Ripping Chain For Chainsaw Mills
Ripping chain is a special chain designed for cutting parallel to the wood grain. This chain features a special factory grind for making boards and planks from larger timbers using chainsaw powered mills like the Alaskan Saw Mill. Ripping or cross cutting produces small chips and cutting with the grain produces long stringy fibrous strands.
The chain pictured above is Oregon #72RD. This chain may not look much different than conventional saw chain, but close inspection will reveal the cutter teeth are ground with a blunter top-plate filing angle. This blunter filing angle makes ripping cuts better than conventional saw chain.
Sharpening Angle Of Ripping Chain
When sharpening this chain, the top-plate filing angle should be 10°- 15°. The file should also be tilted down about 10°. The depth gauge height is different on this chain, too. Oregon recommends running them at .015" to .025" depending on the size of the wood being cut, the saw being used, and so on. For the best finish and a nice smooth cut, a depth gauge setting closer to .015" is recommended. Milling conditions can vary widely, so plan on doing some experimentation to fine-tune your ripping chain for maximum performance.
Types Of Ripping Chain
Oregon only produces ripping chain in 3/8" pitch .050" gauge. They no longer offer a .063" gauge version or anything in .404" pitch. This larger chain may be beneficial when milling with large displacement saw engines. A skip-tooth version may also work better in cuts wider than 30". These can all be made from conventional saw chain that is sharpened at a 10°- 15° angle.
The manufacturer that produces the Alaskan Saw Mill (Grandberg) also offers a special chain for ripping. This product also works well, but it is more complicated to sharpen and more expensive than Oregon's ripping chains.
We think the Oregon ripping chain is the best overall choice. It works well, is not much more expensive than conventional chain, and is easy to sharpen. We stock it in several sizes and can fit most any saw used in a milling operation.
If you are a serious chain saw mill operator, consider trying the Grandberg style rip chain, too. For more information, click here to go to their web site.