choosing a new (first) chain saw

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

  1. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    Alaska mills are for the "dream of carving it out of the woods" types there are really cheap and good attachments like the beam machine, which is basicly a guide that uses a milled board as a track. A small band saw is the only real efficient way to self cut wood, but then that gets pushed into slow land by a swing saw. Cheaper to hire it done now, but a darn good skill to have in a PAW
  2. Dakine

    Dakine Uber Newbie

    Hi all!

    sorry about the old bump, but just wanted to give an update... today I bought a Stihl MS-250 :)

    I appreciate all the responses I got, and I really liked the price point and lighter weight of the 170 but as I was looking at it, I was thinking to myself better to get more saw than I think I will need and maybe I'll double back and get that 170 as a little brother backup saw.

    I got the ms-250, case, chaps, extra chain, engine oil and bar/chain oil for $550 out the door.

  3. cowboyhermit

    cowboyhermit Supporting Member

    I have always found this to be the best time of year to buy a saw. That's a good saw, I'm sure you will be happy with it for a long time if you treat it good. Will probably still be around for a long time if you abuse it sometimes like some of us do:eek:

    As much as we complain about inflation and loss of purchasing power, the amount of value you can get out of that 500 and change is really amazing to me. Some tools are very reasonable these days if you are careful with your $$$
  4. BobR1

    BobR1 Well-Known Member

    I have owned a few saws over the years. The one I bought 30 years ago was a Husky 61 Rancher if I remembr correctly. Great saw, and the right size for general farm use. Some Idiot at Huskey decided that my local dealer was going to sell Huskeys only, and not Sthil. So he went wth his best selling saw the Stihl and dropped Huskey. The only Huskey Dealer around then was a joke. Every time I needed the Husky worked on it took 3 trips to get it fixed.
    Time for a new saw. The new one was a 440 Magnum Stihl. This is a big saw, but talk about cutting wood.

    My point would be buy from someone who can keep your saw running. I bought my 440 from Ricks Saw Shop. When I need something fixed, 99% of the time I can pick it up the next day at the latest, FIXED! On a day like today, I can probably get it fixed while I wait. My last shop visit was my Wood Splitter. He fixed it while I was still at his shop.

    I could probably shop around and save maby $20 on a saw. I could also spend the $20 on gas running around checking for a cheaper price. My advice, buy from your local saw shop who has a good reputation for his Service. It will pay off. Also listen when they give advice on what you need.

  5. cowboyhermit

    cowboyhermit Supporting Member

    Good advice, finding a good service place is important because poor service is worse than none at all. On the other hand, fixing what? Aside from bars, chains, sprockets and very occasionally a plug, all of which are a simple parts swap, a chainsaw needing service should be a pretty rare occurrence ime. Even a carb is a pretty darn easy swap.

    It's a bit off-topic I suppose but I wonder what kind of stuff are people taking saws to mechanics for?
  6. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    I don't know, either.
    Some saws are pretty difficult to work on, but not impossible.
    I do buy other people's "Oooops" saws and fix them, though.

    I have only had *TWO* saws "fail" on me over all these years.... and it was only after a LOT of use had taken their toll on them (A very old Mac and an old Poulan). They were ready to retire anyway.

    I have saws that I've owned 20 years and I've never even had to change the fuel filter clunk yet. (Stihl 028AV Super, Husqv 45, Makita DCS 520i)
  7. crabapple

    crabapple I sold my soul to the internet

    I have a "Farm Boss" maybe 20 years old.
    Still works, my son uses it to take down large trees.
  8. Tirediron

    Tirediron RockyMountainCanadian

    I think my son is about to buy a Stihl 461, unless a Husky 372 is a couple of hundred cheaper, then he said he could put up with the oiler leaking.
  9. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    I then proceeded to hate on Poulan saws for a bit....

    I owe MMM an apology - -

    there are VERY different differences between various "Poulan Pro" saws.
    This thread has been gnawing on me for a while, so I made this a hobby of mine to see if there was any merit.

    That 20" bar saw is probably either a Poulan Pro 330 or a 5020AV. Both of these saws use made in Sweden Husqvarna guts,...NOT "Made in USA Poulan" cheap crap. (sorry, it's true)

    My experience with "Poulan Pro" saws has been with their "under 46cc's".. .those are indeed a joke. There isn't ANYTHING pro about them.

