View Full Version : *way* OT: Chainsaws

01-28-2006, 11:27 AM
lately this forum has been so die-hard machining that i thought a change of pace might do some good. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

hoping to get some recommendations for 'consumer' grade chainsaws.

came into a brand new Poulan Pro (295?) a few years ago and have only just recently made use of it (we got ourselves a nice wood burning stove).. we also have alot of trees/wood/etc.

i forsee lots of use in the near future.

the Poulan doesn't seem like it'll last more than a season or two (i may be wrong, any experience out there?)

its all plastic. even the chain. (just kidding)

thou its real light, and i like the easy-adjust chain tensioner.

anyway.. any tips out there? don't wanna spend more than.. $300 or so.


01-28-2006, 11:52 AM
Tony...this has been covered many times in the past...so some may know of my affliction with Stihl saws. Them and Husky are about the best.
I've ran Stihls for 8 hours a day, they usually last about 2 1/2 years in the bush at this rate.
The Huskys will do the same and the Jonsreds.
I wouldn't count out the Poulan just yet.
Even if you cut six or seven cords of wood a year it should last for quite some time.
ALL the saws today are made mainly from plastic...thank God! The old ones...if you dropped them on a hard surface they'd crack and where very pricey to repair. If you set them down in the snow to hammer in a wedge...great gobs of snow would stick to the metal and you'd lift another bunch of weight you didn't really need to.
Have fun...

01-28-2006, 12:12 PM
I'm with Torker on the Stihl saws. Have an 031 AV which is no longer made but still runs well. Parts are hard to get for it so I just bought a parts saw on ebay. Today I tuned it up and changed the parts necessary and now it is good as new. I bought it in 1980 when I lived in Washington state. It really got a workout this year with Katrina and all of the downed and damaged trees. They are more than you want to spend but are worth it. Bought a Stihl pole saw this year so I could trim higher in the trees. It has been excellent so far.

Some of the people down here in Mississippi also like the Echo brand but they are expensive also about the same as Stihl.


01-28-2006, 12:38 PM
the few times i've gone for wood so far i've gone out with 2 buddies. (i have no way to haul wood home on my own.. they have tractors and pickups)

one of the has a Stihl.. the other a Husquarna (or however you spell it.. i think theres a V in there).

so of course, with the Poulan, i'm the butt of all their jokes.

they're both pro saws. great build quality. the Husquarna screams like its on crack.

BUT.. i did just as much cutting as they did (no signs of slowing down).. the Poulan was lighter than both of theirs put together.

the Poulan has all the handles mounted via heavy springs. so my bones weren't shake'n as bad at the end of the day.

the Poulan ran great..but then again, what kinda product doesn't run great at least the first few times? i just don't have high expecations. not as solidly built as the other two.

then again, i could be wrong.. hence check'n for opinions. i've heard good things about the Husky saws, maybe i'll trade it in before i get it too scuffed up.


01-28-2006, 12:42 PM
Stihl, Husqvarna, Jonsereds, are all good. Pick the one that has the best dealer/support in your area.

01-28-2006, 12:47 PM
I have a Husqvarna myself, but have ran lots of Poulans too, they are a consumer grade saw, exactly like you said, not a commercial saw. I would guess their life expectancy to be around 100-200 hours, so, for the average homeowner, if you were cutting a couple days/year, you should expect about 10 years or so from them.

When I did some commercial cutting a few years back, we had large saws for the falling and cutting of the logs, but we generally were using Poulans for cutting the limbs and small firewood. (Not recommended for safety reasons, but it's possible to use the smaller ones one handed at times.)

Some of the family were cutting up the limbwood for firewood, even some of the 'ladies' would run the poulans, no way they could have ran the big saws that we did though. I even found I'd use the little light Poulans from time to time, the lightweight was a nice change.


01-28-2006, 01:14 PM
I am a diehard Echo man, i sold them in the 1970's and have a fleet of them now. I have the oldest in the US and both the 2 and 3 rd model first sold over here. I went to their service schools and the inner workings and the guarentee can't be beat. I like the new 360 but i don't need anymore http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif..Bob

Bob Wright
Salem, Oh Birthplace of The Silver & Deming Drill

01-28-2006, 03:35 PM
Look into the Stihl Farmboss. I've got a bigger Stihl myself but my father has the Farmboss. Priced right around $300 it does an excellent job. Helped dad drop a bunch of trees with it last year and it kept up like a commercial saw. Also comes with a nice case and extra chain etc.

