Author Topic: How do I tell if a chainsaw bar is laminated and does it matter?  (Read 123 times)

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Offline bustedknuckles

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How to identify a laminated bar?
A laminated bar is one that is made of at least three layers of steel. There will be a middle piece (usually as thick as the chain gauge) and two outer pieces.

The bar is typically spot welded together and these welds make little circles in the metal almost like a flush rivet head. A solid bar does not have these weld marks.

Another clue is that a laminated bar does not have a replaceable sprocket tip. This is not a terrible thing because many bars that do have replaceable tips never get their tips replaced anyway. The sprocket tip of a bar is fairly large diameter and spins on a bearing. To install one of these in a solid bar usually involves a separate tip section riveted to the bar. The sprocket tip is specific to a particular brand of bar and some have one rivet, some three and other variations. The tip sprocket of a laminated bar is easily incorporated into the bar during manufacture. Because of this and the lack of need for extensive and precision machining, a laminated bar is much less costly to manufacture and thus is typically sold at a lower price. For many chainsaw users, there will be no significant downside to using laminated bars. Those that make their living with saws will typically spring for the higher dollar solid bars.
A laminated bar and solid bar should get the same maintenance and care and either will provide the user with many hours of cutting.

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Offline rms61moparman

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I've had many sprocket nosed bars but to date, have never replaced a tip.
The laminated bars are fine for firewood use until you get over the 24" size. They tend to be heavier after that but it isn't really an issue for the normal firewood cutter.



Mike

Offline 660magnum

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I've replaced a few tips on old horse trade mostly 24" bars.
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Offline rayvil01

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I never owned a Stihl until I refurbished one here lately as a gift.  I put a new "Rollomatic" bar on it and went crazy looking for a grease hole in the sprocket tip.  Apparently they are "sealed and greased for life."  Seems so weird after shooting grease in Oregon bars for years on end. 

Offline 660magnum

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I try to buy and use replaceable tip solid bars on my 50cc and up chainsaws. I do have one Rollomatic E laminated bar on my 026 and a couple 45cc Stihl saws with laminated bars.
We should share what we know... someone may learn...
That knowledge can live after us... and that "Pays It Forward".
Be all that you can be . . .

Offline 3000 FPS

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I have replaced several tips on bars of the single rivet type.

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Offline HolmenTree

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Back in the day when I felled, limbed and topped for up to 2 skidders I went thru a tip a week. Bearings burn out quick after pinching the tip when topping especially when running a Stihl 064 with 18" b/c.
I like to file my chain right down past the witness marks and when the cutters start to break off. Only with the solid body bar can I do this.
Put a few days on a laminated bar and the rails start to spread and they can't be reliably retighened. A solid bar youcan service for a long time.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline Philbert

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It's possible to replace the sprocket on some laminated bars, even if replaceable noses are less common.

Like anything else, there can be a range of quality between laminated bars - differences in steel, bearings, tolerances, etc.  Some light weight bars are also laminated, using a lighter, or hollowed out, core.

I was told that if you bend a solid bar you have a better chance of repairing it (not guaranteed) because the layers on a laminated bar will separate and fold differently.  I've wondered if moisture can work it's way between laminations, leading to rust, but have never seen this (anyone?).

I have had good experiences with well made laminated bars.

Philbert

Offline HolmenTree

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I don't think rust would be a issue with laminated bars.
I'll teach you a little trick how to straighten a laminated bar. With a solid bar you hammer the bend out on a solid anvil.
But with a laminated bar you lay a piece of belting as wide or wider then the bar between the bar and anvil. Hammer away to get the bend out .Be careful not that to hit the rail area.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

 

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