Second Chainsaw

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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,996
SE North Carolina
Thanks for all of the feedback. The pile of logs I'm working on currently are averaging around 18" diameter. I few are smaller, and one big beautiful oak log is about 24". I bucked up about 4 logs yesterday with the MS180. It did alright. I went through about 4 tanks of gas, refilling the chain oil each time I refilled gas. It did a good job. It started to struggle on a big chunk of cherry, but by that time the chain also needed to be sharpened again. The 180 gets it done, and I'm glad to have it but it would be mighty nice to cut larger logs with a single pass.

There is an MS361 on the local CL at a very good price but its been up for a week, so I suspect its gone. Seller hasn't replied to me. Otherwise I'm keeping a lookout for a used MS261 or 026 at a good price. I'm not looking to go crazy overkill here. Something that can run a 20" bar confidently is enough. I'm trying to stay around $400 if I can.
400$ is that middle ground. You can’t get a new pro saw of any size and This is what I have. I rolled the dice and won. It can pull 36” through almost anything if the chain is good. It’s heavy, stupid heavy. But 92cc for cheap. Guzzles gas. When’s through a gallon milling slabs last weekend. I want to get a lightweight bar.

If I only had 400$ to spend and I needed to cut bigger logs it’s a tough choice. Echo 60cc is probably where I would lean. If I thought I’d regularly get 24”+ I might consider a Chinese 660. When they work they are awesome. (If you don’t mind the weight).

MS261 would be a splurge for me, but the best bet.
 
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hedge wood

Feeling the Heat
Mar 1, 2009
308
Eastern NE
Thanks for all of the feedback. The pile of logs I'm working on currently are averaging around 18" diameter. I few are smaller, and one big beautiful oak log is about 24". I bucked up about 4 logs yesterday with the MS180. It did alright. I went through about 4 tanks of gas, refilling the chain oil each time I refilled gas. It did a good job. It started to struggle on a big chunk of cherry, but by that time the chain also needed to be sharpened again. The 180 gets it done, and I'm glad to have it but it would be mighty nice to cut larger logs with a single pass.

There is an MS361 on the local CL at a very good price but its been up for a week, so I suspect its gone. Seller hasn't replied to me. Otherwise I'm keeping a lookout for a used MS261 or 026 at a good price. I'm not looking to go crazy overkill here. Something that can run a 20" bar confidently is enough. I'm trying to stay around $400 if I can.
I would just keep using your MS180 now and save your money up and buy a new 261. No sense in buying someone else's junk. Buy a new 261 and it will probably be the last saw you need. Unless you go even bigger. You buy a pro saw and take care of it. Twenty years from now you still be using it.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,025
Downeast Maine
Use the $400 to buy a Tecomec Super Jolly. Not as fun as a new saw, but will make your current saw like a lightsaber.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,292
MA
Thanks for all of the feedback ...
I think you and I are 100% on the same page with our 180s. Love our little saw. Would like bigger. 180 does all we want. Would like bigger. Never really absolutely, positively, must have needed more. Would like bigger. Let me know what we decided to do. :)

Sounds like we have substituted "chainsaw" for "male member" envy. :)
 

bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
830
Utah & NJ
Maybe just let a good saw come to you. Just keep casually looking and talking. Something good will eventually show up someway or another. FYI i got my sthil 029 super used by a landscaper maybe 20-25 years ago. I Cut maybe 3 or 4 cords a year average over that time plus helping a bunch of people drop trees and other stuff. That saw still runs like the day i got it used, which is very well. So the point is even a non pro saw can last for 20 plus years no problem. I bet mine will be good for 35-45 years total.
 

ericm979

Burning Hunk
Nov 2, 2018
151
California
For mostly 18" up to 24" logs I'd be looking at a saw in the 60cc size class.

You should be sharpening your chain no matter what saw you're running. The choice is not a small saw with a sharp chain vs a big one with a dull chain, it's a small saw with a sharp chain vs a big saw with a sharp chain. The big saw is going to cut faster.

The Farmertec saws are a crap shoot. I got a 440 clone that needed work to the oil and fuel systems so it wouldn't leak copious amounts. Spark arrestors are both a good idea in fire season and legally required here, and the Farmertec does not come with them. Adding that added expense. A real OEM Stihl would, unless they have been removed. Chinese pistons are thicker walled and heavier than OEM ones and they don't change the crank counterbalance factor to match. The 440 vibrates significantly more than my MS460 even though it's a similar size saw with a shorter stroke engine, and the same AV system.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,025
Downeast Maine
For mostly 18" up to 24" logs I'd be looking at a saw in the 60cc size class.

