Chains and Cutters

Carefulness costs you nothing. Carelessness may cost you your life.

While saw chains and cutters all have the same end purpose, different configurations offer differences in speed and handling and may require different maintenance.

Have you got a standard, semi-skip, or full-skip chain?

The standard or full house chain has the most teeth and is common on bars up to 24 inches. It cuts fast and smooth.

The semi-skip saw chain is a specialty chain used by people who want a balance between standard and skip chains. They are only available with square chisel cutters.

Finally, the full-skip chain is used on bars 24 inches or longer. It has better chip clearance in long cuts and a quicker sharpening time. However, it can be prone to vibration, and it can be grabby on smaller cuts because it has fewer teeth.

Even though they all have the same parts, there are different types of cutters. Low profile cutters are generally found on consumer and small arborist saws. They have safety features and are low kickback. The chisel is the most popular. It has the fastest cutting speed and does not dull quickly. The semi-chisel doesn’t cut as fast, but stays sharper longer than the chisel. The square chisel is not very common and needs to be sharpened on a machine by a professional.

Comparing the cutting speed of various chain types…

This is a nice video comparing the speed of different chains and cutters.

Ellen Bauske

Leave a Comment