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Cutter Tooth Sequences Explained

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Standard sequence or what we usually call full-compliment, has the most cutting teeth of the three sequences. Its many teeth make it the smoothest and fastest cutting on jobs that require short cuts. Professional saw users usually run it on saws with short to medium length bars or on jobs where extensive limbing is required.

Semi-Skip is a compromise between standard and full skip sequence. Half of its teeth are close together like standard and half are like full skip. Users who run it claim it is the most versatile configuration. Our sales indicate it is the least popular of the three sequences.

Full-Skip is our best selling sequence. It is usually preferred by customers who run long bars and cut large softwood trees. Long cuts, common in these conditions, require the chain to carry chips a long distance before they are expelled. Since chips ride in the spaces under and between the cutter teeth, users have found that by reducing the number of teeth, a chain's chip clearing ability improves. On long and deep cuts, this enhances its performance. A side benefit is that it takes less time to sharpen than the other sequences. Its bad traits include that it is prone to vibration, its lack of cutter teeth make it grabby in short cuts, and its kickback potential is high. 

Stay-Sharp Ability

When selecting a sequence for saw chain, another consideration is a chain's stay-sharp ability. A number of experienced pro chain saw users say, full-comp chain tends to stay sharp longer than the skip-tooth configurations.  

Our Advice

Bars 24" & Under
When running a bar length of 24" or less, full compliment is the best choice. It will always be the fastest and smoothest cutting sequence on short cutting attachments. Even those who are tempted to select a skip tooth configuration to reduce sharpening time, will find full compliment doesn't take much longer to sharpen.  On short bar applications, there are are not that many more teeth.

Bars 28" - 32"
When running bar lengths of 28" to 32", the best sequence is less certain. In this range of bar lengths, the size of the cuts being made with the saw should to be taken into consideration when selecting the sequence. For example, sometimes longer bars are used to minimize bending on a job that requires a lot of limbing. In this case, the cuts are more similar to what would be done with short bars, so a full compliment chain is the best choice. On the other hand, if most cuts on the job require burying the bar in a deep cut, a skip sequence would probably be the best choice. 

Bars 34" & Longer
When running bar lengths of 36" or longer, a skip sequence is usually the best choice. These bars are rarely run to eliminate bending over, and most often are used on jobs that require deep cuts. Even with these conditions, we do occasionally see full-compliment chain being run when the job also requires a fair amount of limbing. In the end, the best sequence for you requires some compromise and consideration of many factors.


Got questions about cutter sequences on pro saw chain? Call or stop in.

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