You should be sharpening your chain no matter what saw you're running. The choice is not a small saw with a sharp chain vs a big one with a dull chain, it's a small saw with a sharp chain vs a big saw with a sharp chain. The big saw is going to cut faster.

The Farmertec saws are a crap shoot. I got a 440 clone that needed work to the oil and fuel systems so it wouldn't leak copious amounts. Spark arrestors are both a good idea in fire season and legally required here, and the Farmertec does not come with them. Adding that added expense. A real OEM Stihl would, unless they have been removed. Chinese pistons are thicker walled and heavier than OEM ones and they don't change the crank counterbalance factor to match. The 440 vibrates significantly more than my MS460 even though it's a similar size saw with a shorter stroke engine, and the same AV system.

I don't think anyone is suggesting you not sharpen a chain on a big saw, I was simply saying that if you already have a saw a better investment is to get a good sharpening system rather than another saw.
 

bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
830
Utah & NJ
I don't think anyone is suggesting you not sharpen a chain on a big saw, I was simply saying that if you already have a saw a better investment is to get a good sharpening system rather than another saw.
Walking the dog yesterday i heard the loudest machine i've ever heard. When i got closer i saw it was a guy with a good size saw. I thought oh cool he's got a muffler mod on that, let's see how much better it runs. Then i can see what's really going on. He's in the front yard trying to cut down an 8" diameter specimen tree. He's been going at it for what seems like an eternity. Smoke all over the place. He's not even 1/2 way through the tiny tree. I walk away quickly. If i knew the guy i would have helped him out but kinda of felt he might have been like f off dude.

So sharpen your chain. This guy probably didn't know that's a "thing".
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,292
MA
One of the guys I used to have coffee with Friday mornings would buy new chains. Think he didn't know they could be sharpened.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,025
Downeast Maine
One of the guys I used to have coffee with Friday mornings would buy new chains. Think he didn't know they could be sharpened.
I have a lot of chain tools since I'm milling and buy chain by the foot. I asked a local agricultural group if there is a market in maintaining saw chain for folks. One guy said it's cheaper for him to buy two new chains every year than sharpen them. I didn't bother to tell him he loses a lot time this way, which cost a lot more than even paying someone to sharpen them. With my equipment I can sharpen at least ten loops an hour, maybe more if they are all set up the same.
 
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bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
830
Utah & NJ
I have a lot of chain tools since I'm milling and buy chain by the foot. I asked a local agricultural group if there is a market in maintaining saw chain for folks. One guy said it's cheaper for him to buy two new chains every year than sharpen them. I didn't bother to tell him he loses a lot time this way, which cost a lot more than even paying someone to sharpen them. With my equipment I can sharpen at least ten loops an hour, maybe more if they are all set up the same.
Yeah a "cheap" chain is like $15 on ebay. People think oh new chain should be better than a sharpened chain (if they know it can be sharpened). The economics make it seem like new chains are quick cheap and easy, and make sense to just buy a bunch. But they just don't get how fast chains dull, and how much time gas and saw hours are wasted with what they don't even realize is a dull chain.
 
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bigealta

Minister of Fire
May 22, 2010
830
Utah & NJ
10 chains an hour. how much would u charge per chain? $7? That would be $70 an hour. So next time u see those new chain guys tell them to save their old chains and you'll do them all for less than 1/2 of buying new ones and that they will be sharper than New!
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,025
Downeast Maine
10 chains an hour. how much would u charge per chain? $7? That would be $70 an hour. So next time u see those new chain guys tell them to save their old chains and you'll do them all for less than 1/2 of buying new ones and that they will be sharper than New!
If I had a shed, I would certainly do it on the side. Right now I'm limited to sunny days. I'll have to post a picture of my out of the box Stihl compared to after I sharpened it. I ran a loop of 63 PMX out of the box for one 4x4 and took it off to sharpen it. I just wanted to know how rough it would cut. The finish was "not bad for a chainsaw mill" out of the box, but when I sharpen a chain people say "you did that with a chainsaw!?!". I've already sharpened the second loop and it hasn't even been on the saw yet.
 
