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Homelite fool?

Post in 'The Gear' started by martel, Mar 9, 2006.

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  1. martel

    martel Member

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    I was at the big orange box today picking up some wrenches when I saw they were selling a new (last years model) homelite 33cc ranger- 16 inck bar w/ case, manual and chain. So, I have heard a lot of smack talked about homelite, and I know some of you would not use their saws to slice bread, but it was $70!!

    I could not resist. I bought it. At that price it seemed like a bargain. Dumb move? Let me know.

    PS- the guy working the depot said he has had his homelite for 12 years cutting up to 14" in diameter and it is still running great. He also said go home, cut some wood, and if I don't like it bring it back... there is something nice about the big box stores.

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  2. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    I work the snot out of my little 14 incher.

    It is 4 years old. I am currently in the market for a "real saw" like a husky of stihl.

    I keep the chain sharp, flip the bar every season, replace the chain every season, use good synthetic oil in the mix, and keep it generally in good tune (clean plug, clean air filter, keep the saw clean). It works well.

    The only complaint is the pull starter rope breaks about twice a season. Easy repair, just a nuisance. It's not a power house, but if the chain is kept sharp (every time I fill the tank I sharpen the chain), it cuts fine. I like not having to lug a big saw around all the time. I think you got a good deal.
  3. martel

    martel Member

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    thanks. a few more replies like that and I may just keep it! i am a bit anal as well with my tools, so I may find joy in that sort of maintenance.
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Even you get a bigger saw someday, hang on to the Homelite. Good to have a limbing and small tree saw on hand. I know that RC airplane builders love the engine in the Ranger.

    HD usually sells that saw for $129 so you got a deal.

    I find myself reaching for my baby Poulan more and more and leaving the 23 pound beast in my avitar in the shed. Sixty year old elbows like a lite saw.
  5. martel

    martel Member

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    if it makes you feel better my 30 year old shoulders are feeling the wear...
  6. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Yes, and a nice source for spare parts, as they strip the saw and only use the engine. They also know all the tricks to "hot rod" the engine. May be worth while checking into some of the RC websites for more info/parts if needed.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Mine were too a long time ago. Two months after I laid down the maul and bought the log splitter the shoulders quit hurting.
  8. martel

    martel Member

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    we'll see how long I make it with the maul....

    as for hotrodding the engine for RC airplanes- does that mean you can also doa modification to make it more powerful for cutting? what would that be compression? I saw something at arborist site about modifying engines on saw to get more power but i could barely understand what they were saying.
  9. z-man

    z-man New Member

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    Martel,

    I have the same saw, a 16" ranger from HD, paid $129 (congrats on the deal). I love mine, took down 10 medium sized trees, and now have about 4-5 cords of wood cut to length but not split. The thing starts every time, is reasonable with bar oil, and is easy to manage. My only change was to take off that safety tip that is on the end of the bar. If you've never used a saw, keep it on for a while and learn how to cut safe. Once you're used to it, take off the tip and get used to the feel of the entire blade doing the cutting. I snapped the cheap wrench it came with, have a spare 5/8" box wrench in case yours breaks also. Happy cutting.

    -Mike
  10. martel

    martel Member

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    thanks mike- i think i have cut enough wood that the "safety tip" may actually makes things more awkward and if anything more dangerous. glad to hear of your experience. i think its a keeper!
  11. adrpga498

    adrpga498 Minister of Fire

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    Brother Bart

    How many cords did you split with maul before switching to a hydro splitter?
    I avg. between 3 & 4 cords a year and shoulders are getting sore now after reaching 50 years.
    Thinking about getting a splitter or maybe just renting one for a day. Any info or advice appreciated.
  12. martel

    martel Member

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    how much is it to rent a splitter for a day? i have no idea...
  13. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The splitter was a funny story. I had split six to eight cords a year by hand from 1977 up until 1989. My neighbor and me were always trying to out macho each other in the woods. My dad had a lot of trouble with his shoulders and mine were starting to show it from the impact of the maul day after day when I came home from work. Something about equal and opposite reactions. I am a little 165 guy and used to get a kick out of showing off with one handed splits of large oak rounds. Dumb! But that is what Eric is talking about. Attitude with a maul is half the job. Think right through the thing just like Karate.

