T Nation

Chain Saws


#1

I own 3 chain saws. One each, Poulan, Steele and Husqvarna. I cut some wood this weekend and came to the conclusion that all 3 suck donkey balls. I need recommendations on a new one. Make this awesome by posting a picture of your saw(s) if you want to, preferably being held by a hot chick in a bikini.


#2

This is kind of in my wheelhouse. I’ve got 11 years’ professional tree care experience. The answer will depend on your experience, needs and price range.

My off the cuff answer is the Stihl MS 441 Magnum with a 20" bar. It’s a mid size (70 cc), commercial grade saw that is extremely versatile. About $1000-1200 new depending on what accessories you choose. I’d suggest a half wrap handle and oversize dogs.

Be safe. Get training if you haven’t. Chainsaws are scary as fuck and tree felling is one of the most dangerous activities a human can engage in. Cheers!


#3

^^^ x2 on what batman said. I was a professional fireman and we used Stihl on all of the trucks. Always fired right up if properly maintained throughout the year. Second the notion of the danger factor too, very easy to get yourself or someone hurt.

My best friend also has a tree cutting business and he uses Stihl saws.


#4

I have a Stihl, but a much cheaper one. It works just fine for tree’s removal and fire wood. I don’t remember the model.


#5

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
I have a Stihl, but a much cheaper one. It works just fine for tree’s removal and fire wood. I don’t remember the model.

[/quote]

Yeah, the 441 really is probably a bit overkill for what most homeowners need. The MS261is a bit smaller (50 cc or so) and is around $6-700 new. It’s still part of their “professional” series and is a good, all round entry level saw.

Edit: To be very clear, IMO the 441 really is way too much saw for a homeowner looking to do property maintenance. I would have real concerns about the safety of a person who doesn’t run saws on a very regular basis picking up that model.

Conversely, the MS170, which Stihl sells as a general property maintenance saw for around $250, I believe, is just not enough saw to do any meaningful amount of cutting. If the OP could clarify the questions I asked in my initial response regarding experience, needs and price range, I could be of more help.


#6

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
I have a Stihl, but a much cheaper one. It works just fine for tree’s removal and fire wood. I don’t remember the model.

[/quote]

Yeah, the 441 really is probably a bit overkill for what most homeowners need. The MS261is a bit smaller (50 cc or so) and is around $6-700 new. It’s still part of their “professional” series and is a good, all round entry level saw.[/quote]

Ya, I don’t think it was even that much. I want to say I paid $350 maybe $400. It’s a great saw. I only use it a handful of times a year though.


#7

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
I have a Stihl, but a much cheaper one. It works just fine for tree’s removal and fire wood. I don’t remember the model.

[/quote]

Yeah, the 441 really is probably a bit overkill for what most homeowners need. The MS261is a bit smaller (50 cc or so) and is around $6-700 new. It’s still part of their “professional” series and is a good, all round entry level saw.[/quote]

Ya, I don’t think it was even that much. I want to say I paid $350 maybe $400. It’s a great saw. I only use it a handful of times a year though. [/quote]

I fully admit that I can be a bit of a snob in this area. It’s entirely possible to find something in that price range that will serve just fine at that level of usage.

Keeping the chain sharp will usually be the single biggest factor in how any saw performs.


#8

I have an entry level Stihl that has served me well for years. I don’t do any pro work, just around my property stuff. As an aside, I also have a Kombi System (KM 130R) that is awesome.

http://www.stihlusa.com/products/multi-task-tools/professional-kombisystem/


#9

[quote]OldOgre wrote:
I own 3 chain saws. One each, Poulan, Steele and Husqvarna. I cut some wood this weekend and came to the conclusion that all 3 suck donkey balls. I need recommendations on a new one. Make this awesome by posting a picture of your saw(s) if you want to, preferably being held by a hot chick in a bikini. [/quote]

What sucks about the Stihl? The only gripe I have (that isn’t really a gripe) is that the choke is finicky and you have to do it exactly right or it floods. Once you figure the choke out, the thing runs flawlessly and starts first time everytime.


#10

We have two old Husqvarnas that have outlasted (and been put through their paces much more) than 3 Stihls. Although to be fair, the Stihls were of the cheaper variety and the Husqvarna’s are more heavy duty commercial saws so that could account for some of it. Stihl seems to be much easier to work on and perform quick fixes than the newer Husqvarna’s I have looked at though, and depending on what you are doing, being able to troubleshoot and perform quick and effective maintenance in less than ideal conditions can be a huge deal.


#11

[quote]OldOgre wrote:
Make this awesome by posting a picture of your saw(s) if you want to, preferably being held by a hot chick in a bikini. [/quote]


#12

[quote]batman730 wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
I have a Stihl, but a much cheaper one. It works just fine for tree’s removal and fire wood. I don’t remember the model.

[/quote]

Yeah, the 441 really is probably a bit overkill for what most homeowners need. The MS261is a bit smaller (50 cc or so) and is around $6-700 new. It’s still part of their “professional” series and is a good, all round entry level saw.

Edit: To be very clear, IMO the 441 really is way too much saw for a homeowner looking to do property maintenance. I would have real concerns about the safety of a person who doesn’t run saws on a very regular basis picking up that model.

Conversely, the MS170, which Stihl sells as a general property maintenance saw for around $250, I believe, is just not enough saw to do any meaningful amount of cutting. If the OP could clarify the questions I asked in my initial response regarding experience, needs and price range, I could be of more help.[/quote]

Under $500 would be good.
I use a chain saw perhaps a dozen times per year cutting firewood and cleaning up my property. Have been for 15-20 years. I don’t use one every day by any means, but it isn’t my first time either.
My Stihl doesn’t necessarily suck. It’s just old like me. I will probably go back with a Stihl.


#13

I’ll second the Sthil’s, a MS 250 would probably work great for what you do, right around $300.

Ahh firewood keeps ya warm twice!


#14

[quote]scoots2 wrote:
I’ll second the Sthil’s, a MS 250 would probably work great for what you do, right around $300.

Ahh firewood keeps ya warm twice![/quote]

At a casual glance I tend to agree. If you have $500 to spend, invest the balance in some PPE (personal protective equipment) i.e. saw pants, head/face/ear protection etc, some files and a file guide and/or some kind of saw safety/operation training.

I know it’s not your first rodeo, but if you haven’t had any proper training you probably have a few bad habits you’re unaware of. Also, if you haven’t already, learn to sharpen your own chains and how to recognize it quickly when they need sharpening. Cutting with a dull chain is no fun, is hard on your chain bar and makes it more likely that you’ll cut yourself, which is bad.


#15

[quote]batman730 wrote:
Also, if you haven’t already, learn to sharpen your own chains and how to recognize it quickly when they need sharpening. Cutting with a dull chain is no fun, is hard on your chain bar and makes it more likely that you’ll cut yourself, which is bad.[/quote]

If you let it go long enough without sharpening the chain will burn the wood rather than cut it. Don’t ask me how I know. :slight_smile:


#16

[quote]jjackkrash wrote:

[quote]batman730 wrote:
Also, if you haven’t already, learn to sharpen your own chains and how to recognize it quickly when they need sharpening. Cutting with a dull chain is no fun, is hard on your chain bar and makes it more likely that you’ll cut yourself, which is bad.[/quote]

If you let it go long enough without sharpening the chain will burn the wood rather than cut it. Don’t ask me how I know. :slight_smile:
[/quote]

Yeah I keep my chains sharp and carry at least one or two extras to switch out with while I’m cutting. Nothing worse than the smell of a saw burning wood instead of cutting it.