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what’s the right chain saw for the job?

Post in 'The Gear' started by ketoret, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    I guess that illustrates what I was saying, though, the most measureable difference is in the chisel/chipper, not the safety/non safety.
    I had good luck with Oregon safety chisel, especially in green wood. I just moved away from it due to lazy...

    I would like to learn to square file chisel, instead of round file. Reduce that hook shape, get more stay sharp time, maybe I'd be back to chisel again.... Someday...

    We have small wood, and lots of limbing work on the mess on the ground, so I stay with safety on those saws.
    I don't see much up here ever need to bore, so that is no issue to me. Could stick on a non safety chain then, have lots of those too.... Occasionally put one back on for felling

    Your 7900 for bucking I would think be awesome with sharp chisel.... and bucking, not so much likely for kickback issues anyway.



    k

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    The 7900 is wonderful for bucking - just about falls through the logs. However I often find that I end up using it for limbing and small stuff as well - My 36cc Pull-on with the 12" bar is not that much lighter, and while it's a little more manuverable, the difference isn't enough to justify switching saws, so usually I will drop something and then just keep right on working with the Dolmar to get it limbed up and then buck it down once I've got the branches cleared off of it... I find the only time I use the Pull-on is if I know that ALL I'm going to be doing is branches and small stuff for that tank of gas.

    It also shows what a difference a big saw makes even when chopping little branches - If I'm using the Pull-on, I have to deliberately let the saw wind up, then cut, which takes a few seconds. With the Dolmar about all you have to do is "burp" the saw and it's done. When I'm cutting up a tree that I've dropped, I do a lot of branch cutting as part of the deal - I'm a cheap SOB, and my normal rule of thumb is that anything bigger than about an inch or two is going in the wood pile, so my standard procedure is to keep working my way out branches trimming the little stuff until I've reached a point where there are more twigs than there is branch, then lop it off and cut it to length working back to the trunk, then going for the next branch... Gives me considerably more wood out of a tree than the guys who run all the branches through a chipper get.

    Gooserider
  3. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    goose, sounds like we do sort of the same type of wood. scrounge for everything.
    I can see why the 35 cc Poulan leads you to use the 7900 as a limbing saw.... I have a 35cc Echo top handle tree saw and it is WAY underpowered.
    Might as well face it now as well as later and check out the 5100/5000 to add to the tools :)

    I have 50-55cc limbing saws and love the light weight and quick response. Need something bigger and rather than the mystical MS361, I've been looking at jumping right over the 60cc and trying the 7900. Just can't find dealers around here...

    back to topic:
    Ketoret
    -The Sthil video is now avaiable on line, don't have to order the dvd. Big help for you out of country.

    -You haven't even gotten saw yet, but see how this works? You will get advice and be quite happy with a nice quality 30-40cc 12 or 14 inch saw. You'll get more confidant, enjoy working with the precision tools, then get a chance at some bigger wood, and start thinking, boy I really need..... Then a fast high rpm limbing 50 cc, then a 70+ one, then maybe some old vintage stuff on garage sales just because they look historically and mechanically interesting.......

    Either welcome aboard and enjoy it, or to quote Barney Phyffe (Andy Griffith TV show over here in the 60's-70's) 'NIP IT IN THE BUD'

    :)
    KCJ
  4. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    Well Goose- I think I'm past the stage for the need of training wheels. Where can I get a chain that's not 'safe' and politically correct, so to speak.............
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Pretty much any saw shop that caters to pro's should be able to take care of you, or there are lots of places online that certainly can. Many folks on Arboristsite say good things about Bailey's, I've had good luck with Amick's, and there are plenty of vendors on E-bay, just to mention a couple of sources...

    Obviously you need to get the safety gear if you haven't already - pro-grade chain IS more dangerous in theory, not that "safety chain" is all that safe in practice...

    The other key thing is to get the appropriate files and holders so that you can file the chain after every tank - full chisel cuts better when sharp, but it dulls faster and needs regular touching up to keep it cutting properly. (lots of threads on how to sharpen if you look for them...)

    Gooserider
  6. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    Now if you swap the Poulan for a real <40cc saw, you'll be singing a different tune! I remember the slow throttle response of the Homelite 33cc HomeDepotSpecial that a friend of mine has. Supposedly you can transform that saw into something respectable with a bit of muffler work; there's a video on YouTube posted by a guy from AS that shows the before and after with a Homelite...amazing difference!

    After rediscovering the joys of my little 238 Husqvarna and its 13" bar a couple months back, I've put quite a few tanks through it in hardwood up to 24". Instantaneous throttle response, factory recommended tuning of 15,000rpm, and a short bar make limbing and smaller firewood tasks a breeze. I haven't fired up the 7900 or ported 154 in a couple months, and these are/were my usual firewood saws for everything larger than 6". With the short 13" bar, I'm not ever sticking my bar into dirt and rocks, and am still getting nice big chips without having so much as touched a file to the current loop of Oregon 95vp on the 238 over the course of 1.5 full cords of firewood, some pruning and yew removal, and two days of having the 238 as the saw that sits by the chipper to cut forks and twisted limbs so they'll feed smoothly. I got similar time between sharpening out of my last loop of WP 20NK chain, too.

