Knowing how to measure a chainsaw bar becomes necessary when the chain on the chainsaw needs replacement. If you know the specifications, then you will not have to perform the measurement manually. However, in such situations where the user’s manual or the chain is lost, you will need to measure the chainsaw bar. 

On rare instances, you may also need to perform this measurement when you need to replace the bar of the chainsaw. However, these are isolated cases, as most people find replacing the bar to be a very expensive undertaking. Chainsaw bars are also very durable and last a very long time. 

For someone who knows how to measure a bar, it is pretty straightforward. But if you haven’t encountered this problem before, you will be clueless. Today we show you how to measure the bar of a chainsaw correctly.

There are essentially two ways you can employ to measure the chainsaw bar – measuring the effective length and measuring the true length. 

Things you will need

  • Chainsaw
  • Measuring tape
  • Wrench set and/or socket driver 

How to measure the effective length of the bar

It is also known as the chainsaw length. It is the length of the bar from the stump, where it meets the casing, to the tip of the bar. Measuring the effective length of the bar is the easiest way to measure a chainsaw bar.

  • To measure this length, lay the chainsaw on a flat surface. Taking accurate measurements without movements and distractions is crucial. 
  • Grab the measuring tape and place the tip of the tap at the stump of the bar where it meets the case. 
  • Stretch the tape to the furthest tooth of the chain and take note of the measurement. If the chain is lost or broken and no longer attached to the bar, add another ½ inch to the overall length. 
  • If you are not sure of the reading, repeat it until you are confident with the reading.

Most of the chainsaws will have a measurement ranging between 12 inches and 20 inches.

  • Note down the measurement. If the length does not round to a whole number, round it to a full inch. 

For instance, if the length of the bar reads 16.9 inches, round it to 17 inches. This is the length of the chain you will need to buy for the chainsaw.

How to measure the true length of the bar

This is the measurement of the bar from the tip to the bottom. As its name suggests, it shows the true length of the bar in its entirety.

  • To perform this, you need to remove the casing/cover of the chainsaw completely. 
  • Use the wrench set/socket driver to remove the cover.
  • Remove the bolts and release the bar from the casing.
  • Lay the bar on a flat surface.
  • Hold the measuring tape and stretch it across the entire length of the bar.

Unlike the effective length, you can ignore the tip of the chain at the end.

  • Note down the measurement. Rounding off the measurement is not necessary while measuring the true length of the bar. 

Take the measurements with you to the store when you decide to go shopping for the new chain. 

Safety tips while measuring a chainsaw bar

Safety is paramount while handling a power tool like a chainsaw. Therefore, it is important to follow a safety guide diligently.

  • Unplug the chainsaw. This step is vital as you will be handling the chain directly.
  • Unplug the spark plug as well. Access the carburetor box by removing the bolts. Gently remove the wires of the spark plug. This will prevent the chainsaw from going off accidentally while you perform the measurement. 

Bottom line

A poorly fitted chain on a chainsaw can be extremely dangerous. Replacing the chain with the correct recommendation is a must. This will not only ensure the users’ safety but expedite the work significantly. 

Learning how to measure a chainsaw bar is easy and is very convenient if you use a chainsaw frequently. Once you have established the correct measurements, you can keep it safely so you can use it the next time as well. 

It is always wise to invest in good quality and correct replacement parts so that the tools do not become a liability. 

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