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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/28/2005 9:10:16 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 9:14:24 AM EDT by torstin]
i considering a chainsaw for around the yard and storm damage use. id likely also use it for cutting firewood as well. i'm undecided on the advatages of a beefer saw with a say a 20" bar or something lighter and compact. say with a 16" bar. i live in a small town and do not see myself using this heavily, but like the idea of having one on hand or emergency use.

currently im looking at the husqvarna (336, 353 and 455 rancher). i was originally thinking an 18" bar would be good for all around general purpose use, but am now wondering if id be better off with a compact lighter saw to start with...and then add a larger saw later as i gain more experience. is a 16" bar too short for anything other than limbing and small trees?

how significant is engine size/strength? the 336 has 2.0 hp, 350 has 3.3 hp, 455 has 3.4hp.


Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:25:55 AM EDT
I'm no chainsaw expert but I was recently in the same position. I had a Craftsman POS that I used mostly on camping trips. I recently moved to the sticks and got some property and really needed a better saw as I've had my driveway blocked my fallen trees numerous times. The Craftsman had an 18 inch bar, not much power, but nice and light. It crapped out a few weeks ago and wouldn't start so I did some research and decided on a Shindaiwa. I got a 488 with 18 inch bar. I really thought about getting the 20 inch bar but ended up with the 18. I definitely would not go 16, my neighbor and I were cutting a tree with his 16 and my 18 and I noticed he had to make a lot of extra cuts because the tree was just a little bigger than his bar. the 18 did much better. Smaller bars will have higher chain speeds, but I split the difference and got the 18.

Anyway the Shindaiwa 488 is similar in weight to the plastic POS Craftsman, has tons more power, and runs and starts well. I really like it. I'm sure anything in the Stihl, Husqvarna, or Shindaiwa line will serve you well.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:29:54 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:32:45 AM EDT
Oh, mine has 3.5 HP which to me is plenty. The saw really bucks when you hold it in your hand and nail the throttle. My Craftsman would really bog down cutting trees 12" and over, I used the Shindaiwa over the last few weeks and cut down a few that were in the 24" trunk range and 1 that was definitely over 30", probably 34-36". No bogging down, cuts really well. I would skip the 2.0, the 3.3 and 3.4 would do you well.

When I was shopping I knew I wanted a lightweight saw. Mine weighs 10.1 pounds and has 3.5 hp. Next size up is 13 pounds and 4.0 hp. Too heavy and big. It looked really cumbersome. I could only get a 16" bar on the next size down so I didn't want that.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:35:56 AM EDT

Originally Posted By torstin:
am now wondering if id be better off with a compact lighter saw to start with...and then add a larger saw later as i gain more experience.



Not a bad idea at all if you don't have much experience with a saw. You can always dedicate your lighter saw to limbing. Alternatively, any decent mid-sized saw will run a longer bar than the one that came with the saw. So you could start with a 16-20" mid-range saw and add a longer bar if you found that you really needed it.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:40:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 9:46:48 AM EDT by pcsutton]
Don't exceed the bar length recommended for the powerhead. I like a 24 inch bar. Not too big, not too small. I used to be a feller. Cut 120 foot cedar telephone pole logs with a 28 inch Sthil.

Husky is a good saw. Most pro-saws use sthil, with husky and jonesrudd back in the pack. Just stay away from craftsman, echo, and shit like that. Huskys used to have a problem with the dog on the recoil start breaking off. Whatever saw you buy, use short strokes on the rope to start it!

If I were buying a saw I'd search out a sthil, but YMMV.

Be safe!!!

ETA: Saws will 'kick back' in a microsecond and fuck a guy UP! Keep the tip clear. Oh, and most noobs don't know it but if you even touch any dirt, sand, mud, etc. with the chain...for even a micro-second, you'll learn how to sharpen your saw. Nothing dulls a chain quicker than getting it into the ground! Watch out for dirt and mud on the wood your cutting also. Use a wisk broom to clean off the cut area on the wood....or you'll spend the next 15 minutes filing on your chain.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:42:54 AM EDT
Stihl, no doubt. Unsure of what bar length/size combo? In typical ArfCom fashion... GET BOTH!!!

T
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:47:51 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 9:49:26 AM EDT by Researcher]
Sounds like an 18 inch bar will be good for what you want to do. My dad has two stihls. One that is over 20 years old that he was told was not worth fixing about 6 years ago. Still running strong. I bought him a ms 260 a couple years ago in case the other stopped working.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:58:07 AM EDT

Originally Posted By feral:

Originally Posted By torstin:
am now wondering if id be better off with a compact lighter saw to start with...and then add a larger saw later as i gain more experience.



Not a bad idea at all if you don't have much experience with a saw. You can always dedicate your lighter saw to limbing. Alternatively, any decent mid-sized saw will run a longer bar than the one that came with the saw. So you could start with a 16-20" mid-range saw and add a longer bar if you found that you really needed it.



+1. When I was looking for a chainsaw, I noticed the same powerhead was used for several bar engths. I was only planning on trimming and cutting up small trees, so I went with a 14 inch bar. I can go up to 20 inches, but I'll probably buy another saw if I need a 20 inch saw. That way I'll have a trimming saw with the shorter bar, and a heavier duty one with a 20 inch bar I can extend if necessary. Plus, I expect the saw I have now will bog down with a 20 inch bar and won't last long, so I'd have to buy a new one anyway.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 9:59:46 AM EDT
Better to have a bar that's longer than you need than one that's too short.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:02:07 AM EDT
16" Stihl Farm Boss gets it all done in my forest.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:04:42 AM EDT

Originally Posted By feral:
Not a bad idea at all if you don't have much experience with a saw. You can always dedicate your lighter saw to limbing. Alternatively, any decent mid-sized saw will run a longer bar than the one that came with the saw. So you could start with a 16-20" mid-range saw and add a longer bar if you found that you really needed it.



