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Author Topic: A forester's first chainsaw?  (Read 1577 times)

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Offline EnglishWoodsman

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A forester's first chainsaw?
« on: March 14, 2016, 07:26:26 AM »
Hey guys,

I'm currently still a student, but I'm looking to get my own chainsaw. The college only uses Husq and Stihl, and I don't particularly enjoy using Husqies and I know there is more out there than just Stihl. I will probably not do much bigger than small fell, although I would like to try milling on larger pieces so I'm not sure if that'll affect my bar size, timber's not likely to be more than 2' across. I'm not really sure how Alaskan mills work with bar size so that's something I would need to research. Cost isn't so much of an issue, it won't take me long to save up around 600-700 and if I need a little more, I can work a little more. I just don't want to be aiming for anything unnecessarily big, whilst also not playing too safe and buying a chainsaw too lightweight to handle a good bar size.

Can anyone give advice on how I can best go about choosing a chainsaw to meet my needs? I don't know if you mill with a chainsaw, if would you just use a different saw from your felling saw and have that set aside for that purpose, or use the same saw you felled with. In which case, milling with a chainsaw would probably be out of the question.

Offline RPF2509

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Re: A forester's first chainsaw?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2016, 01:13:46 PM »
I've used a Husky 51 for nearly 20 years as my truck saw.  It fits nicely in my bed box, is lightweight, and handles 95% of the jobs I encounter which would be cutting the tree across the road out of the way.  With a 20" bar I have bucked 40" logs and even whittled through a 60 incher when there was no other choice.  Every year it cuts 5 cords of oak to heat the house.  I also have an Alaska mill that I run a Husky 372 ( just big enough on smaller logs) or a Stihl 90 ( can handle up to 36" cuts no problem - 48" you have to be patient and my mill won't cut bigger) on.  The Stihl is not mine as I don't cut big logs that much.  The 51 is woefully underpowered for the mill but I do use it with a 'beam machine' to edge my cants.  I would not use the 51 all day every day for something like precommercial thinning or brushing as it would not hold up.  If I had to have only one saw it would probably be something in the 60cc range.  A bit more power but not too heavy.  Running an Alaska mill is apples to an oranges everyday/ occasional use saw.  The Alaska mill will punish an underpowered saw and you too as you hang on waiting for it to get through the log. You really need to evaluate what you are going to use it for mostly and buy for that use and anything lighter or heavier is just occasionally pushing its or your limits.  I don't have experience with anything other than Stihl or Husky but have used those two brands for 30 years.  Saw brand use seems to be regional and get what you can have serviced in your area. Stihl seems more rugged and most of my contractors who use them all day every day run Stihls.  If you run a saw 8 hours a day its a tradeoff between weight and reliability.  You get tired fast swinging a heavy saw and it gets dangerous when you are tired.  The Huskys seem to be a bit lighter for the size and many timber fallers in our area use them exclusively.  Whatever you buy remember if it doesn't do the job you need it to you can sell it and get a different one.

Offline EnglishWoodsman

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Re: A forester's first chainsaw?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2016, 05:59:15 PM »
Thanks for the advice! :)

Offline celliott

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Re: A forester's first chainsaw?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2016, 07:20:21 PM »
If I only had one saw for felling, bucking, general use, etc. I would not want to mill with it. Milling is hard on a saw and you want lots of power. Lots of power = lots of weight. You don't want to swing around a 20+lb 90cc beast to limb and fell small trees. And you don't want to be underpowered and overworking your saw to mill with. Yes, a 372xp\461 stihl, 70cc class saw will do ok milling smaller wood but it won't like it. And rely on that saw for the rest of your use? It's been done but like I said, I wouldn't want to do it.

To run an alaskan mill, you need a bar effectively 6-8" longer than the biggest you plan on milling. I have a Husqvarna 395xp for a milling saw, with a 36" alaskan mill. To get my maximum 36" cut, I need a 42" bar. Currently I have a 32" bar and it's max cut is 25-26". I know, I had to trim a log to get it to fit...

So, to mill 24" timbers, plan on a saw capable of running and oiling a 32" bar. 70cc minimum.

For a good general purpose all around saw, I'd suggest a 60cc saw. There are plenty of very good new options out there with some very nice technology and performance. Husqvarna 562xp, Jonsered 2260, Stihl MS362, Echo 620p, Dolmar 6100, all are fine saws capable of running a 16-24" bar comfortably.

If it were me, I'd get a good general use saw you really like. Buy this one new. Then look for a used, big saw for milling if you still want to get into that. 562xp and a 395xp, perfect. MS362CM and a used 066\MS660, perfect.

Where are you going to school for forestry?
Chris Elliott

Clark 666C cable skidder
Husqvarna and Jonsered pro saws
265rx clearing saw
Professional maple tubing installer and maple sugaring worker, part time logger

Offline RPF2509

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Re: A forester's first chainsaw?
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2016, 07:49:42 PM »
Just one more tip on the Alaska mill.  If you plan on sawing anything over 18" get an auxiliary oiler.  The saw's oiler will not be able to keep the chain lubed.  I use mine no matter what size log I'm sawing.  You do need a bar at least 6" bigger than the log you are sawing.

Offline ppine

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Re: A forester's first chainsaw?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2016, 01:52:57 PM »
Buy a new Husky or Stihl.  You want a saw for the long term and these two are dependable. The bushings that dampen vibration are worth the cost alone.  I agree that for milling a larger saw is in order. Big saws are always for sale used.
Forester


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