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Author Topic: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw  (Read 3130 times)

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Offline thriceor

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Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« on: November 16, 2017, 03:32:27 PM »
Based on the information and advice gleaned from this site, I recently purchased an FS560 clearing saw. Only have about 2 hours on it so far, but quite pleased with the performance.  I have a huge "crop" of honeysuckle to clear from 30 acres of woods, so I expect to be using it forever :D. Will update after a few more uses. Thanks to all for your great advice!
...I'd rather trust a man who works with his hands,
He looks at you once, you know he understands...

Genesis- "The Chamber of 32 Doors"

Offline skipster

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2017, 02:02:06 AM »
i use one a heck of a lot opening up tracks through scrub. monster of a thing,the FS550 that predated it was a better handling beast,but the 560 has a bit more power. lots of fun watching the bush recede before you. It can be dangerous when felling saplings/small trees that have a bit of height to them,it will cut through a 6" trunk no worries,but then a 20 ft sapling comes down with absolutely no felling control,and its hard to get out of the way with the behemoth strapped to you. wear a helmet.

Offline Riwaka

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2017, 03:31:24 AM »
Taking down larger than sapling sized trees with a clearing saw is a mix of technique and the saw blade selected etc.
Not a fan of this guy's approach but he got tyhe job down.


Offline Mountain_d

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2017, 07:43:30 AM »
You can directional fell the saplings also. It is a combination of blade inclination (left or right), starting position of the cut on the blade (referred to as morning side or afternoon side of the blade as per a clock from the operators view), and blade feed direction (sideways to the left or right or pull back towards you). Cut the stump higher (2 feet) to increase the directional affect and to minimize hitting the ground and dull the blade) then recut the stump with the blade held flat and low. Achieve peek rpm before begin the cut then feed the blade through in a controlled manner. As an example, one cut I use a fair bit for stems leaning the wrong way is to stand behind the stem, using the 8am part of the blade cut the stem at about 4 feet high, pulling back towards you with the blade inclined left (left side of blade angled down). The top of the stem will fall away from you. The concept is to displace the butt to create a lean rather than displace the top as we do with a chainsaw and wedge. The above is for stems that are thumb size to wrist size in diameter. Bigger stuff needs a two cut and even bigger a notch and back cut. Avoid cutting bigger stems with the noon to 2 pm part of the blade as you will get an uncontrolled kick out that will damage neighbouring stems and is a little hard on the saw or can jam the blade. If I was not tapping on a phone I could go on for ever about diectional clearing saw felling. Play around and give it some time. It is nice when you get most of your stems all falling the same direction out into the open face. Those that go the wrong way, pick them up and place them the correct way so you do not have to step over them or hang up other stems into them. Cut a narrow pass (6 ft or so)  to increase your felling options. This would be a great thing for someone to get up on YouTube. I searched YouTube but could not find anything. Have fun and keep st it! Mountain.
1978 TJ 230E 3.9L Cummins 4B, Husky 372XP, Husky 61, Husky 266XP, JRed 625, Husky 265RX clearing saw,  Woodmizer LT40HD 1995, Kubota 4950DT (53hp 4WD), Wallenstein V90 Skidding Winch, John Deere 610 backhoe, 1995 Volvo White GMC WCA42T SA Dump Truck, 2004 Ford F-250SD 4WD, , Central Boiler OW

Offline thriceor

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2018, 02:53:59 PM »
A few more hours on the saw now, no complaints so far.  I have been clearing honeysuckle, mostly.  The saw will cut 4-6" trunks with no problem.  It is heavy, two to three hours is a good workout!  I did purchase a Husqvarna harness (the Balance XT, I believe), it is more comfortable and better distributes the load than the Stihl harness that came with the saw. 

Once it warms up a bit I'll be back at it.

 :new_year:
...I'd rather trust a man who works with his hands,
He looks at you once, you know he understands...

Genesis- "The Chamber of 32 Doors"

Offline thriceor

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2021, 10:37:38 PM »
Well, it's been a while.  Another 2 1/2 hours on the saw today.  Man, am I out of shape 😬.  About 45 minutes per qt. of fuel ( or liter for our wise readers!).  Anyhoo, that was on one hand sharpened Husky Maxi blade.  Lot's of 2-4 inch honeysuckle.  The bane of my life 😜.  Thanks to all who contribute to this board, especially Jeff!!!
...I'd rather trust a man who works with his hands,
He looks at you once, you know he understands...

