I've fitted it to several old engines ('50s vintage) to much improve cold starting.
--
Smert' spamionam

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My troll alarm went off because it's pretty far fetched that someone would smoke the bar on a brand new Husky and not stop to see what was wrong! You obviously have never used a CS seriously, or it wouldn't have happened. I thought my reply was pretty reasonable and the advice good. In my 50 years of being close to chainsaws, I've never seen a smoking bar, so maybe you can cut me a little slack. I HAVE seen a chain or two on backwards, which really takes the cake!
I'm way too old to get an ego rush from chatting on a newsgroup, so maybe you could lighten up a little? If this had happened in the field, you'd have received a good ribbing in person!
Wilson
wrote:

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Please re-read my original post. I didn't ask if the smoke was normal, I said that I realized that something was wrong and stopped. My question was "What may have been damaged and how would I identify it?"
I have used saws quite a bit in the distant past, but not professionally, so I suspect that doesn't meet your definition of using a saw "seriously." Some folks have been very helpful without the need to make snide remarks. If I was a pro or semi-pro I agree, I would probably have received a well-deserved ribbing.
JKG
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On Sun, 16 Jan 2005 11:40:41 -0500, Jonathan Goodish
remove ns from my header address to reply via email
Ok OK. You admitted to a really daft act. The guy made a mild reference to trolling. He still gave good advice, to someone who admits to being a newbie, and who did a daft thing with a chainsaw. There is not much room for that with chainsaws. Let's let it alone?
BTW I am not taking sides here. I have bever heard of or from Wilson Lamb before TMK.
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thingie:

In all fairness to the other guy, I had a situation where the little holes in the bar had gotten plugged up with sawdust and things were getting pretty hot. More to your point I immediately stopped before completely trashing the bar and troubleshooted the problem.
I think we would all agree that when using a chain saw if anything is not "normal", STOP immediately and find out what the problem is.
I remember another time when (I don't know *HOW* it could have happened) the oil cap on the saw had not been properly tightened and had popped open. I'm glad I stopped since I don't think that would have been covered under warranty.
Steve at SELLCOM
--
http://www.sellcom.com
Discount multihandset cordless phones by Panasonic AT&T,
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On Sun, 16 Jan 2005 08:58:02 -0500, Jonathan Goodish

I'm amazed that someone can use a chainsaw and have smoke pouring off the bar before they realise something is wrong.
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the gas ....one hole for the chain oil. If you did do this, check that the oil can get to your bar. There is a little hole on the side of your bar that lets the oil in. You have to take the side cover off to see it. Periodically you HAVE TO clean this little hole and the groove in your bar. Chainsaws do not have 'blades' . Chains and bars.....no blades. Occasionally, after extensive use, you can feel a bit of chain wear on your bar.......simply run a flat file down the side of the bar and remove the bur. You are a 'long' ways away from developing that problem. Remember that you have to lubricate the tip of your bar.....if it has a wee hole to do so.....grease not oil in this hole. Last two points, when you are holding your saw keep your thumb locked around the handle...not over the handle, like a young girl; when it bucks back in your face you will appreciate this advice....and keep your head to the LEFT, away from being in line with the bar when...not if...it bucks back at you.
Now, did anyone tell you which side of a log you should stand on when bucking ......just might break your legs if you choose wrong.
BTW.......filing a chain so it is 'razor' sharp don't mean squat........if your rakers are high.
Good luck lad........nothing feels so good as knocking down your first big 'stick'
Drop me a line if you wish................Ken
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vaguely proposed a theory ......and in reply I say!:
remove ns from my header address to reply via email

Why? Because he suggests toucjing up the chain each tankful? Common and good advice!
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.. for no other reason than it makes cutting much easier. :)
Bruce
----------------------------------------------------------------------- It was so much easier to blame it on Them. It was bleakly depressing to think that They were Us. If it was Them, then nothing was anyones fault. If it was Us, what did that make Me ? After all, Im one of Us. I must be. Ive certainly never thought of myself as one of Them. No-one ever thinks of themselves as one of Them. Were always one of Us. Its Them that do the bad things.        <=> Terry Pratchett. Jingo.
Caution ===== followups may have been changed to relevant groups (if there were any)
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Chain saws with their steel teeth and often abusive cutting conditions (especially if the teeth contact dirt) have to be sharpened way more frequently than table saw blades. Notice how chain sharpening equipment can be easily used sitting on a log in the woods? That's where you are likely to use the equipment. I often take a break to sharpen during extended cutting sessions.
I suspect that the bar paint is gone on account of contact with the wood instead of heat. Your heat question does make me think though. The 346XP takes a 3/8" pitch narrow kerf chain, right? Maybe the narrow kerf chains aren't as tolerant of hard use. Otherwise why wouldn't all saws come with them?
Your saw is probably fine. In the future change or sharpen the chain sooner. Were you bucking thick logs non-stop or felling and limbing? I think of the 346XP as a felling and limbing saw.
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snipped-for-privacy@designstrategies-dot-net.no-spam.invalid (dwright) wrote:

Thanks for your reply.
The 346XP uses as .325 pitch chain, and spins it at close to 15k RPM. I think my confusion was caused when I switched from softer wood into seasoned oak, things became much more difficult and the saw required much more force to cut. After a new chain, I now understand that the saw shouldn't require much force to cut even the oak.
Yes, my use so far as been mainly felling and limbing... so far, nothing greater than about 17" in diameter. You may be correct about the bar paint, as the saw probably has a good 4-5 hours on it now. I know that the paint doesn't last forever.
Thanks again for your input.
JKG
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Jonathan Goodish wrote:

Spins at 15K? You gotta be kidding?
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