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I NEED a new saw!! (Update)

Post in 'The Gear' started by mrfjsf, Oct 3, 2010.

  1. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    A 20" bar without much troubles? Can breeze through some wood?

    Burying a 20" bar in hardwoods is a job for a 60+cc or bigger running 3/8" pitch chain. Can lesser saws eventually get the job done? Sure, but they can't meet your requirements. They just don't have the grunt. It may not fit your situation, but I agree with the other posters who advised to save a little more money or look around some more.

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  2. zzr7ky

    zzr7ky Minister of Fire

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    Hi again - The 5100 has great power and it's light. I paid $400 a few years ago. The 6401 is a great saw for bucking and felling larger stuff but it's noticably heavier.
  3. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    Have you looked at a 359 Husky? Basically the same saw as the 357XP, without the ridiculous price tag. May still be a little out of your range new, but I see some nice used ones on Craigs.
  4. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    Having the right T wrench to remove the muffler and have a look at the piston on the exhaust side will tell you quite a bit. A $25 compression tester with a schrader valve is also a great tool. Look for compression around 150 on a healthy saw as a guideline. Check to make sure the bar is getting plenty of oil. Does the saw start easily and accelerate smoothly without hesitation?

    Ask if you can make some test cuts with the saw. Pretty easy to tell if the saw is in good working order after making some cuts.

    Post pictures here and we can help.
  5. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I've been thinking, and as much as I like my 357XP, I'd go to the smaller 346 if I was buying new. Wasn't an option with me since the saw was so ridiculously cheap I just had to buy it, but lighter is nicer, and the power seems to be good enough with the 346. Price is within your stated budget ($400-500), and you have a Husky dealer just a few miles away. That's huge IMO. Nearest Husky dealer to me is over half an hour. As for me, I wouldn't buy a used saw from HD if my life depended on it. Who knows how many guys could have abused it. A good pro saw bought by an individual is more likely to be better taken care of. Few would spend that kind of dough if they didn't already know something about saws.
  6. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    I own an MS290, MS361, NE346XP, and have used a Makita 6401 (many of the saws mentioned here).

    The way I see it is that you can't go wrong with a good 50cc saw (NE356XP, Dolmar 5100s, MS260, et al.) because it will handle most cutting under 20" in diameter. If you are a skilled cutter, you also can use one for the occasional larger wood. There are many firewooders who do just fine with this class of saw as their only saw.

    However, if you are regularly cutting big wood and need a 20"+ bar, then you need a larger displacement saw. Running 3/8" (.375) pitch chain with a 20" bar on a 50cc saw will bog down in hardwoods and you will not be happy.

    I know money is tight for just about everyone, but if you get a good quality saw, you will have no regrets, especially if you consider the hidden costs. For example, the extra cash for a MS361 over an MS290 can be made up in other ways. The MS361 has far greater fuel efficiency, better antivibration, weighs less, has more power, will make faster cuts, and has more grunt for making stumps.
  7. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    I'll through my hat in the ring...
    The way I see it you're getting lots of folks saying to go 60cc+ based on your requirment for running a 20" bar with ease. That makes sense, but later you say you want the 20" bar just to save bending over too much and most your cutting is 10-18" with biggest around 24". So, you want a 20" bar on your saw, but you're really not talking about burying the thing in 20" hardwood all the time. For that use you'd do just fine with a strong 50cc saw. On the odd 18"+ trunk you'll have to use a lighter touch or make 2 passes to keep from bogging down, no big deal.
    If I were you I'd go with:
    -346XP over the 5100 based on your dealer support (80 mile round-trip for a repair?!) or
    -Stihl 290 & save some coin for chains, chaps, boots...., or
    -A good condition used PRO Husky/Stihl/Dolmar 50-60cc & save $, get the high power to weight ratio, be prepared to tinker with it now & then. (count husky 359 & 353 as pro btw)

    Better to not buy a used consumer-grade saw as they're harder to fix or get fixed
  8. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Thanks for all the replys guys. Based on what ive been reading, I think im going to go with the 346xp. It just seems to be the right saw for my needs and I have a good dealer closeby. Hopefully they are not sold out and on backorder. That seems to be the going concesus on these saw right now. Now i just have to get the loving wife to accept that im about to spend $500 on a chainsaw...this should be fun.
  9. RNLA

