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Old 04-04-2021, 07:45 PM   #1
bigdog
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Default Chainsaws ?

Need a new chainsaw...

Is there that much difference between a 14" bar and a 16" bar if the engine
cc in each saw is the same ? And don't say 2"

Not planning on using saw to cut any tree larger than 18" or so....

Thoughts ?
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Old 04-04-2021, 07:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
Need a new chainsaw...

Is there that much difference between a 14" bar and a 16" bar if the engine
cc in each saw is the same ? And don't say 2"

Not planning on using saw to cut any tree larger than 20" or so....

Thoughts ?
If you're going to cut a 20" tree then you should have a saw at least 20" if not bigger.
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:06 PM   #3
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I don't think you will regret going with the longer bar. If the saw can handle the 16" bar I suggest going with it.
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:10 PM   #4
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Just asked my husband who is a retired treeman/foreman of 40 years.

He recd a 24 inch br, said no one in the tree business uses a 14 in bar anymore, and if you're cutting up to 18, you need a 24 to avoid kickback and other issues.

Good luck!
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggd View Post
If you're going to cut a 20" tree then you should have a saw at least 20" if not bigger.
Edit: get the biggest bar reasonable.

Original diatribe: If felling, the front wedge and back cut only need to be 1/3 the depth of the tree, so a 16" works fine.

If bucking, most people do 1/2 then flip to finish, so they're not burying the bar in the ground. A little maneuvering from front to back at the beginning of the cut easily allows a 16" bar.

OP: this is a whole can of worms, but there are two options: a "homeowner" or "pro" saw. In either case, get the 16" (or, preferably, 18").

Homeowner options: Stihl MS251 or Echo/Husqvarna equivalent.

Pro option: Stihl MS261 or Husqvarna equivalent (Echo doesn't really make a "pro" version—they're all landscape quality).

Which you buy depends a lot on how much, how often, and how long you'll use it. I process wood for a couple weeks once a year once I have lined up enough to scrounge. I burn ~2 cords/year and have never paid for wood.

I bought a Stihl MS361 with an 18" bar a decade ago that is the perfect machine—starts every time, tons of power, and perfect size bar makes whatever I do efficient.

A couple thoughts: a higher power: weight ratio will make the work less difficult and more efficient, making it safer. Accidents happen when getting tired or cutting corners.

A chainsaw is one of the tools that is worth paying more for—if short-term, you'll make your money back selling it, if long-term, it'll be reliable.

Use canned fuel without ethanol. For the extra cost, you won't have to worry about lines drying out or seals swelling.

Wear chaps, steel-toe boots, eye and ear protection, and reliably grippy gloves.

Godspeed!

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Last edited by thinkxingu; 04-05-2021 at 05:57 AM.
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Old 04-04-2021, 08:47 PM   #6
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I have a STIHL MS250......perfect saw. Reasonable price. Excellent quality. If you buy a Stihl, buy their new manual chainsaw sharpener...works fabulous and not only does the cutters but also the depth gauges in one simple step. Vie it on YouTube...Stihl chainsaw sharpener. Love it !!
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:38 PM   #7
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THANKS to everyone for your feedback, much appreciated !!!!!

Bigdog
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:20 AM   #8
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I have a STIHL MS250......perfect saw. Reasonable price. Excellent quality. If you buy a Stihl, buy their new manual chainsaw sharpener...works fabulous and not only does the cutters but also the depth gauges in one simple step. Vie it on YouTube...Stihl chainsaw sharpener. Love it !!
Agree on the saw and sharpener. The MS 250 or Husqvarna equivalent as a basic homeowner saw. As I recall some homeowner Husqvarna saws had compression release starting while my MS 250 does not.
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Old 04-05-2021, 06:31 AM   #9
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Oak is something like 20-times sturdier than pine, and cutting through pine can get done pretty fast with a hand saw. For trimming pine boughs just two or three strokes with one of those 18' branch trimmers and the pine bough falls down fast.

With an oak it takes a very long time to saw through by hand, lot of effort on oak.

The small electric chain saws that plug into 110-volts are very good for around the yard. No real need for a serious two-stroke chain saw?
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:42 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Slickcraft View Post
Agree on the saw and sharpener. The MS 250 or Husqvarna equivalent as a basic homeowner saw. As I recall some homeowner Husqvarna saws had compression release starting while my MS 250 does not.
My 361 has compression release, and it's ridiculous how easy it makes starting. I'm surprised to hear Husqvarna homeowner saws have it, but I suppose some of those are pretty big (and heavy).