    Now that I know that the larger Poulan Pro's are actually Husky's in sheep's clothing, I'd like to try them out.
  10. Viking

    Viking Well-Known Member

    What's the model number for the Husky saws that are under the Poulan names?
  11. hashbrown

    hashbrown Peckerwood

    Is it the easy start saw?
  12. Woody

    Woody Woodchuck

    I missed this from a year ago? Damn.

    I logged for several years back in the mid 1970's to the 80's. Worked for GP (Georgia Pacific) in Maine, north of Moosehead lake, upper Vermont and then the NYS area, upstate.

    Different saws worked in different areas. In Maine the Husky (Husqvarna) was the saw of choice. Don't remember the size though, but they were small. You were cutting frozen softwoods with limbs right to the ground. They would need high RPM's and would SCREAM through that timber! They were also lightweight and you could kill some trees with them. The company store would stock about any part you needed so to have anything else was a waste. They were fine saws for the job.

    Vermont was Homolight territory, old saws too. Heavy, clunky, ornery old things, but reliable and had more power to them than you would ever need. I don't think anyone had a saw newer than 20 years old. They laughed at my Husky, and I soon had to admit they were right. It wasn't up to cutting large hardwoods, not at all on a production scale. When you needed it, you couldn't dig the teeth in and put pressure on it. The RPM's would come down fast and be worthless. I bought a brand new Stihl, don't remember the model, 55 maybe? But it weighed 45 pounds empty. Thinking on it, it couldn't have been any larger because it took 3/8 pitch chain. Doesn't the 75 take 1/2inch? I would make up a new chain, take the rakers down half way and that beast wouldn't stall. You could be in a backcut dig the dogs in and LEAN on it, it would LUG right into it, throwing out chunks, not chips of wood! LOL!!!

    Moved back to NY and Pioneer was the saw of choice. No matter what the problem was, with a scrench and a few minutes, you could get one of those old beasts running. They were as heavy and bulky as the Homolights though. MY Stihl was WAY more saw than I needed so traded it in for a Stihl 045. That saw saw several years of production cutting. That meaning you were in the woods waiting for it to get light enough to start, and didn't come out until it was too dark to cut. Unless it was too windy a day of course. Sure it got tickled every night! I'd touch up the chain a few times a day too. I can only remember a few times I would have to take one of those boat anchor Pioneers in the woods to cut though. Still have it today and after sitting for long spells, a little love will get it to fire right up. No safety brakes or anti-vibration stuff on it, it is just a working saw.

    That was the first automatic oiler saw I had. The only issues were if you didn't bring it in every night, strip it and blow it out. Well, not strip it but take the bar off and clean the air filter kind of thing. Regular daily maintenance stuff.

    I don't know about the longevity of any of the newer saws, any brand. I've had some in my hands and they all seem way too light and have too many extra's for me. Chain brake, anti-kick, trigger safety.... Lean over to check your cut, the saw stops! Oh, you hit the brake. Reset it and try again. Huh? It is a chain saw, it is inheritantly dangerous! Sharp thing spinning really fast really close to you kind of dangerous?

    And for sharpening. Try to find someone to actually show you that. It is nothing you can learn from a video or reading about it. It really is easy with two safety rules: SHARP file and WEAR GLOVES! I still have a scar on a knuckle from a dull file and the "it only needs a stroke or two...." Don't use a chain over and over and over because "it still kind of cuts", STOP and sharpen it. I would use chains until the teeth were little triangles on them. A sharp chain makes the work easy for you AND the saw. It is also much safer!!! And yes, you are going to screw up a few chains. But you will eventually learn what to do to keep the teeth even: two heavy on the left side, three heavy of the right side.... Or two light and one heavy or whatever works to keep the chain from pulling.

    Alright, I've gone on long enough...
  13. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    I have several answers:

    1) It seems anything over 46cc is a sure thing. The 46cc saws themselves can be hit and miss and are a combo of such, usually a Swedish crank, rod & piston/cylinder with the rest of the parts a mix. It looks like under 46cc on older Poulans is "all Poulan" only.

