The Tree House loves TreeStuff!

Anyone make their own chains?

Benjo75

Treehouser
Joined
Nov 8, 2016
Messages
349
Location
Malvern, Arkansas
I've got a breaker and spinner I picked up from Baileys a few years back on sale. I've yet to use it. I think I'm going to mount them to a board along with the chain chart and buy a few different size rolls of chain. I haven't priced rolls yet. I know it has to be cheaper to make your own and I don't mind spending the time doing it. Is there enough savings to warrant making them yourself? I used to go through a lot of chains logging but not as many with the tree service. But every few weeks I find that tree that's full of metal or concrete and use up a few chains.
 

SkwerI

Treehouser
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
17,814
Location
central Florida
I've made my own chains for many years. Originally it was just to save money but I gained several other advantages as well. Since I'm not running into the saw shop every week or two to buy chains I save a ton more money not buying shiny trinkets that catch my eye. I also began using skip chain on my bigger saws and nobody sells skip chain by the loop. No way do I want to go back to sharpening full comp chain all the time. I get two years out of a roll of 33RSF and even longer out of a roll of 63PM.

I happen to prefer Stihl chain and won't use Oregon. They may have gotten better in the last 10 years, doesn't matter. Most local Stihl dealers just rattle off the list price for roll chain which is maybe 5% lower than retail cost of premade loops. Talk to the shop owners where you do a lot of business and see if they will work with you on roll prices. If you use Oregon you can buy it anywhere.
 

lxskllr

Treehouser
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
1,919
Location
MD USA
I do. I use handtools; a punch, chain anvil, and ballpeen hammer. I also prefer Stihl chain, but also have some WoodlandPro(Carlton) for beater duty. The Carlton seems to be a touch harder than Oregon, but I wouldn't bet a lot of money on it.

I got a couple reels of NOS RM2 from ebay. I hesitantly bought the first, cause it seems like there's a lot of hate for the triple humped straps, but it works for me; boring too, so I ended up buying another one.
 

lumberjack

Young man on the go
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
8,931
Location
Mississippi
I buy Stihl premade loops in bulk from my local dealer... last time I bought I think the 20" loops were ~$16/each, I don't remember the 16", 28" or 36" loop pricing.
 

cory

TreeHouser
Joined
Aug 23, 2008
Messages
18,280
Location
CT
I do. I use handtools; a punch, chain anvil, and ballpeen hammer.
You sir, obviously have a superb sense of humor, since I know you must be kidding. Using a ball peen hammer to make chains, still? NFW!

I mean that is yin and yang right there. The man is akin to bill gates re being a computer whiz, on one hand, yet he uses a ball peen to make chain. Opposites within the same being.

Not throwing shade whatsoever, just amazed.
 

lxskllr

Treehouser
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
1,919
Location
MD USA
It's pretty easy, and I don't have to be fast. It's not like I'm making chains for a whole tree company. Just put one together as I need it. I also like that it's cheap and portable. I keep all my stuff in my saw gear bag along with some tie straps, and I can repair a chain in the field, though the need hasn't arrived as of yet.
 

stig

Patron saint of bore-cutters
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
18,177
Location
Denmark
With the amount of chain my crew uses in a year, we save a lot by making them ourself.
I usually have a couple of rolls on hand, when we have a day with high wind or really heavy rain so we can't log,
we'll stay in the shop, drink coffee and make chains.
 

flushcut

TreeHouser
Joined
Jan 15, 2011
Messages
13,803
Location
Delavan, WI
I have been making my own loops for many years now. I use a Bailey's breaker and spinner, paid for itself a few times over.
 

pigwot

Marlee's Grandpa
Joined
Mar 9, 2007
Messages
1,313
Location
Delaware, East Coast, USA
I've been making my own loops since working with a friend about 35 years ago. I bought a Bailey breaker and spinner, and when a local arborist died (at 89 yrs of age) his daughter gave me his set, so now one set is bench-mounted, and one set is on a board that's portable. Chain quality has varied in that time. Folks bash Oregon due to being softer; faster to field-sharpen, but annoying how quick it dulls. and it 'was' better 35 years ago. I find the Carlton to be a tad better. Stihl is the best, but pricey. Watch Madsens and Baileys for sales and pricing deals. I have occasionally found local shops that are overstocked and can get a roll or two at a good price.
 

Raj

TreeHouser
Joined
Oct 26, 2013
Messages
7,037
Location
Brantford, Ontario
I do a lot of milling, and I break chains often enough so doing my own is a must.
As for regular saws, it's a close race, since I have a lot of shop time and I am alone I save money and time running for chain.
 

