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Are All Modern Chainsaws Made with Crappo Plastic?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Mass. Wine Guy, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I was in Lowes today buying some TruFuel and looked at a Husqvarna Rancher chainsaw. The clutch knob and othwr stuff on the head were all really flimsy feeling and cheapo plastic. Is that pretty much the standard these days for all brands? How much do you need to spend to buy something that won't fall apart and approaches professional quality? My old Jonsered 535 looks a lot better to me now.
    smokinj likes this.

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  2. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Most pro-grade saws that I know of over 50cc are built on magnesium chassis with things like the recoil housing and engine covers being made from magnesium or durable plastics. Usually the clutch covers on these saws are magnesium as well.

    There are plenty of examples of saws that don't have a lick of magnesium in them (all plastic chassis) that hold up well to decades of homeowner use. Stihl's mid range series, the 029/MS290 is a good example. Even their smaller saws like the MS210/230/250 or the MS170/180 have held up exceptionally well considering they are relatively inexpensive "homeowner" units.

    Husqvarna's Rancher series saws are not quite as good as the mid-grade Stihls in the durability department IMO but if they are not treated roughly, they do hold up just fine as well. The 455 and 460 are the best of that series.

    If you want magnesium parts on the saw, you're looking to spend $500+ most likely. And if you are looking for better ("near professional grade") quality, I'd be looking somewhere other than Lowes/HD, etc. ;) I can just about guarantee their are 1-2 saw shops (or power equipment dealers) within' a 10-15 minute drive in your area. Stihl, Husqvarna, Dolmar, Echo are all good brands to check out.

    Buy the best possible tools you can afford, it is the least expensive option.
    TreePointer and Hills Hoard like this.
  3. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Cheap price, cheap saw...

    scooby074 likes this.
  4. Wildo

    Wildo Feeling the Heat

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    My Jonsered 2152 is has a magn. base/housing and was $425 in may 2010.
  5. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I completely agree that it's worth spending more for a better-made product. As the saying goes, I'm not rich enough to buy junk. With Stihls or Husq's, I realize there is a top end used by professional loggers on a daily basis. But which models below approach that tier in build quality? My Jonsered must also have a mag. housing. Sure looks like it. What else do they make them out of?
  6. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    In Stihl; MS271, MS291, MS311, and the MS391 are the "mid-range" line up. You sacrifice power to weight ratio but generally not overall power. The plastics used on the units are of high quality and the engines are built to withstand frequent use in less than extreme situations.

    If you're looking for a replacement for that 535, I'd take a look at the MS271. I'd recommend a MS261 (pro saw) even more so but that's well over $500 and I don't know what you're budget is.

    Husqvarna makes a few "semi-pro" type saws too. The 545, and the 555 might be worth checking out, along with the 550XP (warning: XP = pro saw)

    The 545 is probably closest in specs to your Jred 535.

    Basically to replace that 535 with a mid-range or semi-pro saw, you're going to spend about $439.95 - $479.95 with either Stihl or Husqvarna. Others here will know more about other brands.
  7. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Plastic ain't all that bad...and some is pretty dang good stuff. I'm all for a saw shedding a couple lbs.

    My dad's 30 year old homelite 360 is all magnesium...top cover, filter cover, everything. It is as sturdy as they come...at the expensive of feeling like you are cutting wood with a cinder block.
    OldLumberKid and Joful like this.
  8. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Don't forget Hearth.com Members. He came on this forum ranting and raving that he'd never stray from his all mag Stihl's (041, 051) and now look at him. He's got his mitts on a 372XP, a MS192T and I doubt he'll stop there. ;)
  9. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I would never limit pro grade saws to just "loggers". They are perfectly acceptable for homeowners and firewood cutters looking to get a decade or two out of a saw. $500-800 amortized over 20 years is not very much, especially when the tool is likely saving the buyer the purchase price each year in natural gas/propane/fuel oil.
    Thistle, basod, Nixon and 1 other person like this.
  10. Mass. Wine Guy

    Mass. Wine Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I saw this MS290 on Craiglist. I wrote to the guy and he said:

    Ken,
    We're cleaning house here and as a guitarist I never liked using it anyway. It was tuned up about a year ago by a guy who really knew what he was doing and it runs great. I used to have trouble starting it, but he showed me how to prime it a little bit by slowly pulling the rope and ever since it's been fine. I am the original owner. I used it in the fall.
    It's a bit of a drive up there, but should I consider this saw? If what he says is the truth, maybe it's a find. But maybe he has no clue about problems a saw can have and he just isn't aware of any issues with his saw. Of course, this saw weighs 13 pounds without the bar and chain. Pretty heavy.
  11. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Amen Brother. Amen. Lexan plastic is some really tough stuff and in parts of the saw that doesn't need heavy metal parts it does just as well. The older I get, the more I appreciate the weight loss in saws.

    My 23 pound all metal saw sits a lot these days.
  12. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    i have not looked at any saws in recent years that didnt have plastic somewhere on them. Cant knock it though its tuff stuff !

    Pete
  13. basod

    basod Minister of Fire

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    The only plastic pieces on my 041 are the knuckle guard, gas&oil caps, trigger, fuel tank pickup, and that old green hued plastic frame for the air filter.. ooops forgot the adjustable oiler knob.
    It's near 40yrs old though.

    Correct me if I'm wrong but even the new big bore pro-saws have at a minimum a plastic air/engine cover???
  14. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    They sure do have plastic, which is great..... it reduces weight. They also have spring anti-vibe which is a whole other world in comfort from the dinosaurs of yesteryear.
  15. Mr A

    Mr A Minister of Fire

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    Glass reinforced plastic is stronger than steel. This is new, but plastics are not the cheap flimsy, brittle crap they were in the '70's. Better than the pot metal used in older tools, that is brittle and easily cracks.
  16. OldLumberKid

    OldLumberKid Feeling the Heat

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    Was thinking the same thing, it may be plastic, but some of it is pretty darned good plastic, for plastic. Seems tough, light, deals with vibration well, cleans up nice :) and best of all, maybe, Made in Virginia Beach, where I sometimes go visit my Navy friends, so I'm glad to support.
    No complaints about it so far.
  17. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    I am not bothered by plastic.

    I AM bothered by junky saws.
  18. tbuff

    tbuff Feeling the Heat

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    Well put...

    Hey why'd you steal fossil"s avatar! :p
  19. gerry100

    gerry100 Minister of Fire

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    I believe that most csaw housings are made from Nylon 6/6 or 6/12, both tough, fuel resistant, weight saving materials also found under the hood of your car.

    Mag housings would be heavier and much more expensive.

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