Genesis- "The Chamber of 32 Doors"

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2021, 06:47:57 AM »
Dont be scared to mod you blade.. The most efficient profile i came up with was to just clone a chainsaw cutter and knock in some extra set for wide kerf.  Huge difference in sawing bigger stuff. 











Isaiah 63:10

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2021, 04:41:09 AM »
I've cut acres of 6" butt fir and popple with those things. And we're talking 100's of acres, not just 10, 20 acre jobs. :D These mills around here cut the overstory off and leave acres of junk fir for the new forest. And it is junk to and old (for fir). I don't know how they think rotten suppressed old fir now is beautiful 16" white, sound fir in 40 years. It will be bug food before that. :D I've never had to modify a blade to cut effectively, just file and check set. And hardly ever check set.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline Andries

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2021, 05:15:49 AM »
 . . . .  It is heavy, two to three hours is a good workout!  I did purchase a Husqvarna harness (the Balance XT, I believe), it is more comfortable and better distributes the load than the Stihl harness that came with the saw. . . .  
@SwampDonkey do you prefer the 300, 400 or 500 series of clearing saws?
Also, is the Husky harness the way to go for you as well?
With all your experience, you've probably done the 'acid test' on a lot of the market's available hardware.
LT30G24, LT40G25
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2021, 05:24:32 AM »
@Andries The 560 is a great saw, but the harness sux. I was in the market for a new saw last summer. Couldn't get one. So I got the Husqvarna 555 FX. The later got a call, next day, that my 560 was in. Well, too late. Tell a guy one thing and then do something else? The 555 is a lighter saw and the shaft is shorter. I get less fatique on the Husqvarna though. Feels more like the old Stihl 550 model. I'd say the Stihl 560 is a more rugged saw, they are tough. Just get the Husq harness, and use a clip between the attachment point and the harness hook or that Stihl attachment will chew up your harness hook. Did that for years with good luck.

clip

No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2021, 10:42:05 AM »
@SwampDonkey  

Are you doing this as an employee or contractor or self employed or..?  How does your region come up with the drive and payment for clearing saw work.. Whos pocket is paying?  

Doesnt seem anyone does it in the SE.  Ive talked to half dozen forestors and at best theyll do a touch of it themselves on pet projects but none have ever heard of a TSI contractor whatsoever.  There is a lot of frusteration among TN forestors is my conclusion. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2021, 10:43:50 AM »
I've never had to modify a blade to cut effectively, just file and check set. And hardly ever check set.
Ive never had a blade that wasnt laying in the mud at a scrap yard, completely rocked over. 
Isaiah 63:10

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2021, 11:27:27 AM »
The funding is mainly by the provincial silviculture program on private woodlots and public land. I have been on 3 sides of the fence, Mike. I did monitoring as a silviculture manager and field surveyor for the local Forest Products Marketing Board, I have had employees and I now work for a contractor. I used to thin along side my own crew when I had the land all procured and laid out. Been in this racket for 30 years and it's been gong on for at least 40. At lot of it started when mills got more efficient, decided to hire all field work out on contracts instead of employing their own and other mills closed and gave up their licenses. The employees that got shed from them mills needed work, so the silviculture program was born. I have known of a lot of fella's who lost mill jobs or were men running mill harvest equipment. There was a big shakeup in the industry in the 1980's and 90's. And there was a pile of thick ground waiting. :)

In this racket production is everything, can't be mess'n with bad blades for long. Can be the difference between $200 and $60 a day. I'll take the $200. :D Last fall I was making $400/day on some ground. :) There's always lots of work every year, never had to shut down for no work. We shut down because of snow, but rarely because of budget being spent.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline Andries

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2021, 11:56:29 AM »
This is off topic, . . .  but maybe not.  ??? 
In NW Ontario the local forester is all about clearcutting, and moans about the old days of high grading an area. "Take the best, leave the rest." 
If those two were the only choices, I'd agree with him.
.
In the Maritimes, you folks seem to have a TSI mindset in the forestry management plans. Its very good to hear that the economics of using a clearing saw works for you Maritimers.
The Boreal forest covers most of Canada and parts of the US.
Why the difference? 
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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2021, 03:19:59 PM »
Wood supply. Need faster healthier growth to meet future demand. For a long time we had too much mill capacity. Clear cutting is most of the harvesting here, like most of Canada. We have a lot of hardwood besides the softwoods. Hardwood is worth more than spruce/fir.

