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Lets Talk Chainsaws

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jbolt

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#1
I'm going to need chainsaw for the new property. I have about 30 dead trees to take out. Last chainsaw I had was a crappy Poulan. I'm looking for a good quality saw with a 20" bar. Any recommendations?
 

dlane

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#2
Poulan and Poulan and poulan no good, loggers in AR mostly used stihl, Johnson Red, huski.
 

dtsh

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#3
I've had fairly decent luck with Husqvarna, though it really depends on the model. Given you're looking for a 20", but as anecdote I have a 142 which is an acceptable 16" saw, but it's a little doggy compared to some other models. That said, it's managed to do 100% of everything I asked of it including cutting up a willow that was well over 30" DBH, but a pro would probably toss it for something larger and with more power. I'm not recommending a 142 as it's both smaller than what you're after and not exactly their best performer, but it serves to demonstrate that there's a lot of variables to consider. I can make a doggy little saw do my occasional tasks, I don't mind spending a little more time here and there chewing through something bigger than my saw was designed for because I do so very rarely these days, others might feel differently. How often do you expect to use it and what's the DBH of the largest tree you expect to deal with?

When I still had my cabin and woods, I had a STIHL MS460, which was a very nice saw, but it sold with the property as I had no real use for it when I moved. I bought it used, but it was a fantastic saw and served me well in transforming a neglected woodland into prime woodland estate.

If you're like the typical homeowner with a small woodlot, get a decent saw of most any brand and it'll serve you well if you maintain it.

Some will chuckle at this, but my go-to saw is typically my Silky Sugoi pruning saw. It's often faster than the chainsaw for quick jobs removing a few limbs under 9".
 

JimDawson

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#4
I have 2 Stihls, have been good saws.
 

machPete99

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#5
Do you really have 40" trees? if not might not really need 20" bar and unless pro level may be more show than go.
I have an Echo with maybe 14" and Husky with maybe 18".
The Echo is lighter, starts easier, and is generally used unless I have really large or tough stuff to cut.
 

GoceKU

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#6
STIHL is number one in chainsaw, buy the best model you can afford from STIHL, the biggest trouble people have is not mixing fuel and oil right then they are hard to start and don't run right.
 

stupoty

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#7
 

jbolt

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#8
Do you really have 40" trees? if not might not really need 20" bar and unless pro level may be more show than go.
I have an Echo with maybe 14" and Husky with maybe 18".
The Echo is lighter, starts easier, and is generally used unless I have really large or tough stuff to cut.
I would rather have a larger saw that can take a smaller bar than overwork a smaller saw on the occasion it will be needed for larger work.
 

jbolt

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#9
STIHL is number one in chainsaw, buy the best model you can afford from STIHL, the biggest trouble people have is not mixing fuel and oil right then they are hard to start and don't run right.
That reminds me of a YZ 250 dirt bike I used to have that was finicky about oil type and mix but when you found the right combo holly crap that thing moved. Had the narrowest power band of any dirt bike I ever owned.
 

dtsh

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#10
I apologize if this post seems condescending, it's not intedned to be but rather intended to prevent damage and/or injury.

For anyone who hasn't had training in felling trees, don't fall into the all too common trap of assuming you know a safe way to fell a tree. It can be a very dangerous activity that *seems* to be straight forward and simple, yet is often misunderstood and there are numerous examples of people making common mistakes, sometimes forfeiting life and property in the process. I'm all for dilettantism, but dangerous processes require careful study to increase the chances of success.

Please review the OSHA logging eTool, at a minimum, if you aren't familiar with the process. It's easy, concise, and the life it saves may be your own.
 

dlane

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#11
I always had two an Echo for one handed or smaller stuff “ easier on the back”
And a stihl for the two handed large stuff .
 

francist

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#12
Something along these lines looks pretty versatile....
image.gif

Sorry, couldn't resist. I did some research on old saws for my nephew once and ran across this. Believe it or not, they actually made some of these!

