What chainsaw do you like and why?

We went to the cabin this past weekend. I am going to need a chainsaw for cutting firewood, and clearing some dead wood. None of the dead wood is more than 8" in diameter. I have plenty of downed wood in the area where I live, and don't want to cut anything bigger than about 8" for firewood, because I don't want all the work of splitting it. I would cut about a cord a year.
Therefore, I am thinking 16" chainsaw. BUT, I always have a tendency to buy a little bigger for that once in a while when you need the bigger.
BUT, I goes to the stores, and see Poulan, Husqvarna, Homelite, Echo, Stihl, etc. with prices all over the map.
I also see engines with different cc displacements, from 37 to 55 on chainsaws with the same bar length. What's up with that? Bigger engines better?
I would like to ask:
Which brand do you like and why? Which brand lasts the longest? Which has the least downtime? Does any have a problem with getting spare parts?
Would you do the 16, 18, or 20 inch?
Would you go for the bigger cc engine and why?
Thanks in advance.
Steve
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SteveB wrote:

Lots of questions. Boils down to what you are willing to pay and how much overkill do you want. If you are serious about sticking with no bigger than 8" wood, you don't need much of a saw. Any saw with a 10" or longer bar will do fine. You are also talking about very light use for the saw. For this you don't need to go to the professional quality saws - those are the ones with the high prices. Others will say that the homeowner quality saws are not worth anything. The problems with those saws are poor maintenance, most common is leaving gas in them thus causing crud to build up in the carbs and ports. Empty them and run them dry before putting away cures most maintenance problems.
Now to my likes. I cut 8-10 cord (or more) per year and thus need good saws. I have 3, 2 pro quality, one homeowner ranging from 16" to 24". Huskies and Stihl. Have had Homelight, Poulan, Mac in past. All are/were good saws.
For your use go for about a 16" bar (overkill but you never know) that is on sale or shop second hand stores if you know how to check one out. Homeowner quality will do just fine for your use. Any of the known brands are also O.K. I would buy in a dealer shop, not in a big box store.
Harry K
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I think if you know how to maintain chainsaws even a cheaper one, but not too cheap, would be ok. There is nothing cuts better than a new chain. Too lazy and cheap to go to the shop and wait a week for my chains to be sharpen so I got 10 new chains, a few extra bars and one of those bench type disk chain sharpeners but I still touch up with my file to get it sharp. If you're stuck in the cabin, learn to sharp chains as the best chainsaw will be useless with a dull chain. With that said my choice would be Echo, Husky or Stihl. Stihl has two lines - one for home and the other for commercial use. I would invest in a spare bar and chain just to get you out of a jam once in a while. I had a tree lean backwards and pinched my bar - a spare bar and chain would be nice. For small stuff, like 8" wood, I would go with Echo. Some companies put a larger chain on the saw just to have a better sale and that is unfortunate as sometime you need to bury the chain into the tree and an under sized engine just dies. If I had a choice I would go with a little one (12" Echo) and a 24" Stihl - that would take care most of anything I have. Hey, you may moved into another cabin with 40" trees.
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I have a 16" Stihl and a 20" homelite. I use the Stihl 90% of the time because it's a lot lighter and easier to use for long periods. I use the Homelite when I need to down a large tree and cut the trunk. In a horizontal position the weight is not an issue. For clearing the brush and small stuff back to the Stihl. Don't forget to buy a plastic chain guard for when you store it and proper safety gear.

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Get one with the smallest chain you can. 12" is plenty. ANy of the above-mentioned saws will be fine for your needs, just not the homelite (I burned out 2 homelite blowers before getting a husqy, which is a dream to use in comparison). Stihl is the best. ANd get a file to sharpen the chains, with a little practice you can sharpen a chain to new in 2-3 minutes. I sharpen mine in the fields at least once or twice in a day, especially if the trees are muddy.
Dean
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Dean, muddy tree's. Don't you wash them first???? I agree about the Homelite but it was free and I have two others still for parts. Can't beat that price. Thing starts in 2-3 pulls every time
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I brush the mud off as much as I can. Generally its dry, but on the underside of the tree sometimes that's difficult. Or you can chip off the bark where you're going to cut.
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Stihl. Reliable, starts easily, lasts a long time. #2 choice would be Husquevarna My original Homelite did not make one year and went to the junk yard worn out.

See above brands

16 is plenty or my use.

Bigger is heavier. I'm not cutting down the forrest and don't need more power. I do need something that starts easily and runs well, thus the Stihl
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Stihl Magnum Professional MS 460.
-Pro chain saw. -A little more power than the 440. -16" to 32" inch bar length. -14.3 lbs (less weight than 650, 660, or 880.) -My "logger" friends all perfer Stihl, which is unusual for these guys. Usually they can't agree on anything! (Ford, Chevy, etc....)
Note: I'm mostly cutting smaller stuff, sometimes larger stuff. If you're always cutting larger stuff and using a long bar, then might want a saw with more power, but of course it will weight more...
Various Stihl model specs... http://www.stihl.us/chainsaws/comparison.html
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Bill wrote:

Bit of overkill to samy the least. With that much saw he wouldn't even need to start it, just set it on the log and break it apart.
Harry K
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With all due respect Bill, although that is probably the best saw in the world (I have the same one), its complete overkill for occasional 8" cuts! Plus it costs $800
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I've had good results with various Poulan saws. (My 3.4 c.i. saw is now 25-yrs. old and runs like new after many hundreds of hours of use.) Prices of each were a fraction of similar Stihl.
One of the lightweight 2.0 c.i. models would likely suit you best. Light weight and low noise reduce fatigue factor and really boost safety. Shorter bar is less prone to kickback, and easier to keep from dirt and stones.
Chainsaws can inflict nasty injuries, as can falling trees. Ballistic-nylon chaps, eye&ear-protection help a lot, but knowing how to hold the saw, position your feet, and avoid binding the cut are real safety-factors. Books are available, but learning from an expert is invaluable. Good excuse to not work alone in the woods, too.
Fresh fuel&oil mix, proper chain lube and sharpening are major factors in reducing downtime, as is staying out of ER.
For bucking such small pieces, you might want to make a "buck" to hold the pieces off the ground and keep them from pinching the chain. Pairs of tubafore bolted to pivot as an "X" with tubafores joining legs (screwed & glued.) With helper feeding pieces onto buck, the chips can really fly.
HTH, J
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Steve - Husqvarna, hands down. Stihl would be second choice, echo 3rd.
I bought my Husqvarna in 1997 and have a lot of hours on it. I do not use it professionally but have done a lot of hurricane relief work, campground and home work with it. I run it dry when I need to store it for a while. it has never failed to start. I ran it for about 6-8 hours a day for a week doing Katrina cleanup. It NEVER failed me. I have an 18" bar yet was cutting up to 30"+ trees (Cut from both sides). Some pictures of it in use are at http://www.peppel.com/katrina /
Another key, as others have said, is to keep it sharp. It makes the jobs much easier.
Bigger engine = more power but more weight. Get as big of as saw as you can be comfortable to handle. Too much weight will be unsafe if you cant handle it. Spare parts for Husqvarna are easy to get from my saw shop, cant easily find stuff at the blue or orange store though.
I would NEVER get a craftsman, paulin, homelite or new macullough.
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Steve - Husqvarna, hands down. Stihl would be second choice, echo 3rd.
I bought my Husqvarna in 1997 and have a lot of hours on it. I do not use it professionally but have done a lot of hurricane relief work, campground and home work with it. I run it dry when I need to store it for a while. it has never failed to start. I ran it for about 6-8 hours a day for a week doing Katrina cleanup. It NEVER failed me. I have an 18" bar yet was cutting up to 30"+ trees (Cut from both sides). Some pictures of it in use are at http://www.peppel.com/katrina /
Another key, as others have said, is to keep it sharp. It makes the jobs much easier.
Bigger engine = more power but more weight. Get as big of as saw as you can be comfortable to handle. Too much weight will be unsafe if you cant handle it. Spare parts for Husqvarna are easy to get from my saw shop, cant easily find stuff at the blue or orange store though.
I would NEVER get a craftsman, paulin, homelite or new macullough.

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i own an 041 stihl that i bought in 1982 and it still works well.have replaced the fuel lines 4 times and 2 carb diaphrams. the husky and echo are good saws also. the thing about saws is,service wise,is they will all need fuel system work in time,the cheeper the saw the more labor it takes to get it apart and back together.there arent many poulands or remingtons that have cut 8 cords of wood a year since 1982 and are still in good shape or running..weight of the saw didnt used to bother me,but the 041 has become to heavy for some reason unless im cutting horazontil logs so i picked up a used 08 stihl ,put new fuel lines on it and use it all i can bcause its light..... lucas
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SteveB wrote:

The one someone else is using... :)
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Stihl and Husqy have the reputation for being the best. I've got two saws, one is a Stihl home owner model (16 inch bar) and the other one is a Homelite, also 16 inch.
You might want to buy the lightest one you can find, figuring you'll have to carry it a lot. And use it, holding it. That's one of the reasons I like my Homelite, it's, well, lite.
The displacement is the engine size. My saw is a Homelite PS-33, which isn't a public school. (grin). It's a 33 cc engine. Works OK, if a bit under powered. It's adequate for the job. Adn would do 8 inch wood easy enough.
I'd used a couple of used saws, which never ran quite right. To get this Homelite was a dream. After it starts I can set it down for a couple minutes, and it will keep idling. Don't have to spend my entire day yanking on the ripcord to get it started.
The instruction manual shows the logger guy bent over with the saw on the ground while starting it. Won't happen with me, I don't bend that well.
Talk with several other friends with saws, and ask for some safety training. Really easy to get hurt with a chainsaw.
--

Christopher A. Young
Do good work.
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"Stormin Mormon" wrote in message

Excellent advice! This is one product where you do want to read *all* the safety precautions in the instruction manual. Reading them will give you an understanding of how cutting with the saw in a certain manner can cause "kickbacks" - and how to cut to minimize this from happening. Also how to stand so if the saw kicks back, you will be out of the way. See links below.
Warning and kickback information from a "home use" chain saw manual... ftp://ftp.electrolux-na.com/ProdInfo_PDF/outdoor/88308e.pdf
So far as I know, logging is *the* most dangerous job. Read following... http://www.worksafebc.com/news/features/new_60_50.asp
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