Slightly OT: Which chain saw to buy?

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I need to purchase a chain saw to cut up some trees that feel on my property. I don't want to spend a ton of money since I will only use it a few times a year.
Any suggestions?
Sincerely,
Stuart Pedazzo...but you can call me Stu!
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.net writes:

Stu,
This may not apply to you since guys like gas chain saws, but I have an electric. Because I'm only doing "back yard" cutting, it fills the bill for my needs. Most importantly, I don't have to deal with all that cord pulling and the gasoline. It still needs oil and other chain care, but it is so much easier to use and maintain. As with all power tools, one needs to be careful. Know the limits of the tool and the limits of you, work within those limits and don't push them, and all will go well.
Not in the plan was cutting up my cherry tree two years ago . . . it fell down one day with no warning; it was loaded with ripe cherries at the time. A previous owner had butchered the trees and dry rot had started working its way down; there was actually a huge hole where it should have been solid trunk when it fell. The tree was small as trees go, only about 18 inches in diameter, but the electric chain saw worked very well. The secret was working slowly and doing it correctly. Unfortunately, it got used again this spring after our winter storm took down 1/3 to 1/2 of my 30-foot Evergreen Magnolia and 1/4 of my apricot tree. Hopefully, in the future, only small limbs will be its "victims" but it's nice to know that it will do the work if necessary.
Best to evaluate the biggest job you anticipate doing and purchase accordingly. Also, if it's away from a power source (more than 100 feet), an electric wouldn't even be a consideration. If this is going to be a one-time need, you might consider renting a chain saw. That will show you what you need as well as being much less expensive than purchasing. By "some trees," it seems as though they might be some distance from your house which would indicate that gas powered is the only way for you to go. If the other times you have need are close to your house and smaller cuts, then an electric might be a consideration when you do purchase. Renting can help you decide what size and brand name.
Best of luck, Glenna
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On Wed, 07 Apr 2004 22:43:27 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@pmug.org (Glenna Rose) wrote:

Thanks, Glenna....but I have 30 acres and would need approximately 1/4 mile of extension cords!! =:o I used to use an electric lawn mower when I lived in the city and loved it until I ran over the cord one too many times.
Sincerely,
Stuart Pedazzo...but you can call me Stu!
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Poulan seems to be the best of the current crop of cheap homeowner saws. I use one of el cheapo McCulloughs ( paid $99 for it in 1991) and cut about a cord to two cords of wood a year. It's been doing this for twelve years. I do notice tha firnds with Poulans have a less tempermental saw. That McCullough has to be just right or its a bear to crank. If I ever have to replace it, a Poulan will be at the top of a short list..
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (FarmerDill) wrote in message writes:

I had to throw away both of my McCulloughs (yes, I had two bought in 1996 and 1997 respectively) because the company has gone out of business and there are no parts anywhere to be found (I acutally only tried two repair shops). I have a Stihl now - not exactly cheap, but made me understand what pieces of junk I had before. Still, they paid for themselves with all the firewood they cut. Yes, Poulan is probably best for limited use.
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Interesting; of course the only parts that I have had to replace are cutting chains, spark plugs and carboreter gaskets. Had to to clean the carb this past winter. Those parts were redily available as many other engines use the same parts. Any of you guys throwing away low use saws, toss them my way. I like to piddle with them.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (FarmerDill) wrote in message

These were anything but low use. One had some sort of gravel or other hard object in the transmission. The other was so worn you could no longer position the bar properly (the chain would fly off every five mins of use) and the chain oil pipe was gone altogether. I wish I had bought a Stihl right away - I would have saved some 250 bucks. Well, no. Sometime work is so heavy I really need two. With all the dead ash trees around here lately (my neighbor alone has 16, all at least 20 inches in diameter), we have had a couple of days when two saws were the bare minimum.
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snipped-for-privacy@my-deja.com (simy1) wrote:

Idumped my McCullogh too a couple of years ago and got an electric Stihl for backyard use, expensive but worth it. Using it a few times a year is justification to get something good, imho. The Stihl is a pleasure to use, if it's too expensive a Poulan would do too as that was my second choice when I researched chainsaws back then.
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Stuart Pedazzo wrote:

I have a 16" Poulan and it cuts pretty well and it's fairly light. I wouldn't recommend it for a logging operation but for once in a while uses it's been fine. It won't make you go broke buying it either.
--
Steve

Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it.
  Click to see the full signature.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.net writes:

Or more! LOL

Ouch!
Electric mowers have always been my favorite, hate those pull cords on gas engines. I found a better one, though. In 1999, when I bought this house which has much more lawn than any previously, I also bought one of those cool battery-powered mowers! I have all the advantages of electric and no cord to babysit (years ago, my middle son ran over the cord twice, but was the only one who ever did, also coinciding with the number of times he mowed the lawn, hmmmm). Better yet is that the battery and I run down about the same time.<g> What a wonderful excuse to stop and take a break! Fortunately, it is also the amount of time it takes to mow the entire yard if it's dry and not three weeks past mowing time. (Wet grass and longer grass take more time/power.) Mine is a 24-volt Black and Decker which is 5-hp or 8.5, can't remember which, just know it has plenty of power. Since two hours is long enough to be mowing lawn, the battery time is just fine, and I stop at two hours whether or not the battery is down. :-)
It has a catcher or mulches. I use the grass for mulch around the tomato plants, etc., and also use it to pick up the thousands of magnolia leaves that fall throughout the year. In my mind, it's worth it just for the grass clippings for mulch in the garden so I have double benefit. (I never bothered with a grass catcher before this mower.)
Glenna who started a sorta greenhouse (much like a hoop house) with concrete blocks, cattle panels and plastic, if it works, I'll expand it and likely use fiberglass for next season
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Stuart Pedazzo wrote:

