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Yet another what saw quest...help!

Post in 'The Gear' started by MrGriz, Mar 31, 2007.

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  1. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    I know this comes up a lot and I've been reading old threads dealing with the best saws; or should I say best saw for the situation. All this research has led to more questions. I'm looking for a new saw to replace my current little Poulan. Actually, I'll probably keep the Poulan with the 16" bar for limbing and trimming. I may then put an even smaller bar on this saw.

    With that in mind, I'll tell you a bit about me and my situation. I live in Southeastern Wisconsin and will likely (hopefully) cut 4-5 cords of wood a year. I work with a buddy who has a big saw for dropping and bucking the really big stuff. I'm not sure what it is, it's older but had no problem pulling a 36" bar through a downed oak a couple of days ago. I'll mostly be going after the stuff that's down and probably up to 24" or so in diameter. I would like the option to tackle bigger stuff once in a while if the need arises. I seem to run into a wide variety of wood; pine, box elder, oak, cherry, poplar, elm, maple, etc. It's definitely not all soft wood.

    I am thinking that a saw that will pull an 18" bar most of the time, with the option of going as high as 24" would be ideal. Since I have no real experience using any makes of saw other than the Pouland and a couple of old Homelites, I don't have a bias to one brand over another. I would like to purchase from a local dealer, as I will want to take it there for service if necessary.

    Based on searching past threads, I'm thinking of (in no particular order) the Husky 359, 353, 372XP, Dolmar 5100, Stihl MS361. I would also like to hear any recommendations that you think would fit my situation. I tend to take care of my equipment pretty well and would like to buy a good saw that will last for quite a few years.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

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  2. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I have a Domlar 5100S with a 18" bar .325 I like it better then my MS310 with 20" 3/8 bar. I have all found that logs over 20" in Dia. are real hard to load and over all deal with anyway.
  3. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    Thanks for the input. I don't mind picking up the bigger stuff. I've got a good buddy to work with and a dump trailer (ramps for easier loading of big rounds). He even has a tractor with a front end loader for the stuff that's too big but close to home. Of course, the smaller stuff is easier on everyone and everything.
  4. JayY

    JayY New Member

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    You are looking at quite an array of saws there. I have a Dolmar 5100 (3/8 chain) and I love it. I have taken on wood up to 20" and I think this is a real nice fit. If I were commonly looking at 24" hardwoods, I may not be so happy. Only the big saws do it all well but cost and weight start becoming an issue (for me anyway).

    All of these saws are going to put the Poulan to shame. I know since I bet I have the same one. You are going to feel like you have a LOT more power in your hands and the poulan will be used for emergencies only.

    Keep us posted.
  5. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

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    The Stihl MS361 is a darling of a saw and it would be perfect for the use you have in mind. Get an 18" bar for regular use and a 24" with skip chain for the bigger stuff. You'll be a happy camper.
  6. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    Thanks for all the input so far! I've been doing some more research and I think I have it narrowed down to three saws. I think these three compare to one another pretty well, I'm just not sure which will provide the best bang for the buck.

    The Husqvarna 359, the Husqvarna 346XP and the Dolmar 5100S.

    Of the three, I think it will come down to the 359 and the 5100S. Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think the 359 is better suited to a wider range of duties than the 346XP. I think the 346XP would make an awesome saw for limbing, but would fall short on bucking anything bigger (in the 18" - 24" range). Would the 359 and the 5100S handle those duties as well?

    Between the 359 and the 5100S, the 5100S is a bit smaller displacement (49.9cc vs 59.0cc), but runs a bit faster (14,500rpm vs 13,500rpm); it's also just about a full pound lighter. The 5100S comes in at .25 hp / lb, while the 359 has .32 hp / lb. I'm not sure how much difference this will make in the overall performance of the saws. The 5100S is a bit lower priced at approximately $369.00, as compared to the 3599 at about $415.00, but if I'm investing in a saw that will last a couple of decades I'm not worried about the extra $50.00.

