Author Topic: Bow Bars Are Perfect For Firewood!  (Read 1557 times)

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Offline 660magnum

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Bow Bars Are Perfect For Firewood!
« on: November 22, 2014, 12:51:03 am »
Plunge Type Bow Bars are generally the thin loop type bars you sometimes see on old chainsaws.

They were more common in the 1950's-60's commercial pulp wood areas of the USA and more specifically in the loblolly pine "tree farm" areas. For a complete description of the species . . . http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/pinus/taeda.htm  with a 21-29 yr harvest turn around.

They were well suited to "Bucking" a under 20" DBH tree trunk laying out across the ground particularly the tall thin loblolly pines with just a few limbs at the very top. The trunks were cut up into somewhere around 8' lengths down to 3" diameter without the bark. So there was more bucking than with lumber but less than firewood.
www.fs.fed.us/pnw/olympia/silv/publications/opt/6_WorthingtonTwerdal1950.pdf

Though the bow bar is not considered at it's best as a felling device, they weren't difficult to use to fell the small loblolly pines.

These "tree farm" pines were cut at a smaller size as their most dynamic period of growth was in the early years.

One big aspect of the bar was that the work could be done from the standing position.

When bucking wood on the ground, a bow bar doesn't get pinched by the cut closing up like a regular chainsaw bar does.

Another aspect was that the weight of the chainsaw was used to advantage to help the bar through the wood for the saw was typically used vertically above the wood with the bar down against the wood.


This type of wood production is rarely seen now days for these trees are now cut with a harvester that cuts the tree off the stump, strips the limbs and loads the whole tree on a trailer. The tree is taken to a saw mill where it will yield a couple 2 X 4's and the remainder is chipped before being sent to the paper or OSB plywood mill. The lumber yield is typically used in the "treated" lumber trade.

In the uploaded picture is a old rusty Mac 650 with a bow bar. The picture is from Ebay. This example was from more towards the end of the bow bar era. The chain would be your typical 3/8" much like today and was commonly .50" gauge. This bar would measure 20" from the front of the slot to the outside of a chain tooth on the front of the bar. Cross ways, to measure in front of the stop or dawg to the other side of the bar is 14" chain tooth outside to chain tooth outside. It takes a 4 cube saw!

Upon close scrutiny of the rusty bar, you will take notice of a shiny rim along the whole front edge of the bar that is not rusty. This is a Stellite hard face of a hard cobalt/chrome and other alloy metal that was applied to the front edge of the bar for wear resistance. If you are buying a bar, you want to look for this "hard face" and make sure it is not worn away. This hard face can be rebuilt. It is typically done with a welding rod but has to be finished by grinding. The most worn area would likely be nearer the "Stop" or "Spur"?

Now that you have read this, enlarge the picture so you can see what I was talking about.
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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Bow Bars
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2014, 01:11:35 am »
Watch the technique in the 2nd video. How he starts the cut, then lets the spur or spike slip down low on the log, then he rotates the saw over the top. Later on, ignore him running the chain in the dirt on every cut. The yellowish orange and greenish saws are beasts. The yellowish orange saw is a Poulan Pro 655 reed valve chainsaw that is made by Poineer/Partner as a P65 98cc 1988. The greenish Poulan is a Countervibe 4400 70cc mid 80's reed valve engine. They both have the same size bar 14" X 20". They cut real good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLy5USqXXjE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf-XSqHz148

This next one is more of a parody on how not to use a bow. You are to use the end . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_l_6rwbTkyw

Stink Bait and Dean after they get the old Poulan going about halfway into the video . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNQew7hSps0

Brad Snelling

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzHFSgT5rio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4GmuWzlkf4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUmA12ApozE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G80EXLg7DtE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocxHS6BxFAk
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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Bow Bars
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2014, 02:15:38 am »
A little clearing/brush bow on a SD25.