Spend the bucks, buy a Stihl.
Or, consider the lesser cheaper brands as disposable.
(advice from my husband)
Mary
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You might want to consider the fatigue factor. Cheaper saws don't have as good a vibration dampener as the better ones. My current saw is a Jonsered turbo & it will outperform any other saw I have owned or used & my hands & arms don't vibrate for hours afterwards. Steve

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also look for one that has an automatic oiling system. Having to constantly hit a squeezebulb on manual oilers is a PITA.
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I have an AV 15v Stihl that I bought used in 85. 1/4 inch chain is hard to find but that sucker can cut!
Look for the big orange.
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OK, Stu.
I'll go along with some of the others who have replied. For limited use you probably can't beat a Poulan for value for your dollar. We heat mainly with wood and over the past 25 years I've owned the following in order of purchase: Homelite 20" bar- didn't last the first season before I got rid of it. It was a piece of junk just like the Homelite weed eater I bought at the same time. Don't listen to the salesman ;-(. McCullough 20" bar- what colour is a lemon? 2 Poulans, 1-16" & 1 20" bar, great little saws but don't seem to stand up to a lot of hard work.. Echo 20" bar, twin cylinder, maybe a tad heavy but, well balanced and beautiful to work with and the twin cylinder provides far less vibration than any other saw I've used. Adjustable automatic oiler with manual override. My biggest complaint is the fuel tank is a bit undersized for the size of the saw. Both Poulans and the Echo were bought at the same time. I still have the 16" Poulan and the Echo. The Poulan has had its share of shop time but, it got used pretty hard for the first few years. It now only gets used for trimming branches The Echo is now about 16 years old, has never been in to the shop and still starts after only a few pulls. Don't know if they're still available but, if I ever need another saw I'll try to find one. My son bought a Stihl last year and it too is a great saw. Stihl seems to be the saw of choice for the professional forestry/arborist types around this area.
Ross.
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<snip>
Poulon seems to be a god saw from the poeple I know that have them, as already stated, not for the guy with 20 acres of timber, but good for keeping those two trees in the back yard ok.
I Have to agree with you on the Echo. I have an echo-16 and while it is a bit heavier than other saws I have used, I don't think that is a big factor. In fact, for going through horizontal branches from above, it is actually an advantage.
I got mine for free. a guy I was working with was giving it away because the "chain would just stop spinning" I cleaned it, oiled it, and adjusted the inertial stop a bit, and havn't had a problem with it at all. I do wish the fuel tank was a bit bigger though. The only other complaint is the oil mix. 50:1 isn't used for anything else (that I have found) so I have to have an extra gas can sitting around.
A friend of mine has an echo and a stille, and he said he wouldn't give either one up. He likes them both about the same.
email: dallyn_spam at yahoo dot com please respond in this NG so others can share your wisdom as well!
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    My Poulan is a piece of junk. It's hard to start and then won't idle. Service is not user freindly. It's about two years old, maybe they used to be better. I wish I'd asked my brother in law before buying. He's a tree trimmer and said "yep, Poulon, you keep pullin' and pullin'.
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Unless you've used a chainsaw before, it may be cheaper to just hire some insured tree guys to come in a do the work a couple of times a year. Those emergency room bills are out of sight and reattaching a chainsawed leg is a tad more complicated that sewing a finger back on that's been chopped off by cutting an onion too close with a chef's knife.
If you really want to add a chainsaw to your arsenal of tools, then don't buy a cheap one. Buy a Stihl. It'll pay for itself in the long run. Quality always does. It'll be less fatiguing to run, and that's a real biggie on something as dangerous as a chain saw. Buy the best kevlar chaps you can find as well as eye protection. Learn all about how to properly cut a tree down, including notching and preloading. Never operate it alone. And never have the friend who's helping you be within the dripline of the tree you're cutting down. Killing one person accidentally is bad enough, you don't need to go for two. ALways always do proper maintainence on your machine. If you don't know much about small engines, learn. It can save your life. A chainsaw can be absolutely deadly in the wrong hands. Are you really sure that your hands are the right ones?
Sunflower, whose work acquaintance still bears a huge scar just above the knee where the idiot thought they could be Paul Bunyan. MS 7b
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Sunflower wrote:

Not all Stihl saws are good quality. Buy one of their commercial saws that are made in Germany, or buy a different brand. Echos are good, Homelites are cheap, and Poulan, John Deere, and McCollouch are in-between. Stihl is a mixed bag.
I'd go with an Echo or a Poulan.
Bob
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the
enough,
Also, if there is nobody else in danger, you can concentrate on saving your own tail without worrying about your companion. That goes triple for kids. Keep the curious kids well away, or make sure that each child has a paranoid adult in attendance.
Ray
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