Carbide chains

Discussion in 'Tree Service Equipment' started by Azimiut, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. Azimiut

    Azimiut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    On my property I have several very old, very dead mesquite trees. I have trimmed them down for firewood and all I have left are the trunks. I have a hefty saw, Stihl MS661 and it is struggling to cut these. I have a 28in bar on it. I am tired of going through chains to cut these trees up. I was suggested to get a carbide (RD3) chain for it but pricey.... it is one cut, one chain. takes about 3 min to make a single cut. But i have heard the carbide chains do not cut any faster just last longer. I resharpen my chains at 30* cuts. do I need to go higher or lower on the cut angle? I am cutting across the trunk but with the hardness of the wood I dont think going in either direction is going to make a difference. its like cutting concrete.

    any other suggestions?
     
  2. Blainethompson

    Blainethompson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    So are you using the carbide chain or not? Are you looking for a suggestion on using the regular still chain or the carbide version. The carbide chains do not “cut faster” they stay starper much much longer then regular chains if you are somewhat careful with them. Make sure there is plenty of oil, the oil channels stay cleaned out on the saw and never just hammer down on the saw and run it wide open. The faster you turn the blade the more heat that builds up. Heat is carbide’s biggest enemy when it comes to staying sharp. The slower you can turn the blade and still pull big chips the better. Big chips = faster cut, less strain on motor and chain, less wear on chain, less saw dust, cleaner saw. All of my saws pull 1/2-2” chips that look like curly fries. Your saw has a lot of low end torque, just like I have Modified mine to have, use it to your advantage.
     
    RDALawns likes this.
  3. Azimiut

    Azimiut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    no, I am not using a carbide chain. I was debating getting one. I have used brand new non carbide chains on these logs and no matter what I do I get dust for shavings. it is so hard and dense I dont think any chain could get clean cut proper shavings from this wood. is there a different angle I should be sharpening the chain at? Im not really concerned about cutting speed, but want to get a better cut out of it. I have even de barked and washed the cutting area to get as much dirt as I could off.
     
  4. Blainethompson

    Blainethompson LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 463

    Lower the rpm and run a new chain. I haven’t found a wood I could get decent size chips from with a new STIHL chain and I’ve cut done hard as hell mesquite stumps.
     
    hort101 likes this.
  5. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,777

    Carbide is more resistant to abrasion. It was developed for fire and rescue use, where someone might be cutting through an asphalt roof, etc. The stone granules and fiberglass fibers in shingles for example would dull a steel chain in seconds, whereas carbide will just keep going (though it may get chipped up a little).

    Steel chains work, because clean wood generally is not all that abrasive. The hardness of the wood shouldn't directly factor into how fast a chain dulls. That is instead determined by the silica content of the wood, and I don't believe that mesquite is one of those really abrasive woods. It is however a VERY hard wood, and that means that it will both cut slower, and require a sharper chain to cut well. If the chain is anything less than razor sharp, it won't make chips from your dead mesquite, and then you'll find yourself forcing the chain into the wood, which heats it up and wears it out faster.

    If your oiler is working correctly, and if your chain is indeed starting out sharp, and if you're really not forcing your chain into the work, then perhaps carbide is what you need.
     
    hort101 likes this.
  6. Azimiut

    Azimiut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    Yea its a hellava tree. I dont know how long the trees have been dead. I wouls swear they are damn near petrified. I have a brand new chain im gonna throw on there and see where that gets me when I get home. I cut trees all day sometimes mesquite but mostly palo verde and I can take them down like nothing. just these are giving me a hard time. no pun intended...
     
    hort101 likes this.
  7. Azimiut

    Azimiut LawnSite Member
    Messages: 7

    I cut through it with a brand new chain. here is a pic of the shavings. I wasnt running it full out and was not forcing the saw down. and here is a pic of the cut.

    shavings.jpg

    cut.jpg
     
  8. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,777

    Wow, those are some really sad looking chips. Especially for a new chain.
    I think you'd have an easier time on an aluminum log.
     

Share This Page