Recommendation: Chainsaws

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I had a large branch fall a few weeks ago, I bought a Craftsman corded saw at my local Ace Hardware for about $80. It worked great for my use, my branch fell relatively close to an outlet.
Last year I bought an EGo cordless leaf blower and it has worked well for my light use. I looked at their cordless saws, since I already have the big battery, but even the tool without battery was too expensive for my occasional use.
Gasoline yard tools are a royal pain if you don't use them regularly.
 
What kind of tree? It sounds strange and I did get some laughs at the time - but I put an ad on marketplace for "Free Firewood" - and we got rid of a couple large white pine, and some ash. After that we got more serious and my wife wanted over 100 trees downed from our border line - we had an old Mini-Mac that was getting tired so we bought a Stihl 170 I think it was. That thing is a workhorse! I mean for a consumer grade machine, I will not complain one bit. We have downed and sawed up over 100 trees of the size you are looking at also - maybe 10% or so were up to 8"-10". Plus I usually keep it in the back of the Jeep for our off road adventures and clearing trails as long as we are on private property with permissions...............
 
Free pine firewood? I hope no chimney fires resulted.

If there are only 100 6 inch cuts to be made, and the wood is close to a good electrical outlet, an electric chain saw with a cord should be adequate. You can rent one.

If you don't already know how, educate yourself on the proper use of a chain saw. And use the right PPE. Otherwise, the cheap rental could cost you an arm and a leg and a few tens of thousands of dollars for medical treatment. If some of the cuts require climbing, consider using a bow saw and/or hiring someone to do the job. If you can get by with averaging 5 cuts a day, you could get a bow saw and end up with an improved physique in a month. ;-) You'll still need to understand the proper way to make the cuts, or the saw will end up stuck in a tree. At least, in that case, you could remove the handle and get a new blade for not much money.

It pays to spend more time thinking than cutting. I managed to drop a big tree in my yard just where I wanted it, but I considered just how I would do it off and on for several days*. Never let mechanical objects know you are in a hurry. Especially if they are sharp and/or heavy.

*A professional would probably only have to think about it for 10 minutes.
 
BTW, if you have one or two cuts that are in awkward, high up places, consider hot wiring them. It takes a long time, but allows you to stand way back. I had a branch in an awkward place that would have been tricky and perhaps dangerous. Maple and maybe 4 or 5 inches in diameter. I used a length of picture hanging wire between two relatively heavy, stranded copper wires, with something like 24 volts applied, working it back and forth. I think it took 20 minutes, but it was safe. Only do this when the ground is damp, as some small sparks are emitted as you work the wire back and forth.
 
40V cordless chainsaw from Harbor Freight.

Any new tool I purchase is now battery powered. I don't want any more small engines to maintain.
 
Best investment in a chain saw is getting and learning how to sharpen chains. Nothing is as frustrating as trying to use a chainsaw with a dull chain.
Using a dull chain is also more dangerous. My routine when I lived on acreage was to own several chains so I wouldn’t hesitate to change them out when dull. Since I never was all that great at sharpening them I would have a local shop sharpen them for $5.
 
I have a Stihl Pro limbing saw (14") that climbers use in trees - you must be careful with any chain saw, but a little more so with that one. Still (see what I did there?), it's my go-to saw for cleaning the brush off of tress and other small work, up to 3-4". I also have a Husqvarna that will cut very well with a 20" or 24" bar. I do not like big-box or Walmart stuff, I've had premature death on too much of that junque, but as others have said, if you're sure that's all you going to do, it might get you through.

Just to underscore: GET THE PPE! Do NOT skip this, I don't care if you've used a chain saw since you were 3 years old. One slip or kickback from a saw will maim you for life. My daughter works the ER at a Children's Hospital, and just treated a young man who had a kickback and it hit his face. He still has one eye, at least. Hence, my thumbs up to James Duffy's post.

I've broken a tooth off with a chainsaw through my bottom lip. Listen to this.
 
Stihl. Now with that said absolutely invest in the right safety gear and learn to use the thing properly. Kickback on a chainsaw happens in a fraction of a second and can be “life changing”. A chainsaw is arguably one of the most dangerous tools a person can own.
100% second this. A chainsaw is a very dangerous tool. I’ve been cutting wood since I was a kid and have always been safe. However, I once loaned my pro Stihl saw to a neighbor and he promptly cut a chunk out of his leg.

Now when someone asks to use my saw, if I like them enough I just do the cutting for them.

If you have never used a saw before I urge you to find a friend or neighbor to cut the wood for you and ply them with beer or free firewood to get the job done.
 
Stihl. Period.

