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Newbie buying a chainsaw

Post in 'The Gear' started by dvdkirtley, Feb 25, 2007.

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  1. dvdkirtley

    dvdkirtley New Member

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    Hello all,

    If all goes well and we get our house built this summer we will be heating with a wood stove next winter. So I'm looking to buy my first chainsaw. I can't imagine I'll be cutting anything very big. Probably just downed trees and limbs. Maybe I'll fell the odd 12" tree now and then. Probably most of it will be hardwoods in the city and suburbs of St Louis.

    I'm thinking of the Husky 345. Any thoughts, suggestions, advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    David

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  2. ourhouse

    ourhouse Minister of Fire

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    Hello David and welcome to the fourm. There are a lot of good people here and a lot of great advice.
    The 345 Husky will be fine if your going to be cutting around 3-4 cord a year. You might want to look at the 350 also. Both are great saws. A nother member Roospike has the Husky price list and can give you the prices for them
    John.
  3. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Husqvarna 345 is the starting model Husqvarna makes... the lower # Hgusqvarnas are basically Poulan models ( Husqvarna owns both companys )

    The 345 is a basic chainsaw , I wouldnt recommend it for firewood cutting.
    I would look at least the 350 for the very basic of saws , the 345 and the 350 are plastic body chainsaws , the 353 is the start of the better made metal body Husky chainsaw line and is the very least i would get.

    For firewood "I" would start to look at the Husqvarna 359 , 346xp . Dolmar 5100 . Stihl MS361 ( Stihl being the highest priced)
  4. JayY

    JayY New Member

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    Roospike and others,

    I am in the same situation as David. I expect to cut a bit more but I won't be dropping big trees. What would be your major concern with using a 350 for firewood? Would you save a lot of time if you instead of a 350 you used a 346XP or 359? Do you think the 350 would die a premature death if used to cut 4-8 cord of wood each year? Last, how do us novices pick between the 346xp and the 359? I'm not sure if I prefer speed or torque ;)

    Thanks in advance. I appreciate your willingness to give an educated opinion.
  5. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    The deal between the 345 , 350 vs the 353 and up is the 345 and the 30 are plastic body saws as i stated ..........

    #1 Firewood cutting is hard work on a chainsaw vs just trimming trees and felling a few trees so like any other engined item your going to have underpower , average power and extra power Firewood cutting needs at least the average powered chainsaw fir this kind of work.

    #2 The plastic body and metal body chainsaw like the 350 (plastic) VS the 353 (metal) are going to last and run about the same but when it come time to fix the chainsaw its going to be a lot easier to fix the pro metal body chainsaw as to how it is made and put together , if having the saws fixed , upgraded or whatever by a dealer or repair shop the labor is going to be less on the metal body saw for ease of repair and rebuild.

    So what you save with buying the plastic 350 can and will end up costing you more in the long run / lifetime of the saw. That would be the biggest difference.

    Now if you go with a 359 or 346XP its going to be easier on the chainsaw cutting firewood then the smaller saws as so would the same if one got into a great firewood size saw like a Husky 357XP , Stihl ms361 , Husky 365 , Husky 372XP .

    I have both the 359 and the 346XP and the 346XP is my favorite chainsaw because its fast , powerfull and light weight. If i need more power and or more torque i just grab the 70cc class 372XP size chainsaw. The 359 is a great chainsaw for bucking smaller to mid size logs. I bought the 359 for my 17 year old son to use when we go firewood cutting. ( he also has a smaller Craftsman for limbing )

    The 359 , 365 , 570 ect saw are going to be more torque and a wider power band through the RMP range. ( think V-8 engine and the heavier ~ power)

    The 346XP , 357XP , 372XP saws are going to be higher RPM and power & torque are going to be in the high RPM range and lighter over all. (think sports car and light weight top end power )
  6. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    I have always believe then one needs at least two chainsaw for firewood.
    One larger size for felling and bucking and one smaller and lighter for limbing.

    If i had to have just two chainsaw as mentioned it would be the light and powerful 346xp and one large 70cc - 90cc chainsaw.

    The reason for two is because normally the large right size chainsaw for felling and bucking is going to be to big , powerful and heavy for limbing and the light weight limbing chainsaw is going to be too underpowered for bucking larger trunks and logs.

    With only one chainsaw it very hard if not impossible to have the perfect 1 chainsaw , there is a lot of give and take. With two saws you can fill the gap and have the best of both worlds.

    As mentioned when looking for only 1 saw your looking for the lightest weight with the most power and thats normally going to be a pro XP model when looking in the Husqvarna line.

