Chainsaws

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bort
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Chainsaws

Post by bort »

I think I'm going to need to buy a chainsaw to deal with some light/medium duty clearing and yard work at my house. I greatly prefer hand tools (axe and saw), but that just takes so much time, and it seems like exactly the kind of job for a chainsaw.

I've never touched a chainsaw before in my life.

Seems like a TON of good looking ones on Craigslist around here. Is a chainsaw a reasonable thing to buy used? Or worth a little more to just buy new and not worry about someone else's lack of maintenance or prior abuse to the tool?

Thanks!
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by KKORO »

A lot of folks have a chainsaw and rarely use it. One of those might be a good buy used. Personally, I've had a number of chainsaws and would prefer to buy new if you are going to keep it for awhile. I used to cut all my own fire wood. We heat with wood. At my age (70) I don't do that anymore. But I've done quite a bit of chainsaw work. I would only consider Husqvarna or Stihl. It'll be a good and last chainsaw you'll buy.

KorKoro
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by MN_TimTuba »

I've heated with just wood for over 20 years. At first I tried to save some money, ended up wearing out two budget priced saws, cutting 8 to 12 cord each year. Finally bought a new Stihl - man, what a difference! Cuts easier, chains stay sharp longer, starts easier in all temps. The budget saws would be ok for occasional hobby use, but if you want a lifetime tool look at Stihl or Husqvarna . You honestly will not regret the decision.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by windshieldbug »

Reading the thread title, I expected this to be about Bass Trombones... :shock:
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bort
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by bort »

You all are great, thanks for the help!

Definitely into Husqvarna, that's probably the one thing I knew going into this.

The downside to Craigslist for chainsaws is that it's not saving much over buying a new one. Any model, maybe $100 below retail. For that... Worth it? Not sure.

This one is the closest to me, I'm sure it'd be adequate, but only 16" bar:
https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/hnp/ ... 04640.html" target="_blank

This seems better, but again, not too much below new price:
https://minneapolis.craigslist.org/ank/ ... 79463.html" target="_blank

Beyond that... Not in a rush. Would be nice to spend $300ish and not buy junk. I have stuff to cut and clear now, plus my wife said "why don't you just get a chainsaw and..."

Gotta strike while the iron is hot, right? :)

Thanks again. Takes a room full of tuba players to get some advice about chainsaws and Land Management.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by roweenie »

bloke wrote:Husky (real ones: made in Sweden...yeah: Husqvarna) and Stihl are primarily the two brands that people recommend...
+1

Also, stay FAR away from anything made by Homelite.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by tofu »

I'd be leery of buying a chainsaw used. You get what you pay for with chainsaws and stay away from even Husky or Stihl lower priced models. They are capitalizing on their name and consumers will buy the "name". The same has been true for years with John Deere mowers/tractors. These saws are nowhere in the same league as their more expensive stuff in terms of build quality - you want a commercial grade engine. If you're going to be using this thing a fair bit - spend a few bucks and buy a chainsaw aimed at landscapers. It will last forever. But you're not buying that level at $300 bucks. I've got five different sized Stihls here and they are still going strong after years of heavy use - with the first one bought 35 years ago. And they get a real work out. I'd be surprised if there aren't a ton of places that can service them in MN.

But really study up on how to run one and how to cut. People do incredibly stupid stuff with chain saws and the ER's are routinely visited by them. You won't need a 5 valve tuba when you only have a couple of fingers.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by Big Francis »

Stihl - they have the easy start, they're really nice. Or you can ask and i'll bring mine up on a weekend and help make short work of whatever you need done.

More importantly, do you have a disposal plan? That's usually a harder that getting the saw and cutting.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by bort »

Thanks Frank -- might take you up on that.

Disposal... planning to burn as much of of the wood as possible. Will be getting a smokeless fire pit, and will see how that goes. BTW, I interpret that as "less smoke" instead of "smoke-less".

