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Choosing a Saw - What's important?

Post in 'The Gear' started by cgeiger, Jan 28, 2009.

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  1. Spikem

    Spikem Member

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    Nov 2, 2008
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    Loc:
    Middleboro, MA, USA
    I think, but am not sure, all the Stihl 361s have the quick adjust. (I have one, by the way.)

    I'll go along with rayburn's assessment on the saw. It's an incredible tool.

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    From the OP:
    I have a Dolmar 7900 because I occasionally run into rounds that need a big (28") bar to cut up, but it is more saw than I need for 90% of my wood - it's a blast to drop it through a smaller log, but still overkill... I have only used my big bar on it a couple times, most of my cutting I do with a 20" bar, and find that is about the perfect size for good handling and balance. A 20" bar is at the bottom end of what the 7900 can handle, but is fine on a smaller saw as well. If I hadn't been trying to do the "one saw" approach (and just use my Pull-on for rescue and limbing) I would have gotten the 5100.

    If the OP is describing his wood properly, he should be fine with an 18 - 20" bar, or possibly even a shorter bar (and a 14-16" bar would probably make that Poulan Pro into a much better cutting machine!) as that would be longer than most of his wood, and well within range of the rest... This makes me think that he really doesn't NEED a 7900, and that a Dolmar 5100 would do the job quite well, for significantly less up front money, and less weight in the field. I reccomend the Dolmar, not only because it's a good saw in it's own right, but because it's MUCH less expensive than the comparable Husky and Stihl models, and I don't see anything those offer to justify the higher price other than a name on the side, and I don't pay for labels...

    IMHO a decent OPE guy should be able to fix any brand saw if need be, assuming I can't fix it myself, and with the internet I don't think parts availability is that big of a deal either - so I'm not all that worried about having a local dealer - rates as nice, but not essential, especially if the saw makers would come into the 20th century and allow online sales...

    Gooserider
  3. cgeiger

    cgeiger New Member

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    Nov 22, 2008
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    Loc:
    Northwestern VA
    Thanks to everyone who provided input and guidance. After weighing the pros/cons I went with a Dolmar PS6400. It had plenty of power for most of the cutting I figured I would be doing and, according to the shop owner, the 64, 73 and 7900 are actually all the same chassis and design but with different cylinders and perhaps carb. So, in theory, if I wanted in a few years, I could "upgrade" it to a more powerful saw. I took it for a test drive last Saturday and needless to say I was impressed. It screamed through cuts in a fraction of the time it took my pull-on.
  4. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    Jan 21, 2008
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    Loc:
    minnesota us
    My '7900' is actually a 64 upgraded by eric ritchey. Still has the makita blue plastics and 6401 label, by my choice, nice little 'sleeper' saw that cuts really well.
    If you choose to upgrade someday, Baileys is prototyping an aftermarket 85 or 86 cc big bore kit. Now that would be a real kicking saw..... especially hiding in your makita 64 cc plastics.....


    kcj
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Good saw... According to the parts list on my 7900, which covers all three saws, the carb is the same on both. The ONLY difference is the piston and cylinder, thus the upgrade is quite possible and straightforward, many folks have done it, no problems...

    Gooserider
  6. chad3

    chad3 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2007
    Messages:
    453
    Loc:
    Southeast CT
    Didn't read them all:
    You need to decide if you want one saw or two. If one, I'd recommend a 361 with about a 20" bar (can cut almost 40" and that is HUGE). If you are going two saws, I'd go either a Husky 375 or the Solo 681 and something in the 260 range. I've cut plenty with a small tophandle saw with a 12" bar and it works very well for alot of tops.
    Decide what you want for the cut range and go from there, trust me you don't want to run a huge saw for your all day cutting.
    Chad
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