-frank
 

RJSakowski

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#13
I have a Stihl MS 290 Farm Boss with a 20" bar. I cut about 4 cords of firewood each year and it has performed well in both hot and cold weather.

I wouldn't go smaller than a 20" bar for any serious cutting. A 14" bar is great for limbing and trimming brush but IMO not up to serious cutting. While, in theory, you can cut through a log with the diameter up to twice the bar length by approaching from either side, it is a lot more work. When it comes to felling trees, having to work around the trunk to cut through could be downright dangerous.
 

rgray

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#14
Something along these lines looks pretty versatile....
That's a bow saw. They are realy for clearing brush, like willows. If you've ever tried to do it with a reagular chainsaw bar you know how aggravating it can be.
Seems like it would be so simple to cut down a bunch of little brush, but it will kick your chain off like crazy. The bow saw bar makes the chain really hard to dislodge from it's bar by a little stick.

Don't buy your saw by the length of bar that is on it. Buy engine size....3.5ci in to 4 cu.in. would be my preference for the amount of work your gonna get into.
Then get at least a 24" bar.....28 if your tall.
It's not that your gonna use all that, it's were the tip of the bar is when your holding the saw standing. If the tip is near the ground your good. If you have to hold up awkwardly to keep it off the ground it's to long. This is holding it as you would run it and with your arms extended down and your back straight.
Stihl is my preference. 391 to 461 models (391 is 3.9cu.in. and the 461 is 4.7cu.in.)
Check ebay there are often great deals there as homeowners will buy a saw because a tree fell down and then sell it later.
 

pacifica

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#15
I have had different brands and Stihl is the best. Right off learn how to sharpen the saw and do it often. 3 seconds hitting dirt can dull the blade.
Try to cleanit well every time after use or stuff can get packed in and cause problems.If you loan it is likely that person will return it dirty.:rolleyes:
 

RJSakowski

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#16
I'm going to need chainsaw for the new property. I have about 30 dead trees to take out. Last chainsaw I had was a crappy Poulan. I'm looking for a good quality saw with a 20" bar. Any recommendations?
Over a 45 year period I have cut more the 400 cords of firewood, all hardwood and mostly red oak. The first 35 years, that included felling with trees up to 30" in diameter. This was all done with a 58 cc engine and a 20" bar. The last 10 years, we have had 8' - 10' logs delivered which I cut into 18" lengths for the wood burning furnace. That wood is mostly white oak with a smattering of red oak. That is arguably more cuts than most professional loggers would make.

Thirty trees would be incidental usage, in my opinion, and not require a professional saw. My Stihl has a displacement of 56cc and as long as the chain is sharp and the bar not pinched, has never bogged down. Larger displacement saws weigh more and are more bulky. This is especially important if you are a one saw user and use the saw for limbing as well as felling and buck up firewood. Longer bars are less agile which makes it more difficult to maneuver in tight quarters.

Stihl has an on-line selection guide which can help you decide the right saw for you.
https://www.stihlusa.com/products/product-selector/chain-saws-product-selector/
Here is a comparison chart of all of their chain saw models.
https://www.stihlusa.com/WebContent/CMSFileLibrary/downloads/Chain-Saw-Comparison-Chart.pdf

If you are still undecided you might consider borrowing or renting a saw to see how it works for you.
 

Silverbullet

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#17
I've repaired more brands of saws then many can name. Get the Stihl there top shelf. When you get the saw new buy the new oil mix from them. It will double the warranty for the few dollars over the standard 2 cycle oil. I think it's a six pack synthetic Stihl brand oil. If you also want I'd suggest there canned gas oil mix for the times the saw won't be used for several months. It's high octane with special additives to protect the saw . Just my past forty years of repairs is my opinion.
 

