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When is a pro saw justified?

Post in 'The Gear' started by GordonShumway, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Whenever you damn well feel like it.

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  2. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Stihl 880 - 121.6cc/7.42 cubic inch 8.6HP 22.3 lbs
    Husqvarna 3120XP - 119cc/7.2 cubic inch 8.4 HP 22.9 lbs These are the most powerful saws made today - very close matches,and either one is perfect for powering a chainsaw mill & other heavy production cutting.
  3. golfandwoodnut

    golfandwoodnut Minister of Fire

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    I have a 660 mostly for milling and cutting the big stuff. I would not ever call it my ever day saw. I have a 390 that gets the most use for it is best for me for the middle of the road stuff. But I still have a Husky 50 that I love to use on branches and smaller stuff. So in my opinion it is best to have a variety. If you get a 660 or an 880 and plan on cutting with it full time I think you will be sorry because of the weight.
  4. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    Agreed. I wouldnt want to use my Poulan 475 or Husky 288XP for everyday firewood cutting.They are reserved for the mill & anything larger than 20" I'm getting.Anything up to 20" the Super 380 just flies through (12lbs, 135000RPMs) it gets 80% of the use.Dont even use the wee Echo much now,except on rare occasions I have to climb when pruning or cleanup.Nice to have a variety like you said.
  5. GordonShumway

    GordonShumway Member

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    I feel like an idiot, all this talk of pro saws and I don't even know what I have myself. Was out in the garage today and realized that my so called 440evl is actually a 660evl. Not the one I use very often, but now that the cs400 just took a crap on me (no spark) had to go suit up the other one. Not a pro but beefier then I thought.
  6. amateur cutter

    amateur cutter Minister of Fire

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    How many cc is that echo, & have no clue on that?
  7. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    The 660-EVL is 64.2cc,3.92 cubic inch.
  8. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    If you want a big-boy saw I'd stay with the 440/441/460. They're all identical size and weight with the 460 having a distinct power advantage.

    Skip the 660/880. They are much bigger and heavier and far less wieldy.
  9. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    My local guy knocks 10% off everything 362 and up - no free hats or chains
  10. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Time for me to move to the PNW! :)
  11. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    Try to set up a dealer war.......they will come off their stingy MSRP that way. In my area there are about 6-8 stihl dealers competing in a 45 mile radius.
  12. SolarAndWood

    SolarAndWood Minister of Fire

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    I say love the one you are with. Something in the 65-70 range is going to do the vast majority of firewood production for trees that are reasonably sized for efficient production. Even when you get in the 65-70 range, it is nice to have something in the 50 range to limb with. Anything bigger than 65-70, you better have a big pile of 18+ inch logs you are constantly working or a fetish for monster trees. While arguably entertaining, IMO anything over 24" in diameter starts to be a lot more work to make the same btus especially if you are working alone.
  13. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I think you'd be surprised how stingy that MSRP really is from a dealer's perspective. That guy knocking 10% off his saws is probably cutting his profit in half. Also, I'm not too sure I want to be known as a PITA the next time I want to buy something, get a discount, or need service. Most dealers that I've known/worked for discount on bigger ticket items or throw in the goodies that your going to need anyway,. Especially for repeat customers.
  14. HittinSteel

    HittinSteel Minister of Fire

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    I must be a PITA, because when negotiating a price, the last concern for me would be a dealer's profit margin.
  15. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Agree, 660 has its place but you better have some BIG TREES to buck or mill, Or your that guy that 6'2" and up 200+lbs. Just more saw than I can handle.
  16. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Depends on what you get used to, I imagine. I have a friend who used to be in the firewood business with his two cousins. He said they tried to bury him pulling trees out of the woods to buck up. He kept up with them running either a 066 or a 394XP for about 8 hours a day. He's about 5'8" and weighs 145 soaking wet. He's out of the firewood business now, but he uses a 7900 with a carving bar on it to rough out bears in about 10-15 minutes. He said he used to do shoulder raises with two 7900s to build up his strength. Bucking wood is one thing, holding up and controlling 20 pounds of saw, bar, chain and fluids at eye level to shape a bear's head is another. Lots of big men can't handle that saw the way he does. He's got some mean shoulder muscles for a little guy, let me tell you.
  17. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    The dealer I got my 346XP from showed me his cost for that saw, which retailed for $509 at the time. It was $419 - plenty of room for him to drop the price to $450 for just the powerhead. It's the second saw I bought from him and had a major rebuild on my 357 done my his mechanic as well. He seems totally satisfied with our rrelationship, even swapped out the rims on both saws from .325 to 3/8 so I can run lo-pro on them - no charge for labor. He also gave my wife 10% off her Husky chaps when she mentioned I was the guy who just bought a saw from him. However, there are about 10 Stihl and 20 Husky servicing dealers within a short drive from me, and none of them are willing to drop 10 cents off the price. My dealer's willingness to give discounts and still provide great service are two of the reasons I went with Husky rather than Stihl.

