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"homeowner" chainsaw problems?

Post in 'The Gear' started by stockdoct, Nov 24, 2008.

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  1. stockdoct

    stockdoct New Member

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    I know chainsaws are often separated between "Professional" and "homeowner" models. I have a homeowner, an electric Remington I bought at Menards for $100. It works great to cut logs in my garage.

    My question, is that of course its not of the quality of a Stihl or the other professional models, but I want to know "how"? What can I expect to go badly? Is the chain going to slip off the bar? Is something dangerous gonna happen when I'm on my 200th log? Will the bar crack, or the electric cord start on fire?

    What can I expect with a "homeowners" model if I use it extensively. My neighbor has a huge locust tree he wants felled (professionally) and will give me the wood. I might be able to cut 200-300 logs to stock up and season for the next couple years.

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  2. Brian VT

    Brian VT Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2008
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    Loc:
    Southern VT
    Keep a sharp chain and the oil flowing. It's probably already paid for itself so just run it, be safe, and smile about the free wood.
  3. sl7vk

    sl7vk New Member

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    Salt Lake City, UT
    Yeah typically with a saw like that after the first 100 logs or so the chain comes flying off... these homeowner units aren't equiped with chain catches, so it usually just flys up and hits the operator right in the face. Just wear a football helmet or a welders mask and you should be just fine.

    JK....

    Seriously though, the only problem with electrics in general (this is coming from a guy that owns a prius...) is that ppe is rendered pretty useless because of the torque generated by the electric motors. So I'd say just be carefull, vigilant and safe.... Small saw, but they can be dangerous....
  4. bsimon

    bsimon New Member

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    Loc:
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    Homeowner = 'we expect you to use this saw for 4 hrs, once a year.'
    Professional = 'you can make a living with this saw.'

    They each might last 5 years, or more. But they are not designed for comparable service.
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    In dino-powered homeowner grade saws, the problems tend to be lower grade parts all around, so you get the same sorts of problems a pro-saw gets, just sooner... When you do have a problem, because of all the plastic around the saw and stuff like tanks that are molded out of the plastic case, so splitting the case breaks the seam on the case (big mess and more of a hassle to put back together so it doesn't leak, etc.) it gets really expensive to repair quickly - IOW, more than the saw is worth....

    With an electric, I'd expect to see bearings in the motor go fairly quickly, along w/ general wearing out. Probably the biggest item though would be the brushes on the motor.

    The other BIG thing I'd watch for if I was trying to do a big job like cutting up a whole tree (especially locust, which has a reputation as a tough to cut wood) is the "duty cycle" - how much time on, vs. how much time resting and cooling. I suspect that if you tried making a bunch of cuts all at once you might overheat it and fry the motor.

    (You might want to look into renting a larger gas saw just to do the cutting up...)

    Gooserider
  6. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
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    339
    Loc:
    East Lansing, MI
    It's hard to say where your electric will fail. There are "good" electric saws, and there are all the other ones. In my limited experience with the latter, which has included Remington and Wagner electric saws, I found that the overall build quality was poor. They were creaky plastic creatures, controls were just asking to crack/bend/bind, the bar was a poorly welded laminated affair, and the bar mount was weak pot metal. Couple that with the manual oiler, and there really wasn't much to recommend them. I kept one around for a decade or so, and all it ever did was cut the base off the Christmas tree before the tree got carried in and put in water. Yup, one cut/year.

    Now, my neighbor, he has an older Remington electric that is actually pretty nice. The plastic is less creaky, it sounds more solid when he cuts with it, and he has trimmed up all kinds of branches, trees, woody ornamental shrubs, etc. and it just keeps on going.

    I have yet to run one of the "good" electrics from Stihl or Makita, though I will buy one someday just to try it out.

    So for you, I'd suggest that you keep an eye on the bar for wear on the rails, or a tendency of the rails to spread out; this is the biggest problem I've seen with homeowner-grade electric saws. Make sure the oiler works, and watch out for your power cord. Keep cutting until the thing gives up the ghost, and then figure that you got your $100 worth and move on to a better machine if you are going to become a more serious woodcutter!
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