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Chain saw bar length?


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Looking for opinions on chain saw bar length.  What have you found to be all around most handy?  I have a Husqvarna 450 now with a fairly short bar, 18” maybe?  Not a nice handling bar.  We’ve had an old Husqvarna Rancher 61 sporting a 24” bar at the dairy and that has been a real productive rig for quite a few years.  Seems that 24 is easier to walk through cut that doesn’t make it all the way through a log, and tends to cut straighter than the short bar.  Makes it easy to finish the cut from the other side.  Would a longer bar yet be better or just more clumsy?   In all these years the 24” has been adequate to cut everything we needed cut.  I thinking to buy a second saw rather than put a longer bar on the 450 I have now.  

Edit to clarify, I don’t own the 61 with the 24” bar.  Belongs to the dairy/my brother.  

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I have a Husqvarna 61. Most of the time I use a 20" bar but if I have a larger tree to cut up I switch to a 28". A shorter bar is easier (safer) to work around limb piles than a 28" .

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19 minutes ago, Gearclash said:

Looking for opinions on chain saw bar length.  What have you found to be all around most handy?  I have a Husqvarna 450 now with a fairly short bar, 18” maybe?  Not a nice handling bar.  We’ve had an old Husqvarna Rancher 61 sporting a 24” bar at the dairy and that has been a real productive rig for quite a few years.  Seems that 24 is easier to walk through cut that doesn’t make it all the way through a log, and tends to cut straighter than the short bar.  Makes it easy to finish the cut from the other side.  Would a longer bar yet be better or just more clumsy?   In all these years the 24” has been adequate to cut everything we needed cut.  I thinking to buy a second saw rather than put a longer bar on the 450 I have now.  

so many things to ponder here, my thoughts......since you asked....... in our neck of the woods ALL HARDWOODS - heavy stinkin logs - not huge unless you run into a monster ash that has become multi-trunked - old white oak - granddaddy hackberry - outside of that most the stuff here would need to be 100 yrs plus to be over 24" Now if you are trying to make a one pass cut - different beast 

I dont like handling the BIG HUGE logs anymore than I have to for lifting onto a splitting log, or rolling onto a horizontal splitter. Its hard on things even myself getting those dawgs out of the timber. 

For what we use here - 20" in hardwood on a 50cc motor is all you want. I woudl presume that is about par for any brand. I use a skip chain or safety chain on my stuff most the time. 

I like the yellow/skip chains on my saw best for the log cutting. My 260 came with 16, went to a 20 and never looked back, my uncle has always ran an 18 on his 028 which is close to 50cc also. 

I woudl think in pine you could get away with a little less motor with the same bar but since I have not sawn any pine i could be totally wrong, just a guess. 

i cut mostly dead stuff - on rare occasion i cut green when its a safety or nuisance issue. plenty of dead oak around here and ash with the borers and disease. 

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Everyone is going to have a different preference and I suspect that will depend on several things. The size and type of wood you cut being 2 of those.

    Have a stihl 028 or 029 that for years I ran a 22 or 24" bar on. Always seemed awkward to me and harder to control and keep out of the dirt. Finally went to a 16" and seems better to me. Most of the stuff I cut up is maple or fence line junk wood with smaller limbs and not overly large trunk most of the time. In fact I bought a smaller top handle arborist type saw and now use it as much as I can get away with.  Think it is 12" bar and much lighter and easier to do most of what I do.

 I still have the bigger bar and chains in case I need it for something bigger but I dont swap them all that often. Then again I probably don't cut nearly as much as some of you guys.

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I'm no pro, more the opposite. But I have dropped 36" elms with the 16" bar on my Shindaiwa 377. The saw might pull an 18" in soft wood, but the 16 is all it wants in harder stuff.

Personally, I prefer using the shortest bar I can get by with, I don’t care to deal with any more weight than necessary. Here in MN, besides a few cottonwoods, it is unusual to find a tree that has grown to a point that you can't cut it up with a 16-18".

