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Author Topic: Recommend me a chainsaw  (Read 2798 times)

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Offline matariki

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Recommend me a chainsaw
« on: September 23, 2018, 03:06:53 AM »
Hi everyone, 

I'm thinking about purchasing my first chainsaw for a firewood operation I want to start up. I recently completed my certificate in forestry (processing on the landing). I'm on a budget, so I'm looking for a chainsaw that is not only reliable but also has replaceable parts available. 

Cheers.

Offline lxskllr

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2018, 07:27:31 AM »
There's some Kiwis around, so hopefully they'll pop in. They'd have better knowledge of what's on the local market. Otherwise, The usual suspects are decent choices; Husqvarna, Stihl, Echo... That's what's readily available in USA, with Echo being the economical choice. Might be different in NZ.

If I were to get one saw, 60cc class seems to be the sweet spot. Big enough to get into bigger wood, but not too heavy, and not ridiculous for smaller stuff.

Offline DelawhereJoe

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2018, 08:45:35 AM »
Sadly in NZ I don't know if there are economicly priced chainsaws, as a $400 saw here sells for $1000 there. Any idea what size trees you will be felling ?
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Offline teakwood

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2018, 09:33:08 AM »
Stihl MS261 would be a perfect firewood saw, powerful and light, it's a 50 cc class chainsaw. Probably more expensive than other brands but you get a quality saw for lots of years. 

But as the others have pointed out, dealer support is more important than brand preferences. good luck


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Offline Ianab

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2018, 02:55:02 PM »
From a NZ perspective, what are you planning to cut? "Old Man" pine, macrocarpa and blue gum need something that will run a 28" or bigger bar, at least occasionally. If you are just cleaning up smaller trees / tops after a logging job, then a smaller 50-60cc saw will do it.

Another question is local dealers? Stihl, Husky, Dolmar/Makita, Echo etc all make some good saws.

I have an older Stihl ms310 (60cc)  which has served me well for part time use. It's a "Farm" grade saw though. My bigger saw is a Dolmar 7900 (79cc), which is a much better firewood saw, for the local logs anyway. Still find you have to cut from both sides sometimes, and that's with a 28" bar.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline matariki

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2018, 12:11:47 AM »
From a NZ perspective, what are you planning to cut? "Old Man" pine, macrocarpa and blue gum need something that will run a 28" or bigger bar, at least occasionally. If you are just cleaning up smaller trees / tops after a logging job, then a smaller 50-60cc saw will do it.

Another question is local dealers? Stihl, Husky, Dolmar/Makita, Echo etc all make some good saws.

I have an older Stihl ms310 (60cc)  which has served me well for part time use. It's a "Farm" grade saw though. My bigger saw is a Dolmar 7900 (79cc), which is a much better firewood saw, for the local logs anyway. Still find you have to cut from both sides sometimes, and that's with a 28" bar.
I'm looking at cutting a variety of woods. Hard and soft woods. 
Hard: Myrtle species e.g. gum, kanuka, manuka
Soft: Radiata and Macrocarpa 
I have a qualification in breaking out and processing on the landing. The chainsaw I was using on the course and while interning was a Stihl 461, It was nice to use but it had its problems. As for piece size, It can vary depending on what is available. When I was doing my qualification, I was processing logs up to 2 - 3m in circumference. I plan on cleaning up after logging, be it on farms or elsewhere. 

Offline teakwood

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2018, 08:14:10 AM »
What problems did you have with the 461?

If you are already used to a 461 and its weight then the 261 i suggested is way to small 18-20" bar is max on this saw. I thought you where cleaning tree tops and branches up to 8-12" diam and cut them to firewood.
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2018, 03:10:15 PM »
Probably want more than a 261 I would guess. There is some tops cleanup, but a lot of those farm cleanup jobs will be BIG and ugly logs that need to be broken down. I'm taking apart some "small" pines at the moment for firewood, only 3ft dia, so it's not that big. But the trees are only ~30 years old. Very different to what most of the Nth American guys would cut for firewood.

 Also plan on 2 saws, you will get a saw jammed at some point. I like a large saw and a smaller / lighter one for limbing and small stuff. If you get either pinched, you have a way of cutting if free.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline matariki

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2018, 05:17:12 PM »
What problems did you have with the 461?

If you are already used to a 461 and its weight then the 261 i suggested is way to small 18-20" bar is max on this saw. I thought you where cleaning tree tops and branches up to 8-12" diam and cut them to firewood.
My main problem with the 461 was with the warm starting (we don't drop start in NZ, instead we use a 'step over' method). It could of been my technique or it could of been the saw, as sometimes I was successful and other times I wasn't. I found the 461 you had to pull the starter cord at a certain angle to get the decompressor to 'pop up'. Cold starting it was perfectly fine. So it was probably more my lack of experience than the chainsaw itself. 

