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Author Topic: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw  (Read 683 times)

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Offline woodworker9

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Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« on: November 13, 2020, 12:20:10 PM »
I own an older Stihl 290 Farm Boss purchased 20 years ago.  Came with a 20" bar....probably not the best set up.  Worked fine for around my 2 acre property with a lot of trees for cleaning up, but not the greatest for prolonged work.  

2 years ago, I purchased the MS 461.  Wow, what a saw.  Love it, but it's heavy to work all day long.  I get a lot of free logs for sawing and for firewood, and we are now producing more and more firewood for sale here, to offset the high costs of living in Illinois.  Also gives my employees from my business some extra paying work when they want it.

I'm looking for guidance towards a lighter saw than the 461 that can buck logs that aren't too big (the 461 is awesome for that) and has the power and build quality to be worked for extended periods.  I pick up downed logs with a dump trailer, and need to buck them down to be carried into the trailer.  Often in back yards so sometimes the bigger rounds need to be quartered to be moved manually and loaded into the trailer.  I love the hard work, it keeps me alive, so I'm not worried about that end.

What saw/bar combination is a great option for this.  I'm only working with hardwoods like oak, locust, elm, maple, etc....I don't pick up any softer woods for splitting.  I stay away from cottonwood, pine, spruce, etc.....

This saw will be working when I'm giving the 461 a rest, and the big stuff has been broken down.  I don't want to blow up either saw.  

On a side note, my opinion of the 290 is that it is a fine homeowner saw.  Can anything be done to it to make it better matched, more power, etc......I just am learning about these things, so go easy on a guy who doesn't know but is trying to learn.  If the best thing to do to the 290 is sell it and use the money towards a more professional quality saw, I'm fine with that, too.  As you all know, the MS 461 is an expensive saw, but worth every penny.  I was just bucking some 36" white oak that a tree service dropped off, and it was impressive how quickly the saw ate through it all.....at least to this guy.

Thanks.

edit:  btw, you can probably tell I'm a Stihl guy, but I'm not closed minded to a great setup with a Husqvarna, if a good deal is to be had.  I don't know those saws well at all, but I own 2 Husqvarna 760 concrete saws for my business work, and they are great tools, so I'm opened to those thoughts.
03' LT40HD25 Kohler hydraulic w/ accuset
MS 441, MS 290, New Holland L185

Offline barbender

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2020, 01:27:49 PM »
I have a Stihl 261CM, that's a 50cc saw. Probably a bit on the small side for what
you're looking to use it for. The next pro saw up the Stihl line is the 362, I think those are in the area of 60cc. I don't have any personal experience with one, but they have a good reputation on here. I just bought a Husky 562xp also a 60cc class pro saw. I haven't ran it a lot, but I like it. Light weight and a lot of power. 
Too many irons in the fire

Offline btulloh

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2020, 01:41:26 PM »
Husky or stihl just depends on your preference and favorite dealer. Having a good dealer is an important factor to me. Ive got a lot of stihl stuff and a dealer close by, but nothing wrong with husky.

I do use a 362cm and Im very impressed with the power, weight and balance. I run a 24 bar mostly and it does fine, but a 20 is what its best with. Good tweener saw and fits my needs. I dont own anything bigger anymore cause gravity seems to bother me more than it used to.

The 261cm is a great saw too if its big enough for you. They can do bigger work on occasion when needed. 
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2020, 02:03:59 PM »
I alternate my 261 with my 046 mag. on a daily basis. 20 inch and a 24 inch bar.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2020, 02:33:39 PM »
I think you would be happy with the MS362 and a 20" bar, not a big jump in displacement from your farm saw but you will notice the difference in power, speed and weight.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2020, 05:13:32 PM »
I just bought a 450e Husky, a 50cc saw. I have just about buried the bar a few times. It did fine. My 372, 70cc is faster, but heavier. 
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2020, 05:40:12 PM »
If your 290 still runs good you could try going to an 18 or even a 16 bar. My father has a 290 with a 16 bar and it seems to do really well. Runs .325 full chisel stihl chain and it never bogs down even with the bar buried in a big oak log. Just a thought since you already own the saw. 
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Offline woodworker9

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2020, 09:04:22 PM »
Thanks, everyone, for the information.  I appreciate it.