Old junk

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#18
Stihl is the way to go.buy once,cry once
 

projectnut

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#19
I've had a Husqvarna Rancher 455 going on 10 years. When I first got it I cut about 10 cords a year with it. In the last few years it only gets used to clear down and dead trees. It's been a great saw and more than powerful enough to easily down 30"+ oak trees. The only servicing it's had are a couple new chains, ( I now have enough to round robin them out rather than have to stop to sharpen them) a couple spark plugs and a couple air filters.

It does a good job, but like any saw of that size it's not the lightest. At a little over 13 lbs. you know you've been using it at the end of the day. Here's a link to the specs:
https://www.husqvarna.com/us/products/chainsaws/455-rancher/965030290/
 

bpimm

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#20
Stihl all the way. I bought a Stihl 038 Magnum 30 years ago when I bought my property, I run a 36" bar so it will reach the ground with me standing up strait, bad back no bending over with weight in my hands. Still starts easy today and now it gets used very little. I do have a old smaller Homelite that I inherited several years back for the one handed work and it's a good saw but it's probably 30-40 years old as well.
 

ericc

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#21
I just bought a Mccullogh minimac at a garage sale. The old guy there insisted that it started and I could bring it back if it didn't. Well, it didn't start. That thing was difficult to take apart. The plug was really dirty, but there was a spark. When I sprayed starting fluid in to the carburetor opening, it started a bit. Normally, this would be encouraging, but I decided to check the Internet. The Internet said that I had a long steep slog ahead, since these things like to gum up and are incredibly difficult to repair. Also, probably not worth it. I brought the saw back and said it wouldn't start. The old guy was not surprised and said he couldn't help me and probably nobody else could either. He did give me back my money, but he didn't want the saw back. He said just throw it in the trash. He told me the saw would start even though he didn't try it and was probably hoping that I wouldn't come back. I really wanted to leave the saw, but he told me to throw it in my own trash. At least I got the money back.

Eventually, I was able to finish the trimming job with a reciprocating saw with a 12" blade. Really hard work.

I told this story to our facilities guy. He said, interesting, he has 3 saws that won't start. He buys one, works for a while, lets it sit, it won't start, takes it in for repair, finds out it costs too much to repair, buys another one and repeats. Somehow, he thinks that these old husks are worth something, and piles them up in the corner. That's good to know. I have to make sure to dispose of mine before it really junks things up. He agreed, gotta go electric. Then, I said, it'll be the same way about cars. This fell a little bit flat, because electric cars can be a little political. Fortunately chainsaws aren't.

Can you light one of these things? ;)
 

jbolt

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#22
Thanks for all the information. Looks like Stihl is highly recommended. I was also looking at Husqvarna but a lot of the reviews complain about leaking oil and carburetor issues. I tend to take online reviews with a grain of salt but those issues seem to come up a lot.

Good points about weight. There is a Stihl dealer in the town near the property so next time we are there I will check them out.
 

rgray

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#23
I was also looking at Husqvarna
Also a very good saw and would be my second choice.
Some of the new stuff has some incredible engineering. And great power per engine size. Things like an extra throttle valve that feeds straight into the transfer ports of the cylinder. No fuel for that valve just air so the carb is tuned to add the additional fuel needed.
All great till you need to work on it. Some are quite difficult to work on.
I'm still waiting for fuel injection on a chainsaw. Stihl talked about it 20 years ago......wait just googled and see stihl has a fuel inj chainsaw. Available to forestry professionals in 2019.
Thought for a second I needed to crawl out from under my rock, but it is brand new so I don't feel to bad just learning of it.
https://www.farmersguide.co.uk/2018...insaw-for-easier-starting-and-better-economy/
 

markba633csi

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#24
Macs are ok as long as they get run periodically. I have one and it's light and easy to handle.
Stihls are what the pros use
 

TTD

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#25
I used to have an older Husqvarna 262XP w/20” bar & liked it a lot. Had it for roughly 15yrs & never had a problem with it. Then a few years ago I foolishly lent it to a buddy of mine who, upon returning it a week later, handed me a box of broken/bent parts that somewhat resembled my saw, & said “I’m really sorry man, but I dropped a big maple on it” & left it at that…no compensation, no anything, just “sorry”. Are you freakin’ kidding me??? Gee thanks, I really appreciate it. :mad:

