Need Help Picking A Chain Saw

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  #1  
Old 09-20-09, 11:17 AM
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Need Help Picking A Chain Saw

I'm about to start repairing my railroad tie retaining wall. The ties are 6"x8" or 7"x9" to cut. I was wondering what chain saw would be best for this job. I don't think I will ever need to use it to cut anything bigger than this and won't use it much after this project.

I can use gas or electric. The electric are cheaper and I don't mind having to use a cord since I'm doing this about 20 feet from my porch and can cut them anywhere. I don't mind buying a cheap one if it will work but if it won't do the job let me know.

So what do y'all suggest? I'm probably going to buy from Sears. I don't want to spend more than $140 or so if I go gas or $80 for electric.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-20-09, 11:22 AM
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I would buy the 16 or 18 inch bar saw from Stihl, then sell it back on Ebay. Then you know you'd get the job done and reselling it would be easy.

If you get a cheap one, for use in hot weather, you never know if they'll work.
 
  #3  
Old 09-20-09, 11:24 AM
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If you really are not going to use it for anything else then go electric. Less noise, no gas, no oil smell (other than bar) and costs less.

IMO - Anything from Sears with a motor (electric or gas) is not worth a squirt. They have all their stuff made by the lowest bidder and it shows.
 
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Old 09-20-09, 02:24 PM
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I would get the biggest saw you can afford and forget electric for cutting ties..
Railway ties are soaked in creosote which as a tarry substance takes a fair amount of power and will gum up your chain quite quickly.

Be careful not to breath the fumes when the chain heats up as creosote is carcinogenic and have a solvent on hand to clean the chain.
A couple of good files will also come in handy.

I would echo the comment to stay away from Sears and the like and pay a small amount more for a Stihl.
Their consumer saws are light duty but they have an awesome dealer network and you would have no trouble getting a part when your saw is ten years old.
 
  #5  
Old 09-20-09, 03:00 PM
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I'm just thinking electric will be better since I really wont' be using this much at all. I hate it when gas stuff sits for 5 years and then has to be all cleaned out.
 
  #6  
Old 09-20-09, 03:31 PM
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Since this sounds like a one shot deal with the rr ties I would suggest getting a lowend reciprocating saw which you can use a lot of different blades for different projects, I think 12 wood blades are available, I have a 9" 3tpi blade that I use for pruning or cutting out roots, then change the blade and cut steel stock, my favorite tool, it doesn't care what it destroys. My last Harbor Freight flyer had 7.5 amp, 1" stroke, 0-2400rpm for $45. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #7  
Old 09-20-09, 03:57 PM
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I have cut up several rr ties and bridge timbers and the creosote bogs down a larger size gas chain saw.

I would be interested in hearing how well an electric chain saw works for this.
 
  #8  
Old 09-20-09, 04:27 PM
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Does anyone else think a reciprocating saw witha 9" blade would work? I might actually be able to get more use out of that instead of a chain saw.
 
  #9  
Old 09-20-09, 05:54 PM
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It will be slower, but it should work. Can't you rent a chainsaw at a rental place nearby? (I never looked for a chainsaw at a rental place, they may not carry them...worth a check maybe).
 
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Old 09-20-09, 06:43 PM
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I can check it out tomorrow, I know Ace Hardware has all kinds of stuff to rent. Only thing is I don't want to pay too much to rent something if I can buy it for a little more.

I think reciprocating saw will be the thing to get since I won't be making more than maybe 10-15 cuts.
 
  #11  
Old 09-21-09, 02:59 AM
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I would think a sawsall would work fine but you need to make sure the blade is long enough. A couple of inches longer than the wood would be best, I'm not sure that a 9" blade would be long enough.
 
  #12  
Old 09-21-09, 07:18 AM
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I called Ace Hardware and they rent gas chainsaws $10 for 2 hours or $30 for 24 hours. Looks like that might be my best bet.
 
  #13  
Old 09-21-09, 11:53 PM
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If you own any sort of land you really should have a petrol chainsaw. We have at least one fallen tree a year, and we have a sthil petrol one (it is really hard to run cords around, and the electric ones just aren't powerful enough).

It happily sits the whole time its not being used without gumming up. Its the best part of 20 years old to my knowledge. Never had any maintenece done (doesn't get used much, runs like a champ. Thats sthil for you.
 
  #14  
Old 09-22-09, 06:00 PM
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Can anyone give me an idea how many cuts a reciprocating saw blade might be good for? I'm probably going to be making about 10 or 15 and I don't want to go through blades like crazy.
 