We use them on the Railroad, beat the crap out of them.... They hold up.

Have all Stihl at home as well.

Yes, a bit on the expensive side. But you take care of it. You wont need another.
 
I was in the same circumstance back in the early 90's. I bought a Craftsman chainsaw at Sears, and it's still going strong to this day. About five years ago I found out it was made by Husqvarna.
My second saw, in 1977, was a Craftsman with a 17" bar, I think 65cc. That thing ran for years and cut like a beast. I cleared the land for our house and took care of the fallen trees and such. In 2007, I finally had to replace it, but I wonder if it was similarly made by a company of that caliber.
 
Best investment in a chain saw is getting and learning how to sharpen chains. Nothing is as frustrating as trying to use a chainsaw with a dull chain.
Or buying extra chains and having them ready to go when the current one is dull. Over the years I have collected at least 5 or 6 chains for my saws and rarely sharpen one myself. Usually just drop them at the local saw shop for sharpening as needed, its not expensive and they do a better job sharpening than I do...and yes I know how and can sharpen a chain correctly.
 
Or buying extra chains and having them ready to go when the current one is dull. Over the years I have collected at least 5 or 6 chains for my saws and rarely sharpen one myself. Usually just drop them at the local saw shop for sharpening as needed, its not expensive and they do a better job sharpening than I do...and yes I know how and can sharpen a chain correctly.
I have a couple of spare chains in case I hit something or get into some dirt, but usually I just do a few passes with the file when I'm filling up the gas and bar oil.

I don't know about y'all, but when it's 38c/100f outside, I need the break. Stihl's definitely tougher than I am.
 
I recently purchased on of the little 6" chainsaws from Aliexpress. About $55AUD for the saw, charger, battery and two chains. Works a treat for the small stuff that hasn't dried out and become too hard. Those ones only take a little longer.
https://www.aliexpress.com/w/wholesale-6"-chainsaw.html

If you don't want something that is going to go forever I would consider the Aliexpress units. Just be very aware of where your second hand is. It is very easy to get it into harm's way if you are not paying attention. I tend to hold it two-handed, just to be sure.
+1 on being extremely careful with discount imported saws ( chain brakes, clutches are sometimes hit and miss; motors sometimes don't quit when bound up in chaps or trunks ) and with all tophandle saws ( #1 non-fatal injury is to the offhand ).
 
As others have said make sure you know the safety aspects of using the chainsaw. I met a guy years ago who had two little scars on his forehead. Chainsaw kicked back (the tip is doing about 60kph when running) and hit him in the head. Chain brake stopped the chain but the inertia of the saw still hit him in the head, hence two little teeth marks. Keep out of the line of the chain.
 
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One thing to keep in mind about battery-powered chainsaws is that the battery (usually lithium-based) is an expensive and consumable part of the tool. And most lithium batteries do not like being stored fully charged. So you have two options.

Option 1: store the battery for the chainsaw with about 40%-60% charge. This is ideal for longevity of the pack, but when you need to use the battery, you obviously have to deal with only having about half the run time (if power is out) or the inconvenience of waiting to top-off the battery before using it in the chainsaw.

Option 2: store the battery fully charged. If you use your chainsaw frequently, this is no problem. But if you use the chainsaw infrequently (like me), this is a major problem, as keeping a battery pack at 100% charge for years on end is going to have a significant negative effect on its lifespan.

Why does this matter? Well, if you're rarely using a chainsaw, the only time you're probably going to need it is after a storm. I dunno about you, but when I have storms that knock over trees in my yard or around my house, I tend to lose power. And when I lose power, I can't charge large battery packs, like those used in power tools.

This is why I recommend you use a conventional gas-powered chainsaw if you only need it for emergencies or infrequent use. TruFuel (or similarly treated gas) will last for years and years in storage. Sure, it degrades over time, but it'll still work just fine to power your chainsaw even after being in storage for 3+ (if not 5+) years.

If you're going to use the battery pack in the chainsaw (or another power tool) often, then that changes things, of course. Also, if you have a way to generate power for appliances or your whole house when there's an outage, that changes things, too.
 
One question I've not yet seen asked - have you ever used a chainsaw before? If not, do you have someone with experience who you trust to coach you through doing so safely?

Chainsaws can ruin your day *very* quickly. It's not just the saw itself, but in the tension stored in and the weight of what you're cutting.

That said, I have a little Stihl, I think it's an MS170. I've used it way more than I ever thought I would.

-Kevin
 
John's got to start his own Chainsaws Anonomus chapter.

100% agree on LiPol powered saws - that's why M18-powered (or your favorite flavor) units makes more sense as my M18's get used for lots of things and rarely sit dormant for long.
 