Offline Huntaholic

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2018, 08:56:53 PM »
I don't understand the love for the decompressor button????? I NEVER use the dang things! Im sorry but I just don't see why you would have to? Im 5ft 8 in and 150 lbs and I can crank any saw Ive ever picked up.

Offline matariki

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2018, 09:06:10 PM »
I don't understand the love for the decompressor button????? I NEVER use the dang things! Im sorry but I just don't see why you would have to? Im 5ft 8 in and 150 lbs and I can crank any saw Ive ever picked up.
Either you are using a well tuned chainsaw, or you have really good upper body strength or good technique or you're using a smaller chainsaw.

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2018, 09:12:49 PM »
Or you don't run very big saws.  Try that with a 95cc saw and let me know what you think at the end of the day.  
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2018, 11:25:20 PM »
My 395 will wack you in the leg and face at the same time if you dont use it.  Judo chop!
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Offline Greyhound

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2018, 11:56:02 PM »
MS461 is one of the most reliable saws on the market right now.  Hot start problems are not at all common.  Probably your issues were due to the individual saws you were using.  If you like the weight and power, go ahead and get an MS461, it's a wonderful saw.  With a proper tune, it is rock solid consistent.  If you don't need that much power all the time, go ahead and look at other 60 cc. saws. The MS362C is a great choice.  Unfortunately, the Husky 562 does have a well known issue with hot restarts.  In fact, newer ones have some mod's to help with this.

Offline Ianab

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2018, 03:30:38 AM »
Some saws do seem to have their own little quirks with regard to starting. My little Stihl cold starts reliably (choke, couple of pulls until it fires, then choke in, couple more pulls and it's away). Likewise hot starts are fine, set fast idle, and one or 2 pulls and it's away. 

It gets temperamental in the middle, when you have sat it down for 5-10 mins? Do you try choke, and flood it, or just keep pulling at the hot start setting? What I've found is that if it wont start on 3 pulls of no choke, if I give it ONE with the choke on, then go back to the fast idle setting, it will fire up after a couple more pulls. But if you keep trying to get it to fire on choke, then it floods.  :(

And alternative to a MS461 might be a Makita 7901, basically a blue, slightly updated, version of my Dolmar. They claim slightly less weight and slightly more power than a 461, but I don't know if it's enough to really notice (Both are good saws). But it's a pro-grade saw, that will cost several hundred less than the Stihl, and the size is more suited to our local "firewood" trees. 

And as for decomp valves, I've got a Stihl 090AV in the shed. That will teach your shoulder a lesson if you don't use the decomp button  :D
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Huntaholic

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2018, 07:01:02 AM »
Or you don't run very big saws.  Try that with a 95cc saw and let me know what you think at the end of the day.  
LOL you aren't the only logger on here ya know! ;) Right now my biggest saws are 2 390xps and an ms660. In the past I have owned and wore out most of the legendary "big" saws and nope, I never found the need to use a decomp. Before I decided to just forget about that little button, it always seemed to me that saws were HARDER to start with it than without it.

Offline Busysawyer

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2018, 07:33:19 AM »
I love my little 441c. Starts pretty much first pull hot or cold.  Pulls a 25in bar very well.  As far as decomp valves, I don't use them. I honestly can't tell a difference using it even on the 880.
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Offline Upstatewoodchuc

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2018, 07:36:06 AM »
Eh, I'll second that notion, I've always had better luck with my saws starting quickly when I don't use the decompresser, I start my 365, 394xp and 3120xp that way no problem. The dealer that I bought my 365 from new even said as we we're testing the saw "you won't find much use for that button there" motioning to the decompresser...
Current collection: Husky 3120xp,  394xp, 365, 345, stihl 017, homelite xl12.  Ford 8n with loader and forks. 1968 Chevy C50 dump truck

Offline lxskllr

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2018, 07:46:51 AM »
Regarding the decomp... I've heard they sometimes go bad. If one doesn't need to use it, would it be better to never use it, as opposed to using it occasionally? My thoughts are an unused button will get a layer of crud, and keep it from leaking, while a sometimes used button could introduce crud into the mechanism, and possibly cause a leak. Thoughts?

Offline Huntaholic

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Re: Recommend me a chainsaw
« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2018, 07:56:46 AM »
Regarding the decomp... I've heard they sometimes go bad. If one doesn't need to use it, would it be better to never use it, as opposed to using it occasionally? My thoughts are an unused button will get a layer of crud, and keep it from leaking, while a sometimes used button could introduce crud into the mechanism, and possibly cause a leak. Thoughts?
Im with you 100% on this! All a decomp does is open a hole up into the top of your cylinder. I know the risk is small but theres always the chance of something breaking off or falling into the cylinder when you push that button.


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