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I'm looking for advice on replacing the chain on my Stihl MS-180 chainsaw. I've learned how to sharpen it pretty well. At least it always cuts better after I tweak it. But I think it's time for me to think about getting a new chain. I know they recommend having it professionally sharpened after every (insert your number here) sharpenings. I've probably sharpened mine 8-10 times and it doesn't seem to cut as well now. I will take it in to the dealer, but I think having more than one chain is a good idea anyway.

Looking through the Stihl catalog, they have a bunch of different chains. I know some of them don't apply to my little saw, but it's still pretty confusing. Any guidance and experience would be much appreciated.
 

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You might need to file the "drags" down alittle. After you file the teeth, you should check your drag clearance. You can do this by laying a "straight edge" of some sort across the top of the cutters. Then, using a set of fealer gauges to check the gap. These drags is what determines how much the tooth bites. You should be around .020. I use my chains right down to where there's hardly anythin left, and they cut just as good if not better than a brand new chain. Mainly cuz, there's less dragging through the kerf.;)

Buying new chain can be alittle overwhelming sometimes.

First; you need to know what size you saw requires. On your saw this should be stamped in the bar. it will give you the pitch( .325, 3/8, 3/8 lp 1/4, and .404 ) and gauge ( .043, .050, .058, .063) (this will likely be stated in metric thou.) It will also give you the drive link count.

Second; You'll want to decide what style cutter, chisel, semi-chisel, safety, ect. The safety chains won't cut as fast as a chisel, but you have a better chance of "kick back". The safety has link that as it rolls of the bar tip, it keeps the teeth from cuttin at that point.

Hope this helps some. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You might need to file the "drags" down alittle. After you file the teeth, you should check your drag clearance. You can do this by laying a "straight edge" of some sort across the top of the cutters. Then, using a set of fealer gauges to check the gap. These drags is what determines how much the tooth bites. You should be around .020. I use my chains right down to where there's hardly anythin left, and they cut just as good if not better than a brand new chain. Mainly cuz, there's less dragging through the kerf.;)

Buying new chain can be alittle overwhelming sometimes.

First; you need to know what size you saw requires. On your saw this should be stamped in the bar. it will give you the pitch( .325, 3/8, 3/8 lp 1/4, and .404 ) and gauge ( .043, .050, .058, .063) (this will likely be stated in metric thou.) It will also give you the drive link count.

Second; You'll want to decide what style cutter, chisel, semi-chisel, safety, ect. The safety chains won't cut as fast as a chisel, but you have a better chance of "kick back". The safety has link that as it rolls of the bar tip, it keeps the teeth from cuttin at that point.

Hope this helps some. :)
Thanks Ironmower. The chain sharpening kit I bought (Oregon) came with a round file and a flat file as well as a flat device that you lay across the teeth with a low spot to file down the "cutters". Is this the "drags" you mentioned? The flat file doesn't seem to file very much off, so I've just been tweaking the sharp part with the round file. Maybe that's part of my problem.

I noticed that they have "low kickback" chains and more aggressive chains. Is the "kickback" mostly when cutting with the round tip of the bar? (I don't do that often.)
 

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Yes! That is a good kit. The drag sits directly in front of the tooth. As you sharpen the tooth it shortens (of course:)) and starts to become lower, which don't allow it to "bite" properly. It don't take much, to make a BIG difference. If your teeth are sharp and the drags are right, it will cut.;).

We call'em "drags" because they drag the shavings out of the kerf.:)

Kickback happens when the top side of the tip catches anything.. It's possible with ALL types of chains, but less likely with a LOW kickback.

The only thing I don't like about "safety chains" is it sacrifices cutting speed.:mad:
 
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