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Author Topic: Clearing Saws  (Read 5326 times)

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Online lxskllr

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Clearing Saws
« on: March 18, 2019, 03:52:12 PM »
Contemplating getting a clearing saw. Still cutting vines on the boss' farm, and the stickers are getting on my nerves. Been holding off cause I don't really need one for my stuff, and I like being "the guy with the chainsaw" which sometimes gets you fun work, as opposed to being "the guy with the clearing saw" which will never get you fun work. That's like being "the guy with the posthole diggers"  :^P


So... Are they pretty cool to have? I'd like something that can make quick easy work of stickers, and small saplings.  I've used weedeaters before, but nothing with a blade. Echo's 15% off day is coming near me at the beginning of April, and I'm thinking of their best unit...


SRM-410U Gas Grass and Weed Brushcutter | ECHO USA


It would take ~24 hours of working on the farm to pay it off, whereas using my chainsaws is just about all profit at this point, but absolutely no fun in the huge banks of stickers. I've been leaving them for the most part, only cutting into them so I can get to the bittersweet and other vines. Best case scenario, is I talk him into buying it himself, and I'll use it, but I'm just about at the point of getting it on my own so I can see things prettied up, instead of the rats nests of junk everywhere.

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2019, 04:05:48 PM »
It is a great tool for it's intended use and is a lot easier and safer than a chainsaw. Do yourself a favor and get a good fitting harness that breathes, the strap that comes with a lot of them gets uncomfortable very quickly. Echo is a good brand and well priced but tends to come out of the box tuned for emissions rather than performance.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline Air Lad

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2019, 04:18:43 PM »
I have an ex/council 92 model Kawasaki 35cc
My wife picked it up for 30 bucks 6 years ago when we were on a small acerage
Wouldn't run properly until I put in an $18 carb kit
Mostly used for whipper snipping these days but man oh man did it make short work of our Lantana vines and long Blade grass.
You can get all types of cutting heads for different kinds of pest plants for these things and the handlebars mean you can swing side to side as you advance into the growth.
If you're going to spend a lot of time swinging it around you can get a brace that goes over both shoulders and clips the machine on to help you're back a bit.
 Cheers

Ms 170/260c /039...Husk 142e/240e...Unloved Chinese 51.2cc that hasn't done anything wrong...2 x dead Mculloch's ..Vintage Poulan.. and a vintage Echo that still runs beaut

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2019, 05:45:46 PM »
He definitely wants the handle bars when running a clearing blade to control kick back.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2019, 05:47:17 PM »
I'd go for that Echo if you're just cutting 1-2" stuff. If your cutting bigger stuff I don't think the handle bar and the attachment point are rugged enough. Personally, I would probably bust that saw in our thinning sites, we have a lot of 'oversize' stems. Bad enough I bust blade guards in maple clumps with my heavier saw. I got a bit of a break last year when the mill said not to cut the hardwood clumps. First time for anything. :D

I use a 57 CC Stihl for pre-comemrcial thinning. But if your not cutting a lot or in bigger stems, go for the echo. The tower for the handlebar is much more rugged on my Stihl.

Thinning is pretty fun in itself, I cut 70-100 acres of brush a year. But I also mark off work areas to. Working with a thinning crew. Straight out clearing is much faster, since your probably not leaving anything.

Echo makes good saws, they used to make a heavier pro model, but no more. Some fellas on the crew liked them. Best warranty, cheaper saw.
Move'n on.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2019, 05:50:46 PM »
Definitely want a 'forestry' harness with a pad and hook on it and handle bars on the saw for swinging. :)

No. Not a weed eater strap. Shops do sell a 'Universal' harness which is probably lots. My Husqvarna forestry harness is for heavy cutting. I just have not seen the one that comes on this saw.

This one should work fine.

Product and Equipment Accessories for ECHO units including Safety Accessories
Move'n on.

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2019, 06:12:15 PM »
1"-2" sounds about right. This isn't a professional gig, but I'd need a bit more than your homeowner weedeater. I still have my chainsaws for the bigger stuff. It's really the briars that are the thorn(hah!) in my side. I'm still mulling the options. My machete is free to run, but even with the big vines out of the way, it's a lot of machete work.


This all started late last year when I took an interest in dawn redwoods, and saw vines ruining the redwoods on the farm. I cleaned the vines off of them(with a machete and axe), and the boss said "I'm gonna be getting to that upper field next...". I cut the vines off the fence, broke down a maple and cherry snag, and kept on going. It's gotten personal now. Vines are enemy #1, and I want to see the farm cleaned up. He rents it to horse people, so I think I'm adding value making things look better, but at this point, I just want it to look nice, and the vines and stickers are a personal affront to me. The fact I get paid for it is almost secondary. The time I charge is arbitrary. I leave thousands of $ on the table every year, so it's hard to account for. One of the benefits(?) of working for a small company, but I gain freedom, and a clear conscience. My time is my own, and nobody says anything when I clear wood lines, and bill some proportion of time to the company. By my accounting, I've paid for a couple chainsaws, and had some fun cleaning things up. I'm hoping spring and the accompanying greening shows the results of my effort. I'm gonna be *really* disappointed if it looks like I was never there, and the vines take off again.

