Chainsaw: electric or petrol?

I've just been given a tree (in bits) for my woodburner. It's going to need more cutting, perhaps 100 or so cuts of 4 to 6 inches. What are the relative merits of the 100 or so entry level electrics against the 150 or so petrols (apart from the obvious). (I'm pretty experienced with other power tools and know about the need for safety kit.) I know I could hire one but I just like collecting toys!
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Whats the obvious ??
I had an electric for a while, it coped with demolishing a hedge and a small apple tree but don't know if it would be up to tackling a full grown oak. Biggest problem I found was that the chain got blunt very quickly. It was pretty easy to resharpen but a pain when you are halfway through a job. Probably didn't help it when I tried cutting roots in situ though :)
Personally if I was to get one again I think I would go for petrol. At least if you decide to help yourself to further logs from the wild (with permission of course) you won't have to trail 20 miles of cable behind you
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I don't think this problem is confined to electric saws. Either will blunt just as easily.
Rob Graham
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Hello JimM

That's the problem, and it's the same chain for petrol and electric (though generally smaller pitch for electric). You wait until you have to sharpen a 5' bar, that's over 10' of teeth that you have to get absolutely equal or it won't cut at all!

I've made it known in here before that I'm less than impressed with the lack of safety features on low-end electric chainsaws. I consider them far more dangerous than petrol ones.
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OldScrawn wrote:

If you're sure you won't ever want to use it where you can't get power, go for mains. They're quieter and cheaper, and you won't need to worry about mixing up twostroke juice.
But if there's any chance at all you might want to use it away from the house, get a petrol.
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Grunff wrote:

Secinded to a T. Electric are just as good, (in smaller sizes) as long as you have access to the sparky stuff.
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On Sun, 28 Sep 2003 21:09:12 +0100, Grunff wrote:

Ah but this chap likes collecting toys. Get electric and buy a genny for use away from the house. B-)
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Dave Liquorice wrote:

Now *that* is lateral thinking.
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.. and you could go for nice big corded power tools ;-)
.andy
To email, substitute .nospam with .gl
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I have used both - elec with a 10 inch bar ,ideal for firewood - mix with a 24 inch bar .The later is a big beast fit only for a "man" but can take a tree up to nearly 4 feet across. Round the house electric is by far the better but 6inch cut is about the limit.
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OldScrawn wrote:

If you go for the electric one then try to find one with a decent amount of power (i.e. 1800W - 2KW). I borrowed a 1300W one a while ago, and just did not have enough grunt on anything except the smallest logs.
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Firstly, go to a local small retailer which does repairs (most mower places do chainsaws) and get some decent advice and don't go to the sheds as they have some stuff which is so bad it staggers me. You'll pay not much more but get a decent machine and some after-sales.
In addition to what has already been said, petrol has more to go wrong but will generally be more powerful and will last longer and has no cables to cut. You can also use an electric indoors (no fumes) - don't laugh - cutting logs in the dry (a garage, barn or suchlike) beats cutting them in the snow!. Just make sure you protect your ears and lungs even more as dust and noise is worse in a confined space. Apart from this, I would say go for the petrol - you will be glad of the extra power/flexibility one day.
You should sharpen them every time you refill the chain oil. Again, your local place can sharpen more badly worn chains for you and sell you a good quality spare.
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al_cam snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Alan Campbell) wrote:
Hello Alan
<snip loads of chainsaw stuff I agree with>

Not so.
With petrol chainsaws, you fill both oil and 2/stroke at the same time. With electric you just fill the oil when required. Typically, at full speed cutting either will last somewhere in the region of 30 minutes on a full tank of either, and if you're sharpening the chain every 30 minutes you won't have much of a chain left after a day. Logging (clean logs, off the ground) should go all day without sharpening if you're careful.
The rule of thumb is simply "sharpen when it's not cutting as good as it should". More often is wasteful, less often is dangerous. (Same principle as a dull knife is more likely to cut you than a sharp one)
One thing not mentioned so far in this thread; overheating. Logging is hard work for either type of saw. Electric ones may overheat without frequent stoppages, and so might the cheaper petrol ones (pro grade have better laid out cooling fins, ime). Can be overcome by frequent cleaning of cooling fins (which ought to be checked when you do re- oil!) especially in dirty conditions like logging.
Logging's also one of the more dangerous aspects to chainsaw use. Easy to slip, temptation to hold log steady with foot, kickback and hitting a log wrong so it flings back at goolie level.
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Simon Avery, Dartmoor, UK
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a *very* long time. When it gets blunt it's nearly always because I've hit something nasty (a nail or whatever) or because I've tried to cut stuff too near the ground or have got to cut dirt/soil for some other reason.

than wood chips. If you start getting anything other than chippings then the blade is getting blunt.
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Absolutely. Too near the ground, or cutting dirty roots off a stump is the best way to blunt a blade. Lending it to a neighbour is another good way to blunt a blade.
I use a 1500W electric with a 12" blade. I like it because the short blade puts a check on my ambitions and the lack of welly forces me to take light cuts *and* limits the force of a kickback.
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sharpening kit for the chain otherwise after the first half days cutting all you'll produce is smoke!!

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