The hated homelite and the 80 yr old grandma.

redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
140
West Virginia
This post is not about bashing homelite chainsaws or 80 yr old grandmothers. Here is a story of days long past.

My grandmother heated her home with wood and coal up until she was too old and frail to keep a fire. Her 2 son's would cut/split/stack the winter's worth of wood up until she passed. They used all different brands of saws even though my grandmother would only buy homelite saws for them to use.

She didn't use the saws. She had no idea how they worked she just knew that no saw meant no firewood. She would go every spring and buy a new homelite saw from the only hardware store in the area that gave "credit".... They would give her the saw in promise to make monthly payments. She did this yearly for 20+ years that I know. Her sons would gripe and cuss. Why don't you buy us a stihl or husky or something,,, anything other than a homelite! They told her they was junk. They never run right. They are hard to start. etc. Homelite was all she could get at the time on payments and a saw was a saw to her.

I have never used anything homelite. My uncle that was married and gone at the time used an old homelite xl-12 that was a good saw for what I could tell. It always ran. Sometimes he would have to pull the rope for what seemed like an eternity. He would take a break from pulling, drink a cup of coffee, then pull some more. It would eventually start and run good the rest of the day. It wasn't an auto oiler. You had to press the pump with your thumb. It worked and he still uses it to this day. You could see the vibration from that saw though... he always complained about numb fingers and hands. That saw cut many a load of wood. The second experience was with my step-fathers saw. In the 90's he bought a homelite 330. It was always hard to start. The coil would go out every couple years or so, but he used it until it lost compression which was only 4-5 years after he bought it. Saw or operator error I have no clue but it eventually died. That is 1 decent and 1 bad homelite that I know of, but I know the xl-12's are legendary. Now for a story about my other uncles and my grandmother.. kinda funny.

So my grandmother would buy this new homelite saw and bring it home and give it to my uncles to cut wood. They wouldn't even start it. They would take it around looking for a trade. They were like this: "Hey I got a brand new saw for trade...give me a case of beer and your old stihl and we got a trade" Most of the time they would come back with a case of Bud, and a saw that looked like it had been through WW2. Oh the talk my grandmother would give them. "I just bought a new saw and look what you did, traded it for beer, and where did that ugly saw come from?..." They would reply, "those homelites are junk from the start mom, at least this old sthil will start on 2nd pull,,, etc etc and we got some beer to boot!"... When the cutting season was over, they would trade whatever saw they had ended up with for another case of bud, and wait for her to buy another new homelite the following spring.

I know my uncles hated homelites, even to the point of using a 10 yr old stihl that looked like it had been dropped off a cliff, instead of a brand new homelite from the hardware store.
 

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
1,982
Lackawaxen PA
When I was a kid, homelite was the only saw we had. Dad had a hell of a time keeping a old one running.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
950
Northern Canada
When i was growing up the lodge we lived in was heated by wood.
My Dad would spend the evenings working on saws,then take 4 to go cut wood,Homelites,pioneers and Mcullochs.
If he was lucky he would get a load cut before they all didn't run.Then repete.
My Mom bought him a Stihl 031 for Fathers day.He spent more time with us kids then,no more fixing chainsaws.He used that saw for over 20 years and never had an issue other than the recoil falling off one day.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,326
Eastern Ontario
Homelite story: My Father in law was a lead hand for a township just outside of Ottawa (now part of Ottawa)
In 1980 the Township bought 12XL12 Homelite saws. well, the worker hated the saws and ran over or dropped
a tree on all but 1. At that point, the Township bought 10 new Stihl 026. My Father In Law took all the saws and
made 4 working saws. He kept 2 and gave me 2. Those saws were well used for 5 years (my wife bought me a
026 and my Father In Law died). I then cleaned all 4 saws removed fuel and oil and hung them up in the upstares
of my shop. After reading about Grandma I went upstare pulled a saw from the hanger but a little fuel and oil in it
took it outside and I'll be damed it started on the 3rd pull ran the little bit of fuel out of it cleaned it and hung it back
in its place. I guess my sons will get them when I pass
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,020
Philadelphia
My first saw was a Homelite EZ Auto, something like 43cc with a 16” bar. Grandpa and dad had old McCullough’s and even one big Stihl, that I remember during my childhood, but the Homelite was mine. It was a b1tch to start, and not the fastest cutter in the shed. But I swear it would pull a mile of chain thru anything, once you got it going. Sprocket was likely smaller, for a lower effective gear ratio, than anything you’d buy today.

I traded it for an Echo 510EVL (“five-ten evil”), which was subsequently traded for a Stihl 036 Pro, that I still have.
 
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paulnlee

Member
Dec 2, 2018
218
Flemington, NJ
Had a 360 that never failed me for more than 10 years. When it finally died sent the wife to dealer I've used for years. She came back with a Jonsreed. Couldn't cut for ssst, sent her back and told her to come back with a 360.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,020
Philadelphia
Had a 360 that never failed me for more than 10 years. When it finally died sent the wife to dealer I've used for years. She came back with a Jonsreed. Couldn't cut for ssst, sent her back and told her to come back with a 360.
Does she send you shopping for her purses?
 
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redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
140
West Virginia
My uncle bought a McCullough saw just for topping and small stuff... one of the smallest made.. the first cut was a small sapling that was in the way of a much larger tree...

He hung the saw up in this small tree and i remember him telling me..."get out of the way,, im going to cut this big tree into the smaller one.. hopefully it will knock it over and free the saw in the process..."... that large tree didn't knock the small one over.. instead it fell right down the side of the sapling, taking most of the bark off as well busting his new mccullough into bits... think it was called mini-max or something... oh what memories...
 

Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
554
Palmyra, WI
My uncle bought a McCullough saw just for topping and small stuff... one of the smallest made.. the first cut was a small sapling that was in the way of a much larger tree...

He hung the saw up in this small tree and i remember him telling me..."get out of the way,, im going to cut this big tree into the smaller one.. hopefully it will knock it over and free the saw in the process..."... that large tree didn't knock the small one over.. instead it fell right down the side of the sapling, taking most of the bark off as well busting his new mccullough into bits... think it was called mini-max or something... oh what memories...
Back home we put a field stone fireplace in, 1972. Cut a lot of oak with that mccullough minimac. Still have a couple boxstalls in the barn full of wood from that time. How old is the wood - 1972 to 2019 - bet there's a few post beatles run through it all.
Before that, dad had an old saw - I was too young to remember much, but, it was red, cast metal handles with the paint wore off, hand oil feed, heavy, 3/8 chain, started hard, hmm, late 50s. By that time we just put in an oil furnace (replaced the octopus gravity feed coal/wood), so it sat most of the time, for me to "admire".
 
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salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
950
Northern Canada
Had a 360 that never failed me for more than 10 years. When it finally died sent the wife to dealer I've used for years. She came back with a Jonsreed. Couldn't cut for ssst, sent her back and told her to come back with a 360.
Thats what you get for sending a lady to do a mans job.
I can't believe you would send a lady to buy your saw.That almost qualifies for Man card removal
 

paulnlee

Member
Dec 2, 2018
218
Flemington, NJ
Thats what you get for sending a lady to do a mans job.
I can't believe you would send a lady to buy your saw.That almost qualifies for Man card removal
FYI I've been dealing with this guy for 20 years. He knows me and wife. She went for a 360 and came back with POS. Not her fault and he heard about it. Chauvinism I thought was a right wing Trump supporting agenda not a Canadian one
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
950
Northern Canada
FYI I've been dealing with this guy for 20 years. He knows me and wife. She went for a 360 and came back with POS. Not her fault and he heard about it. Chauvinism I thought was a right wing Trump supporting agenda not a Canadian one
Yea not her fault.
All on you buddy
 

WiscWoody

Minister of Fire
B0DC1257-67A4-4062-979B-1F4FE657975A.png 04003FD4-C86C-4512-AF4E-BF02A8DDAD80.png My first saw was a well used Homelite XL with a 14" B/C I think. It was given to me from a old landlord since I took care of the lawn and backwoods to a small apartment I lived at and he owned and then I gave it to a neighbor around 15 years ago and he used it for awhile to cut some of the woods for a building site and for firewood. Now I’m spoiled by nice pro saws with lots of power and great ergonomics. This post made me look on eBay for old Homelite saws and here’s one that makes me think about how good we have it nowadays lol. Notice that back in the day they said it was ok to use straight 30 weight engine oil for the gas/oil mix.
 

redmanlcs

Member
Nov 20, 2017
140
West Virginia
I think you could still get away with mixing crankcase oil with fuel for use with 2stroke engines. The key would be to use straight weight oil, such as 30w.. I figure the EPA mandated that an oil be produced that would be less polluting,... as using motor oil was smokey and didn't burn well which would produce an oil drip out of the exhaust, but it lubricated the piston and other parts pretty well so I've heard.. There is something about the multi weight oils that produce lots more carbon and ash so is not recommended.... Something to think about and maybe someone on here could test after the long term use of crankcase oil?.. would be nice.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,020
Philadelphia
Wow... magneto points on a chainsaw! I wonder what year they finally did away with that.
 

WiscWoody

Minister of Fire
I didn’t have a father when I was a kid so when my mom got me a mini bike to ride at my grandmas place in a small town in Iowa I put regular motor oil in the oil tank thinking that was what you used and it wasn’t until a year or so later I found out from a friend that they made a 2 cycle oil. I’m not sure if they made multi-weight oil back then, around 1972 I’d say.
 
This is funny … I was just given a homelite electric pole saw ..
1569248613628.png

I can't wait to abuse it..... ;)
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,326
Eastern Ontario
multi-weight oil back then, around 1972
Multi-weight oil has been around a long time
when I started my Apprenticeship in 67 we used 5w20, 5w30, 5w40
10w30, 10w40. 15w40 and 20w50 racing oil and there were others.
They had Multi-Grade oil during WW2 Viscosity index improvers were
first used to make multigrade engine oils in the 1940s.
 

WiscWoody

Minister of Fire
Multi-weight oil has been around a long time
when I started my Apprenticeship in 67 we used 5w20, 5w30, 5w40
10w30, 10w40. 15w40 and 20w50 racing oil and there were others.
They had Multi-Grade oil during WW2 Viscosity index improvers were
first used to make multigrade engine oils in the 1940s.
I was wandering if multi-weights were available in the early 70’s cos I remember my mom back then saying that she needed to get a winter oil change to get a thinner oil for the cold engine starts. It could be that the mechanic at the Target store she had her car worked on recommend using a straight weight oil in her car back then and to have it changed once in the spring and again in the fall based on her driving amounts. And yes, Target stores back then in the twin cities where the store started had auto bays and mechanics. Hard to believe nowadays lol.
 

Medic21

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2017
521
Northern Indiana
Dad still has and uses a Homelite XL. I can set a Stihl 362 or Husky 562 in front of him, both weigh less and have 3x the power, and the stubborn old man will pick up his Homelite.

I have no idea how much wood that saw has cut but, it heated our house for 20+ years and still runs. I learned on that saw and He hasn’t heated with wood for going on 20 years now.