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Matt's Equipment Repair



To skip or not to skip? That is the question.

Posted by [email protected] on 13 December, 2015 at 23:35

Skip tooth chain seems to be a very misunderstood thing. When I worked at a saw shop that had a large professional customer base I was told to always hand over a skip tooth chain if that was an option, and that is what almost everyone demanded. Currently my number one selling chain is a 20” skip tooth chain, but I have to say that I really don't recommend it.


So first let's go over why skip tooth was made. After the second cutter goes though the wood a chip is made, that chip is pushed by the raker until it reaches the end of the bar. The problem is with larger bars over 30”, on these bars there is not enough space and that space becomes jammed and the cutters can no longer do their job effectively. So, according to Stihl, this is the reason that they started making skip tooth chains, it alleviated this problem on larger bars making the space between cutter and raker larger.


The common misconception is that skip tooth chains cut faster, they do not, they cut slower. The formula is chain speed x number of teeth equals cutting speed. Skip tooth throws bigger chips so sometimes it looks like it cuts faster. In competitions where they have V8 and Harley powered saws they add extra teeth to make it cut faster. If you are using a bar that is too big for your saw then a skip tooth does reduce drag, allow you to keep chain speed up, and cut faster, but if you have a bar that is appropriate to your saw then it decreases efficiency.


Skip chain is available in 3/8 but not 3/8 low profile. In .325 Stihl discontinued skip. Oregon has discontinued it in .325 .063 gauge but still make it in .050 gauge. Carlton is the only brand that I am aware of the currently makes .325 .063 in skip but you don't see .325 chain used on bars bigger than 20” so there really isn't a good reason to have it.


I'm sure that I'll continue to sell smaller skip tooth chains as that is what most people ask for, but I thought that I would clarify what it is really made for.

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