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chainsaws for newbies: what should i get


luckydriver's Avatar
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09-24-15, 12:06 PM   #1  
chainsaws for newbies: what should i get

no this isn't a Friday the 13th movie.

I have half an acre and believe I do need a small chainsaw. needs are as follows:

the biggest thing I ever have seen needing to be done is a 20 ft bush/tree that fell recently. the base is probably 1 foot or less but its very dense and will need hacked up to move it.

most of what I have yearly are branches that fall from the very tall trees I have. they are no more than 2 or 3 inch diameter usually. I also have a huge 'burn pile' that I cannot burn because they changed the law a few years ago. so to even think about hauling it to our local recycling site, id need to cut it all up.

I do have some large arborvitae type things that need taken down or some that are down and need chopped up.

I have zero experience with a chain saw and i'm assuming that an electric one is a waste of money because of the lack of power but this is why i'm here today. also what kind of maintenance must you do? i'm usually a slacker!

 
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09-24-15, 12:30 PM   #2  
I would consider an electric chain saw. For occasional use they are a whole lot easier maintenance wise and they can have very good power.

My mother in law has a Black & Decker Alligator saws and loves it for cleaning up brush and down limbs. It's sorta like loping sheers with a motor and it works quite well on stuff up to several inches in diameter and the chain is well shielded to make it safer to operate.



She also has a traditional electric one that she uses for felling trees and cutting larger stuff. She prefers the safety of the Alligator when she can use it but sometimes nothing beats a longer, exposed cutting bar for larger stuff.


 
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09-24-15, 01:10 PM   #3  
Sounds like an electric would work well I agree.
For what you mention I would look at a battery powered one even. I had a Black and Decker battery powered when I was trimming about two acres with Fir and fruit trees. I never ran it more than 30-45 minutes before I had enough, and I never did run out of battery.
Electric will save you so much frustration as well over gas when it comes to maintenance. Bar and Chain are all you have to worry about, no finicky two stroke to tend to and store.

 
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09-24-15, 01:15 PM   #4  
wow that lopper is something I never saw before and had good ratings on amazon. I see what u mean safer and like scissors is cool! and 80 bucks is not bad at all. I could buy a regular other electric one then if I find I need it for something big like im' pretty sure my one tree that fell.

the idea of a battery would be cool too. I do have a battery impact gun so I know battery can deliver a punch but if I have the cord for the alligator may as well use for the normal one too.

 
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09-24-15, 01:26 PM   #5  
If it's for occasional use I would also recommend electric, of course you need an extension cord long enough to reach the work. The problem with gas is if not used often the gas goes bad and they don't want to start, by the time you get the saw running you forget what you needed it for. I have a gas and a electric and have not used the gas since I got the electric. Mine is one from Harbor Freight I think I paid $39.00 with coupon, it has plenty of power for what I want to cut. Have a good one. Geo

 
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09-24-15, 02:25 PM   #6  
I inherited my father's electric chainsaw and I was really surprised at how much power it has but I don't like being limited by the cord so I don't use it a lot ..... but I have 16 acres of wooded mountain side. I have 2 gas saws; a husqvarna 455 [18" bar] and a little poulan P3314 [14" bar] I prefer the little saw because it's lighter and easier on my back.


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09-24-15, 03:57 PM   #7  
The problem with gas is if not used often the gas goes bad and they don't want to start, by the time you get the saw running you forget what you needed it for.
*Picture a tree across your house behind you as you express a puzzled look, followed by the happy dance once you realize your tool is running*

The sound of success is a wonderful thing

 
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09-24-15, 05:46 PM   #8  
BFH, that is after, the trip to the gas station for fresh gas, oops the fuel line just broke, back to small engine shop for fuel line, oops the primer bulb cracked, back to the store, oops primer won't prime, back to the store for carb kit, opps only runs on cylinder prime, back to the store for new carb, waalaa it runs. By now the tree has been eaten by termites and the house condemned.
Success is a wonderful sound. Have a good one. Geo

 
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09-24-15, 06:32 PM   #9  
If you go anyway get a stihl. If you go with electric get a HEAVY duty 12 awg cord 100 ft. then you can plug a shorter 14 awg into that. I would recommend 12 all the way.

