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Author Topic: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry  (Read 4318 times)

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Offline Robert R

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I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« on: April 18, 2005, 09:45:08 PM »
I was planning on getting a 660 but the price tag and my inexperience scared me off.  I sold a load of walnut over the weekend and used part of the money to upgrade from my Stihl 021.  I really, really like that little saw but it is just to little for some of my plans.  I figured without an in between saw before I get a 660, I'd likely wind up getting myself hurt.  There is a huge price jump from the 390 to the 440, so I thought I give the 390 a try.  I cut sawmill and pallet logs part time, mostly just for the opportunity to work my horses.  Anything in particular I should be aware of or watch out for with a 390 and a 20" bar.

I'll get to test it out real soon.  I just marked 24 walnuts today a landowner needs removed immediately because the county is running a sewer line across his land next month so I'll get a chance to break it in as soon as it arrives by the end of the week.
chaplain robert
little farm/BIG GOD

Offline DonE911

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2005, 09:57:56 PM »
Yes you will be.....

As soon as it arrives pack it up and send it to me ;D

How could you be unhappy about a new tool??  I know I'd be happy.

If you mean, would you be happier with a 660... maybe, but you'll still have some $$$ and a new saw to boot.

Offline fishhuntcutwood

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2005, 11:07:44 PM »
I don't think you'll be sorry at all!  ;)  If you just remember that you've got a 390 and not a 440 or even a 361, and don't try to compare these saws.  The 290/310/390 series of saw is a very, very good saw when used in their inteneded capacity.  They're very well suited for upper end homeowner, maybe semi-professional use.  And by that I mean that they're good and capable saws, but when it comes time to rebuild them, well that will be better than half the value of the saw when new.   As a homeowner, that time will be way, way down the road, if ever.  As a pro, and the saw seeing professional use, that time will come sooner, depending on how you use it.  I had a 310, and it was a good saw, but it weighed (13 lbs, almost as much as a 440) too much for it's power, and the pro features wheren't there.  I bought a 361, and didn't realize what I was missing with the 310 until I ran the 361.  Only .4 more hp than the 310, but it feels like two more hp and it weighs less.  When you buy a pro saw, you're paying for the R&D that went into it, and that gets you a lighter saw with more hp, decomp valve, vertically split case and so on.  The 390 is a good saw, and I think you'll like it, as long as you don't ask it to work beyond it's means or intended design, and you don't compare it to the 440 or 660, as there really is no comparison between these saws.  That saw will very easily pull that 20" bar, and as long as you use it safely and watch out for the standard dangers, keep the saw clean, and on good gas, you'll be quite happy with it.  And ask you dealer to ditch the RM2 chain that will come on it, and ask for standard RM or RS chain. 

And just for consideration down the road, do you really need a 660?  That's alot of saw. If you're milling or felling big timber day in and day out, then it's a good saw for that, but chances are it's more saw than you need.  The 440 or 460 will handle 95% of anything most will folks will have to deal with, while they weigh and cost less than the 660.

Let us know how it goes!  :)

Jeff
MS 200T
MS 361
044
440 Mag
460 Mag
056 MII
660 Mag

Offline Robert R

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2005, 01:15:32 AM »
I was thinking 660 in case I wanted to mill down the road--that way, wouldn't need to buy another saw.  But the more I thought about it, I didn't want to lug that big 660 around all the time for my cutting.  Right now, I am using a saw around 10 to 20 hours every other week and skidding and hauling in between.  I cut mostly pinoak and locust in the 15 to 30 inch size but have lately been cutting a lot of Ash and walnut in the 20 to 45 inch size.  Let me tell you, a 40 inch ash tree is intimadating when you are standing at the base of it with a 16" 021.  Hopefully, this 390 sill make things fall more smoothly.  The dealer says it can handle up to a 24" bar.  I ordered the 20", thinking if I needed it down the road, I could always buy the 24 inch bar and a chain or 2 for specific trees that required it.  I know my 021 isn't a "pro" saw, but I have used and abused it for 4 years now, it has cut an incredible amount of wood for an outdoor boiler and seems to be still going strong.  I have completely wore out a couple of different chains and am on its second bar, but she just always fires on the fourth pull and runs and runs and runs.  I don't know what proper protocol is, but I always start each day with a freshly sharpened chain.  Right now, I have 8 for the 021, when 4 have been used, I drop them off to be sharpened and pick up the other 4 to start using.  I need to get better at sharpening my own, it would save a lot in sharpening fees.  But my dealer is also my sharpener, and when I need small parts (like a new oil cap I got today) he just gives it to me. 

I am not sure what RM2, RM and RS chains mean but my dealer told me he would get it with a more aggressive chain that I would like better than the standard chain, so I presume he is thinking the same as you--He is even throwing in an extra one of those and a case for the saw.  You gotta love the local service.
chaplain robert
little farm/BIG GOD

Offline DonE911

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2005, 08:27:52 AM »
Sounds like you have the correct tool.  I have 2 066's, but use them on my M7 only.  I have not run across any 45" tree's to bring down in my neck of the woods. I use either my 038 ( which needs to be rebuilt ) or my makita dcs540 for falling the smaller trees I've been milling.  I'm sure I would not want to carry that 066 around the woods all day unless I couldn't get by with anything else.