A number of years ago I bought a Greenworks 40v pole saw. I have 10 acres and had quite a few lower branches that needed to go. I also have a hedge on the left side of the earthen ramp going put the hay mow which is now my woodworking shop. So since I had a 40v battery & charger I bought a tool only Greenworks hedge trimmer. They both work great!

A couple of years ago I decided to buy a cordless chainsaw. I really like the Greenworks line but I wanted a saw with an 18" bar. So I needed to go to an 80v system. I did a fair amount of looking on the web. Menards sells a Masterforce (their inhouse brand) 80v, 18" saw. And in the description it mentioned it was compatible with Greenworks 80v batteries and chargers, so I knew it was made by Greenworks. I also bought a 2nd battery as I supplement my heating in the winter with a wood stove. So far it has been very reliable and cuts as well as any gas saw I've own. And it is helluva lot easier to start. ;)
 
One thing.

Don't discount the rechargeable/battery saws as if they are toys. They typically have much more torque than an equal sized gas saw in a small package.

I have a Makita 56CC 20", a 14" 36V Makita electric chainsaw, and a Poulan 18" (that one is junk and is the one I loan out after hurricanes).

The little electric saw will cut almost as much, as fast as the 56CC. I assume it will do the same to your face, knees, etc.
 
One thing.

Don't discount the rechargeable/battery saws as if they are toys. They typically have much more torque than an equal sized gas saw in a small package.

I have a Makita 56CC 20", a 14" 36V Makita electric chainsaw, and a Poulan 18" (that one is junk and is the one I loan out after hurricanes).

The little electric saw will cut almost as much, as fast as the 56CC. I assume it will do the same to your face, knees, etc.
Discounting any chainsaw will lead you down the path of pain.
An interesting aspect of electric saws is that they don't stall to a stop like a gas engine. Electric saws draw more current when they are stalling which makes Kevlar saw chap PPE less effective as compared to powered saws.

Both gas and electric chainsaws have their place, it's a matter of selecting the best tool for the job.
 
One thing to remember about chainsaw chaps, currently none are rated for electric saws whether Type A or C and no matter what their class is Classes 0 thru 3 as of my research in the last 6 months. I had to do research for a job at work requiring the removal of some trees and PPE was a must. Chaps both A and C will provide some protection but are not guaranteed to stop an electric saw like they will a gas saw. Best way to match the chaps to the saw is to know the chain velocity (feet/minute or m/s) and get chaps that are rated for that. PPE is relatively cheap, good chaps can be had for as little as $100 and a helmet for $50, and for another $25ish dollars or so a pair of chainsaw gloves, all OSHA approved (and EU in many cases) via the various equipment certifying organizations. The Echo Type C chaps, helmet, and gloves we bought for my project all passed our safety professionals reviews (Industrial Health and Safety for a nuclear site).
 
Rent one or buy a 14in. electric. I've had a 14 in. electric forever, served my needs, they work great for an occasional clean up job. It is amazing what a little electric saw is capable of. My maple tree has been giving it a good work out in the last few years

branch on house.JPGDSCF0002.JPGMaple Tree.JPG
 
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One thing to remember about chainsaw chaps, currently none are rated for electric saws whether Type A or C and no matter what their class is Classes 0 thru 3 as of my research in the last 6 months. I had to do research for a job at work requiring the removal of some trees and PPE was a must. Chaps both A and C will provide some protection but are not guaranteed to stop an electric saw like they will a gas saw. Best way to match the chaps to the saw is to know the chain velocity (feet/minute or m/s) and get chaps that are rated for that. PPE is relatively cheap, good chaps can be had for as little as $100 and a helmet for $50, and for another $25ish dollars or so a pair of chainsaw gloves, all OSHA approved (and EU in many cases) via the various equipment certifying organizations. The Echo Type C chaps, helmet, and gloves we bought for my project all passed our safety professionals reviews (Industrial Health and Safety for a nuclear site
Good info. Having used chainsaws for over 30-years I consider chaps to be equally important as eye protection yet I found far too many people don’t bother with them.
 
One thing to remember about chainsaw chaps, currently none are rated for electric saws whether Type A or C and no matter what their class is Classes 0 thru 3 as of my research in the last 6 months.

Yeah, the chaps are made for the gas saws and tested with same. The torque some of the electrics make will let them keep going when a gas saw will stop (obviously dependent on the saws in question).

Give it a few years and the chaps will be tested/rated and manufactured for these, hopefully. Or they will modify the clutch on the electrics to make them behave a little more mildly.

Don't treat the electrics as toys. They will just cut you much more quietly.
 
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