The guide bar on every pro saw lives a tough life. It is constantly battered at a tremendous pace against a variety of materials and all the while the risk of breakage for the novice chainsaw owner is high. Hopefully this mini guide will help you spot when your chainsaw bar is damaged.
Inspecting For Wear
The body of most guide bars wears in two places: On top side of the bar rails and on the surfaces inside the rails. Since the tops of the rails are easy to see and the inside surfaces hard to see, start your inspection by looking at the tops. Pay special attention to the area just behind the bar nose. This is the location where the rails often show the most wear. Saw operators who do a lot of limbing will notice pronounced wear here, because for them, this area of the bar does the most work. Also look for chipping or any other type of rail damage.
How To Inspect A Bar for Damage
Experienced saw operators don't bend bars often, but every pro user will occasionally have their saw's bar in the wrong place at the right time. It can't be avoided. So when a bar experiences “tree trauma,” stop and inspect it. Sometimes it is easy to see it is OK, and you can go on cutting. Other times it is necessary to stoop and take a good look.
To inspect a guide bar for damage, first remove it from the saw. Wipe away any sawdust or debris and look for anything obvious. If all the surfaces look good, hold it level with your eye and look down the rails as if they were a site on a gun. This can be done from either end of the bar. If your bar is bent, you will see sweeps or bends in its body. If you have never looked at a bar from this angle before, you will be surprised how visible even a slight bend is.