-Christian D. Sokolowski

01-28-2006, 04:23 PM
I've had the FarmBoss for years; great saw, easy starting.
You can't go wrong with either Stihl or Husky.

Use the "non-consumer" chain if you're doing a lot of cutting -
way more effective, esp. in green or "springy" wood. Watch
out for kickback; these kinds of chain _will_ kick back
more readily. But the saw feels 3x more powerful w/ it.

When fueling the saw, remember to check bar oil and make sure the bar oil passages are clear. Stihl suggests resting
after running each tank through the saw - worthwhile.

- Bart

charlie coghill
01-28-2006, 07:34 PM
Be carefull with that saw, any of them will chew you up and spit you out. I have been lucky so far.

01-28-2006, 11:00 PM

My father bought a Stihl in like 1978, after putting up with a homelite $%$# saw for a year.

Aside from the occasional tuneup, it still runs like a dream.


This Old Shed (http://thisoldshed.tripod.com)

01-28-2006, 11:52 PM
........If you're going to be cutting lots of wood, and foresee cutting lots of wood regularly for some time, then buy a pro saw. Buy the correct tools to maintain the chain, and buy a spare bar and a couple chains, sprocket and clutch. I had a heavy plastic container that I think was for keeping Kool-Aid or such in, in the reefer. I put a couple new chains in it and poured in oil to cover them and snapped on the lid.

I used a plastic milk crate to carry my "Off the Property" chainsaw stuff. Last thing you want if you had to drive to where you're cutting wood is for some foolish little thing to put you out of commission. So you carry some consumables parts, oil, sharpening stuff and basic tools.

I think most all chainsaws regardless of make are well built and designed to handle their intended uses. I think the secret is 2 things. Fresh gas and oil and a sharp chain. I was NOT a pro woodcutter and I did not have pro saws. My parents and grandparents had 58 acres of citrus in So. California so that's where most of my wood cutting was done. A couple times I had permission to cut in groves which were being sold due to developement. One was 10 acres and the the other was 14 acres.

That is actually a LOT of cutting, because with citrus there is so much brush on the trees you have to cut out before you get to useable wood. What did I use? I had 2 little Mc Cullogh 14" homeowner saws :-). I'd run one saw till it ran out of gas. I'd set it on the tailgate and fire up the other saw. When it ran out the other had cooled so it got gassed up and back to work we went. Yup, your fingers would get tingleing from vibration!

Every few tanks of gas and the chain would get touched up, and the air filter cleaned. Citrus holds a LOT of dirt on the bark as there isn't a lot of rain here to wash it off. I'd also try to flip the bars regularly.

However these little saws were light and handy, especially for overhead stuff. The 14" bars were fine, as most citrus trunks on even old trees rarely exceeded 18" across. I've lived in town now for the past 4 years so the saws are semi retired. However I'm pretty proud of them and their performance. Compared to others discussed here they're toys. They're about 25 years old, and they weren't used as intended, I'll bet! I could go out and prep one and in a couple pulls it'd fire up. I think they cost about $85 apiece :-)

Here's a couple photo's of an old wood splitting device:

This is a powder wedge. My greatgrandfather had it made from an old Ford 'TT' truck axle. In the lower photo you can see the vent for the fuse. Citrus trees have pretty gnarly crotches and it's no unusual thing to bury a few wedges.

It has a 3/4" bore. You dump in about 150grs of 2Fg black powder and then a bit of newspaper for a wad. You only have to drive it in a couple inches. You put a hunk of wood or a rock on it. Light the fuse and back up or get behind something. KA-BOOM! Split trunk or stump.

My grandfather said when he was growing up they had a couple Percheron horses. To pull stumps they'd use the powder wedge to split them in the ground, chain up and peel the halves up out of the ground.

One orange grove we were cutting in had a row of big Eucalyptus trees, maybe 4' in diameter. My cousin had a 20" Husqvarna saw we used to fell them. Once cut into biscuits we'd drive the wedge in about 8" from the edge and blow off slabs.


[This message has been edited by Buckshot (edited 01-29-2006).]

[This message has been edited by Buckshot (edited 01-29-2006).]

01-29-2006, 03:08 PM
Jonsreds are good and also the Huskys. I wouldnt buy anything else. This is what Iwould buy if shopping for a new one but my old one will last forever.