Is it worth it?

I got asked a great question when I posted the above video on YouTube (which is a more complete version of the earlier version)... "For home use is there a cost or performance benefit?". So, for Michael, and anyone else that is wondering whether it is worthwhile making your own chains, find out more after the jump...

I'd have to say that for home use, I doubt whether it's worth the cost in purchasing the equipment needed, when you might just be an infrequent user of a chainsaw, or only have one saw to keep running. However, as usual things aren't always that clear... what if you live in a very rural area where you can't just pop down the raod to your nearest chain stockist, what if you cut lots of firewood, what if you run multiple saws that all use the same type of chain? For professional users, it's almost certainly going to work out cheaper in the long run to invest in the equipment, but let's take a look at how the figures stack up. All costs are worked out in GBP, using prices correct at the time of writing and take no account of any discounts that you might be able to get.

First off, you're going to need to purchase two tools - a chain breaker and a rivet spinner. A standard chain breaker will cost you £66, as will the rivet spinner ( and a reel of chain comes in at either £99 for a 25' length, or £319 for 100' (30m).

Let's assume you need a 1.6mm gauge chain, 0.325" pitch, suitable for something like a Stihl MS261; that's going to be an Oregon 22 chain and a 14" bar needs a 56 drive link chain. That's going to cost you £18.50 from the link given above.

That same chain is roughly 3' (90cm) long, so armed with that knowledge we can deduce that we'll get roughly 33 chains from that 100'. If the 100' reel costs £319, and we can get 33 chains from it, that makes each chain £9.67. That's half price.

What's more, with a difference of £9 per chain, it's going to take 15 chains for you to recoup that investment in tools - after that, it's money in your pocket. So, I guess the question is... how quickly would you get through 15 chains?

The other thing is where you are running multiple saws, that each require the same chain (or different bar lengths on the same saw). In this case, the ability to make the required chain quickly might be worth it instead of holding a stock of several chains for each bar length.

I hope that helps answer your question about whether it's worth it. For some it will be, for some it won't.

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