Benjo75

Treehouser
Joined
Nov 8, 2016
Messages
349
Location
Malvern, Arkansas
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12
Thanks everyone. I'm going to order a couple rolls of chain in different sizes. The sooner I do the sooner it will pay off.
 

stig

Patron saint of bore-cutters
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
18,177
Location
Denmark
I realize that this will paint me as a complete moron.
However, I have to admit that I do use Oregon chain.

But then I should probably be excused, for not having enough experience.
Only some measly 44 years as a pro faller.

Never did like Stihl, and never did understand the " Stihl is harder" crap.
If you hit dirt or rocks, any chain stops cutting.

Sorry, I shall now go sit in the corner with the dunce cap on.
 

stig

Patron saint of bore-cutters
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
18,177
Location
Denmark
There was somebody here, can't remember who, the guy logs up in Idaho.
He told me that 90% of the fallers up there use Oregon chain.
 

lxskllr

Treehouser
Joined
Jul 21, 2019
Messages
1,919
Location
MD USA
That percentage is surprising, but I'd expect Oregon to outsell Stihl. It's cheaper, and easier to get. I think Oregon is objectively inferior to Stihl, but an argument for it could be made on a bang/buck basis.
 

stig

Patron saint of bore-cutters
Joined
Aug 26, 2007
Messages
18,177
Location
Denmark
You know, it either cuts or it doesn't.
On a good day I can log all day without sharpening.On a bad one, sharpening is all I do.
 

Frankie

I Build and Run Ported Saws !
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,136
Location
Buffalo NY
STIHL chain is the best imho ... After trying Oregon and others I went back to STIHL ... The Oregon is decent chain but is definitely made from softer metal and does not hold an edge as long as STIHL chain ... STIHL is more expensive but is actually cheaper in the long run as it lasts so much longer ; it’s more aggressive and the steel is much harder than any competitors chain ... It’s also pre-stretched which equals less wear and tear on the drive sprocket and bar ...
 

Frankie

I Build and Run Ported Saws !
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,136
Location
Buffalo NY
I realize that this will paint me as a complete moron.
However, I have to admit that I do use Oregon chain.

But then I should probably be excused, for not having enough experience.
Only some measly 44 years as a pro faller.

Never did like Stihl, and never did understand the " Stihl is harder" crap.
If you hit dirt or rocks, any chain stops cutting. The STIHL chain has a higher Rockwell (is harder) than the competition which includes Oregon ... As long as you are able to keep the chain in the wood the STIHL chain should increase your productivity over a days cutting vs oregon ... If you cut rocks/dirt then NO chain is going to be satisfactory
Sorry, I shall now go sit in the corner with the dunce cap on.
 

SkwerI

Treehouser
Joined
Sep 6, 2006
Messages
17,814
Location
central Florida
I realize that this will paint me as a complete moron.
However, I have to admit that I do use Oregon chain.

But then I should probably be excused, for not having enough experience.
Only some measly 44 years as a pro faller.

Never did like Stihl, and never did understand the " Stihl is harder" crap.
If you hit dirt or rocks, any chain stops cutting.

Sorry, I shall now go sit in the corner with the dunce cap on.
Depends on what you're cutting, also. With our hard Live Oaks, I would have to stop and tighten an Oregon chain every tank of fuel and resharpen every 2-3 tanks. With Stihl chain, I might adjust my chain every 6-8 tanks of fuel and if it needs adjusting then it needs to be touched up with a file. I don't want to waste the time it takes to fiddle with stretched, dull chain all day on the job. Most days I never touch a chain all day. With my 200T I might sharpen it once per week. Now that I'm running the MS150T I can go 2 weeks between sharpenings.

And I'm not running dull saws, either. If the chain sags, it's because it got hot and stretched. That means it's dull. I don't run chains until they can't cut any more. I prefer paying a little more and not having to mess with it on the jobsite.

And I highly object to anybody who refers to you as a moron or dumb. I for one have always held you in the highest regard. There is always more than one way to accomplish the task at hand. Who am I to question your methods? You've certainly cut a hell of a lot more trees in the last 5 years than I have my entire career.
 

pete mctree

Treehouser
Joined
Feb 5, 2006
Messages
2,920
Location
N East England
I run quite a few different bar sizes & making my own means I don't have to stock loads of loops as I can make what I need.
Another vote for the stihl chain - just what I prefer.

@stig I hope you are using the stihl full chisel on your climbing saws - streets ahead of anything else
 

Al Smith

Mac Daddy
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
13,985
Location
Northern Ohio
I normally just spin a chain up as a repair .A majority of my Stihl branded chains came from the tool boxes of my buddy's bucket truck .It is good chain though . A lot are cut downs from 24" loop to 20"depending on the damage .The two MS 200t's I buy the loops ,rapid super .
 
The Tree House Loves TreeStuff!
Top