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Our 034 Stihl had an 18" originally. I replaced it with a 25" two years ago. We have an 020T with a 14" bar and I like this type of combination. I prefer a bar on my bigger saw to cut through from one side. I am running skip tooth to reduce the sharpening time . I hated the 18" as it always seemed to be just a little bit short to get the job done. I will admit that the 25" is front heavy on that saw. I am not sure what newer saws balence like 

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16 minutes ago, bitty said:

Our 034 Stihl had an 18" originally.

That's what I use. Seems to be good all-around, but ideally you'd have three or four saws: 18", longer than 18" for heavy jobs, shorter than 18" for light jobs, maybe an electric.

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Most of what I do is cut firewood for my shop stove.  Lots of time spent bucking logs and there is where I notice the 24” bar is nicer to use than the 18”.  The 24” bar is a taller bar with a bigger front sprocket and I wonder if that makes a difference?

We do need a 24” bar minimum at times.  I’ve cut quite a few trees that were right at 48” diameter. 

@iowaboy1965 mentioned it is harder to keep a longer bar out of the dirt.  I agree.  

@bitty mentioned that 25” bar gets front heavy.  I agree with that too, and it is a concern as my back doesn’t like throwing a heavy saw around so well.

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It's all personal preference and what you're cutting imo. At work we're running 18" on most of the saws. I really like the 18. Good all around size. Most of what we are cutting is not really any bigger than that, but I have no issue cutting up a 30" tree with it. I have dropped more than enough trees that I can not get my arms around with that size of bar too. On my saw at home I got a 20", and we are cutting alot of 24-36" trees for the mill. I wanted a saw that can cut the trees but also not have to lug around a bigger saw with a longer bar for limbing. That's what works for me. 

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All we have ever ran is 18” bar and chains here. Farley ever really needed anything g bigger. Biggest tree we’ve cut is 48”. Admittedly we had to notch the tree to get into the cut further and then push it over with the skidder so it would t hit the old antique house next to it. Trees were planted when the house was built and the house was 100 years old then. Normally we’re cutting trees 18-36 inch. Sometimes smaller in the jack pine. 

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20" bar works good for every thing, ? and it's easy on the back. ?

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How do the Husky and Stihl compare? Looks like you run both 

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2 hours ago, superman said:

20" bar works good for every thing, ? and it's easy on the back. ?

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3 minutes ago, hardtail said:

How do the Husky and Stihl compare? Looks like you run both 

And the predator ..... 

;);)

 

 

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10 hours ago, pt756 said:

question what is a skip tooth chain?

 

9 hours ago, 885 said:

It has half the number of cutting teeth,  They cut more aggressively.

Yes but you also have fewer teeth engaged at any given time, it allows a longer bar on a smaller saw or better power utilization out of a big one. 

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Personally I would want a 20” for a 50cc saw, and depending on usage a 24” for a 60ish cc saw , anything 70-95 i like a 28, and i think a larger saw like a 3120 on a 28 is a waste of time, energy and fuel unless you are milling with it because you are not pushing the saw anywhere near its limit. I use a 20” on my 562xp because it lives in the truck and is less cumbersome to store that way but it would be better matched to a 24” 

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I had a logging operation about 20 years back. I found the best way to keep the saw out of the dirt was to size it for the operator.

I  had the bar just touch the ground with the saw in a normal two handed operating stance.

 I ran a 20 inch.

 my chief feller was about 10 inches taller than me. He used a 24 inch.

 One guy was near my size, had longer arms, he used an 18.

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I run a 24” bar on my 362xp and won’t consider going smaller. I cut a quite a bit of cottonwood, and have some big ash and elm to cut in the next year or so. For chain, I run 3/8 chisel, all cutters.

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I use a 16” on the 346xp and a 20” on the 372xp. I have 28 and 32” bars and the 28 is pretty good and the 32 is way out of balance. I probably use the 346 for 75% of my cutting , it is a very handy size. Weight and balance are what’s most important to me. I find long bars awkward for limbing and general firewood cutting.

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Nowhere near professional just ranch use but I have always thought my 032AV with 20" bar was the perfect all around saw. 

Times I wished I had a smaller one though for fencing or limbing and lighter duty work. 

Bought this 201T arborists saw with 12" bar and it is light and balanced and like an extension of the hand. Really love this little saw.

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