I do have a fireplace at the house, but it hasn't been used or cleaned in a really long time. It's an option for the bigger things... but I'd hate to burn down the house right before renovating it.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by KKORO »

Buy either the Husqvarna 450 (50cc) Rancher or the Stihl 271 (50cc) Farm Boss. Both about the same power, weight and cc's. Either will provide you with more chainsaw than you'll likely need and you'll save a few bucks over the pro models. Actually, depending on your planned use, I would recommend the next size smaller, what ever that is. Probably anything 35cc up will do the job you're talking about.

I've got two chainsaws. A Husqvarna 346XP (50cc) with an 18" bar (replaced by the 550XP) that I use 90% of the time. I've cut down some pretty big trees with that saw. A Husqvarna 576XP (73cc) with a 28" bar that I use mostly with an Alaska Chainsaw Mill and with the occasional tree that needs a bigger saw.

I chose Husqvarna mainly because the best shop, where I bought them, is a Husqvarna shop. As luck would have it, in the roughly 10 years I've had the saws, I've never had to take them to the shop. I suspect the same would be true of Stihl. I had a Stihl MS 291 Farm Boss (55cc or 60cc -- can't remember) and it was a great saw. I also had a Stihl 100 cc saw (can't remember the model) which didn't cut as well as I thought it should and it was a heavy monster that was hard to start and hard to use.

Whatever you get, the most important thing is to find a good sharpening service or learn to do it yourself. I bought an electric Northern Tool chain sharpener and I consider it one of the best tools in my shop. I always have sharp chains.

Good luck! KorKoro
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by groovlow »

Bort, another option, go low cost at Harbor Freight 30 to 40$ ELECTRIC Chainsaw.
Advantages :
Take care of the light work and see if its a job you want to do.
Quiet for city use
Lightweight / easy start
good to go with extension cords and oil for the chain.

disadvantage: camping off grid
rioting without a power supply {joke}
not so stylish :roll:

I live in the city.
I've used one of these 12 years and a reciprocating saw (Craftsman) for dang 30+ years.
Both are still working and have exceeded my expectations.
I recommend some video tutorials before you start. Lucky me.

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Re: Chainsaws

Post by hup_d_dup »

Bort, if you have no particular expertise in chainsaws, but want to buy a used saw, ask to see it running. It's good to see how quickly it will start when cold (check to see if the engine is already warm before starting). The throttle should have an immediate response. The saw should cut easily, but if it labors when cutting while otherwise running well, this is likely a dull chain problem.

I have three Stihl saws, but only one is a pro model. You said you will be doing light to medium work with the saw; a "home use" Stihl or Husky will be more than adequate and with proper care will probably last longer than you. A pro who cuts for hours every day, day after day, needs a pro model . . . you do not.

One reason to buy a Stihl is this: https://www.stihlusa.com/products/chain ... /2in1file/" target="_blank" A sharp chain is of paramount importance. It makes the worker easier, it is safer, and it puts less strain on the engine. You should sharpen often. You can learn to do it by hand, as I did for years, but it is a bit of an art, and if you're not cutting that much, it can take a long time to really learn properly. On the other hand, the Stihl sharpening tool works rapidly, and not only sharpens the cutting edge, but also lowers the depth gauge, which can be a tricky thing to do accurately. Just make sure you get the right model, because each chain size requires a different tool. Since I use two different chain sizes I have two sharpening tools.

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Re: Chainsaws

Post by alfredr »

You can also rent a chainsaw for a day or two at a time from Home Depot and they maintain it and have it ready to go four or five months later when you need it again. No muss, no fuss.

alfredr

But if you really want to learn more about chainsaws (and risk getting addicted) check our arboristsite.com and poke around there; chainsaw forum, firewood heating wood burning forum, milling forum.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by bort »

Thanks again, everyone.

Tomorrow morning, I'm picking up a Husqvarna 445 w/16 inch bar. As with tubas, you just need a 4/4 sized tool for a 4/4 sized job.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by bort »

Joe, you're great. Thanks so much... you've probably just saved me a lot of time, effort, and maybe even a few fingers.