I started with the MS250—it was a great saw with a fabulous power: weight ratio, but it really was limited to a 16" bar. I found that, even though it's a bit heavier, the 361 with the 18" made everything easier overall as it never bogged down or needed "finessing."

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Old 04-05-2021, 07:50 AM   #11
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I have a 14" and a 16". At my age I don't cut anything bigger than those saws will handle. I find myself grabbing the 14" most of the time. I'm looking at buying a battery powered saw next.

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Old 04-05-2021, 07:53 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Biggd View Post
I have a 14" and a 16". At my age I don't cut anything bigger than those saws will handle. I find myself grabbing the 14" most of the time. I'm looking at buying a battery powered saw next.

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Are you mostly cutting limbs, etc. or do you harvest bigger wood for burning?

I think that would make the difference for the OP: "fixing" problems or felling/bucking/processing firewood.

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Old 04-05-2021, 08:00 AM   #13
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I opted for a battery powered Stihl and have been happy with it for small trees on my three acre lot, which is too large for power line connections. I leave the large trees and gas powered chainsaws to the pros.
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:43 AM   #14
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I have a 14" bar on my top handle saw, an Echo 330T,and it's my most preferred saw of the 3 I own. The other two are 20" and 16" bar.

I've thought about stepping the 330 down to a 12" bar but it pulls the 14" fairly well so I just leave it on.

Thing is, if you get a saw that with a 16" bar, you can usually step down if needed.

So the short answer is "no" not a big difference between a 14 and a 16 bar
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:05 AM   #15
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I opted for a battery powered Stihl and have been happy with it for small trees on my three acre lot, which is too large for power line connections. I leave the large trees and gas powered chainsaws to the pros.
From what I've been told by others that have battery power saws is that they only last about an hour so if you're cutting all day, which I usually make a day out of it, then you need multiple batteries or stick with gas.
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:30 AM   #16
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Short answer:

If you are just cutting up branches or taking down small trees get a smaller, lighter saw.

If you are going to cut down trees, get the saw with a bigger bar AND a bigger motor.

Long answer:

Waaaaay back in the 80's I developed an interest in burning wood for heat. I took any and all downed trees that I could get my hands on. That lead me to an arrangement with a guy who had his property logged. My task was to cut the "tops" which were laying on the forest floor and haul them away in 8' lengths. On each trip to his land the first pick up load went to him and the second went home with me. I did this for a dozen trips or so.

My 14" Homelite saw was fine for this. A few years later I bought a lot in VT with the intention of building a log home from a kit. It was 100 miles from home. I chose to cut down all the trees necessary to make room for the driveway, septic and leach field, house and yard. It only took a few days with the 14" to figure out that I was out gunned by the larger trees on the VT lot. With the driving involved, I needed to be more efficient.

I bought a Craftsman 20" and was amazed by the difference. The chain gauge was larger and would throw big chips. The motor was much more powerful and could toss those big chips with ease. The longer bar gave me better reach into the larger tree trunks and cut all he way through the smaller ones.

The moral to the story?

Don't build your own log home 100 miles from where you live.

Put the money in Apple or Microsoft instead!
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Old 04-05-2021, 09:56 AM   #17
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Thumbs up How Saws Have Changed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkxingu View Post
My 361 has compression release, and it's ridiculous how easy it makes starting. I'm surprised to hear Husqvarna homeowner saws have it, but I suppose some of those are pretty big (and heavy).

I started with the MS250—it was a great saw with a fabulous power: weight ratio, but it really was limited to a 16" bar. I found that, even though it's a bit heavier, the 361 with the 18" made everything easier overall as it never bogged down or needed "finessing."
You haven't used a heavy chainsaw unless you were cutting trees with a rented saw in 1960...

Those things were like using a 25HP outboard motor to cut trees!