    This little saw has made me more curious about the under-45cc offerings out there. I don't know if there is a direct analogue to this saw on the market anymore, but I think that the Stihl MS200, Husqvarna 339, or a ported Dolmar 401 would produce similar results. I had only experienced the little 30/34cc Echos (which can do a respectable job if you open the muffler, and even better if ported), but this little 238 is another creature all together and legitimately qualifies as a useful firewood saw.
  7. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Possibly, although I actually find that I LIKE the 20" bar on the 7900 better when the log is on the ground. It lets me cut using the end of the bar with a bit less bending and stooping, and is about the right length that I don't get it into the dirt - I do the cut to about 75% through, or the cut starts to close up (which ever happens first) then roll the log and finish routine. With the 12" bar on the Pull-on I'm bent over most of the time, with the 20" on the 7900 I can stand up straight, which is a lot easier on the back...

    Gooserider
  8. FLASHMAN

    FLASHMAN New Member

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    Sounds to me like you need a pretty simple, relatively small, light saw... For years, up until this year, I used a Poulan Pro PP295 46cc 20" bar saw that I bought at Lowe's for around 200 bucks. I've used it from everything from felling to bucking, and it has done very well for me. I'm sure I've bucked up 20 cord in all, not to mention limbing, brushcutting, and cutting the bottom off the xmas tree before putting it in the stand. All I've ever done to it is cleaned the air filter, cleaned and regapped the spark plug, and changed/sharpened the chains... here ya go:

    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId=182200-283-PP4620AVX&lpage=none

    If you want to go a little bigger than that, just to make sure you have something that has a little more power, and will allow you to attack any wood you'll need to cut, take a look at the Dolmars. My bro in law Woodbutcher just bought the 5100s. Great saw, bigger than the Poulan, 56cc's I think, a little more aggressive bite, and an all around great saw. It's about the equivalent of the Stihl MS310. A little more $$$ $379, but a great saw. Here's a link to his post

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/17779/
  9. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    BTW- thanks goose, I just caught up with yer reply. I think I'm just learning the art of filing properly, been thru dremels and all; got a rat tail file with a guide now and the cahin that's there does impressively so I think I'm good to go..............
  10. TMonter

    TMonter Minister of Fire

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    I'm with CU on this one, I'm finding I use my 346XP with a 16" bar more and more and only pull out the 372 when bucking big logs. The 056 is now relegated to an occasional use to keep it in tune.

    That being said if you run into a lot of bigger timber having the big saw available is very nice.
  11. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Uhmm.... Are you using a file made SPECIFICALLY for saw-chain filing, in the size spec'd for your chain, or something "generic"?

    It may just be a terminology thing that has me confused, but to me a "rat-tail" file is usually a tapered file, where the diameter near the handle is larger than the diameter near the tip. A rat-tail is intended for general purpose use, and should NOT be used on a saw chain as it won't put the proper shape edge on the cutters.

    A chainsaw file is a specialty item, that has a very fine tooth cut, and is the same diameter for it's entire length. Chainsaw files come in several different diameters, and the right diameter for your chain must be used - the size required for your chain should be listed on the chain package. If you don't have the package the chain came in, then the next best thing is to go by the chain size / pitch, as normally all chains of a given size should use the same diameter file.. (Also note that chainsaw files do wear out, and will need periodic replacing - not sure on the frequency, but I know that I do try to rotate the file in the holder every couple times that I use it so as to bring a fresher cutting surface into play)

    At any rate, glad to hear that you are learning how to hand file.

    Gooserider
  12. Daniel Rose

    Daniel Rose New Member

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  13. thinkxingu

    thinkxingu Minister of Fire

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    This should easily win this year's "thread from the grave" award!
  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Nope - there was a BroB thread a couple of days ago that was started in 2005.
  15. ketoret

    ketoret Member

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    and right on target too! if there were any 4' thick branches just hanging around at the side of the road :) - but....see it would be really amazing if i could just say, wow, i bought a husky 359 3 years ago and it's GREAT! i did buy a husky 350, which is more in tune with my needs, i think. but thanks for the recommendation, woodsman dan!
  16. CTYank

    CTYank Minister of Fire

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    The first thing you need is to learn how to use a chainsaw safely. It's not like a circ. saw or jigsaw, it can maim or kill you in a millisecond. Some aspects of maintenance are much more critical, including how to keep the bar & chain "happy." You'll want basic PPE also ("personal protective equipment.") Some basic searches will point you to lots of good info, including videos.

    Then you can learn how to use a saw productively. Mainly, in your case I'll wager, how to avoid pinching, binding, and abrasives. (Felling wedges are GOOD.)

    As to what saw to buy, best advice is to ask around locally, of other users. Parts and service availability may be decisive. Don't go for a low-ball POS, unless you can afford to pull the b&c and toss it. And watch out for counterfeits coming from China.

    Some eucalypts have earned a rep as being extremely tough.
  17. WoodMann

    WoodMann Minister of Fire

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    Need more coffee.......

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