    With what i know now and started looking for chainsaws i would get the 346XP being a real light weight powerful saw and have it as my one saw , if i needed more power and a larger chainsaw for what i was doing i then would also get a larger chainsaw to fill the need and have both and wouldn't go wrong because the 346XP is light enough to be a limbing and small wood saw if two are needed.

    When looking at getting a good chainsaw your looking at 15 year to lifetime purchase so think of your investment over a 20 year period and what ever the cost its not that bad.

    ** The best part about two chainsaws is when cutting firewood and having the larger chainsaw you don't have to walk away from trees that are available to you. I would say that at least 50% of my firewood is from people that wouldn't take it or couldn't take it because it was too big for a small to average saw. With the right equipment for firewood.... ie: the right chainsaws , hauling equipment , splitting equipment firewood is easy and actually FUN.
  7. dvdkirtley

    dvdkirtley New Member

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    Thanks for the advice earthharvester and Roospike. I'm gonna call a few local dealers tomorrow and see what they have.
    David
  8. JayY

    JayY New Member

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    Are there any knocks against the Dolmar 5100. It is touted as being fast with a bit more torque and power than the 346XP. Cheaper too. It appears that local dealers are scarce other than that it is very tempting.
  9. precaud

    precaud Minister of Fire

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    So, Roo, I'm just wondering. When you go out to gather wood, do you bring both saws with you, and actually use both?
  10. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    I wouldn't have any concern. The 350 is a proven design and is more than capable of firewood duties. Just don't expect it (or the 346xp or the 353) to pull a 20" bar in hardwood with any tremendous degree of authority. That isn't what they're designed to do, despite the fact that they are physically capable of having one bolted up and the fact that many dealers gladly sell 'em with longer bars.


    The 346xp is a specialized tool and there are better choices for an all-around chainsaw. It was designed to be a high RPM saw for use with very short bars (11, 13, 15") to be used for limbing Scandanavian softwoods. To excel in this role, it has a very peaky powerband and requires a very light touch to keep the saw from losing RPMs. As a limbing saw it is without peer, but to slap a 18" bar on it and expect it to block up hardwood trunks is to ask it to do something it was not intended to do. The 353, which uses the same bottom end as the 346xp but has a different piston and cylinder, has a more friendly powerband and would be a better choice for wearing a 16" bar and handling firewood duties.

    The 359 (or the 357xp, which shares the same bottom end as the 359 with a different piston and cylinder) would be a bit quicker, especially in the larger stuff. Whether it will save YOU a lot of time will depend on what you're cutting. But for an all-around saw for the guy who only owns one or two saws, the 359 is a superb choice.


    No, absolutely not. I know a number of guys who have processed better than 100 cords in a commercial setting on their 350s without so much as a hicup. There is NO better $300 saw out there at the moment. Period.


    Apart from the fact that they're two different creatures that just happen to be priced similarly, I'd look to what you're going to be cutting and how much bar you need to get it done. For general firewood duties torque is going to be appreciated more than a peaky high-rpm powerband, which militates against the 346xp and in favor of the 353 or the 359. If you anticipate wanting to run a 18" or 20" bar, this definitely recommends something other than the 346xp and for such a purpose I'd take the 359 over the 346xp, 350, or 353 (and ditch the catalytic converter muffler immediately).
  11. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    When i go out firewood cutting i ALWAYS cut with a buddy , if it be my son , my brother , my father , neighbor or friend there is always someone there.

    If i go cutting with my son we take all 5 chainsaws with us , I use a 346xp for limbing and small woods at or around 16" ( yes even on hardwood ) and use the 372XP for felling and bucking larger trees and or bulk bucking. My son uses the 38cc Craftsman or the second 346XP i have for limbing and he uses the 359 for bucking.

    Now if i go without my son then i take three chainsaws with me , the 346xp and the 372xp and the third will be a spare ( my second 346xp or the craftsman ) I always have the PPE gear bag and have a third set of safety chaps for if the extra party didn't bring there's.

    Yes , I always use a smaller saw and a large saw for firewood cutting. Always have.
  12. par38lamp

    par38lamp New Member

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    dvdkirtley,

    Welcome fellow St. Louisian.

    I have been looking @ chainsaws for quite a spell now here in St. Louis. You will find a TON of Stihl dealers, and the three I visited, K&K supply, Arnold rental, and Eureka rental, all have the same prices. Avoid K&K, as they really are not a power equipment dealer. Mike @ Arnold rental KNOWS his stuff about chainsaws. At least to me he did. Eureka rental was knowledgeable.

    As for Dolmar dealers, while looking for a 5100s, Eureka rental is a dealer, but does not stock them. Defiance Garage was very cordial on the phone, and quoted $380 plus $10 shipping to him. Have not been able to get a hold of Ernie's Small engine. Eureka is only 9 miles from me. He also suggested the Shindiawia 488, another pro grade saw, but heavy and less power, but very reliable.