I'm very happy with my Greenworks battery saw, and have left the bigger trees to the professionals.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:03 AM   #18
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From what I've been told by others that have battery power saws is that they only last about an hour so if you're cutting all day, which I usually make a day out of it, then you need multiple batteries or stick with gas.
If cutting a lot of small trees, dicing up limbs for firewood or trimming the electric saws are great. I have the Husqvarna top handle 40v saw and love it. I standardized on their products- extendable pole saw, line trimmer, chainsaw and hand blower. They often do promos for free batteries, I have 4-5 of them plus 2 chargers so I can leave one at each home.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:17 AM   #19
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An 84 foot pine fell last fall taking part of a fence with it. Thankfully the house was not hit. Neighbor across the street just removed 15 trees from the front of the house. Waiting to see the new landscape. There were two different tree
contractors removing the trees. In both cases I was surprised to see them use small chainsaws, maybe less than 14 inches. They made short work of removal. The trees of our neighbor were oak and pine. Interesting to see how they used the small saw to fell the trees.

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Old 04-05-2021, 11:08 AM   #20
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I have had a bunch of chainsaws over the years; McCulloch, stihl,poulan. They were all ok but Stihl was probably the best one.

A couple years ago I was in a hurry to get a tree cut up that had fallen on my fence and my saw would not run after getting gunked up with old gas. Not wanting to take the time to fix it right then I went to home depot and got a plug in electric for about $45. I would have been happy if it lasted long enough to do this one job but surprisingly it worked way better than I would have thought and after putting a new better chain on it the thing works pretty great.

Woud not advise one of those for cutting up a few cords of firewood but for casual use it does the job and no worries about junky gas.
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:12 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ApS View Post
You haven't used a heavy chainsaw unless you were cutting trees with a rented saw in 1960...

Those things were like using a 25HP outboard motor to cut trees!

I'm very happy with my Greenworks battery saw, and have left the bigger trees to the professionals.
OMG , my dad had a McCulloch from that era. the thing seriously had to weigh 50 lbs.
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Old 04-05-2021, 12:09 PM   #22
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You're in luck when you've got a McCulloch chain saw! I think that was an ad. It came into my head when I saw that name.
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Old 04-05-2021, 04:59 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
Need a new chainsaw...

Is there that much difference between a 14" bar and a 16" bar if the engine
cc in each saw is the same ? And don't say 2"

Not planning on using saw to cut any tree larger than 18" or so....

Thoughts ?
How about 50,800,000 nanometers,

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Old 04-05-2021, 05:19 PM   #24
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Default Oh wow!!

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How about 50,800,000 nanometers,

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OH WOW, AltonCAM!!
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:37 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 8gv View Post
Short answer:

If you are just cutting up branches or taking down small trees get a smaller, lighter saw.

If you are going to cut down trees, get the saw with a bigger bar AND a bigger motor.

Long answer:

Waaaaay back in the 80's I developed an interest in burning wood for heat. I took any and all downed trees that I could get my hands on. That lead me to an arrangement with a guy who had his property logged. My task was to cut the "tops" which were laying on the forest floor and haul them away in 8' lengths. On each trip to his land the first pick up load went to him and the second went home with me. I did this for a dozen trips or so.

My 14" Homelite saw was fine for this. A few years later I bought a lot in VT with the intention of building a log home from a kit. It was 100 miles from home. I chose to cut down all the trees necessary to make room for the driveway, septic and leach field, house and yard. It only took a few days with the 14" to figure out that I was out gunned by the larger trees on the VT lot. With the driving involved, I needed to be more efficient.

I bought a Craftsman 20" and was amazed by the difference. The chain gauge was larger and would throw big chips. The motor was much more powerful and could toss those big chips with ease. The longer bar gave me better reach into the larger tree trunks and cut all he way through the smaller ones.

The moral to the story?

Don't build your own log home 100 miles from where you live.