I'm a total novice to the whole yardwork thing. A few weeks ago, I cut the grass at the house... it was the first time I had used a lawnmower in about 25 years (and remember, I'm under 40 years old). The lawnmower was "included" with the house, Toro something or another. Started right up, seems like it worked pretty well. But, I'll need to learn to service that as well. I'm sure it's going to need something.

I shouldn't tell you this, but when I mowed the lawn, I was wearing flip flops. At one point when turning the mower, I got within an inch or two of my toes. Nothing happened, but damn, that would have ruined my day. :shock:

Previous owner also left behind a decent looking trimmer, snowblower, and a TON of garden tools (shovels, saws, an axe, etc.). Thankfully, I know how to use those tools and NOT injure myself.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by MN_TimTuba »

Brett, the squeaky wheel has been greased! Thanks, Farah!
One tip, Brett - get some steel-toed flip flops.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by tbonesullivan »

Definitely gotta second EVERYTHING that Bloke said. The "round file" is usually called a "rat tail file", and it's the only thing that can effectively sharpen a lot of the blades. Also keeping the chain properly adjusted is very important, as you can get strange things happening with too much slack in the chain. You want it with pretty much NO slack when you start out, because it will quickly get warm and expand a bit, so if it's already loose, it'll just get looser.

Also, seconding ALWAYS RUNNING IT CLEAN. Whether it's got a regular carburetor or one of those bladder type carbs, leaving fuel in there, even if you have stabilizer in it, is gonna gum it up. That results in a pain in the butt.

I also cannot stress enough how much even simple power tools need to be respected. Like a tuba, but instead of the potential of expensive repairs, you look at expensive surgery and loss of life or limb.
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by MN_TimTuba »

Brett,
I'm not one to load up on safety gear, but without fail utilize the basics - real shoes, ear muffs, safety goggles.
And, always have a Snickers bar handy - cutting wood always makes me hungry.
Let us know how things turn out.
Tim
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by oedipoes »

Possibly repeating some people here:

Keep your chain sharp. Sharpen it before it stops cutting.
I touch it up with two gentle diamond file (correct size matters!) strokes on each tooth every day I use it. It takes only 5 minutes.
Will avoid the need for more brutal sharpening needs, it will be the best-spent 5 minutes of the day for sure!

Don't use up the chain until there's almost no teeth left to sharpen: Worn chains will brake in your hands!
Replace when doubtful!

Make sure there is chain oil in the reservoir and it gets to the chain.
On my machine there is a bit of oil left when I run out of gas, so I only need to fill it up at the same time as the gas tank.
That way you avoid smoking blued chains. Your machine might be different.

Blow off the machine after use and make sure the air-filter is clean.

I have a professional line Stihl and it's by far the best two-stroke machine I've owned so far!
Have it for more than 10 years and sti(h)ll runs like new. :roll:

Watch out working on ladders, above your head, or reaching too far out!

Good luck, work safely!
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Re: Chainsaws

Post by peterbas »

tofu wrote:I'd be leery of buying a chainsaw used. You get what you pay for with chainsaws and stay away from even Husky or Stihl lower priced models. They are capitalizing on their name and consumers will buy the "name". The same has been true for years with John Deere mowers/tractors. These saws are nowhere in the same league as their more expensive stuff in terms of build quality - you want a commercial grade engine. If you're going to be using this thing a fair bit - spend a few bucks and buy a chainsaw aimed at landscapers. It will last forever. But you're not buying that level at $300 bucks. I've got five different sized Stihls here and they are still going strong after years of heavy use - with the first one bought 35 years ago. And they get a real work out. I'd be surprised if there aren't a ton of places that can service them in MN.

But really study up on how to run one and how to cut. People do incredibly stupid stuff with chain saws and the ER's are routinely visited by them. You won't need a 5 valve tuba when you only have a couple of fingers.
Or cornet player being a Stihl maintenance/repair told me just the other day that noticed even from Stihl that the quality has declined since he started more the 10 years ago.
The cheap china models force them to make their stuff cheaper.
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