choosing a new (first) chain saw

Discussion in 'Equipment & Survival Kits' started by Dakine, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

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    Treat your saw to a new stihl chain, If you keep it out of the dirt it will saw a LOT of wood before needing a touch up
     
  2. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    My local Stihl dealer (Coulson's in Belle Vernon, PA) runs a special once in a while offering buy one, get one half off on chains. That's when I get them. Also, hand sharpening a chain is not difficult. It's a great skill to have when you're running a saw because a sharp chain saves gas ($) and time by cutting more efficiently and it's a whole lot easier to use.
     

  3. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    That's the truth!
     
  4. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

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    That's what I told hubby I wanted (I learn so much here on PS :congrat:).

    Jason, I'm a little intimidated regarding sharpening a chain myself, but I do need to learn. I need to learn how to sharpen everything! UJ, if you've toasted a couple chains while learning, then I won't be too hard on myself when I do the same (and probably more than a few...)
     
  5. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    Interesting, I've owned two and never had a single problem with either. (Except for the time I put lawnmower gas in one.) My Craftsman saw is made by Homelite. Works great but leaks bar oil just like the other two Homelite saws I own. We currently own six chainsaws. It's a long story to tell why!
     
  6. mosquitomountainman

    mosquitomountainman I invented the internet. :rofl:

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    The best way to learn how to sharpen a chain IMO, is to purchase one of the sharpening jigs than clamp to the bar.
     
  7. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

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    Yeah but where is the adventure in that???

    You just grind the rakers off right?? really big chips that way
     
  8. Meerkat

    Meerkat Seeking The Truth

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    Hubby bought a Poulan Pro 18in.bar to cut down some big trres and he likes it, cut down about 15 trees large oaks. Then cut up some of the limbs,but mostly just left them there because he couldn't handle all that work.

    He is old and diasbled so he liked it too because its light and easy to hold and cuts right through the tree like butter.

    It was also cheap half the price of the others. $169.00
     
  9. cowboyhermit

    cowboyhermit Supporting Member

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    I had someone do exactly that with the rakers on one of my chains, I usually check the chain first but I grabbed it and went, :eek: she dug in really good. The clip on file guides are a good compromise for someone learning to sharpen, they show you the angle, and the tool to check the raker height;) these are now always with my beater saw if anyone uses it, and angles are marked. I can't count how many times I heard people swear about not being able to cut something or a saw not working only to look at the chain and wonder what they were thinking. The best saw in the world with a dull chain is still useless.

    I can't say I know much about the cheaper brands but you can pick up a new Stihl for under $200, of course you can easily spend double that but it makes the other makes hard to consider.
    And just fyi, the ms170 weighs in at only 8.6lbs, it's pretty amazing if you ever have to pack it (mine have made more miles than I would like to count) but it also can make a difference on the arms, it is a remarkable quirk of physics that tools manage to get significantly heavier as the day progresses.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
  10. PreparedRifleman73

    PreparedRifleman73 Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I need to do just that and got down a ginormous tree in my front yard. It looks like it wants to kill my neighbor's new house! I don't want to pay $1,300 for it so I guess I gotta learn!


    You didn't just volunteer to write a post on chain sharpening did you?
     
  11. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

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    I have seen FAR more chains screwed up with various powered "chain sharpening devices" than just a plain ol' file. The camp on guide is also a great starting point, but I never use one.

    Get the right size file for your chain, and use the little diagonal line on the tooth itself as your guide, and how can you screw it up? Oh yes, jacking with the rakers seems to be a common problem.
     
  12. cowboyhermit

    cowboyhermit Supporting Member

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    Or not hold the file back tight against the tooth so they instead end up filing down into the chain, holding the file the wrong angle in the horizontal direction, and a lot of other things that I can even understand what they did.:confused:
     
  13. Jason

    Jason I am a little teapot

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    Yinz are all describing my first year of wood heating. :eek:
     
  14. Viking

    Viking Well-Known Member

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    I had a Husky 50 for many years until it got wiped out with a dumb move by me. I now have a 345 model which runs great and does a very good job for being a smaller saw. Being in logging country I hear many guys like the Sthil saws the best, I've been told by more that one person that has owned Husky's and has gone to Sthil saws because from what they say Sthil's don't need to keep the rpm up like the Husky's do and they may be right as my Husky will bog fairly easy. When we lived in Colorado I owned an Echo, it was very powerful but half the time when I ran through the first tank of fuel I couldn't get it to start for love or money, bad deal as I was logging and cutting firewood for a guy and needed things to go right or I didn't make the money. I will say, when the Echo ran it was a real hotrod on the other hand I'd have a hard time ever owning one again. I don't think you can go wrong with either a Sthil or Husky, just don't burn fuels with ethanol in them unless absolutely necessary, the ethanol is tough on neoprene parts.
     
  15. Viking

    Viking Well-Known Member

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    I've never used a powered chain sharpener and if I get into a good wet log, especially madrone, it will put out cuttings as long as the log is wide when cutting.
     
  16. musketjim

    musketjim Well-Known Member

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    I've been using a Homelite and a Huskie for several years and have dropped bucked and ripped lumber with both at BOL. This year I will upgrade to a larger Huskie for more extensive ripping.
     
  17. Viking

    Viking Well-Known Member

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    Back in the late 1960's the excavation contractor I worked for had a Homelite XL 12, I liked it so well I bought one for myself when we lived in Colorado. It was a great saw but it was made before the saws that had vibration reducing handles and if I cut a lot of firewood with it it would make my hands go numb. The Echo saw I had was the first I owned that had the handle isolation mounts and when it decided to run with refills it never made my hands numb. The pluses of the Huskies I've owned, always started great, could be set on the ground running while moving logs or cut pieces and it would idle and re-throttle without skipping a beat and they are economical on fuel. They cut a lot of wood for just one tankful. I have a neighbor that has owned Huskies and Sthil saws and he claims the Sthil is a much better saw, I have no experience using a Sthil so I can't be the judge on that.
     