I stopped by the Stihl dealer today and got a chance to look several of the above mentioned saws over, and to hold them.  I love my 461, but at nearly 15 lbs. I see why they made the 462.  It's almost 2 lbs. lighter with a "light" bar, which is how the local dealer is outfitting the bigger saws for sale.

The MS 362 is a nice saw, weight wise, and I think would do great for me. 

The dealer also mentioned buying a smaller bar for the 290, and I think I will try an 18" bar on it and see how it does.  The saw still runs great, as I've taken good care of it, so we'll give that a go.  If it works well, I'll keep the saw instead of selling it, but I think I'm still going to add another saw.

Just to mention, he had ONE of the new 500I's in stock, sitting on the shelf, with a 28" "light" bar on it.  Noticeably lighter than my 461, but at $1400, not really a practical purchase right now......maybe down the road.

On a full day of bucking all day long, I can see an advantage of having 3 saws that are all capable, giving the other 2 a rest while one works.  Not having to stop and file as often will help, too.

If I go with the MS 362, what bar length do you think optimizes performance?  I'm thinking 20", but would prefer to hear from those who've run it.  As stated, my 461 has a 25" bar, and really cuts extremely fast and well, so if I need that length, that's the saw I'm using, hands down.
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Offline lxskllr

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2020, 09:20:02 PM »
I think the 362 is ideally suited to a 20" bar. I bought mine with a 25" bar. It suited me at the time, but it really threw the balance off, and that's the upper end of it's comfort range. When I got my 661, I relegated the 25" bar for that when I needed something smaller than 36", and bought a 20" light bar for the 362. A world of difference. Feels like a whole different(better) saw. Much easier to handle, and feels more nimble. I'm not sure a light bar makes a big difference in the short lengths; not necessarily worth the added cost anyway, but maybe? I never put it on a scale, but the light bar feels about the same as the laminated E bar, so just a bit lighter than the ES.

Offline Happysawer

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2020, 01:04:23 PM »
I have been reading this thread and thought i would chime in some, am sure no expert on chainsaws but i have found a lot of really good information from watching youtube videos of people who do know a lot about them.

Not all the videos are giving you the best advice, but when you find the one that has someone you feel knows what they are doing that video makes up for all the rest.

I found this man who hase a fairly large farm with many trees, and he has many special needs that require many different chainsaws and other equiptment.

This is i think the video:


For starters he shows his Sthil 880 with if i remember a 36 inch bar, says it's a really great Sthil but he seldom really needs, fact is he says been maybe three years since it was started, he fires it up and lets us see hand hear it running, says it's also really heavy.

He then tells of all the Sthil saws he has had over the years there's Farm&Ranch Sthil saws then he gets into Sthil Professional type saws like the 880 he says he even bought a Husky once but did not like it sold it at a loss after one Month use.

Then he starts talking and showing what he calls the best Sthil everyday can do a lot for it's size and weight chainsaw, it's the Sthil 261, have no idea what size the bar is but from watching the video it's an 18 inch also don't know anything about it's chain brand or type, don't think it's a skip tooth but think it a chisel tooth Sthil maybe just a Sthil green label chain.

From watching his video i have to agree the Sthil CM261 is a really good Sthil chainsaw for firewood and maybe felling a good sized tree, for sure having bought one myself i like it's easy starting and it's low weight.

Again i sure am no expert and have cut very little with it my self, but from watching the video i feel it's one you might give some thought about.

.