    2) Husky has pro saws, and NOT pro saws.
    The under-45cc Husky saws (38cc, 40cc) are going to kill Husky's good name because it's ALL Poulan underneath (the other way around, Poulan in Husky or Jonsered Clothing) and those small "consumer" saws are already giving Husky/Jred a bad name for being a crappy saw.... With new Jonsereds and new Huqvarnas, 45cc is the cut-off point.

    3) Even if it's Poulan with Husky guts, it is still not a "Pro" Husqvarna... it's from the "consumer" line. But still, for $200 you can get a brand new Poulan pro PP5020AV and it's all Husky in Poulan clothing. It's getting great reviews.

    Slightly older saws like the Poulan Pro 325 and 330, 3300, 3450, 3750, 380 are also 100% Husqvarna inside.

    EDIT: The Poulan Pro 325 is the exact same saw as a Jonsered 525 (52cc) just different color. 100% made in Sweden.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015
  14. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    Husqvarna used to make some pro saws that were 46cc and under that were good. E.g. 338XTP. They're good for limbing but wouldn't want to actually cut trees down with them.
  15. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    "Top Handle" saws designed for professional tree trimmers and arborists, I left out by default since they are not what a common person buys.
  16. ZoomZoom

    ZoomZoom Rookie Prepper

    I like the "Top Handle". It allows me to hold my beer in the other hand. :rolleyes: :nuts: :p

    I normally drive a Husky 365 or 372XP but they're pretty heavy to swing around at my old age for removing everything off the log. After I fell it with one of the bigger saw I grab the 338 to do the limb work then back to the big saw for bucking.
  17. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    The Husky 338 is a true professional saw, made in Sweden.

    It is NIGHT AND DAY different than the Husqvarna 240 (also 38cc) which is 100% Poulan and is pure junk. None of it's internals are made in Sweden.
  18. smaj100

    smaj100 Jack of Alot, Master of Few........

    I use and have been running 2 husqys and love them. Ive had to replace a few parts on the 455, but its 5yo and been running it fairly hard for years. I even run the 455 with an 18" bar and ripping chain on a beam machine. It is time consuming but the saw handles it well and keeps on chugging. The 455 hasn't found anything it cant get me through. The wife swings a smaller 14 husky and i carry that when im felling trees in case something gets pinched or bound up.
  19. LincTex

    LincTex Jack of all trades?

    I have been wanting to replace my Husqvarna 45 for quite a few years (it's almost 30 years old, though!) I bought a new Jonsered CS 2245 from Tractor Supply because I got a gift card from work. I really wanted the 38 or 40 so my stepson could start helping with firewood... my bigger saws are just too much for him.

    I didn't know about the Poulan guts until I started researching it a bit. The 2238 and 2240 are Tractor Supply exclusive and are just red Poulan junk (like the Husky 240).

    The 2245 is actually made in Sweden, so I bought it. Jumping up to the 2250 or 2255 were way to much money... and I already have enough saws in that size range.

    I'm in the process of cleaning up and fixing the ol' Poulan Pro 221 (42cc) just for grins. It was never a great saw at all, but it has so few hours on it I wanted to at least have it ready to sell when we have the next big windstorm. When trees fall after a big storm is when all my "cull" saws go on Craigslist!! (including ol' betsy Husky 45). I also have an older Stihl 028 Wood Boss (not a Super or Super AV or else I'd keep it) that will also be for sale.
  20. Woody

    Woody Woodchuck

    Linc!!! You seem to have great knowledge of lots of newer saws, mind taking a bit to answer a few questions?

    It's been a looong time since I worked for a living in the woods and have had the Stihl 045 for so long that, it is just what a chainsaw is to me. Heavy, boxy and powerful.

    The Huskies we had in the 70's were light, slim cutting little bastages. But, you needed to keep the RPM's screaming for them to perform. If the RPM's started to get low, or the saw bogged, you'd have to back off, get them back up then go screaming back into the cut. Is that still the same today? You mentioned the Poulan's have the same guts, so same there also? When you get to production size saws, do they have more power without the RPM's?

    How about rakers? Can you give the new saws another stroke or two without having them grab? Or does the new 'kick back' crap on new chains take care of that? I still have several chains I made for the 18" (or is it 16?) and 24" bars way back when, so haven't ever used them.

    I was just curious. I remember the Huskies sounding like a mosquito, HIGH pitched noise, while the Homolights and Stihls were more of a low roar.