Optimal Circle Saw Size
Incidentally, 60" saws allow easy cutting of a 34" diameter log. That is why they were used in the first place. Of course, today, we do not need such a large saw. A 52" saw can only cut a 26" log! What many mills have done is cut the large saw down to a smaller saw, which is much more stable indeed. Then if large logs are sawn from time to time, a top saw (a second saw on top of the main saw and a few inches behind) is used.
The tooth width (and therefore the kerf) is wider with the larger saws. With 56" and smaller, we can use an inserted "F" style tooth which is 9/32" wide. I believe that we always will have an even number of teeth. A 56" saw will have 54 "F" teeth; a 54", 52.
Regarding carbide, the carbide is quite brittle, so with logs that still have the bark (and sand and debris in the bark), I think steel would be better. When you hit a small stone with carbide, that tooth is no longer very effective.
From contributor M:
I switched to carbides a year ago. I don't debark and I will never go back to steel teeth. Carbides last twice as long between sharpening and you should see any rocks or mud patches big enough to damage them. Carbide teeth were strong enough to saw halfway through my log dogs before I got my saw into reverse.
From contributor N:
"Optimal" size saw depends on the power available and the size of the logs. Run the smallest saw you can get by with. I run 48" with 34 teeth. I can cut a 25" log without much trouble. I would rather split the big ones than fight a big saw all day.
From the original questioner:
Currently running a 60" saw with, I believe, 58 teeth. 300 hp. Max cut is 24". Not interested in using a 48" saw. Our logs in our region are too large. Ideal situation would be a 52" saw with a top saw, but that ain't happening due to current finances. Thanks for the response.
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