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New saw

Post in 'The Gear' started by Backwoods Savage, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Many know of our problem. That is, my body is not in very good shape and I am no longer a young man. To top it off, this past fall I took a really bad fall. My wife has bugged me for several years trying to talk me into a small saw for cutting the limbs and small trees. I resisted until this last fall where I came close to breaking my back.

    So what to do? I don't have a big saw to start with; only a Stihl 290 but it is big enough to do all our wood with the trees we have here on our place. I had several options (I really thought hard about the 261 but it is not that much lighter) but finally took the advice of a man who works on Stihl saws. He said, " You need a 180."

    My fear was that this is a really light saw and I just pictured a little whimpy thing that was not much more than a toy. In the meantime a neighbor brought a 250 for me to use and I was impressed with that little saw. However, in the end we bought the little 180. Shoot, if it doesn't work out we are not out a lot of money.

    So now I've ran 5 or 6 tanks of gas through this little thing and have to report that it really does amaze me. I never expected it to do as well as it does. I started by cutting up tops from pin oak and ash. Then we also cut some dead elm. Today I cut more oak. The largest I've cut with it was a 14" ash and today I cut a couple logs from an 18" red oak.

    Yes, it is a little slower but not by much. I think the super slim bar and chain have much to do with it. But overall I give a thumbs up to this saw.

    It does not have the easy start which I sort of wanted but he had none in stock so I just bought the regular saw. It is over 7 pounds lighter than the 290 and my back does appreciate it. It has a 16" bar but one could run a shorter bar. It seems to handle the 16 bar nicely.

    One thing many would appreciate is that it has screw on caps for the oil and gas tanks. That is nice!

    So we don't know how long this little thing will last but right now we are not disappointed that we bought it.
    oldogy, pen, Pallet Pete and 6 others like this.

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  2. jatoxico

    jatoxico Minister of Fire

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    That's great BW. Was waiting to hear your report on the 180. I too don't have big saw needs so reluctant to get something beyond my needs for no reason. Maybe the 180 is the ticket.
    BTW I know you've mentioned you had an injury but first I've heard any details. Hope you're feeling better and better.
  3. OldLumberKid

    OldLumberKid Feeling the Heat

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    Your MS180 CB is 2 lbs lighter than the MS 250 CBE — Sounds like you just got the perfect complement to the 290 you have.

    As an also older dude, if I was up in trees, I think I would want the smallest, lightest, most maneuverable saw for the job. But as a new user I have a much better appreciation for the dangerous work those arborists — and I have a friend who is a gnarly old pro who's had his share of falls — do up there.

    The MS250 with EZ-start is nice when it's working right — but it's pretty much an 11 lb saw, and came with an 18" bar as standard. I guess that's nothing to a young whippersnapper, but to me it feels like it's got some heft.

    The EZ start thing kind of adds a complexity I'm not sure I'm really all that crazy about, I guess I've had a few problems with starting (and even stopping it) and been back to the shop a couple of times. My dealer has so far been great about taking care of issues.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Ya, I'm not completely sold on the ez start but it might save some sore shoulders.

    jatoxico, I was in, or on a trailer and lost my balance. Went over the sideboards straight backwards and landed squarely on my back. I still sort of laugh yet though because as I was falling I remember calmly thinking, "This might not turn out too well." It didn't. But slowly we're overcoming it. This little saw will help a lot.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I had the same reaction with the Husky 142 40cc Dennis. Thought I bought it for a limbing saw and now can't stand the thought of lifting the big saw anymore and use the Husky for most everything. Light is a good thing.
    oldogy and Backwoods Savage like this.
  6. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Had some pruning to do to an old Mulberry today & fell several small dead Bur Oaks & 1 Elm.5" to 9".Decided to use the 31yr old 8lb wee Echo top handle for a change.

    Its not as 'fast' as newer saws,but it chewed through that hard Mulberry & Bur Oak like it was nothing.Just have to be patient & wait a bit longer.Sure it has its limitations,but on smaller stuff its the one I reach for more & more.
    oldogy and Backwoods Savage like this.
  7. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    BB, I can easily relate! Right now I'm not in any hurry to run the 290 simply because of the weight. The first day I had the 180 I cut some limbs then started the 290 to do the trunk. Man, that thing felt heavy before but now I really felt heavy. lol Yes, light is a good thing. It's just funny when thinking back to running the big saws with long bars and now this little toy. Still amazed at how this toy performs.
    oldogy and OldLumberKid like this.
  8. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Thistle, how do you like the top handle on the saw? For sure they are an advantage when you are up in a tree but how about on the ground?
  9. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Its a little different of course but you get used to it quickly.On stuff bigger than 6" I use both hands & that stubby built -in 'bucking spike' to power through it.Its only 28cc & 8000RPM's so its a struggle on anything over 7"-8" even with 12" bar.Newer models are 32cc+ & 14000 :eek: so I can see why they can handle 14 or 16 bar so easily.