    RNLA Minister of Fire

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    There are lots of great saws out there. My favorite brand is STIHL, that being said I would go with any saw new or used that is a little bigger than you need, with a shorter bar. Say for instance the saw maker says it will run up to a 20 inch bar, then go 16" or 18". The second area is the chain. Get a chain that is meant for professional cutters, and learn how to sharpen it. The third area is the bar. Get a bar that is compatible with the professional chain. Be aware of the condition of the bar and chain at all times. I have been cutting trees professionally for fifteen years now and rarely take my saws to a shop for anything. Make sure you have your act together and it does not make a difference what color the saw is!!
  10. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    Great choice. I've got my 260 on craigslist and if it sells, I'll be getting one too.
  11. jashcroft

    jashcroft Member

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    I agree with above. I bought a 5100 last year and paid just under $400. It's a great saw and I love it, but you wouldn't want to put more than an 18" bar on it. It will handle a 20" bar in a pinch, but wouldn't want to make a habit of it.

    The 346xp is also a great saw. Really can't go wrong with it.
  12. HeatsTwice

    HeatsTwice Minister of Fire

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    Dang, that saw has more power and weighs less than a MS390.

    http://www.stihlusa.com/chainsaws/MS391.html
  13. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    My big issue with Dolmar, and I think it's been covered here, is the price variation: I called 3 places and got 3 prices (I think someone once posted 8 dealers and 8 prices here). At least with Stihl and Husky you can be sure you're getting a fairly similar deal (other than freebies, I suppose).

    S
  14. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    I would never leave home without them both. ;-)
  15. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Well said wendell, hopefully a year or two down the road I can pick up a good 70 or 80cc for the big stuff. For now I'll just have to keep on bucking with a little guy. It does seem though (at least with online retailers) that the 346xp is sold out almost everywhere. I hope I can get to a dealer either this weekend or next to see what they have but that's gonna suck big time if I have to order one...anyone know how long it takes to get if they have to order it?
  16. wendell

    wendell Minister of Fire

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    It should only take a few days but if they have to order it, it is most likely going to be the new cat version which would be less than desirable as you would then need to spend $30 on a new muffler.
  17. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    mrfjsf, just in case you weren't aware:

    There is an old edition 346XP that is 45cc and has an orange clutch cover. Some dealers may have old stock of the old edition, so confirm that you don't want one of these.

    The 346XP new edition is 50cc and has a silver clutch cover. The "EPA" model should have a green fuel cap and should have "CAT" stamped on the muffler. The non-EPA model has a dark gray fuel cap. If your dealer can't get you what you want, then try another dealer.
  18. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    I know about the OE and NE. So there are two versions of the NE? EPA with green fuel cap and a Cat muffler, Non-EPA, gray fuel cap and no cat muffler? Is the EPA saw the one that says E-TECH?
  19. jashcroft

    jashcroft Member

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    Did you happen to check C&I hardware in Aliquippa, PA? They still had a couple of 346xp's last time I stopped in. It would be about a 40 minute drive for you I think.
  20. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Yes. Sorry for using the term "EPA." Husqvarna calls their improved cat models E-TECH.

    Yes.

    Yes.
  21. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I thought you couldn't order a saw online? Cuts the throats of the brick-and-mortar retail guys. I'm pretty sure Stihl won't allow it, maybe Husqvarna does?

    In the immortal words of Valentine Michael Smith...

    "Waiting is."

    Or...

    If it was me, I'd be driving all over the place to get one ASAP. I really dig instant gratification.
  22. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    I think he meant that the dealer will have to order it if it's not in stock.

    How long will it take? It really depends on the dealer. Some dealers like to lump many items together in one big order to save on shipping. In addition, my dealer has good relationships with other local dealers. If he doesn't have it in stock, he'll sometimes make a trip to get the item from another local dealer who has it in stock.
  23. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    Thank you for the insight my good man
  24. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    ....and you definitely want the non etech. The etech will also have "cat" stamped on the muffler I believe.
  25. mrfjsf

    mrfjsf Member

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    If they dont have a non-e tech in stock, I suppose I could just tell them to order me one right? The non-e techs still in production I assume?

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