Put the money in Apple or Microsoft instead!
I have an 14" Homelite and every year I say "if it doesn't start I'm throwing it out and getting a battery powered saw". But every year it starts right up and keeps on cutting. I have a 16" Johnsen that starts up every year also but I like the homelite better.
I'm afraid if I buy the battery powered saw now then the two gas powered saws would sit for years and then I would have to throw them both out.
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Old 04-05-2021, 11:31 PM   #26
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Quote:
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I have an 14" Homelite and every year I say "if it doesn't start I'm throwing it out and getting a battery powered saw". But every year it starts right up and keeps on cutting. I have a 16" Johnsen that starts up every year also but I like the homelite better.
I'm afraid if I buy the battery powered saw now then the two gas powered saws would sit for years and then I would have to throw them both out.
I have a 40v black and decker I got as part of some package with a weed wacker and something else. It works ok but the battery life sucks
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Old 04-06-2021, 05:10 AM   #27
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Thumbs down Tree-Clearings Have Consequences...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woody38 View Post
An 84 foot pine fell last fall taking part of a fence with it. Thankfully the house was not hit. Neighbor across the street just removed 15 trees from the front of the house. Waiting to see the new landscape. There were two different tree
contractors removing the trees. In both cases I was surprised to see them use small chainsaws, maybe less than 14 inches. They made short work of removal. The trees of our neighbor were oak and pine. Interesting to see how they used the small saw to fell the trees.
Oftentimes, the "clearing of trees" opens an adjacent canopy to damaging winds.

Tall trees--protected for decades--can fall to a modest downburst. Depending on the sequence of cuttings, your neighbor did you no favors.
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:04 AM   #28
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You're in luck when you've got a McCulloch chain saw! I think that was an ad. It came into my head when I saw that name.
Had a McCulloch 850 with a 32" bar in my younger days.It sounded like a Harley and felt like it weighed as much........now I'm happy with nice electric
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:04 AM   #29
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McCulloch chainSaw, You’re in luck when you got a McCulloch chainsaw
You got power by the hour in your hands
with McCulloch you’re the a master because you keep a cutting faster
You’re in luck when you got a McCulloch chainsaw

I would love to hear the music. Maybe I can find it.
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Old 04-06-2021, 08:12 AM   #30
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McCulloch chainSaw, You’re in luck when you got a McCulloch chainsaw
You got power by the hour in your hands
with McCulloch you’re the a master because you keep a cutting faster
You’re in luck when you got a McCulloch chainsaw

I would love to hear the music. Maybe I can find it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWvP93eglxI
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Old 04-06-2021, 11:39 AM   #31
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Oh J, thanks so much!! That made me laugh!!!!
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Old 04-06-2021, 11:47 AM   #32
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maybe less than 14 inches. Interesting to see how they used the small saw to fell the trees.

Size does not matter.
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Old 04-07-2021, 05:45 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdog View Post
Need a new chainsaw...

Is there that much difference between a 14" bar and a 16" bar if the engine
cc in each saw is the same ? And don't say 2"

Not planning on using saw to cut any tree larger than 18" or so....

Thoughts ?
Buy from someone/place that fixes them.

I have a Jonsered and a Stihl.
Purchased in different decades.
One small one and one medium sized one. Both good quality.
Two different dealers.

Proper storage is crucial for all to get started the next cutting season.

Note that some of the manufacturers make both residential/light duty and commercial versions.
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Old 04-07-2021, 04:08 PM   #34
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All things considered; the top features impacting an 8 hr day with a saw:
Sharp chain,
Vibration isolation, long bar so I don’t bend over as far, light weight, and power.
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Old 04-12-2021, 10:01 AM   #35
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Default Saws, plural

I could write a book on chainsawing, but here are the basics:
How much are you going to use it?
What is your budget?
What is your experience level with saws?

If you honestly answer these three questions, then you will figure out what saw to buy. We use a range of Stihl and Husqvarna saws depending on what we are doing, from a 16" limbing saw, all the way up to a 30" chainsaw mill blade for making boards. It really depends.

Whatever you end up with, buy a pro grade saw, you will not regret the quality and the performance.
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:28 PM   #36
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Could not agree more with buying a pro saw IF you can justify the added cost.

I cut a lot of wood annually and finally got fed up with having a saw (Jonsered) that just didn't work well - even though it was considered a semi-pro saw.

I ended up buying a pro grade Stihl MS361 and could not be happier. They don't make it anymore, the newer version is the 362. It is easy to start, maintain, has a ton of power and very well made. I have since also added a MS170 which is a small light homeowner grade saw but I wanted something light to limb with which it does a fine job at that and anything 12" or less in diameter.

Husky makes a good saw too and I looked at them but preferred the Stihl as it just seemed to be a little better made for the $$. Don't think you can go wrong with either.

Stay well away from the big box store saws. Battery operated ones are no replacement for a gas powered one. It is a major compromise.
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