Thursday, 19 June 2014

Choosing Chainsaw Guide Bar Length

Choosing Chainsaw Guide Bar Length - Intro

This is a guide for the confused armature / home use chainsaw operator. 

When replacing a worn out bar it may be tempting the increase the guide bar length, but this too is not always the best option.

Choosing Chainsaw Guide Bar Length - Guide Bar Length vs CC

From various forums and manufactures websites the below ranges are suggested for bar lengths relating to engine capacity. The below are sensible suggestion but obviously not set in stone, I run a 20" bar on a 36cc saw, and with a small chain its fine.

Tabulated Data - Lengths in Inches

Graphed Data - Lengths in Inches

Choosing Chainsaw Guide Bar Length - Based on Usage

The above method is all well and good but you pattern of usage should determine the bar length, for example a 12" bar would be a great choice on a low powered saw, it is nice and light and will not cause excessive drag, but will it be long enough a 30 year old pine, can be 14" and may involve two cuts to get through the trunk with a shorter bar.

Choosing Chainsaw Guide Bar Length - Conclusion

When deciding on bar length, try to think about what size you usually cut, and choose the shortest bar you can. Then add 2" to cover the occasional bigger cut. If you have two saws then perhaps you can set one up as a "long saw" and one as a "light saw".

Desktop Study

Flood Risk

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Archer Chainsaw Chain & Chainsaw Guide Bar Review

Archer Chainsaw Chain & Chainsaw Guide Bar Review - Intro

After 12 months of use with terrible abuse on my part, my Stihl Chain and original Husqvarna guide bar were not behaving very well, a few weeks back the chain snapped I suspected a jammed nose sprocket and I was in the market for a new chain and whilst I was at it a new bar.

Ebay found me at  Mister Solutions shop which stocks a wide variety of chainsaw parts. Including a chain and bar combos for £16 - £22. As my aged Husqvarna 136 may give up the ghost any day, I do not want to spend out lots on replacement parts.

6 Month Update at bottom of Page

Archer Chainsaw Chain & Chainsaw Guide Bar Review - First Apperances

The bar was quite heavy. But I am young and fit so not to bothered about that. The build quality looks OK, the finish is fine.The below picture show the Archer (Australia) Chain (bottom) compared with the original used stihl chain (top).

Stihl Chain vs Archer Chain

The bar is failry stiff, I have increased the bar length with this replacement from 15" to 20" so not sure if the extra flew is due to the bar quality or the length.

Below are a series of picture showing the archer chain and archer bar.

Archer Guide Bar (Timber Max)

Archer Guide Bar - Nose Detail

Archer Chainsaw Chain - Chain Close-Up

Archer Guide Bar - Fixing

Archer Chainsaw Chain & Chainsaw Guide Bar Review - In Use

A new chain always cuts very well, and this archer chain was no exception, the chain is a .325 semi chisel and flew through the 14" pine trees I was cutting, on this occasion I made in region of 50 cuts working for around 2.5 hours, by the end of which the chain was stating to loose its edge a little, although still cutting well enough I would not consider sharpening.

I think I may have had some lubrication issues as the bar seemed to get quite warm during use, and chain would tighten as the guide bar warmed. I am not sure is this is normal behaviour for longer guide bars, but it could become a bit annoying.

Update 20/06/2014: This oiling issue is caused by the holes (for fixing and oiling) in the bar being different to the genuine original part. They do not line up quite right. The oiling hole is in the right place no worries there but the fixing hole is set too far of centre, and partially overlaps the oil out let, this causes most of the oil to flow out through the fixing hole, where it dribble in to the sprocket/ clutch area and gums everything up.I guess this problem arises from the fact that this bar is designed to fit around 70 different types of chainsaw, and as such compromises have been made. Some oil does get on the chain but not nearly enough.

Update 19/12/2014

BAR - The oiling issue  as described above does mean that the this bar would not be suitable for general use, the fuel and bar oil reservoirs should run dry at approximately the same time, but I often find that when using this archer bar the oil reservoir is still 3/4 full, when re-fueling. I use this bar for the occasional large diameter cut, then I swap back to the original bar.

CHAIN  - The Archer chain is excellent quality, and cuts and sharpens very well. I bought another chain for my standard husqvara bar and it is very good, and I will be buying again.

Archer Chainsaw Chain & Chainsaw Guide Bar Review - Conclusion

BAR - Not Great

CHAIN - Excellent

The boats not in yet, it was certainly cheaper than the next reputable brand as a bar chain combo in say Oregon would be in the region of £50. So only time will tell whether this was a good buy. They say buy cheap by twice, but owing to the age of my saw, well maybe I'll only have to buy once! Will update soon!

Sunlight and Daylight Assessment

Desktop Study 

Monday, 2 June 2014

Bush + Muller Toplight Flat Plus Review

Bush + Muller Toplight Flat Plus Review - Intro

Rose bikes are selling these at knock down price at the moment, and have just sorted out a hub dynamo for my 16" folding bike, I was please to be able to choose a Bush + Muller offering at this price. They never disappoint.

Bush + Muller Toplight Flat Plus Review - Size and Fitting

Its a bit bigger than a Busch and Muller Toplight Plus andway smaller than a Axa / Basta Ray Steady so size wise it absolutely fine, it was a snug fit on the rear rack of my folding bike, and I had to make my own mounts.

The light comes with adaptors so it will fit 50mm and 80mm spacings.

The little clippy things that hold the wires in places could be better designed.

Bush + Muller Toplight Flat Plus Review - Performance

When compared to the Busch and Muller Toplight Plus this one only has one light source (plus has 2) but that being siad it chcuks out a lot of light illuminating the area to the rear of the bike, even when not fully dark.

Bush + Muller Toplight Flat Plus Review - Verdict

If you can get one for under mmmmmm £10 then go for it, if you are paying full price then provided you are not too vane perhaps consider offerings from union or axa, as they are better value.

If however you were prepared to pay full price you would receive a light that looks as though it would last a life time, it is very very very well built. Super tough.

Desktop Study

Axa Pico 30 Review

Axa Pico 30 Review - Intro

If like me you like dynamo light, you like cheap dynamo lights with stand lights then you may well have come across the Axa Pico 30 steady. It is a budget front light with features found on much more expensive ones.

Axa Pico 30 Review - Appearance and Features

The Axa Pico 30 looks small in the advertising pictures but in fact is of an average size, with a built in reflector. It has a power of 30 lumens, and as such is OK for unlit road cycling at moderate speeds.

It has a built in sensor to switch over from daylight running lights to the main beam when dark. It has a switch so you can turn it off, and most importantly (in my humble opinion) a stand light (that last for 4 minutes).

The are lesser versions available without standlights.

Axa Pico 30 Review - Performance

At 30 lux this is a moderately powered LED light. I have tried beam pics but I can never get a good picture.

I am powering this light with a Brompton Dynohub, a (DH-703-SB) which is is fine. Any budget shimano hub such as the DH-3N20 would do just fine.

Above 12 kph (jogging speed) you will enjoy a beautifully light road, stretching for 10-12 meters and a little dimmer after that.

Subjectively I would say it is a tad better than a B&M Lyt Senso, and about half as good as a B&M Cyo T which goes to show they have got the lux system figured out pretty well.

Axa Pico - On the bike
PS the above is a home made wheel, see my top tips on wheel building to find out more.

Axa Pico 30 Review - Conclusion

I bought this from rose bikes, it shipped from Germany in 48 hours (to the UK), and it cost £17 so yes fairly pleased. It is as good as a £25 light.