Offline StihlDoc

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2005, 10:01:46 AM »
You should consider the MS 440 or MS 460. The MS 390 is going to be low on power for the applications you describe. The 390 is a good saw and will hold up well but you will be much happier that you spent the extra money to get the performance that you really need for running a 24" bar in hardwood.

STIHL RM chain is a semi-chisel chain, RS is a chisel chain. Also may want to look at the new RSC chain that has very low vibration or the RSC3 that is a chisel chain with low kickback energy similar to RM2 but cuts almost as fast as RS chain.

Offline fishhuntcutwood

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2005, 10:19:35 AM »
I cut mostly pinoak and locust in the 15 to 30 inch size but have lately been cutting a lot of Ash and walnut in the 20 to 45 inch size.  Let me tell you, a 40 inch ash tree is intimadating when you are standing at the base of it with a 16" 021.  Hopefully, this 390 sill make things fall more smoothly.  The dealer says it can handle up to a 24" bar.  .

Maybe I read your first post wrong, but I wasn't picturing trees of this size and type.  I agree with StihlDoc, you should consider the 440 or 460 for these trees.  You mentioned the 24 walnuts you have marked, but I guess I wasn't imagining them up to 45".  Hardwood over 20" will indeed tax the 390 to the upper end of it's performance capabilities, if used in the manner on a regular basis.  It's a good saw, but 15-20" oak, and 20-45" ash and walnut, well, that's full on timber, and the 390 isn't meant to be a timber saw.  It's a firewood saw.  Give it a shot, but if you have the chance to swap it for a 440, 460, I'd go for it.  Even a 361, which has the same hp and weighs less, but has a torquier performance than does the 390.

And you are right about lugging that 660 around all day, and it being too much saw for what you're doing.  And you're dead on about loving the local dealer service! ;)

Didn't mean to reverse what I told you earlier, but in light of the size of the wood I now see you're cutting, read the first three lines of my above reply, about not using the 390 as someone would  a 440, and you'll see what I mean about now considering the 440.

Jeff
MS 200T
MS 361
044
440 Mag
460 Mag
056 MII
660 Mag

Offline Engineer

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2005, 09:36:09 PM »
Just to chime in here. 

I have a 390.  I like it, but I don't cut anything really big with it.  At full throttle, I can slow it to the point of stalling in a full-bar cut (i.e. 20" or larger log).   I will be using mine, along with an 025, to cut firewood for my own outdoor boiler.    The 390 has done fine cutting through about 30 cords of mixed hardwoods and pine in the past 18 months, but I think I'd rather be running a smaller, faster and more powerful saw such as a 360 or 361.

I don't think you're going to be too happy with it, even as a step up from the 021.   If your dealer will let you, ask to step up to the 361.  That has the muscle to pull a 20" or 24" bar through hardwoods at a decent pace. 

I used to have an 066 with my Logosol M7, and THAT was a fun saw.  Too bad it went with the mill when I sold it.   :(

Offline SasquatchMan

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2005, 10:16:01 PM »
It's always a tough call... a bunch of guys will say they have a 390 that they cut down 4' diameter trees with, and a bunch will say they ran a 390 for a minute and took it right back to the dealer.  I have a 290, and it's fine for me - but I cut all softwood, and 20" would be the biggest tree around here for 200 miles.

I think a 361 probably would be better long term for you, or as the others have suggested, even a 440.  I guess it comes down to how fast you need to cut.  If you're a pro, buy a pro tool, and it'll pay for itself.  If your a hobby cutter, get something reasonable, like a 390, and work a bit slower.

RS chain is the way to go imho.  Unless you're cutting in very dirty conditions like I was today... I got dull so fast I couldn't believe it... can't see why steel isn't harder than rocks and debris these days....
Senior Member?  That's funny.

Offline Robert R

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2005, 12:37:19 PM »
Thanks for all the replies.  The saw should be here tomorrow and I think I will stick with it while I am still dabbling.  If I ever get really serious, I'll shell out for a really serious saw.  I already work pretty slow.  I cut with my 021 yesterday for 3 hours:  Took down a 22 incher, 2 24 inchers and a just-under 28 incher of those walnuts.  4 trees in 3 hours is probably laughable to a pro but I got them all down safely and landed right where I wanted so I considered it a successful day.  I 440 will be faster than the 390, but until I have one, I'll never know the difference.  I am planning on being wowed by the jump up from my 021.
chaplain robert
little farm/BIG GOD

Offline HORSELOGGER

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2005, 07:53:49 PM »
Robert, where are you taking those measuremants on the trees you are felleing? At the base? or at breast height? If those measurements are right, and on walnut logs, you better make sure you are not getting reamed on the price you are selling your logs for. If i had 24 walnuts like you are talking about...even if they did not have veneer quality butts... well, lets just say I would not be worried about the couple extra beans for a pro saw.
Heritage Horselogging & Lumber Co.
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Offline logger