  18. Apachespyder

    Apachespyder Member

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    I just recently invested in a Stihl 230, and I do mean invested. They are pricey but it has been the best chainsaw I've owned. I took my old one to get worked on and the mechanic wouldn't even work on my old one because it wasn't a Stihl or a Husqvarna. The cheaper Lowes and Home Depot saws work fine but when they break you have to buy a new one.

    Sent from my SCH-I545 using Survival Forum mobile app
     
  19. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

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    OK, I have been spending far too much time over on Arboristsite.com

    Concerning the "Poulan Pro":
    Since they sell 10 (or more) small crappy saws for every large one, the small ones (like my 40-42cc "Pro" models) are really the same crappy garbage tech and quality as the "Wild Thing" (a running joke).... they make a ton of small engined saws they know will only see 50 hours before getting tossed.

    The EXCEPTION is the large 50cc model they offer, the PP5020AV.
    Amazingly, since Poulan doesn't want to build 50cc engines for saws they can't sell many of, the 50cc guts in this saw come straight from Husqvarna. Pull the covers and you see the "crowned H" everywhere. A real steal that can still be found new for only $179.
    http://www.arboristsite.com/communi...ro-5020-to-see-what-there-about.192321/page-2


    For small lightweight saws, there is another "Wolf in Sheeps clothing", and that is the Ryobi chainsaws. The plastic looks the same as Homelite, but the engines are RedMax (Chinese Zenoah). Lots of accolades on these saws.
    http://www.arboristsite.com/community/threads/a-good-trimming-saw-for-100-ryobi-10532-review.100462/

    Factory refurbs at great prices:
    http://www.cporyobi.com/ryobi-chain-saws/ryobi-chain-saws,default,sc.html
     
  20. HamiltonFelix

    HamiltonFelix Part Time Good Guy

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    I have to agree with the folks who say buy a bit more saw than you think you need. Around 2002, I was intending to cut quite a bit of wood, only had my little old Homelite Super E-Z (still have two of those 70's saws that will run), so was shopping and thinking maybe a Husqvarna 365. Turned out Wood's Logging Supply had a deal on a Husky 385XP demo with a few hours on it. I gave $400 for an $800 saw. I've never regretted it. Buying a 28" bar and chain for firewood work was a mistake for a 5'10" man. It really is more comfortable with the 32" bar. It's always good to have more than one chain - even more than one bar from some "serious" users.

    From what I see in logging country, Stihl is #1 and Husqvarna is #2. My father was a 3rd generation logger and used many of the earliest chainsaws, Mall, Disston, Titan, etc. I remember when McCulloch and Homelite "owned the woods." My theory is that the MBA's and "marketing geniuses" ruined Homelite and McCulloch. Some bright boy figured out there are very few professionals and millions of "suburbanites" who want an occasional tool or a fun Father's Day gift. So those companies put their efforts into making the Power Mac 6, then then Mini Mac, and the XL2 and smaller toys.

    The tiny "consumer" saws were handy but not very durable or expensive. Serious users shifted to Stihl and Husqvarna, who continued R&D to improve their products until they owned the woods. Then Stihl and Husky started marketing more small saws and, surprise surprise, Suburban Dad wanted "the same brand the professionals use." So the guys who kept improving their high quality products ended up owning both the pro and the consumer markets. It's sad. I believe the Homelite Super E-Z of the late 1960's and the 1970's was the smallest saw Homelite ever sold that was actually made to do a day's work, day after day. It's outmoded today, but still a great little "just in case" saw to tuck away in your 4x4.

    Poulan seems to hang on, mostly by cute marketing of cheap saws (I have a tiny cheap old Poulan that I inherited from Mom, have actually used it up a tree because it's my lightest saw, but it's pretty cheesy), Homelite power equipment is probably on its last gasp, Echo is still making some halfway decent products. Jonsered is Husky by another name. There are a few other "no-name" makers around, as well as contracted stuff like Craftsman. Sachs Dolmar still exists, which is only fair since they are the original chainsaw company. But if it's going to be more than an occasional use and non-critical tool, I'd go Stihl or Husky.

    BTW, my Husky 385XP always seems to start OK, even after sitting for long periods. But virtually every saw I own will leak a bit of bar oil while it sits.

    Learning to file by hand is a Good Thing. But people tend to be righties or lefties, and it may be a while before your hand filed saw cuts perfectly straight instead of cutting a "dish" when going through a fair sized log. :rolleyes:

    It's getting harder and harder to find "real" gasoline these days. I guess it's time to get one of those test kits from fuel-testers.com. Maybe I should look for avgas. All but one of my saws were made in the days when leaded gas was common. Seeing the Homelite XL brushcutter I used in my youth advertised as a vintage item makes me feel old. :( I still wish I had one, even though I have a perfectly good Stihl brushcutter.

    On the Alaska Sawmill issue, I'd consider them for very occasional use, especially way out in the sticks. Yeah, they waste wood with that big kerf. Dad had one once, set up with ripping chain and a 30" bar on a Homelite 2100. I think my Husky 385XP could handle one if I wanted to spring for a ripping chain. They are a comparatively low cost and low volume option, sort of like getting a Lee Loader for your .38 instead of a serious press and dies. For now, I have a friend who owns a nice bandsaw mill... :D