What Do the Numbers On a Chainsaw Chain Mean?

Stuart Wellbert
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How Do You Measure the Pitch of a Chain?

To correctly measure the pitch of a chain, you must first loosen the guide bar nut, making sure to use the correct wrench for a loose fit. This ensures that the measurement is accurate as possible. You can then slide a pitch gauge, which is just a small metal gauge with markings along the chain, under the chain.

You can find an instruction manual online that shows the exact measurements for accuracy. Once you know the exact pitch measurement of your chain, check the chart found in the instruction manual to match and find your saw’s recommended pitch for replacement.

What is a Full Chisel Chainsaw Chain?

There are different types of chains for chainsaws. The most common is the half-chisel, which is what you use for most projects. Another type, a full-chisel, is for slow, delicate work, such as sticking a large nail into a small hole. A full-chisel chain looks a little different and has more blades.

Full-chisel chains are frequently used to drive nails into wood doors and then driven into the wood itself to create a hanging. They can also be used to pierce and gouge holes in log walls or other solid objects.

Because full-chisel chains are made with more blades the shape of each of them will be different. In the lumber industry, you may run into a chain that is made with both a full-chisel and half-chisel combination, although this is less common than a full-chisel chain.

For most DIY projects, a half-chisel will be all you need. For that reason, it’s the most common kind, and experts generally advise beginners to get a half-chisel first because of that. They offer most of the same functionality simplified so that less experience and a smaller budget can have the desired results.

Can You Put a Chainsaw Chain on Backwards?

You can put a chainsaw chain on backwards, no problem. That said, it doesn’t work, and it’s not a good idea. Chainsaw chains are specifically designed for a right or left cutting action, and they’re cut to a length to work with a specific saw bar, so the bar can’t bend too much with the chain on it.

If you install the chain backwards, the bar is going to bend a lot more, and that puts you at a high risk for kickback, the most hazardous thing that can happen when using a chainsaw.

Verify that the chainsaw has the correct pitch length and the right blade size for your application before starting work.

In most cases, just be sure the teeth point the right direction and the links are on securely.

In rear cutting, the blade cuts on the downward pull. In front cutting, the blade cuts on the upward pull.

When a rear cutting chain is installed backwards, that chain will kick back and cut you.