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  • A new chainsaw

    I'm looking for some help figuring out what chainsaw to get. By no means am I a saw expert...in reality, I basically know nothing about them other than I need one to drop the occasional tree and to cut up said tree into firewood. I also use it to cut purchased pecan firewood into smaller pieces, as I have a pretty small fireplace. I go through about half a cord a year, as I live in southern New Mexico, and the weather is pretty nice most of the time. As of this time, the largest tree that I've had to fell is about 14 inches in diameter, and that was years ago. Most of what I need to work on is 12" diameter or less. I like a 14" or 16" bar and chain. I don't see much need for anything larger. I cut a combination of pine, pecan and scrub oak woods.

    For the last 10 years, I've been getting Craftsman saws from Sears. Almost without exception, the chain oil pump has quit oiling the bar and chain. My first gas saw lasted a year and a half. When it quit oiling, it was also getting difficult to start. For a replacement, I opted for a 110v electric 14" with a manual oiler (you had to push on the lid of the oil tank to push oil to the screen. This worked fairly well for me, but after 1.5 to 2 years, the electric motor failed. I replaced that one with another 110v electric, this time opting to try out the automatic oiler. Well, that oiler quit within a year. I took it back to Sears and they gave me another new one to replace it. A year and a half years later, the oiler/oil pump on this one has failed. To make it work and cut my firewood, I've been dipping the end of the bar & chain into a small container of chain oil, but that gets rather messy.

    I only use 30 weight Bar & Chain oil. Years ago, I tried experimenting with regular 30 weight automoive engine oil as Bar & chain oil, and my chain kept stretching, and stretching, so I went back to the correct chain oil. When I had a gas saw, I always mixed my own fuel/oil mix, but I will likely use premixed in the future for convienence and not having to to mess with mixing. To my knowledge, there are no fuel stations that sell any fuel without 10% ethanol.

    I'm looking into the Stihl Wood Boss, the Stihl Farm Boss, and the Echo CS490. A small part of me is tempted to try one of the Stihl battery operated units, but doubt that they will last long enough to do what I need/want it to do.

    Do any of our wood cutting members have any good advice or suggestions for me? Like most, I'd rather not throw any more money than I need to at this, but I'm tired of buying crappy saws that only last a couple of years. If I get another gasoline engine based saw, I wouldn't mind if it had the ability to use some sort of external starter on it. Personally, I think that any and every pull start engine should have that ability. Yes, I'm aware that this feature is most likely only going to be found on professional, $1000 plus saws, but it sure would be nice.
    Defund the Media !

  • #2
    Husqvarna makes good saws. I have a 455 Rancher that has served me well for 5 - 6 years and still going strong. I cut at least a cord of oak per year plus whatever falls across the driveway or in the yard. Heck, I even took down a 70' pine that the Dish Network tech said was interfering with my satellite reception... while he was working on the dish. That cleared up the problem.

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    • #3
      Growing up we would cut about 4-6 cords of live oak and maybe 1-2 of pine each winter. We used Homelite saws that functioned flawlessly but they aren't out there any longer. Husquvarna has taken their place with what we use to keep the older folks warm avoiding the high cost of purchasing wood. We cut much larger diameter wood than you have described as needing a saw for. The oak cuts very easy when alive and is actually fairly soft. After it's cured is when you run into lots of trouble as it gets extremely dense. Pine in my opinion will do more to foul your saw than oak due to the high concentration of sap (Turpentine which eats petroleum based lubricants) than oak requiring more maintenance and oiling. In my opinion a stretching chain can be alleviated by proper bar adjustment which is pretty simple ensuring it's set but needs to be done throughout your workday. On lunch breaks is when we would sharpen our saws with a rattail file doing any necessary maintenance while eating. It's really not too difficult. You don't need a very large bar for what you are describing 24" or so should easily suffice. A larger bar only makes things more difficult for the limbing from the trunk and maintain the saw. It also wears you out having to hold that saw out in front of you or up over your head. When the saws are not in use treating them something like a generator with fuels and oils is effective i.e. keeping them drained of fuel unless you use Stabil or Pri-G/similar type to prevent your saw from internally gumming up.
      Hold my beer and watch this

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      • #4
        Our department ran about a dozen saws, a mix of Stihl and Echo. The Stihl saws are by far the more reliable of the two. Husqvarna makes a good saw too but parts are harder to get around here for them. With whatever you choose make sure you have parts source available, a chainsaw (any of them) can be finicky. Premix is great if you aren't able to get non E gas. Almost all running failures these days go back to E10 gas.
        [I][B]Oderint dum metuant[/B][/I]

        [I]"Stay with me; do not fear. For he who seeks my life seeks your life, but with me you shall be safe.”[/I] 1 Samuel 22:23

        [I]“Everybody is a patriot...Until it's time to do patriot shit[/I]

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        • #5
          I have the same saw as olfart and have had a very good run with it. My only complaint would be all of the places under the cover where oil soaked wood chips build up.

          As Outlaw stated the ethanol/gas is a destroyer of all things with a small engine on them. I've had no problems running it with the premixed fuels.