 
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09-25-15, 03:44 AM   #10  
Stihl makes great saws! although their parts and service has soured me on them some [might be great in a bigger town]

I don't get the gas going bad thoughts. Even if you don't use the saw much the same gas is generally used for weedeaters and blowers. If I think I might not use the saw or gas in awhile I'll add Stabil to it. I've never had any issues with 2 cycle gas going bad.


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09-25-15, 05:14 AM   #11  
All you have to do is read the outdoor gasoline equipment and small engine section of this forum to see why I don't recommend a gas saw. Small engines that don't get used frequently are a very common source of trouble. All it takes is one period of letting it sit too long or using old or dirty gas and it won't run. An electric saw can sit years and still work when you plug it in and pull the trigger.

 
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09-25-15, 05:31 AM   #12  
As my gas powered small engines moved into the "less use" category they became a pain. I replaced my weed eater with an electric and a long cord and it is fantastic, works every time. I picked up a brush blade for my reciprocating saw, have both battery and corded, and for small jobs it is so easy.

Ever since they went to ethanol gas I have spent more money and time keeping those small machines going. I still have my chain saw and weed eater, but not sure if I'll ever use them again.

There is another drawback to getting a small chainsaw for occasional use when you are not experienced using one. Small light saws are simply more dangerous. I used to burn 10 chords of wood every year and used a large (heavy) chain saw. you literally lowered it through the log, but if it kicked it was far less likely to "get" you.

Whether it is electric or gas you will still need to master keeping it sharp and keeping the chain adjusted.

Bud

 
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09-25-15, 05:56 AM   #13  
Saws

If a storm does tree damage and knocks out your power, you will wish you had a gasoline saw.

 
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09-25-15, 06:11 AM   #14  
Get an electric saw and pull your generator around your 1/2 acre on a trailer behind your garden tractor.

That's 2 gas engines and 6 pneumatic tires to maintain in order to not have to drag a LONG cord around your property.


 
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09-25-15, 06:36 AM   #15  
I didn't think to mention but I don't use ethanol gas in my chainsaw [or other small engines] I made a point to learn where the stations are that sell pure gas. It's more expensive but it's not like you are buying multiple gallons.


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09-25-15, 10:09 AM   #16  
i read thru many reviews on amazon about the gator. now just to decide on cordless because i'm still back and forth on that or cord. but the lazy side in me says get cordless because i have no excuse about dragging a cord out , not to do the work. but i'm unsure if different brands of batteries will work because i hate to buy a 3rd brand of battery unnecessarily.

 
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09-25-15, 10:17 AM   #17  
Batteries for tools that are rarely used can be an issue. Plus, if those batteries cost as much to replace as my rigid drill, be sure you get a lifetime warranty. I have gone through so many batteries and now they say they no longer have the Ni-cad. That means I will have to upgrade to Lithium with a new charger if I want to keep using those tools.

On the other hand, I have extension cords that are 40 years old and still work just fine.

Bud

 
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09-25-15, 11:25 AM   #18  
I also have to see what gauge cords I have at home. however on amazon I see 12 gauge start at 30 bucks for 50 ft and I know I never paid that much for a cord. so my guess is I have a smaller cord. im always going to be at least using a 50ft cord but there may be times I need 75 to 100 but I never really measured the furthest point from an outlet. sounds like a weekend project to me.

 
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09-25-15, 01:37 PM   #19  
The heavier cords cost more but your electric tools will thank you because they won't drop voltage as much as the light cords. I've run my airless on 200' of #12 extension cord numerous times with no issues. That length of #16 would burn up the motor in short order.


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09-26-15, 09:57 AM   #20  
With battery tech what it is these days and the smart chargers, I would go gas before going corded electric. Least with a gas saw once started your frustration is over, dealing with a cord for 100' then you need 101' and just the plain hassle of dragging it a bout, untangling, winding up etc.

 
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09-28-15, 10:41 AM   #21  
I just ordered the electric version after considering my needs and my yard. 60 bucks for new 50 ft cords and what I hope Is a good cord reel. and some bio oil for the chain.

unfortunately looks like rain rest of the week which really sucks cause i'm in the mood to cut! I didn't want to deal with changing out batteries and buying at least 2 or 3 and then when they fail having to replace them. but ill be back someday with a review but I never really saw that many positive reviews on amazon so I went for it

 
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