Chainsaws

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I'm thinking about buying my father a new chainsaw to replace his worn out old Craftsman. I don't know anything about chainsaws to be honest, but I have gathered that Husqvarna and Stihl are two top contenders.
He has about 30 acres with a wooded creek running through it. He doesn't cut wood for burning anymore - so, this will really only be for occasional use. Trimming up here and there and taking care of the occasional broken branch. We had a severe ice storm this winter and there are still several broken limbs that need to be cleaned up.
I understand that dealer availability is a major factor for consideration. My dad actually has a friend that works on his current chainsaw and I think he can work on anything with a small motor. That said, Stihl has what looks like a decent lawn and garden shop as a dealer that is fairly close. The Husqvarna will have to be bought from Lowe's.
I'm thinking a 16 inch is probably about all he needs really. I went out to look at a few chainsaws today and I think 16 inches is a good size. I'm not sure what size motor he might need. He's in his late 60s, so no need to get anything bigger than necessary, but nice to have something adequate. I also question if one of the chainsaws with an easy start system might not be worth considering because of my father's age.
I think I'm ready to pony up between $300 and $400 for a good chainsaw. Lowe's has the Husqvarna model 345 45cc chainsaw for $289 locally. To be honest - I didn't really like the flimsy feel of the choke on it: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId3325-572-345&lpage=none
The local Stihl dealer has a variety of models in that general price range - http://www.stihldealer.net/categoryproducts-dealer-012430-toplvl-2-catid-2-subcat-2-catprods-38.aspx
The MS 250 C-BE looks like it has everything that I might be looking for, but it's on the high end of what I think I want to spend. Maybe he doesn't need a 45cc motor? Would the MS 210 C-BE be sufficient?
Any suggestions would be appreciated. I ran a search of the newsgroups and didn't find anything very recent on the subject. I also question if the Husqvarnas have deteriorated in production quality in recent years? Are the Stihl and Husqvarna still equal in quality?
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The way to make sure you have plenty of chainsaw is to get one with a bar that is 2 inches longer than the biggest log you will be cutting. If you are only cutting droppings and not felling trees, and 16 inch just may be the ticket. If you run into anything larger, you simply make a couple of cuts instead of one straight through.
The larger the chainsaw, the bigger the motor (hopefully) and the more weight you have. It is important to try the heft of a chainsaw before you buy it. If you are going to be using it for a while each session, you don't want to get one that makes you tired. Tired = fatigue, and fatigue makes you have accidents. There is no such thing as a non-serious chainsaw accident.
I feel like ol' Norm here, but I am gonna do it anyway. When using a chainsaw, make sure you have the proper safety equipment. For a lot of us that have used chainsaw extensively for many years, it can be a hard habit to get into, but imperative, nonetheless. Face shield, thick gloves, heavy boots, ear protection, and chaps are great. You will never regret any of those things if a chain breaks, the saw slips, or you lose your footing while cutting.
I like this a lot: http://tinyurl.com/2jtv82

Buddy, at ANY age the easy start is great.

I have the big brother to that saw, one with 46 cc and a 24 inch bar. http://tinyurl.com/23uu7j I am not gonna lie, it is heavy. The bar contributes a lot to this as making sure that the longer bar doesn't touch anything is tiring. I cut down a large live oak tree last year, and after using it all day I was really weary. The saw didn't beat me up, it has spring suspension on it that is

me out.

45 ccs is a lot of motor for a cleanup trimmer. It would be plenty I would think, but maybe unnecessary. Again, I would look at heft and balance as part of this equation. You can't have too much power, but wagging around more than you need is no fun either.

I think the rumor got started by folks when Husky quit making their product and parts a "dealer only" machine. Unlike Stihl, you can buy replacement parts and maintenance parts right on the web. Even if your buddy can fix the Stihl with the right parts, he has to buy them from an authorized dealer. You know what that means in regards to pricing.
In the end, I went with Husky as we didn't have a close Stihl dealer, and the one that is the closest charges $85 to bench the saw to look at it, then charges Stihl labor rates (yes... different from Husky rates since he knows he can get more) and charges full retail for the parts.
Since I work on my own tools, it was important to me to be able to get online and buy parts for a saw if I needed it. Not possible with Stihl.
I think both Stihl and Husky are outstanding saws and you won't be disappointed with either one.
These guys helped me a lot in deciding which saw to buy.
http://tinyurl.com/23uu7j
Ask for Mark Antonetti. I purchased mine from him last year, and he was great. He is cranky, short with his answers, and the most knowledgeable guy you can imagine about chainsaws, especially his. If you buy from them, you get a MUCH better deal than with Lowe's as you get a better chain bar, extra chains, etc. Throwing in their good oil mixer was a good idea too, as it didn't add to the shipping.
I am completely satisfied with my purchase and wish I had bought a really good chainsaw years ago, even if it is for occasional use.
Robert
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 17:36:43 -0800 (PST), Fastfwd

I have a Stihl. No complaints, but the shopping experience was quite frustrating because Stihl controls its sales and pricing. The Husqvarna is a good buy, but the Stihl has the edge in quality.
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snipped-for-privacy@nobody.com says...