    If the thing ever dies,I'll look for a similar replacement.Its a very tough little saw,dropped it 25 ft one day years ago,it started right up!
  10. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    One day the guy at the Stihl shop tried to sell me one but I just could not see using it if not up in the tree. Still might be fun on some tops. Sounds like yours has done well.
  11. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    I cant complain at all.Very reliable.Xmas/early HS grad present from parents in Dec '81. I really wanted a 1982 Corvette or a Mc Culloch SP125 instead ;lol but was still very pleased.Its had rough use,but never 'abused'.Keep it clean,sharp chain,proper fuel mix & it'll probably outlast me.
    oldogy and Backwoods Savage like this.
  12. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    Congrats, Dennis, on getting the 180. The'lil Echo CS306 I got for small stuff and limbs is a world of difference in weight than the MS290. The 306 is no screamer either, but ever since bringing it home, I wonder how did I lug the 290 around for limbing so long? Now the 290 only gets used for 10" or better. You did a wise thing, IMHO.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

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    Dennis Stihl makes a great saw! I still use my 023 that I have had for a long time.. Today I was given 2 good size red oak trees that were dropped by the power company at my daughter's friend's house 1/2 mile away :) Time to get the 023 back to work!

    Ray
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  14. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the report. Been tossing around the 170, 180, or the 192c-e. Probably going to go with the 192 out of the bunch because it is lighter than the 170, and while it has a little less power than the 180 it is still 2 pounds lighter than the 180. Figure it will do just fine for limbing and small stuff and I will use the 261 on stuff over 10" and the 660 on stuff over 18". Debating a 32" or 36" bar for the 660 for those times when things are really big. At the end of the day, trying to avoid back problems before they start, which means I shouldn't even be lifting up the 660. lol However, at the rate I am going here, looks like I will be noodling a bunch of these huge rounds so I can handle them myself.
  15. Boog

    Boog Minister of Fire

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    Congrats on that little puppy Dennis, you and your back will not regret it. I always used to limb with a 191T, but lately have moved up to 025/250 and such. Thinking about going back to that little guy again myself, but this time with a 16" .05 picco setup instead of its old 14" .043 one. Enjoy!
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    Good call on the saw. I have a 14" bar on mine, but with a sharp chain, it'll do everything my 346 will do, just a bit slower.
    My 180 gets used as much as my other two saws, combined. Good little saw.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  17. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    They make the same saws with back handles (The MS192T becomes the MS192, The MS201T -> MS201, etc) If you want the lightweight and power of the top-handles but plan to only use it on the ground. Much harder to find in-stock however.

    BTW: I would have said MS211 for you Dennis but the MS180 is a helluva lotta saw for $200 beans. Enjoy! Oh yeah, chains are dirt cheap for those too. ==c
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. Jeff S

    Jeff S Feeling the Heat

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    Dennis,glad to hear you took you wife's advice and go with a lighter saw,it is definitely a back saver. The 290 and the 180 have been my combination of choice for the past 4 years and I am totally satisfied with the results from both of them.I use the 180 for all tops up to about 8" while the 290 is used on larger logs and with a loaded sawbuck.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    2 pounds lighter than the 180 you pick it up with one finger! On the 660 I'd probably go for the 36" bar but use it sparingly!
  20. blwncrewchief

    blwncrewchief Burning Hunk

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    Congrats on the saw Dennis. I think you will like the 180 allot. I bought mine just for a limbing and backup saw and didn't expect it to be good for much else. But heck for $200 it was good enough. After I got it the more I ran it I really started taking a liking to it. Now I use the crap out of it. Have cut at least 10 cords with it the last 3 years and it runs better now than the first year. My only complaint with the 180 is the chain does dull a little on the quick side with the small cutters if in tough or dirty wood. But it's not too bad. Nice, light, and hard to believe a 30cc class homeowner saw works this well. I thought the 16" bar would be a joke as well but it pulls it really well and since I use it for so much more than I though I have just left the 16 on it. I usually don't hesitate to throw it into anything up to 12-14".
  21. JDC1

    JDC1 Feeling the Heat

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    Congrats on the new saw. Love mine with a 14" .050 setup.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  22. sgt7546

    sgt7546 Member

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    I love a nice light saw. My 192T see's more work on the ground than any of my bigger saws. I can hold a big saw all day long, but who in their right mind would want to. Dennis, you will certainly will enjoy the 180. I agree that the little cutters need touched up more frequently, but no one has ever held a stop watch to me while I cut firewood.
  23. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    Ha, they have me, but when they ain't looking I'm running the lightest saw I've got that'll get the job done. A C
  24. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I bought a used MS180 about 5 years ago for $80 or $100. I think it is a great little saw. Nice and light but still handles smaller stuff well. It is an excellent compliment to your Ms290. I had the same combo for a few years, until I upgraded from 029 to 036.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  25. Bocefus78

    Bocefus78 Minister of Fire

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    Heres a story for you regarding my 180. The first time I met Smokin' for a group firewood cut, I showed up with my 361 and 180. The 361 never got started due to 3 others having the same saw out and nobody with a dedicated limber. I grabbed the lil 180 and started limbing. He laughed at me all day.He said he was going to make a necklace out of it LMAO! Now mind you, he broke out the 880 to cut a single fencepost for access purposes, so I can see why he was laughing. Someone eventually ended up running my 361, but I stayed on the little 180. If I have to load a trailer full of rounds at the end of the day, why swing the big saw if uneccessary?

    Mine runs well and gets used and abused. When it breaks, I will buy another one. (This time without the stupid tool-less chain adjuster)
    I hear they have a yellow chain available for it now....can't wait to try it out!

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