Offline Bthomasb3

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2020, 06:48:01 PM »
My suggestion would be go with the 261 4 horsepower 11 pounds you get your most bang for your buck without going to a bigger saw which you already have in your 461 it's a pro saw so you can run it all day long.

Offline barbender

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2020, 10:23:43 PM »
I cut the same type of stuff the OP is looking to. A 60cc saw is the sweet spot in this size of wood. The 261 has great power for it's size, and I'm very fond of mine. But it's too small for day in day out blocking up medium size hardwood. Yes, it will do it but when you start burying the bar you'll remember it's only 50cc. My Husky 562xp and Jonsered 2171 get the most time on them. The Husky 390xp wasn't really even necessary for my operation, but I wanted one. So there😁 I just ordered a 42" b&c for it to use trimming bundles of 2x4's to length, I'll make it earn it's keep one way or another😁 So around my sawmilling, firewood, and everything else I have going on, if I could only keep one saw it would be that Husky 562xp with a 20" bar on it. It has almost as much power as the 2171 but it's a way lighter and more ergonomic saw.
Too many irons in the fire

Offline woodworker9

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2020, 06:01:29 PM »
I went to my dealer today and bought the MS 362 CM.  It was my 7th purchase from him, and he threw in an extra chain.  He's happy, I'm happy. 

Thanks to everyone for helping me decide.  It was the direction I was leaning in, and you all made it easy with confirmation.  Brought it home, and put it instantly to work.  What a nice saw!  Plenty of power, and I could tell immediately how much more cutting power this has over my older 290.  Not fair to compare, as the Farm Boss is a different class of saw, and this was exactly what I needed.  I can't believe how light it is to hold.  I ran 2 tanks before it got dark, so a small break in, bucking up some maple logs.

I'm very impressed, and if my MS 461 is any indication, after this saw breaks in, it'll only get better.  My 461 is still improving on performance with every tank.

I bought it with the 20" bar, as suggested.  It's a sweet setup for bucking logs.

Thanks.

 

 
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Offline Old saw fixer

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2020, 09:30:25 AM »
Nice saw, I own one of it's predecessors, an 036 Pro.  At this point in my life, it is as large a saw as I want to use.  I'm sure you will be happy!
 
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Offline JJinAK

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2020, 04:02:38 PM »
@woodworker9 - I think you will really enjoy that combo.  I have the exact same combination of saws here (362 and 461).  My 362 is the older non CM version and it runs flawless.  I use my 461 for the large stuff (Here in AK it's mostly large spruce and/or Hemlock), and the 362 for the smaller stuff.  I run a 28" b/c on the 461 and a 25" b/c on the 362.  Most of the time I'm using skip tooth for the chain.

Congrats on the selection.  You won't be disappointed.

J
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2020, 04:16:46 PM »
JJ, are you getting enough oil to the bar/chain on 25? Id have thought 20 was about the reasonable limit, but if you are, CARRY ON! And Well done!
Trying harder everyday.

Offline JJinAK

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #16 on: November 17, 2020, 04:35:46 PM »
@Tacotodd - I'm pretty sensitive about chain oil, and so far I've had no issues.  My 362 is the older version w/o the adjustable oiler, so I watch that one like a hawk.  I remove and inspect chains and bars at the end of each day, and my chains are definitely wet.  On my 461 I have that oiler cranked up fairly high.  I'm pretty dialed in on 1 tank of oil to 1 tank of gas.  I use the Stihl orange jug of oil, which I think is their "Summer" version.  It works for me.

JJ
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Offline Tacotodd

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #17 on: November 17, 2020, 04:39:31 PM »
JJ, 10-4, Im just a concerned individual looking out! Im glad that all is working out well for someone NOT in the lower 48!
Trying harder everyday.

Offline woodworker9

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Re: Guidance and information requested for buying an additional saw
« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2020, 07:55:35 PM »
Thanks, guys.  I cut all day with it today, bucking up firewood.  I really like the saw.  

8) 8)
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MS 441, MS 290, New Holland L185


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