    One week my neighbor's son, who is bull, was home from college and split a couple of cords for him. The next week I was out in the sun whacking away at a knarly butt piece. I stood up, threw down the maul and got in the truck. I drove down to the neighbor's house, stuck my head out the window and said "How much was that kid's tuition last semester?". He told me and I put it in reverse and started backing out. As I did he yelled "You sonofabitch, your going to buy a log splitter aren't ya?".

    Yes I was and I brought it home two hours later. The smartest investment of my life. You don't do any less work but you get a hell of a lot more done.

    The neighbor bought his the next year after he borrowed my twice. The Boy Scout dads have used it twice to split firewood to sell.
  14. kd460

    kd460 Feeling the Heat

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    Use this information for modifications at your own risk:

    This link is a nice little how to:

    http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3918/is_199808/ai_n8813346

    This link is a remote control hobbyist website with lots of references to modifications to chainsaw and weedwhacker engines:

    http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/forumid_92/tt.htm

    Heres on more, but there is tons of info out there, just google:

    http://www.rcfaq.com/answers/engines/weedies.htm

    http://www.rcfaq.com/answers/projects/index.htm#Engine
  15. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

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    Homelite, of course it is a long term tool. I have had a 16 and a 18 incher for over 25 years. The oldest is 32. Sorry, don't remember the XL model numbers. They make a great farm and general purpose saw. Easy to get parts too, so pick up a good used one if you can!

    Stay sharp and cut safely!
  16. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I've split a bunch of wood with maul,sledge,wedges- but since I travel for work some the splitter is a time saver that may make the difference between squirreling away enough and not enough. I also look at it as saving me a little wear and tear on my 38 year young frame- I'm prone to go all out and hurt myself.
  17. aandabooks

    aandabooks New Member

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    The Homelites your remembering is when they still made a quality top of the line saw. Now they make the same junk as a Poulan or McCullough.
  18. Valhalla

    Valhalla Minister of Fire

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    Yes, the old sayiing "they don't make things the way they used too" is quite true. Homelite has gone through many corporate take overs, from Textron, to John Deere, and more, to today"s owners of the Homelite brand. The reality is that business consolidation and expansion continues on manufactured goods worldwide. As one Hearth Forum member described, he bought a new Homelite at the orange box store for about $70. Many years ago you could not touch any new chain saw for that price, much less in 2008 dollars. Yes, the material spec., design and build quality has been intentionally changed to keep costs down. It is necessary for survival. We the consumers, can then make it our buying decision.

    Back to the subject, Homelite and my brand loyality to it has payed off for me. I prefer it, to having one each of everything else out there. Besides, who said you can't have too many tools?

    Choose wisely, enjoy them all and cut safely.
  19. Carl

    Carl New Member

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    Homelite saws will get the job done as most any other brands will. Lots of brand preference but if it does what you want and you can afford it then go for it. I prefer Stihl equipment but our neighbor has used his homelite for just a many years to cut his firewood with. Actually I think he has cut much more wood than me over the years. :sick:
  20. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    IMHO 16" is to big a bar for a 33cc saw, I'd back it down to a 12" bar, 14" if you must... Swap out the safetychain that's probably on it now for a good pro-grade chisel chain, and keep it sharp, should be a reasonably good saw for light work... Price is reasonable at any rate.

    As to making "hot saws" - the biggest change I've seen made over on Arboristsite is to open up the muffler - your engine is essentially an air pump, and the easier you make it to pump air through the engine the more power you'll make. Opening up the muffler is one of the easier steps to take, and tends to offer the most return on the effort as most saws are overly muffled in order to meet noise standards - as implied this does mean your saw will be louder... Trick is opening up the right amount and in the right place - get it wrong and you can burn up the engine...

    Gooserider
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