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Knowing the ins and outs of your chainsaw is important for your protection and to complete proper chainsaw maintenance. But with so many parts, it can be hard to keep track of. Have you ever heard of a chainsaw rake? What is a chainsaw rake?
A chainsaw rake is part of the chainsaw cutter that works in tandem with the tooth to produce cutting action. It is also referred to as a chainsaw rider, raker or depth gauge. The difference in height between the tooth and the raker is what determines the depth at which the tooth cuts wood.
Let’s take a look at what you should know about chainsaw rakers.
What do chainsaw rakers do?
Chainsaw rakers control how deep the chainsaw tooth cutter penetrates the wood. Essentially what they do is prevent the edge of the tooth from biting too much into the wood. Rakers help determine the height that the teeth cutters will cut into the wood. If the rakers are uneven, then your chainsaw will cut a different sized bite and you won’t have a nice cut. It can also affect your chainsaw teeth and chain if you don’t fix it.
When you purchase a new chainsaw, the rakers should be in the correct setting, but you can always ask your supplier to check for you.
As you use the chainsaw and the chain dulls, the rakers will need some maintenance. If you check your chain, you will notice that the top of the tooth cutter always slips back and is a bit higher than the raker. When you sharpen the chainsaw chain, the top of the tooth cutter lowers a little. You need to make sure that the top of the teeth cutter doesn’t go below the top of the raker. Otherwise, the teeth on your chainsaw won’t saw smoothly and your chainsaw won’t cut straight.
What maintenance is required for chainsaw rakers?
Chainsaw rakers are supposed to be checked every single time you sharpen your chain. The correct depth of the raker is usually stamped on the depth gauge. If you can’t find it you can consult the chainsaw supplier and they will be able to tell you what is best for your chainsaw. They will help you figure out the best raker height for the material you want to saw and the chain you’re wanting to use. Doing this maintenance check of your chainsaw rakers is important because incorrectly set rakers make your chainsaw dangerous to operate. It increases the chances of kickback from the chain while causing uneven cuts.
The most common and recommended height is for a chainsaw raker is 0.025” for all professional chains. Anything lower than that means that you will need to use more power on the saw. It also translates to rougher cuts, operational fatigue, increased kickback injury risk and a shortened chain life cycle. If you don’t regularly perform maintenance checks on your chainsaw chain rakers, the teeth will cut thinner chips until the raker is worn away. Eventually, your chainsaw will stop cutting at all because of this. Sometimes it is just a matter of sharpening your chainsaw chain. Other times you might need a new chain. For your safety, check your chainsaw rakers before you use your chainsaw every time.
How are chainsaw rakers measured?
Chainsaw rakers are measured by using a raker/depth gauge. The raker gauge determines the proper height of the raker by acting as a form of ruler. You will need to identify the raker height stamped on the raker. There should be a little number stamp which is how you figure out how high the rakers on that chain are meant to be. Then you use the raker gauge to see if the top of the raker lines up with the right height. This can help you figure out how much you can lower your raker to best suit your chain. The size of the rakers is relative to the cutter length and should always create an angle. If you make a mistake when filing and they end up at the same height, your chainsaw will cut crooked.
This is why you need to invest in a good raker gauge. They often aren’t that expensive, typically less than $10. The raker/depth gauge will help you measure multiple heights which is beneficial for sawing different materials. You will need different raker heights of hardwoods and softwoods and you can use one raker gauge to measure both. If you want to file your chainsaw rakers yourself, this is a must-have. This is how you will measure every raker and make sure that they are all at the same correct height. Otherwise, you can end up with uneven rakers which will cause kickback from your chain and increase your risk of injury.
How do I know what chainsaw rakers I need?
The chainsaw rakers you will need will change depending on the material you want to cut and the chainsaw chain you choose. This is something to discuss with your chainsaw supplier if you’re unsure of.
If you already have your chainsaw and chain but are checking that you have the right-sized rakers, grab your depth gauge tool again. Place the depth gauge tool on the chain so that the rakers rest in the groove. If the tip of the raker is seen above the groove, you will need to file it down. This is how you know your raker is too high. The best way to file your chainsaw raker is to use a high-quality flat-file tool. Always file in the same direction as you do when filing the cutters.
One bonus is that sometimes one file stroke can do the trick because the rakers are quite small. Sometimes you won’t need to file every raker on your chainsaw chain. It all depends on the wear and tear of your chain.
The only thing you really need to worry about during filing is the front corner profile of the raker. This part needs to remain rounded so that it moves smoothly through the wood. The best way to do this is to take a slight swipe off the front corner with the file. Don’t just continuously file down this corner of the raker, otherwise, it will become flat. This will ruin the chain’s ability to cut well.
Your chainsaw rakers are extremely important for your chainsaw’s ability to actually saw anything, which is why you need to properly maintain them. Keep a depth gauge handy so that you can check the height of your rakers every time you want to use your chainsaw. Schedule regular chainsaw maintenance checks and make sure the rakers are examined every time. The last thing you want is to leave yourself at risk of injury from uneven rakers!
If you’re looking for more chainsaw help and advice, you should check out some of our other chainsaw articles. We have tips about what chainsaw chain cuts the fastest, different type of chainsaw chains and much more! Don’t forget to check out our petrol and battery Husqvarna chainsaw range! Have more questions? We here at Canberra Diamond Blade Suppliers are always more than happy to give you a hand!