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          • #6
            four brands to consider: Stihl, Husqvarna, Echo, and Johnsared.

            Of those, I own 2. A large stihl that is way beyond your needs, and a Husqvarna 51. that little 51 has been fabulous since 1997. It has cut many cords of wood and rescued me many times with storms and the like. It is about worn out and has been reduced to limbing duties. I do not suggest electric. Not fun to drag a cord through limbs and downed trees after a storm even if you still have power.

            A buddy sells Echo, and swears that they are wonderful machines for homeowner use. I know my weed trimmer by that company has been very reliable. The newer Johnsared are not the Johnsared of old, but are still awfully good machines.

            For me, one of the above brands in a 45 to 60 cc motor with a 14 to 18 inch bar is a perfect saw for what you describe.

            I would suggest buying from whomever has the best local service and parts availability locally. for me, my new saw was a stihl instead of a husky for that reason.

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            • #7
              Semi related, there are sites on line that list local none ethanol gas stations. Murphy, which is associated with Wal-Mart, always has it around here and back home. I do not know if that is regional. I always watched for it for my bike. Most of our Citgo stations have it as well.

              https://www.pure-gas.org/extensions/map.html

              This is one of many sites

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              • #8
                We have more and more stations offering it. I run it in all of my small engines.

                Some premium gasoline may also be ethanol free.

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                • #9
                  Ya, we used to have a few stations that carried ethanol free fuel, but not any more. My scoot got a lot better mileage without ethanol.

                  As for the chainsaw , I'm currently leaning towards the Stihl 250 after talking with the local rep. I'd still like to put hsnds on an Echo for comparison . It's ok though, I have time . I have enough wood cut for the rest of this winter, but will be needing it prior to next winter.
                  Defund the Media !

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                  • #10
                    This is pretty much what I need it for. I've got three more downed trees that got knocked down behind my barn to break up into firewood, one of which is slightly larger diameter.
                    I still haven't decided on what to get. It's looking more and more like it's down to the Stihl 250 (per recommendation from Stihl salesman), the Echo CS352 (16") and the Echo CS400 (18"). Although my "money doesn't matter" choice is the Stihl, but an extra $100 is hard to justify, as long as the Echo is a quality product.
                    Edit: Plus a 5 year warranty of the Echo vs a 1 year warranty of the Stihl.


                    Wood.jpg
                    Defund the Media !

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                    • #11
                      Around here, you can get great deals on craigslist for saws that have hardly ever been used. Usually it is after a storm like the last hurricane that was a bust for us. Generators are the same way.

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                      • #12
                        Ya, but I just don't trust anyone or anything on Craigslist. With my luck , I'd end up with a stolen unit that didn't work , and would be hauled off when I took it in for repair.
                        Defund the Media !

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kickstand View Post
                          This is pretty much what I need it for. I've got three more downed trees that got knocked down behind my barn to break up into firewood, one of which is slightly larger diameter.
                          I still haven't decided on what to get. It's looking more and more like it's down to the Stihl 250 (per recommendation from Stihl salesman), the Echo CS352 (16") and the Echo CS400 (18"). Although my "money doesn't matter" choice is the Stihl, but an extra $100 is hard to justify, as long as the Echo is a quality product.
                          Edit: Plus a 5 year warranty of the Echo vs a 1 year warranty of the Stihl.


                          [ATTACH=CONFIG]8727[/ATTACH]
                          Kick check , I think if you use Stihl motor oil it extends your warrant a year or more .

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kickstand View Post
                            This is pretty much what I need it for. I've got three more downed trees that got knocked down behind my barn to break up into firewood, one of which is slightly larger diameter.
                            I still haven't decided on what to get. It's looking more and more like it's down to the Stihl 250 (per recommendation from Stihl salesman), the Echo CS352 (16") and the Echo CS400 (18"). Although my "money doesn't matter" choice is the Stihl, but an extra $100 is hard to justify, as long as the Echo is a quality product.
                            Edit: Plus a 5 year warranty of the Echo vs a 1 year warranty of the Stihl.
                            I did this same research two years ago after moving to a home with a few acres and a wood stove. We cut a lot of wood growing up and my Dad always used a Homelite, I think. It usually worked, but I remember a bit of cussin' and kickin' by him. I asked a few people I trust (including my Dad) and, unequivocally was told Stihl. I went to a local dealer and decided on the Stihl MS 250 with 18 inch bar and its been great. Obviously its only been two years, but I expect it to last a long time. And, yes, as airdrop said, if you buy from an authorized dealer and use the right oil, they'll extend your warrantee by a year.

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                            • #15
                              Well if you were closer I have an extra one you could have. Seeing your not, stihl i like but I think they cost more than they should, echo also are well running. Nothing made in the last 10 years do I think are worth much. I have two pulans that are over 35 yrs old that are tanks, which I will have to have them gone threw seeing I didn't use them for sentimental and now they need a good gone threw.


                              RD
                              Sometimes I wrestle with my demons, other times we just snuggle.

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