How to Measure A Chain Saw Bar

How to Measure A Chain Saw Bar

I recently upgraded my chain saw from a Husqvarna 440 to a Husqvarna 560 Rancher and needed to sell my old chainsaw to help recoup the costs.  Eagerly I cleaned up my old 440, took some pictures and listed it on Craigslist.  I got a call the next day and was asked what size was the bar on the chain saw.   I taped measure it, BUT I came up with 17.5 inches of chain showing.  If you have ever found your self in a similar situation or ever wondered how to measure a chain saw bar properly, this article is for you!

If you want to learn how to measure a chainsaw bar, the most important thing that you need to realize is that there are a lot of benefits to learning how to do it properly. Even more importantly, there are some safety concerns associated with measuring it properly and even more concerns associated with getting an improper measurement because if you do, the chainsaw may not function correctly. It can be rather difficult to learn how to do this, so try not to become frustrated if it takes awhile to do it right the first time. It is a skill that is learned and you will be able to do it with less hassle and do it much faster after you have gained a little experience.

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Strategize First

The first thing that you have to think about when measuring a chainsaw bar is that you want to measure the cutting length, not the entire length of the chain itself. You will eventually measure the length of the entire thing, but for starters, you only want to know how much of the chain is actually used to cut. This is necessary in order to ensure the safe operation of the chainsaw itself when you are finished. Your best bet is to measure everything at least twice in every direction, allowing you to compensate for any possible errors in measurement. If both measurements do not match exactly, keep measuring until they do.

Safety Is Paramount

In order to do this safely, you need to remove the spark plug from the chainsaw to make sure that it will not start up while you are working with it. This could cause serious injury. Obviously, it is a good idea to make sure that this does not happen so removing the spark plug is essential.  Its also recommended to let the chain saw cool down if it was just running.  The chain will be very hot otherwise.

Start Measuring

Use a tape measure and measure from the casing to the cutting end. Again, it is imperative that you take care not to measure from end to end of the chain itself, but from the casing to the cutting end. Then take a measurement from the cutting end to the casing in order to double check your work. If you do not get an even number, round up to the nearest inch in order to ensure that you have enough room to work with.

Once you have measured the cutting distance, the real work begins. Find the screws that hold the casing together and unscrew them. Next, remove the chainsaw casing and then measure the entire bar from end to end. Make sure that you take more than one measurement. Ideally, this measurement should be 2 to 3 inches longer than your first set of measurements where you measured the cutting length.

Now that you have taken all of your measurements and you know how to safely and accurately measure a chainsaw bar, you can put the casing back on, secure the screws and insert the spark plug again.  After you have put the chainsaw back together, measure the from the casing to the cutting end to ensure that length’s match up.  Also ensure that the chain is tightened to the manufacture’s specifications.

Rest assured, it will take you less and less time to get these measurements every time that you have to do it. The best part is, unless you are using a new chainsaw, you only need to get the measurements once for each machine that you are using so you will not have to go through this entire procedure each and every time.