Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a number of videos and blog articles on the topic of chainsaw milling as well as reviewing some chainsaw milling products from Granberg International. Something that I mention in many of those videos is how much smoother and faster you’re milling work will go when using a good, sharp, ripping chain.
When I first got interested in chainsaw milling a few years ago, this is something that I kept hearing about over and over again, but I really didn’t know what a ripping chain was, as compared to the regular crosscut chain that’s commonly used for tasks such as trimming or felling trees, cutting firewood, etc.
What is Ripping Chain?
So first of all, what exactly is ripping chain and why should you use it for milling? While most chainsaw chain is designed to cut across the grain of the wood you’re cutting, ripping chain is specially modified to cut along the grain. One of the main differences between ripping chain and crosscut chain is the angle that the teeth are sharpened at. The teeth on most crosscut chains are sharpened at 35 degrees, while ripping chain teeth are commonly sharpened at 10 degrees, which makes for much faster and more efficient cutting, especially for milling work. Granberg ripping chain is specially designed and made up of one set (2) of scoring cutters and one set (2) of clearing cutters which results in less feeding pressure and uses less power from your saw. Most importantly, a ripping chain will leave a much smoother surface on the wood your cutting as compared to a standard crosscut chain.
The good folks at Granberg make the best ripping chains on the market and they can make you a custom chain to fit any size chainsaw setup you’re running. To get the right size and fit for your saw and bar though, you’ll need to be familiar with some basic principles and terminology. Here’s an overview that will hopefully help.
A “loop” of chain simply refers to a chain that’s linked together and ready to be put on your saw. If you need one chain, you order one loop.
Drive Link Count
You’ll need to know the correct number of drive links when ordering a ripping chain for your bar. Drive links, or drive teeth, if you prefer, are the teeth which are located on the underside of the chain and sit in the groove of the bar. Drive link information is often provided in your chainsaw owner’s manual, on packing material from your bar or other chains, but if you don’t have any of that handy, you can simply count the number of links on the chain you’re currently running on your bar. Just put a piece of masking tape or some kind of visible mark on the link you start counting at for easy reference.
You’ll also need to know the proper pitch when ordering ripping chain, which again is commonly found in the owner’s manual for your saw or packaging material for your bar or chain. The pitch is half the distance (as measured in inches) between the center points of any three rivets on your chain.
Finally, you’ll need to know the proper gauge for your setup when ordering ripping chain. The gauge refers to the width of the drive links or teeth, or the width of the groove in your chainsaw bar where the drive teeth rotate. Again, this is usually found on packaging material or owners manuals.
Once you have all that information rounded up, you can order the right sized ripping chain you need and get to work! Like any chain that you run on your saw though, you’ll need to keep it sharp and well maintained, which will be the topic of another upcoming video and blog article, so stay tuned.
So that’s a quick overview of Granberg ripping chain, and like all Granberg products, their ripping chain is proudly made in the USA. You can find out more and get yours today at granberg.com. And finally, I’m happy to announce that I’ve teamed up with Granberg in order for you to get a 10% discount by using the Wild Revelation Outdoors discount code wildrev19 when you place your order.