    I have not looked into Husky dealers here.

    You will find that the recommended saws for firewood are way more $$$ than you were initially willing to pay. I was all for a Stihl MS 290, and the fellows @ Arborist Site will bash that saw all day long. Even worse for the Husky 455 (not the older 55). Can't say I blame them when in the middle of cutting your saw fails.

    I am heavily leaning towards the Dolmar 5100. The MS260 in the same class is last in performance and vibration. The Husky 353/359 gets the nod often too. Hopefully Stihl will release a 261 with better vibration and air handling.

    The MS361 is WAY more saw than I can afford. Sure, it's easy to say "Get the 361". Just like I should get a BMW, but a Toyota will get me there, too. If I made a living with my saw, sure.

    FYI, the Stihl model numbers are cryptic at first. The homeowner saws are the MS 180, 210, 230, 250. The Midrange are 290, 310, 390. The "semi pro" is the 270 and 280 - they have traits of the plastic saws and the metal bodied saws. The pro saws are the 260 and 361. Above that and you are a logger. I guess looking at the drop down box on Stihl's site breaks down what I just listed, minus the top handled saws.

    The gist of this post, from what I have learned, is avoid Poulan, Remington and the big box store Huskies, with the 350 the exception. If you go Stihl, since they all have the same price, find one with good service/parts/chain. Arnold rental cuts all his own Stihl chain, even for Huskys.

    As for stoves, Arnold Fireplace doesn't stock Jotul inserts. Buck Stove in O'Fallon has, well, Buck stoves. Have not been to Alternative fireside on Manchester since they only carry the Hampton, which won't work for my ZC fireplace. Hearh and Home in Washington has Lopi, but not stocked. The insert I am leaning toward, the Osburn 1800i, is carried but not stocked by a place in Jackson, MO. They stock the 1600 ans 2100 inserts - go figure. They want the same price as Obadiah's, which is about $1450 after freight, plus $109 for the surround. Victorian Sales stocks Napolean, and were very friendly. If you are building a house, I doubt my insert data will help you.
  13. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    The 455 Rancher isn't a bad saw, it's just not that powerful, heavy and not a professional grade saw. If I'd known a little better when I bought mine I'd have gone for the Husky 359.

    I cut for three seasons on my 455 about 7 cord a season and it did just fine. It does however struggle on bigger logs.
  14. hornett22

    hornett22 New Member

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    if you don't mind used,a husky 141 is a nice little saw.put a sprocket nose 16" bar on it with a stihl non safety chain and a rim sprocket from baileys.great little saw.i use the hell out of mine and love it.do not get the 136,137,142. no comparrison for some reason.

    359 is an excellent saw as well.may be the perfect all around saw.i have seen too many 350s blow up.i'm not impressed with that 340,345,350 lineup.353 is a great saw.

    455 rancher is a marketing gimmick.absolute junk compared to the 55 rancher it replaced.55 ranchers can be found on ebay and some have been reissued by husky as just the 55.my local dealer had a new one the other day.

    good luck in whatever you choose.this info is off my personnal experience.the nice thing about a used saw is,if it's not what you want,put it back on ebay and get something else.
  15. dvdkirtley

    dvdkirtley New Member

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    Hello all,

    Well after reading this and other related threads I decided to get the Husky 350. Although I could have saved some $ on an internet deal (or Lowes) I got mine from a local dealer and struck up a new relationship with someone I'm sure I'll need for service in the future. He showed me the ropes and filled the tanks. I had it out yesterday bucking some good-sized downed limbs. Everything works just fine. And yes I had the PPE on.

    Hey Par38, its good to hear from a local. And thanks for the Stihl info, even tho' I went the Husky route. As for stoves and inserts, have you been to Worthington Stoves in St. Charles? They have Vermont Castings and Hearthstone, maybe others, not sure what they have on inserts. We're gonna get a Hearthstone Tribute stove.

    I've got the saw and I've started scrounging for wood. The stove is picked out. Now I just need to build the house:)

    peace out,
    David
  16. Henz

    Henz New Member

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    I bought the Husquvarna 357XP a year ago and have absolutly loved it. I ahve a 20" bar on it and I do alot of bucking of trees and the occasional felling job. I was either going to go with the 455 rancher or the 357XP. After looking at each saw, I decided to go wit hthe 357XP and am glad that i did. ITs alittle lighter and doesnt vibrate as much. Its also quicker and considered as one of the first in the Professional Lineup..I would recomend the 357Xp hands down.
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