A setup using the clearing/brush plunge type bow bar and under 50cc power head is a common sight at a Christmas tree farm over much of the USA and Canada. The Christmas tree is small and the typical felling operation is to reach under the limbs with the 20" long bar and make a single plunge cut. Ideal for a small bow type bar.  These bars are often 20" long but are only some 8" across the radius on the front where the cutting is done. You can run either .325" or 3/8" chain on the bar as there is no nose sprocket tooth pitch to worry about.  They might be .050" or .058 gauge depending on what area of the country they are from.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3QfZwLM0reQ
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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Bow Bars
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2014, 02:56:10 am »
To give you and idea of how the bow bars are made . . . .
The first picture is of a rim part of a bow blade. This particular example the guy is trying to sell on Ebay without the saw adapter. He says he has the adapter but doesn't present it or tell which saw it is for. You can see where the adapter for the saw bolts on. But most of the newer bars are made from this rim with a piece of 1/4" steel plate welded at the throat to adapt the bar to the mount on the chainsaw. The bars as shown in picture #1 were used on some of the old Homelite gear drive chainsaws and there was a clamp mechanism on the saw that held these bars in place. When you removed the bar, all you had was what is in the picture, the attachment mechanism stayed on the Homelite.

The 2nd picture is of a complete bar and if you enlarge and look closely you can see where the saw adapter was welded in and the slot and hole for the tensioner are. There's typically a oil hole and there is a drilled hole down through from the slot of the bar to the oil hole. With the picture enlarged you can see the hard facing on this bar also. I count 85 driver links.

I'm telling you this as there are bars that come up on Ebay all the time for old chainsaws. Many of these have never been used. I have one like this that was for a Mac and you can see where someone welded up the holes and reworked the slot and holes for a D009 big Husky mount.
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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Bow Bars Good For Firewood?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2014, 04:56:51 am »
Felling a 14" DBH diseased tree with a bow saw.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS1CYN6K72s
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Offline snoozeys

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Re: Bow Bars Good For Firewood?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2014, 05:21:30 am »
Wonder what is involved in adapting a bar saw to run as a bow saw

Offline 660magnum

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Re: Bow Bars Good For Firewood?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2014, 06:57:33 am »
The things that usually happen is first that the bow bars that are 14" high across the front need a 60cc chainsaw or larger.

I don't know of any new bars being made except the little 8" high brush clearing bars used on the smaller saws?

So most of the available bars were originally made for the McCulluch, Homelite, and Poulan saws. If your chainsaw is different from this, you will likely have to change the old bar or get one that someone else changed? These old bars are still out there that were never used.

You will have to get a chain made up or make it yourself for the bar as it is unusual for one to be 84 DL.

More typical than not, the top front of your clutch cover will have to have a notch cut into it to clear the bar.

These bars are what is called hard nosed bars and there are no sprockets in them. So the chain will need to be run a little loose and your oiler will have to work well.

This is Just South of Chesterfield, VA.

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Offline 660magnum

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Re: Bow Bars Good For Firewood?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2014, 07:07:24 am »
These bow bars that are all rebuilt or unused and set up for your late model chainsaw will likely cost more than $100 dollars without the chain. I saw some for $225.

The $60 bar will likely need some work?

The bars have different groove widths. They are .050", .058", or .063". You will need the correct gauge chain for your bar.

The only correlation of the clutch sprocket with respect to the bow type bar is that the pitch of the sprocket must match the pitch of your chain. In other words if you are running regular 3/8" pitch chain, your sprocket or rim on your clutch must also be 3/8".

The guards in the picture are made of 16 gauge aluminum and are painted silver for some unknown reason? They come in different gauge thicknesses and are manufactured as an extruded 10' or 20' length of aluminum that is cut off to the proper length.
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Re: Bow Bars Good For Firewood?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2014, 09:23:06 pm »
Good thread on bow saws.  I have always wanted at least one bow saw but have not found one yet at a reasonable price. 
Some good information and you never know I might find one yet.
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