    Bottom line is, there is plenty of profit margin in these tools, especially the high-priced spread (pro saws)... a lot more than there is in a gallon of milk or a quart of mayo at the supermarket.
  18. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    Me, on the saw 660 just to much...I am 5'10" and 175lbs. 880 on a trunk I am good to go. 460 for my size is alot of hp moving around.
  19. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I was in the Stihl shop today picking up an oil filter for the mower. I wouldn't respect myself if I didn't go browse the saws.

    They had a 441, 460, 660, and 880 all right there! It was awesome.

    The 880 is a HOSS without the bar. Definitely a purpose build saw, not for everyday wood cutting.

    The 660 was bigger than I expected, but not too much to handle (for me).

    The 441/460 felt about the same and were the same size as my 361...felt a little heavier but still very nice weight.

    I'm 6'3" and 185 and still in my youth (relatively speaking).
  20. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    660 should be a better fit for you...880 5 hours on a red oak 50+ inchs and 115 degree heat index is all I could take. (Thats only using it on the trunk) There is a world of difference between a 361 and a 441/460. ;-) My 460 runs pretty strong. :cheese:
  21. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I know they run better, but weight wise it wasn't that noticeable. 361 is all the saw I need. I've used a 044 before and it was pretty nice. Not nice enough for ME to spend the $ though.
  22. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    361 is the saw used the most around here. I get the call normally after the tree is to much for them. Puts me doing clean big trunks and that's where I like to cut. ;-)
  23. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    I have been thinking about this a lot since I got my new to me 036 a few weeks ago. In 1996 we replaced our ailing and unreliable Sears special Homelite with a brand new 029 with a 20" bar. An enormous Red Oak had fallen at my parent's house and we put some of the insurance money toward purchase of this saw. The first time I used it I was absolutely awe stricken. It was an animal! Able to plunge cut right in to the 30" Oak trunk. The 029 cost about $150 more than the Homelight if I remember correctly and was worth every penny. I used this saw for years, upgrading to full chisel, non safety chain a few years ago. Since I bought my house 8 years ago I have been cutting between 2 and 6 cords per year with my trusty 029. When I started reading and posting here and at Aboristsite I found out that my 029 was actually under powered and over weight. I had no idea. It cut circles around that old Homelite. I started reading about these fancy and expensive pro saws. They sounded pretty awesome to me, but the 029 was working great for me and I owned it already and it had been 100% reliable too. I figured that if I ever had to replace the 029, I might spend a couple bucks and, maybe, upgrade to an MS390, but I could not justify the big $$$ leap to a pro saw. I had used a couple friend's pro saws and was pretty impressed by them, but I was still happy with the old 029. A couple months ago a friend of mine picked up a used 036 for $90. I jokingly told him that I'd give him $100 for it. He brought it over and I tried it out. I was in love! I told him that my $100 offer was serious. Knowing that he is really a Husky guy, I had a feeling he would sell. My wife convinced him to sell it to her for my birthday last month. My impression, Holy Crap! This saw is an animal. About the same improvement as the switch from the Homelite to the 029. I bought a 20" bar for it and it probably cuts twice as fast as the 029 and almost never bogs down. Now, I spent only $100 for this upgrade. With 20" bar the MSRP for an MS290 is $379.95, the MS362 is $689.95. I don't know how my older models compared price wise, but I am guessing it was similar. That is a $300 dollar difference. A big jump. The MS362 costs only $70 less than 2 MS290s would cost. The bigger saw does cut faster, but I can't load the truck or split and stack any faster though.
    Is the $310 a justifiable expense for a 4-5 cord per year firewood cutter? I still don't think so. But, if you come a cross a great deal on a good used one, jump on it!
    I went from 56.5 cc to 61.5 and chain speed went from 12,500 rpm to 13,500 rpm. Weight dropped a negligible .4 lbs.
    As always, only you know what you can afford and what you want to pay. A quality mid range saw will serve you very well. A quality pro saw will serve you better, but cutting is only a small part of the whole firewood process. Also keep in mind that most of us burn wood to save money. Spending an extra $300 on a saw will cut into that savings, especially when the cheaper one will do everything the more expensive one will do, only slower.
    Theres my $.02.
  24. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    4 cords a year I would settle for a ms 250..But My 10-12 cords a year means you have to be able to do any tree at any time. With havering the bigger saw means I get the best of the best...Nice clean big curly twisted awesome firewood. It is a bigger task to split as well, but thats where I fill more comfortable...Small top handle saw and a 70cc saw there not much you will ever need to pass on.
  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'd never consider a 029/MS290 "underpowered". It sure doesn't offer the power to weight ratio's it's pro saw cousin's do but last I checked the MS290 was selling for about $379 (full MSRP) with a 20" bar. That's a steal and prob. the biggest reason Stihl sells more MS290's than any other model. (MS250/MS290 were big movers when I was sellin' 'em.)

    The 029/MS290, MS310, MS390 are all built on the same chassis with the only improvements being engine displacement/output and the deco valve on the MS390. The powerhead weights were identical up & down that family of saws! This family is also a great example of KISS reliability and ease of service.

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