A chainsaw’s chain can turn at 70 mph on the guide bar, and if the bar isn’t strong enough, it won’t be able to hold on to the speed of revolutions. Of course, it’s important to use a high-quality bar, and good quality chainsaw oil is necessary too. But even if you do everything, bars will break, and you’ll need to dress them.
Dressing and maintaining a chainsaw bar in a good state isn’t that complicated. You should know how to dress it well and how to use the chainsaw to cause the least amount of damage to the guide bar. We’ll talk about both of these in this guide.
How to Dress a Chainsaw Bar
Let’s talk about some issues with chainsaw guide bars and how to fix each of them.
- Bar Rails
Chainsaw guides have to be strong yet lightweight enough to make it easy to hold a chainsaw in hand for hours. If the guide was made out of solid steel, it would get heavy and not usable for long. For that reason, it is made of two metal plates on both sides, and the inside is kept hollow to reduce overall weight.
If you notice closely, you’ll see there are two metal plates on both sides of the chain. When you cut through the wood in a horizontal motion, it works fine. But when you twist and turn the saw while it’s cutting through a thick wood, there occurs some uneven pressure on one side of the metal plate – called the rail.
Two rails have to even, and if they aren’t, then the chain isn’t going to sit appropriately between the rails. The good news is it’s easy to smooth up the plate edges. You’ll need a rail grinder and grind on both the rails until both get the same level of height.
- Chipped Edges
Chipped edges can be quite risky, and you should smoothen them up as soon as you notice them. Using a fine-tooth file, you can level the corners easily.
If the chipping is large, then you can remove it with a plier and then work with the file. The sooner you remove chips, the better. They won’t get room to grow in this way.
Maintaining a Guide Bar in Good Condition
We’ve talked about two common problems with the chainsaw and their dressing solution to prevent the issues from happening further. Now let’s talk about how to maintain a good condition of a chainsaw bar –
- Checking Planeness of the Guide Bar
Once in a while, measuring how level the guide is can be a good idea. Because bars always get bent out of shape occasionally, checking regularly and correcting small misalignments quickly can save you from big hassles.
Take the guide bar out of the saw and check with your eyes while keeping the bar on a flat surface. You won’t notice minute misalignments, but that won’t be an issue. If you see any serious unevenness, you can easily flatten it at any guide bar flattener workshops.
- Broken or Cracked Guide Bar
If a guide bar gets cracked thoroughly or gets broken, stop using it and buy another one. Using a cracked bar is risky and should be avoided at all costs.
- Changing Bar Sides
Since you’ll be using your saw’s downside in almost all the cutting tasks, it will get worn out quickly. The top part will, however, remain in good condition because it’s used less. You should change sides once in a while to distribute the damage to both sides. As a bonus, you’ll get an increased guide bar lifespan.
A chainsaw bar will bend, twist and turn, but you’ll always be able to fix it up and use it like it’s in mint condition. But don’t consider repairing a broken or cracked bar as it won’t be effective and be a complete waste of money. If you could do regular checks and the occasional dressings, you can get your bar to last for years.