Offline Drew62

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2019, 07:11:15 PM »
As ever,your looking for that optimum balance between power/weight.I'd say get a bit more power than you think you'll need-the machine will last longer and lead a less stressful life.Bike handles are a must with blades on board.Your looking for 4-point anti vibe-you should be vibed off from both the shaft+also the engine unit.Plenty of hanging options on the shaft+a full body harness should come as standard.The machine should have a straight solid shaft and a rugged bevel gear unit at the business end.Personally,I prefer to see the shaft with square profile at each end-some are splined and will wear badly with blade use.I'm not quite sure what you will ask of it but 40cc sounds about right.Above all sit it on you and make sure its ppossible to balance it well.A back heavy machine is  a BAD thing.Good luck with it!
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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2019, 07:19:57 PM »
What do you all think of that echo I linked? I chose that due to my experience with their chainsaws, and price. I'm assuming it'll be like their saws where you get really close to professional performance, at 50%-70% of the cost of the big guys. I have zero experience with this class of machine. I used a weedeater I fished from a dumpster for a brief period of time, and I used a Stihl something or other string trimmer on a friend's property, but I don't have any decent way to assess quality or capability. It's completely foreign to me.

Offline Drew62

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2019, 08:19:45 PM »
Looking at that it seems ok,I note they are pretty coy on the a.v.Also the ad seems to imply the harness is optional.I would take a look at the stihl FS 240 c-e.Its lighter than the echo,38cc,1 point av.Frugal strato engine/elastostart,supplied with a pro harness/blade+a decent bump feed strimmer head.Money-wise a stihl dealer should match that price or nearly.Bear in mind a decent pro harness+a line head is worth say 65-75.
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Offline Drew62

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2019, 08:34:59 PM »
Just as an afterthought,neither the machine you linked or the stihl I mentioned is strictly a clearing saw.The stihl is their top-end brushcutter.The clearing saw would gain you 4 point a.v./a higher mounted handlebar/a bit more power,heavier bevel gears at the cutting head,more choice of mounting points on the shaft-on the other hand about 4lb more weight and a biggish jump with cost!I can only speak for the stihl,it doesnt lack for power and after being used to their 40/45cc clearing saws,the weight is sweet.The 4 point anti vibe is good on the bigger models if you're going for it for several hours though and it deffo helps with fatigue.
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Online lxskllr

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2019, 09:26:13 PM »
Mulling it over, I still have a $120 left from my Filson gift certificate my boss got me for jul. I could get a tin cruiser for $350 minus $120, and just armor up to take on the briars with a chainsaw. I've kinda wanted the tin cruiser anyway, and that would keep me from becoming the clearing saw guy  :^D

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2019, 09:31:44 PM »
The clearing saw will look very appealing after a day of doing that with a chainsaw. Believe me, I tried that. ::)
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2019, 09:38:26 PM »
The clearing saw will look very appealing after a day of doing that with a chainsaw. Believe me, I tried that. ::)
Yea, briars with a chainsaw sucks. My left arm is still scratched up from slashing through them last week. There's little more rage inducing than having little sticker branches stuck all over you, and trying to peel them off as they stick somewhere else  #$!@#%

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #14 on: March 19, 2019, 06:06:52 AM »
the ad seems to imply the harness is optional.
With some shops here we have to make sure we are getting the forestry harness, never used to be on the onus of the buyer, it was just default. Not anymore. Some shops will try and hand off the lightest harness they have for that model. A forestry harness up here is $290, a crap one is maybe $80. By the time you walk out of the shop, they have $1700 in their hands. Luckily I can claim Forestry Worker tax rebates. But I still gotta pay the $1700 months before. :D
Move'n on.

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #15 on: March 19, 2019, 06:30:22 AM »
lxskllr ,

You know you want the clearing saw, listen to the scream in those nasty bushes. :D
Move'n on.

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2019, 12:43:42 PM »
 :D
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline Allar

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #17 on: March 19, 2019, 02:01:22 PM »
I Have a few brushcutters. I use em for clearing brush around planted trees and also to clear roads in my forest.

Brushcutters are a godsent, i absolutely love the triangle blade, easy to sharpen and can be used to cut down some really thick trees with proper technique.


If you plan to use it in forest, 40cc to 45cc is the sweetspot imo.

I plan on getting another one soon, will most likely be an echo due to price difference.
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Online lxskllr

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #18 on: March 19, 2019, 04:20:30 PM »
How do you deal with blades for these things? Are you expected to sharpen them, or are they considered disposable? This looks like the blade that comes with the unit I linked...


ECHO Trimmer and Brushcutter Accessories



That looks like it could be tedious/difficult to sharpen.


This blade is available, but it's a smaller diameter. Looks like it's sharpened with a chainsaw file?


https://www.echo-usa.com/Products/Accessories/Trimmer-and-Brushcutter-Accessories/Blades/22-Tooth-Clearing-Blade-(20mm-Arbor)

Offline Air Lad

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Re: Clearing Saws
« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2019, 04:39:59 PM »
Second link failed but the first image looks just like a circular saw blade
It could be disposable if not too expensive
I have one like that and have never sharpened it because being so thin it still cuts well
I also have one that looks like a three way rideon mower blade
It is excellent in long grass but get's a bit savage on larger plants
You are bound to have fun with this new machine if you get it
Cheers
Ms 170/260c /039...Husk 142e/240e...Unloved Chinese 51.2cc that hasn't done anything wrong...2 x dead Mculloch's ..Vintage Poulan.. and a vintage Echo that still runs beaut


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