These topics remind me of Tom sometimes. You could write a book about it, Tom certainly could. Lots of wisdom in his words.

Us long term members miss him a bunch. :)
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline Andries

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2021, 04:01:51 PM »
Thank you. I tried that link and it appears to be off limits for me, or not available.
I'll try a search instead.
I feel like I've dragged this thread far away elsewhere.
As they say:    "  . . . and now back to our regular thread followers . . . ."
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2021, 05:21:55 PM »
Swamp, I was not a member back then, but Ive read some of his stuff and, yes, he could spin a yarn or 2. But out of respect to @Jeff Ill let it be done there.
Trying harder everyday.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #17 on: March 12, 2021, 06:00:32 PM »
 I tried that link and it appears to be off limits for me, or not available.
Didn't realize where it was residing until now. :D Back to the program. ;D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #18 on: March 12, 2021, 06:05:22 PM »
Ive talked to half dozen forestors and at best theyll do a touch of it themselves on pet projects but none have ever heard of a TSI contractor whatsoever.  There is a lot of frusteration among TN forestors is my conclusion.
Pre-commercial thinning @mike_belben is what we call it. They do a lot in Europe to. We have criteria set by the government. But it's not difficult criteria, a lot of common sense to. Like don't trash the perimeter with leaners and brush and no high stumps over 6", all cut stuff bring to the ground. Plus your spacing, selection of species, and minimize damage, cut all competition.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline thriceor

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2021, 09:36:54 PM »
Some cutting I did last year in the conservation strips. 



 



 

Mowed over it this January to chop it up a bit more.
...I'd rather trust a man who works with his hands,
He looks at you once, you know he understands...

Genesis- "The Chamber of 32 Doors"

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2021, 02:47:27 AM »
Yep, she'll make short work of the brush. ;D

I've got a strip along the road shoulder to mow through this spring. I'm using the hardwood sticks for make shift tomato stakes. Plus keeps trash from growing over the road. And makes my TSI work look good from the road. I get lots of observers driving bye looking at the job, especially during hunting. :D
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2021, 03:37:17 AM »
I've not used these yet, but Stihl came out with a better harness.

USA
https://www.stihlusa.com/products/trimmers-and-brushcutters/straps-and-harnesses/xtreemharness/

Canada
XTreem Harness -
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline cuznguido

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2021, 12:02:54 AM »
Can I jump in here with a question.  I tried the BalanceXT harness and it worked well but did not last long at all.  Since then I been using the Stihl xtreem forestry harness.  Have any of you used both and can offer an opion on comparing the two?

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2021, 04:12:29 AM »
I have not used them @cuznguido, but the older Forestry model had a week point where the hook was sewn to the harness. Hasqvarna has a clip and release system for their hook, not sewed. The harness pad is attached with straps. They seem to be special order because they are not on a new saw. With the price for their saws, you'd think the harness you get would be higher quality. The Stihl's Xtreem is a much better design than their standard forestry harness. The price is the same as Husqvarna's forestry harness. The hook on the Stihl is harder steel. If you cut 70+ acres of trees like I do, you get at most 2 years from even a well made harness. It has to take a lot of abuse.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2021, 12:38:31 PM »
I can now say that I have used the new Stihl Xtreem clearing saw harness. It works well so far, lots of adjustments. Lots of swing and can reach up with the saw. smiley_thumbsup I just purchased a FS560 a few days ago as my main saw. They now also sell a FS561 for a 10" blade and greaseable angle gear. Same power.

The Husqvarna FX555 is my spare saw now, and I have found it not as tough as the Stihl. I just put in a new clutch drum and shaft in the Husqvarna. If the shaft goes on them, always replace the drum or the shaft will get ruined before long. The metal strips out, the ends are even square. This does not happen on the Stihl square end shafts. If they go, they break off, which is not often. I've only lost one in 7 years. I've lost 3 on the Husqvarna in 1 year and a clutch.
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21

Offline lxskllr

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2021, 12:58:53 PM »
What do you think of the 460? I could use a 560 without it being ridiculous, but it's a bit more machine than I realistically need. I burned up a Husky 545fr this year. I have another one in almost brand new condition, but I'd kinda like to try a Stihl.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Stihl FS 560 Clearing Saw
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2021, 02:10:15 PM »
I believe them to be reliable to. Between 5 of us there are three 460's cutting in hardwoods. smiley_thumbsup
No amount of belief makes something a fact. James Randi

1 Thessalonians 5:21


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