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CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
697
SW Ohio
One of the guys I used to have coffee with Friday mornings would buy new chains. Think he didn't know they could be sharpened.
My neighbor is the same. Views chain as disposable once it's dull. He knows chain can be sharpened but can't be bothered to sharpen or learn to sharpen, but doesn't use his chainsaw much.
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,447
Lackawaxen PA
My only saw for years is a 260 pro with a 18' bar. One of the best Stihl saws in it's size. It's pricey, but has lot of power. But I to needed a backup and a saw to limb. The Stihl 170 at around $190 looked right. About 4 tanks of gas, and it's been just perfect for what I want it to do.
 

bladeofanduril

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
39
PA, USA
I looked into that Echo 590... boy that is tempting. 60cc, 20" bar, and costs right around $400, compared to the MS261 that's around $600 and only a 50cc engine. Am I missing something on that Echo? It seems too good to be true when compared to Stihls and Huskies of similar engine displacement.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,025
Downeast Maine
I looked into that Echo 590... boy that is tempting. 60cc, 20" bar, and costs right around $400, compared to the MS261 that's around $600 and only a 50cc engine. Am I missing something on that Echo? It seems too good to be true when compared to Stihls and Huskies of similar engine displacement.
If your only criteria for a saw is $/displacement, you can't go wrong. However, that thing is a boat anchor compared to a 50cc pro saw. I think you will end up using that Stihl 180 a lot more than the 590 if you get it.

What does your sharpening system look like?
 
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bladeofanduril

New Member
Nov 5, 2021
39
PA, USA
If your only criteria for a saw is $/displacement, you can't go wrong. However, that thing is a boat anchor compared to a 50cc pro saw. I think you will end up using that Stihl 180 a lot more than the 590 if you get it.

What does your sharpening system look like?
I have the Stihl 2-in-1 sharpener. The Echo weighs in around 13lbs it looks like. I spend a fair amount of time with a barbell so probably not a dealbreaker for me.
 

ericm979

Burning Hunk
Nov 2, 2018
151
California
The Echo at 13.2 lbs is .9 lbs heavier than the Stihl MS362CM which is one of the most popular saws in that size class. The Stihl is nice (I have one) but now it costs close to twice what the Echo does (or worse- my dealer wants nearly $900 for one!). I'm in my 60s and built like a marathon runner and I have no problem hauling the 362 into the woods and up steep hills to fell trees. Someone with actual upper body mass should do fine with a saw that's a lb heavier. Especially if what you're mostly doing is cutting logs in a yard.

I have a smaller Echo 352 and while it's all plastic, it's been durable and reliable.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,996
SE North Carolina
I have the Stihl 2-in-1 sharpener. The Echo weighs in around 13lbs it looks like. I spend a fair amount of time with a barbell so probably not a dealbreaker for me.
13# isn’t bad. It would be better for me loose 5# than care about the extra pound that the saw weighs. My tree guy who’s just started a part time one man tree service has one. But he told me just got a new Stihl last time I saw him he climbs everything he can’t fall so the weight matters to him at the end of a full work day.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,025
Downeast Maine
A heavy saw isn't a big deal if you are not cutting for long periods. Larger logs generally means less time cutting and more time splitting. I'm milling larger logs I cut down, so a light saw is more beneficial for bucking since I'm doing a lot more of it. I also cut almost exclusively softwoods with a ton of branches and my 60cc saw is exhausting for this task.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
2,996
SE North Carolina
A heavy saw isn't a big deal if you are not cutting for long periods. Larger logs generally means less time cutting and more time splitting. I'm milling larger logs I cut down, so a light saw is more beneficial for bucking since I'm doing a lot more of it. I also cut almost exclusively softwoods with a ton of branches and my 60cc saw is exhausting for this task.
I argue the lightest saw that gets the job done is the safest for someone who uses the saw as a hobby.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
7,025
Downeast Maine
I argue the lightest saw that gets the job done is the safest for someone who uses the saw as a hobby.
For a hobbyist definitely, I figure OP is more than a hobbyist, less than a pro. 60cc may be totally fine if he is cutting mostly straight hardwood logs. I wouldn't swing that thing all day, but I'm not that tall either. My Husky 460 is a bit heavier than an Echo 590, so maybe not a fair comparison. Even with the 16" bar mounted, I don't like using it unless I have to.
 

vbu

Member
Mar 3, 2019
98
MS
I have a MS261, and I love it. Nice and light to handle all day, and enough power for what I need. Nicely built, and so easy to start. Buy once, cry once lol.
 

CincyBurner

Minister of Fire
Mar 10, 2015
697
SW Ohio
I have a MS261, and I love it.
I concur. Great power:weight ratio; it's light & well balanced; super responsive (a bump up in power from my old MS 260); and well designed/ manufactured.
My recommendation would be to marry it up with a 16" bar.
Stihl sells their light 04 guide bar (.050 gauge), unfortunately unavailable in US.​