Good post.

My Stihl came with a 16" bar, but could run a larger one if I felt it necessary, but so far I haven't needed it. After going through McCulloughs and Poulans in the 70's, we settled on Stihls and never looked back. They've been building great saws for a long time.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:07:39 AM EDT
not an expert but i can say i like a big saw!
the little ones seem to work you to death. you have to baby them, play with the cuts and work them a lot more. they also bind a lot more and stall and die. with a big saw with tines you can cut thru a much larger piece of tree. 16" dia oak. no problem. just dig the times in and work the saw a few times and you are thru. they really throw the saw dust out. a big saw will "drop thru" 6-8" limbs with ease. that's a big plus. there is no reason to kill yourself cutting back and forth on a 8" limb if you can just allow the weight of a larger saw to do the work.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:15:25 AM EDT
Power over bar length.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:15:58 AM EDT
The Husq-55 Rancher comes standard with an 18" bar, but a 20" bar is available for it.

I just recently bought the 55-Rancher and am impressed with it.
It's a much better chainsaw than those I have been borrowing from the neighbors.
I have no doubt that it will power the 20" bar without complaint.

Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:22:27 AM EDT
I would get the saw with the 20" bar. Purchasing a saw with the smaller bar and then going up to a larger bar is a bad idea. Your chain speed drops and it is just harder on the saw. You could get away with it if you ran a full skip chain. My advice is that you get a husky with a 20" bar and half-skip professional chain. My saw of choice after using Husky 257,262,272,371 and Stihl 038,041,044, and 046 magnum for the USDA-USFS and State of Oregon? Husky 371 with 28" bar and half skip professional chain that I round file in the field. Good luck and make sure that you buy chaps and USE THEM. I have personally witnessed on three occasions how a set of chaps saved legs. You will also need ear protection, eye protection, helmet, and some wedges so that your bar does not get pinched.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:31:13 AM EDT
I have had a Husky 55 for 9 years. Still kicks butt, I have done only a decent job on maintance, though I have switched to a more common 3/8" pitch chain, by switching out the bar and sprocket. Sharpen my own teeth and it cuts like a champ.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:37:57 AM EDT
I have an old Stihl 18" 034 AV that I bought new. I wish it would die so I could buy a new one but it looks like I'll croak first.

An 18" saw is plenty for what you want to use it for. Buy a spare chain so you always have a sharp one available.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:42:20 AM EDT
You spend too much time bent over with a short bar, let the saw do the reaching. Get the Spike.
A 20" bar is a good all around choice.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:47:39 AM EDT
Two different issues.

A shorter bar will cut faster on the same head.

You need to decide how much saw you want to buy, and then put an appropriate bar on it.

I run a stihl 026 w/20" bar, and that's pushing it with a 50cc saw. If I ever have to replace the bar I might go 16 or 18", but I also have a 28" 038M2 (75cc)that's been blueprinted, ported ,polished and shaved...

If you get much past 28" you need to go skiptooth, which sucks in a lot of ways but is good for big timber.

square-tooth is faster but it's really picky about sharpening angles and it's really easy to dull it, round file is more durable and easier to sharpen.

Buy a 50-60cc pro saw and put a 20" bar on it with full-comp round-tooth chain and you'll be happy.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 10:55:03 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 10:55:23 AM EDT by BlammO]
Just don't go less than 18" or you'll have to register it as an SBS (short bar saw) and pay a $200 tax.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 11:04:57 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 1:02:13 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 1:02:35 PM EDT by out4trout]
I used to heat my house with wood and cut 12-14 cords each summer. I've had chainsaws with bars as short as 16" and as long as 24". I think the best all around is a 20" so long as the saw has enough power. 18" would be okay if the saw was not for heavy duty cutting.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 1:24:21 PM EDT
What are you planning on cutting? Here, any tree over 8" in diameter is rare.

I have an OLD Mac with a 14" bar. Not one single safety feature to be found on it. Cuts just fine. does a number on cedar.

I use it 5 times as much as the 20" Stihl.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 1:29:47 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/28/2005 1:30:11 PM EDT by glazer1972]
20" Bar if the saw can handle it.
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 2:11:36 PM EDT
I just broke down and bought a Stihl 009 w a 14" bar, mostly for the versatile features. Good power for a small size, 12,14, or 16" bars. It will cut the big Ficus trees that fall during hurricanes around here, and trim small palms without tiring this occasional user out. And it isn't a top handle or a rear handle...comfortable to use a lot but "back-weighted enough to reach with for limbing if needed. Great dealer is on my way home, too. For me...a no-brainer. Give it a look. Stay safe
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 2:23:59 PM EDT
Go with a 20" bar, as far as saws, Stihl is tough to beat. I have a Husky 257 and see alot of 55s at work but if I had it to do over I wouldn't have sold my Stihl 026, it was lighter, had slightly less power then my 257 but much more reliable. I think the new 026 is a 260
Link Posted: 9/28/2005 2:24:46 PM EDT
dang I thought the thread title read "thoughts on chainsaw for bar fights"

Link Posted: 9/28/2005 2:26:37 PM EDT
Whatever you do, get a sthil or a husky. As someone said before power over bar lenght. You can also get replacement bars to fit what you are cutting. Honestly you really don't need anything over 16" Most loggers I know use between a 20-24" bar.
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