    Any input on my thoughts or these two saws?
  7. biggins08

    biggins08 New Member

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    lOVE MY NEW 359........
  8. JayY

    JayY New Member

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    I tried 359 and it was pretty nice but it didn't wow me. I may not have given it a fair shake. In theory it should do better than the 5100s with longer bars. The 359 I tried was an e-tech model and perhaps that had something to do with it. I bet someone more knowledgeable than me can can chime in on the e-tech situation. My dealer made it sound like all 359s were e-tech.

    I don't think the 5100 is too much lighter than the 359. I think Dolmars scale may be a little off but you can decide that for yourself.

    I have only got about 4 tanks of gas through my 5100 but I am pretty certain it will have no power issues with an 18 inch bar. I had it buried in a large sugar maple yesterday and it didn't complain any.
  9. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Let me add one other saw the 3757 xp husky very simmilar the the 5100 Dolmar BTW a great saw. Very high rpms like the 5100 14,500 RPMS normal bar is 18 and it runs best with it It can take a larger bar and a skip chain makes sense with the larger bar. I'll tell you fantastic weight to power to RPMS 359 also is a good saw..

    I find I really like the results with the 18" bar and have no real reason for anything bigger at this time remember is the chain is sharp one can cur from both sides on biger trees.

    I have used a lot of saw over the years all still working I have a shihl 041 farm boss 1980 swa still cutting about as good as the day I got it one cut with the 357xp and that saw got retired to being a backup. the old poulan will be a nice 14" backup I have 6 of these No I did not buy one they have been given to me I repaired them and the all work. Keep them sharp they are light and I still enjoy working with them I find that I usually cut up what is down and 4/5 cords will hardly be a workout for the 357xp. If I had not been give it my next saw probably would have been the 5100.. Dealer support is not an issue with me If I break it I fix it but for you and many others just like your stoves find a good dealer if you like the Domar dealer better then its the 5100 or stihl or Husky I'm so out of the loop of pricing so I don't know the market I can not advise doing price comparison.. When cutting stuff that large here are some other pointers

    have a crow bar and some blocks of wood like 4/4 I use the crowbar to lift the trunks off the ground and block them up with the 4/4" also a wedge and maul or sledge hammer Somethmes I cut wood wedges to prevent binding . Personally I hate trees so large I have to cut from both sides and risk the chance of grounding the chain 18" is a nice cut off limit to handle and split.
  10. JayY

    JayY New Member

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    The 357xp looks like a real runner. It matches up with the Stihl ms361. I think they are in the same price range.

    The big knock on Dolmar seems to be the lack of dealer support and the fact they don't have as big a foothold in the US market as the other saw manufacturers. This didn't bother me much with the $359 5100. I have always felt if I am at the dealer more than once or twice I am already very unhappy. It is a completely different mindset for pros who need the equipment to make money and go through consumables quickly.

    Heres one more to contemplate; The JONSERED CS 2159. It costs about the same as the 359 but I think the Johnsereds look the baddest ;)
  11. MrGriz

    MrGriz New Member

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    I agree Elk, the bigger stuff is harder to work with all the way around. I just don't like to pass up on a good scrounge because it's too big. I've also run across downed tree trunks that were stripped all the way down to the point that the other guy ran out of saw. Those usually make easy pickings if you have the equipment to finish the job.
  12. hornett22

    hornett22 New Member

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    i love the 357xp.it's a screamer and balances nice.the dolmar sounds nice on paper but i have had dolmars and dealer support sucks and the parts are really expensive.i know i can go anywhere in the country and get husky or stihl parts.my budy has the 361 and it is a nice saw but the 357 feels better in my hands and seems to run a little faster and smoother.i think a 357 with stihl rsc chain is the smoothest saw setup out there right now.sorry but stihl makes the best chain,hands down.

    you may want to consider a 372xp as well.there are deals on them at bailey's and a few other online retailers.i love my 357 but i love my 372 more.
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