I used my first Stihl for 23 years. My second Stihl I bought last year starts on the second or third pull every time even in the coldest weather. I love that saw.
S.
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"Fastfwd" wrote ......

Check out the Stihl MS 192 T. It's an arborist's chain saw so it's really light. My elderly neighbor bought one recently and it's very easy for him to use.
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Interesting - in the UK you can't even buy a top-handle saw like that unless you show your certification in training to use it.
I'd suggest that 14" is probably better than 16", because it can be smaller, lighter and still get that firewood-slicing of 10" logs done perfectly well. You need to be able to control the thing too, not just throw brute power at the problem.
I'd (marginally) buy a Husky rather than a Stihl, but not much else in the way of brands.
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On Sun, 23 Mar 2008 14:01:18 -0700 (PDT), Andy Dingley

Our local dealer sells both Husky and Stihl. The decider for me was his overall service with them. He said Stihl has less comebacks than Husky, but they both cut very well.
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I know you didn't ;mention it but have you looked at Echo?
About 4 years back we got the little limbing saw (300 model I think). Never had a bit of trouble with it. It comes with a 12" blade but can handle 16" I doubt it will drive anything bigger. When we got it, it was cheaper than either Stihl or Husqvarna.
ron
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

40cc is probably sufficient for what you are talking about. It will have plenty of grunt for pulling a chain around a 16" bar. I personally hesitate to go to smaller saws, I had the loan of a 30cc Stihl for a couple of years and that saw was just prone to getting stuck and kicking back -- my 50cc Husky (24 years old, and still going well, with a 16" and a 20" bar) doesn't ever do that nor does my 90cc Dolmar. Kickback happens more to light and underpowered saws. But on the other hand you don't want to go too big, or the old gentleman won't be able to use it for any length of time, like Robert said.
-P.
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you may want to check out www.baileys-online.com ross www.highislandexport.com
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snipped-for-privacy@this.address (Peter Huebner) says...

Weight will certainly reduce kickback, through inertia. However, kickback is normally the result of an inexperienced operator. A well handled chainsaw will kick into the wood, if it kicks back at all.
There are also chains that are more prone to kickback. They have a very deep cut on each tooth, and require more horsepower to make them cut. Homeowner chains are designed to take a smaller bite. You can file down the rakers on a homeowner chain to make it more aggressive, but it's not recommended.
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Fastfwd wrote:

<snip>
<snip>
I have two different Stihl saws - the MS250c and the MS260. The 250 has a 16" bar and the 260 has a 20" bar. Both are fantastic saws. Both start easily, although the 250 is the easiest. The 260 starts relatively easy as well, but the smaller 250 is really easy. The 250 is quite light and easy to handle, and is in your price range, probably ideally suited for what you described.
The only reason to consider the larger saw with a 20" bar has to do with the age of your father-in-law. I'm in my upper 50's and have a bad back. I bought the larger saw because I had a bunch of larger trees to deal with, but one of the side benefits of the larger bar is that I don't have to bend as far once the tree is on the ground. I wasn't thinking of that when I purchased the saw, but it has turned out to be the saw I use the most simply because I don't have to bend over as much. For me, it's easier to use.
Rick
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Excellent advise. I bought the FarmBoss and while it is a cuttin-one-of-'em the weight will eventually give you forearms like Popeye.
--
Dave in Houston



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Dave in Houston wrote:

I own a Stihl MS310 with a 16" bar that I'm quite happy with. It starts with no hassles. I fell and buck around four cords a year with it.
--
Remove the TOS star ship captain to reply privately.

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Fastfwd wrote:

Authorized chainsaw dealers because service what they sell are typically very knowlegeable about matching the tool to user requirements, and they have demos so you can try them out, in fact reputable dealerships will encourage saw testing by the user (you can't try a saw out for your father, or for anyone else). I were you I'd bring your father to a local authorized chainsaw dealership so he can try a few.. . asking strangers what they think your father needs is like asking strangers to choose his shoes without his feet... he's not an infant, show him the menu but let him choose. I could recommend a saw that I like, and that's all anyone else here can do... without your father all anyone can offer is wild speculation... and his age has little to do with anything, he may be well experienced with chansaws and may not be at all frail... were he frail I'd not recommend he touch any chain saw. Just like if you took him out for dinner, it's your treat but it's his choice.
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If you're really serious, check here: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/32010/ultimate_chainsaw /
Norm
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also check on arboristsite.com Pat
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Another one to look at is a Jonsered. Same high rev Swede saw. Mine's about 25 years old and runs like heck. As for engine size? It's out in the pole barn, and I'm not going out there to find it. It did come with a 22-24" bar. Told the dealer to give me a 16". Thing just keeps running every year. I highly recommend Bailey's for bars, loops and any other accessories. Wood splitter? I got mine from Walmart about 14 years ago.....going strong!
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I went with a Husky 345.... Seemed like all the saw he will ever need and still not too big. The local Lowes chain carried them for $289 which seemed like a decent deal for a good saw. I didn't really want to spend much more than that. He seemed pretty pleased with it.
Thanks for the advice....
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I have one of those. Don't worry about the flimsy choke button, it's tougher than it looks. Mine is still going strong after 5 years.
-- Jack
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