How to Measure Chain Pitch
The pitch of a chain refers to the distance between its drive links.
It is determined by measuring the distance between any three consecutive drive links and dividing by two. Example: 3/4" divided by 2 = 3/8". Sometimes pitch is expressed as a fraction: 3/8" and sometimes it is expressed as a decimal: .404".
The pitch measurement of a saw chain tells a pro user about to the overall size of the saw chain. Usually a larger pitch indicates a heavier and bigger chain.
What Most Pro Users Run: The most common pitch used by professional saw users in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska is 3/8". It offers good flexibility, low weight, adequate strength, and good cutting speed when run on today's high RPM pro saws.
What Most Harvesters Run: Harvesters run both .404" and 3/4" pitch chain.
Saw Setup: The pitch of the chain, the pitch of the drive sprocket, and the pitch of the bar tip must all match.
How To Measure Chain Gauge
The gauge of a chain refers to the thickness of its drive links.
It is determined by measuring the portion of the drive link that fits into the groove of the guide bar. It is usually expressed in thousandths of an inch: .050" or .063".
The gauge measurement of a saw chain tells a pro user about the strength of a chain's drive links. Thicker drive links are usually stronger, but they are heavier. Weight affects performance, and to maximize cutting speed, weight should be kept to a minimum. Like most things in life, there are compromises. Pro saw chain is no different. The rule usually is: Run the lightest gauge chain that stays together and gives you decent service life.
What Most Pro Users Run: Several years ago .063" was most popular. Today, the trend is shifting toward .050". .058" is popular in some areas, but it is rarely used in the Pacific Northwest.
What Most Harvesters Run: Harvesters that run .404" usually run .080" gauge chain. Harvesters that run 3/4" pitch chain run .122" gauge chain.
Saw Setup: The gauge of the chain and the groove in the bar must match.