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Old 09-22-09, 07:25 PM
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You probably wouldn't go through but a couple unless you have a lot of sand or rock embedded in them. If the creosote is heavy, you may plug them.
 
  #16  
Old 09-22-09, 07:25 PM
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A lot more than you will ever use, the most agressive wood blade I have found is a Ace Hardware PT# 25501 it is 9" with 3tpi and sell for about $3, I think it is actually a Vermont blade. I did wear one out while cutting roots but it had cut a lot of roots, rocks and dirt, you will more likely break the blade than wear it out. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #17  
Old 09-24-09, 11:26 AM
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I just talked to the supplier of the ties and he said either use a cutoff saw or a chain saw. He said a chain saw would get 4 or 5 cuts before it needed sharpened. If a reciprocating saw will do it and I can use several blades I'm fine with that. I really don't want to rent a chain saw and have the chain go dull after 5 cuts.
 
  #18  
Old 09-24-09, 11:50 AM
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Honestly, you may not be hearing what you are being told!

Ties are difficult to cut.

No matter how you do it there will be a compromise of some sort.
You will have to use many recip blades and use a lot of force with this type of tool because of how dense ties are.

Or, use a chainsaw for easier cutting but have to sharpen the chain often.
Sharpening a chain is a necessary part of owning or using one.
It also can be a very dangerous tool if not used correctly or with the necessary safety equipment and may not be your best option.

Really, if it is this difficult to make up your mind on the tool or the investment you really would be better off to just hire someone.
 
  #19  
Old 09-24-09, 12:52 PM
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If you use the blade I suggested you will only use one blade, it is a very aggressive wood cutting blade, however not as fast as a chainsaw but a much more versatile tool. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #20  
Old 09-24-09, 02:39 PM
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I've just never used a powered saw before and I was wanting to know what I'm getting into. I'm great with landscaping and all that but the chain saw deal is just looking like it isn't the best option for this. I don't mind going through 10 $3 blades but sharpening someone elses chain saw isn't my idea of a great day.

I didn't know reciprocating blades came in 9-11", I've only seen them like 5-6" before but I have never used one. I'm excited about getting one because I have a fence post that is too tall that I need to trim down!

It looks like right now I'm going to order 25 ties for $12.50 each. My neighbor is going to take some and then I'll probably sell whatever is left to others on the block that want to repair their walls.
 
  #21  
Old 09-24-09, 07:56 PM
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Sharpening a chainsaw blade is not something that takes all day or anything...heck, you could just buy a new chain if sharpening it is out of the question. That's part of using a chainsaw...you have to sharpen it, usually several times a day when working it hard. I don't understand that you wouldn't want to sharpen the rental saw chain as you dulled it??
 
  #22  
Old 09-25-09, 10:54 AM
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Wood is being delivered today. I think I settled on the Craftsman 10amp orbital reciprocating saw. I am hesitant about getting the Craftsman but for $74.99 with the orbital action it can't be beat.
 
  #23  
Old 09-25-09, 01:31 PM
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Keep a small bucket with paint thinner and an old brush handy - that will help to remove the cresote from the blade, hopefully allowing you to use each blade for a longer period.
 
  #24  
Old 09-25-09, 03:35 PM
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Exclamation Creosote is carcinogenic!

Be careful with the odor, especially do not heat the chain to smoking!!!
 
  #25  
Old 09-25-09, 04:28 PM
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The blade part number you want from Sears is 28901 the number has a small 9 underlined in front of the number. The Sears in my area no longer carries it, however Ace did. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #26  
Old 09-25-09, 07:46 PM
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What blades do I want? 9" bimetal 6TPI?
 
  #27  
Old 09-26-09, 08:28 AM
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Ace Hardware PT# 25501 it is 9" with 3tpi and sell for about $3 or Sears #28901 9" 3tpi. Have a good one. Geo
 
  #28  
Old 09-26-09, 08:00 PM
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The wall is repaired! I got a 10 amp orbital reciprocating Craftsman saw from Sears for $70 and some 12" 6 TPI blades. I wish I would have gotten the 3 TPI blades but the ones I got worked.

I can't say that it went through like butter but it went through in about 2 minutes per cut. I'm really happy with the performance of the tool. Thanks for all the help guys!
 
  #29  
Old 09-27-09, 07:23 PM
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Now you have the "tool of tools" you can destroy anything. I think is is also Tim Allen "More Power" favorite. Get the 3tpi blade when you get a chance, you will like it for pruning and stuff, do not use cheap blades for metal. Have a good one. Geo
 
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