…and people wonder why I don’t like lending stuff out anymore :rolleyes:

Anyways, I couldn’t afford a brand new saw to replace my mangled one, but I eventually found a screaming deal on a very lightly used Stihl MS 261 C-M w/18“ bar https://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain-saws/professional-saws/ms261cm/

I’ve only had it for a few years now, but as much as I liked my Husky, I like the Stihl even more. A little smaller motor mind you (50cc vs. 62cc for the Husky) but to be honest, I really can’t notice much of a difference power-wise…it easily eats through anything I’ve put in front of it (maple, oak, beech, ironwood, etc). The Stihl is about 3lbs lighter too, which you will appreciate by the end of the day.

Honestly, I would have no reservations about owning another Husqvarna, but if I had a choice & could only pick one, I would pick the Stihl myself.
 

tq60

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#26
Stihl only.

Buy the synthetic oil at same time and size to match gas can so easy mix.

It has stabilizer so shelf life is long.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
 

ezduzit

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#27
Don't buy more bar than you absolutely need; it will just cost more, weigh more, require a larger engine and take longer to sharpen.
Stihl or Husky. Stihl's professional models have an even 2nd digit in their model number.
 

RJSakowski

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#28
I just bought a Mccullogh minimac at a garage sale. The old guy there insisted that it started and I could bring it back if it didn't. Well, it didn't start. That thing was difficult to take apart. The plug was really dirty, but there was a spark. When I sprayed starting fluid in to the carburetor opening, it started a bit. Normally, this would be encouraging, but I decided to check the Internet. The Internet said that I had a long steep slog ahead, since these things like to gum up and are incredibly difficult to repair. Also, probably not worth it. I brought the saw back and said it wouldn't start. The old guy was not surprised and said he couldn't help me and probably nobody else could either. He did give me back my money, but he didn't want the saw back. He said just throw it in the trash. He told me the saw would start even though he didn't try it and was probably hoping that I wouldn't come back. I really wanted to leave the saw, but he told me to throw it in my own trash. At least I got the money back.

Eventually, I was able to finish the trimming job with a reciprocating saw with a 12" blade. Really hard work.

I told this story to our facilities guy. He said, interesting, he has 3 saws that won't start. He buys one, works for a while, lets it sit, it won't start, takes it in for repair, finds out it costs too much to repair, buys another one and repeats. Somehow, he thinks that these old husks are worth something, and piles them up in the corner. That's good to know. I have to make sure to dispose of mine before it really junks things up. He agreed, gotta go electric. Then, I said, it'll be the same way about cars. This fell a little bit flat, because electric cars can be a little political. Fortunately chainsaws aren't.

Can you light one of these things? ;)
One cause for hard starting/poor running of chainsaw and other two cycle engines, for that matter, is a failed reed valve. Those reeds vibrate millions of times in their life and can stress crack causing pushing of the induced fuel/air charge back through the carburetor.
 

ericc

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#29
I think that it is just gummed up. Since I have cut down our largest trunk, I don't need the saw anymore. If I fixed it, it would just sit. Of course, I could lend it to a buddy, as mentioned above.
 

Silverbullet

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#30
Most people buy a saw use it a few hours and stick it on a shelf. 99% of the time the old gas is left in the saw. If your lucky in three to six months adding fresh gas and a few dozen pulls it may start but run rough . The gas and oil separate because the gas dissipates and turns sour leaving shale and gummy fuel lines and diaphragm in the carb. If the saw is taken care of with a few minutes of time most problems can be alleviated. If your storing the saw for more then six months don't ever leave gas in it . It's better to run dry , add some oil mix straight in the tank and cylinder pull it over a few times and then shelf it. The oil mix will keep the diaphragm and lines from turning hard or the lines mushy .
 
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