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Principles of saw chain operation

Updated: 2011-08-11 14:26:21

 Saw chains operate by being propelled around a guide bar, removing material from the kerf by cutting chips from the side and bottom. In order to operate properly, the depth to which each tooth cuts must be limited to avoid it binding in the wood. Scratcher chain, like the teeth on a hand saw, simply uses a multitude of teeth to prevent individual teeth from sinking too far in without undue pressure on the bar. Chipper chain, and all subsequent designs, incorporate a depth gauge on each cutter link to limit depth of cut on each tooth. This has two distinct advantages over scratcher chain - it enables the use of fewer cutters per unit length of chain, which allows for shorter downtime for sharpening, and produces a more "open" chain layout, allowing far better clearance of chips and debris from the kerf. Individual depth gauges on each tooth also enable the use of skip chain. Skip or semi-skip chain has a further reduction in the number of teeth and is used for applications where much debris is produced, such as ripping or cross-cutting very large sections of wood. Skip chain also absorbs less power from the motor per unit length of chain than full-complement chain, allowing the use of a longer bar/chain combination on any given motor.