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2005, 08:03:54 PM »
Walnut is worth alot of money!!!  If I was you I would keep the 390 and put a 16 inch bar on it for limbing.  Then I would buy a stihl ms440 Magnum. and use it for felling and bucking, I weighs almost the same as the 390 any way.  Then I would put a 20 inch bar on the 440.  Trust me you wouldn't be sorry!!!!
220 Poulan            Future Saws         
Stihl MS280             Jonsered CS2171              
Stihl MS440 Magnum Husky 575XP  
Stihl MS460 Magnum   Dolmar PS-7900
Husky 385xp            Stihl MS361  Stihl MS441 Magnum
Stihl 066 Magnum       Stihl MS660 Magnum

Offline Robert R

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2005, 08:35:23 PM »
Those are butt measurements where I was making the cuts but these trees don't seem to have much of a swell at the base.  I am getting 3 to 4 7 foot and up logs out of each one until I get down to 10 inches which is the minimum by buyer takes.  I took a load down a week ago from off of my place and the average per boardfoot price was 1.95.  They definitely aren't veneer quality but I have no idea if I am being reamed or not.  I was pretty happy with check as it was but it was the first time I have ever sold any walnut and the only place I know to take it to.
chaplain robert
little farm/BIG GOD

Offline HORSELOGGER

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2005, 09:54:17 PM »
Without seeing the logs, i would say that 1.95 as an average for log run is pretty good. 8) Whats the hold up on the pro saw? Yer in the clover with them nuts ;D
Heritage Horselogging & Lumber Co.
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Offline Robert R

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2005, 10:40:09 PM »
The hold up is simply trying to keep my expenses to a bare, bare minimum.  I bought a new (dumb mistake) 4-horse with dressing room last year and I want to have every spare penny to pay it off.  Right now, I have to keep begging and borrowing flat bed trailers to haul logs on and I can't buy one until the horse trailer is paid for.  After I get set up with a proper log hauling rig (if I still enjoy doing it after paying for the horse trailer) I plan to invest in some better equipment.  These nuts I'm cutting now are off of a place of about 45 acres that I would guesstimate to be 60/40 walnut and hickory.  Very few locust and even fewer osage orange, less than 5% oak with only a pittance of pin oak, most burr.  It has been in the same family since real earlier in the 1900s.  I got the job because the landowner didn't want machinery fording his creek.  He has been wanting to do a significant walnut harvest for a while now (there are a lot of veneer trees on the far side of that creek).  I am simply taking out some trees that the government were going to bulldoze for a sewer line passage but if he likes my work and there isn't collateral damage, I'll get a good season of mostly walnut veneer out of it this fall.  Then, I'll get a pro saw for sure and probably a second team.
chaplain robert
little farm/BIG GOD

Offline Robert R

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2005, 07:20:15 PM »
Got my saw today.  By my standards, she is quite a beast.  Couldn't get back to the walnuts because of a heavy rain last night but I did clear out a couple of fair sized hedge trees just to test her out.  Wow.  Anything more would probably scare me.  When I rev up my 021, I can't feel it torque in my hands.  But the 390 just wants to jump.  I have to start my cuts slowly or the bar slides around before making a groove to cut on through.  I like.  I like a lot.  Glad I got this before a 440 or bigger or else it probably would have scared the pants off me.
chaplain robert
little farm/BIG GOD

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2005, 06:51:51 PM »
Scared like I got, the first time I fired up an 066.  I'd never used anything bigger than an 025 before, and running that big beast was like holding a full-grown angry rottweiler at arm's length.    Once I got used to it, though, it was all kinds of fun to run that puppy all-out with a 28" bar and a new chain.   :D

Offline SasquatchMan

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2005, 11:03:43 PM »
Robert, that's a fun feeling, isn't it?  You'll do okay with that 390 unit.  It will impress hell out of you until you get to try a monster pro saw.  So don't!   :D  Good luck with your trees, and enjoy your new machine.  I was cuttin up some big spruce with my 290 and Farmer Brown says "Boy, thassa helluva saw!" so I guess everything is relative.  He probably hasn't seen a sharp chain before.
Senior Member?  That's funny.

Offline jokers

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Re: I ordered a Stihl 390, am I going to be sorry
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2005, 08:24:53 AM »
I have to start my cuts slowly or the bar slides around before making a groove to cut on through. 

Hi Robert,

My guess is that your dealer hooked you up with semi chisel safety chain on your new saw from what you have described. Get yourself a couple loops of round ground(for ease of maintenance) chisel chain and be prepared to be impressed all over again. Happy to hear that you are pleased with your new acquisition, it may be all the saw you ever want.

BTW, I like hearing about horselogging and other low impact methods. Your case is a prime example of it`s benefits and even though you`ve got some cash tied up in the new trailer, you aren`t obligated for several thousand a month on other equipment payments and trying to find the work to support the equipment. Gypo Logger also has a very lucrative small scale outfit with minimal overhead going.


Russ


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