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Sizing Chainsaws #5386023 03/26/20 09:25 AM
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Snagglefoot Offline OP
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I was checking out chainsaws and for sure the 60 cc 20 to 24” inch saws are cool. Ho Ho Ho. They seem to price out at about $500 to $600. Then there are the 30 cc models that can be had for about $200 dollars. I have access to free timber from crown land with just an inexpensive permit, plus some of my own trees, but I don’t use more than 1 cord per year. What category of chain saw would you recommend. The $300 to $400 difference would be equivalent to buy two cords of of split wood in my area. The trees here are Ponderosa Pine and Douglas fir that range from 12 to 16” in diameter. Also, tell us about your favourite chain saw. Thanks.

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 03/26/20 09:26 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386029 03/26/20 09:32 AM
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supton Offline
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I bought a 14" Echo that I like, but I was not planning on felling trees. I suspect it'd be too small for what you are thinking of. But swinging a large saw around can be tiring. I wonder if an argument could be made for a large cheap saw for felling and the first few cuts, and a better & smaller saw for the rest of the work. Or just rent (borrow?) a big saw for a day when you need it.


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Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386042 03/26/20 09:48 AM
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Go small but make sure the quality is there. I bought a small 16" saw in the 80's and have never met a job it wouldn't do.

Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386044 03/26/20 09:53 AM
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jeepman3071 Offline
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Don't buy a saw bigger than you need. You will regret it after the first hour of use and you can't hold the thing anymore. I say this as someone who is fairly in shape and 29 years old, it will beat you up.

My personal saw is a Makita (Dolmar) 52cc with a 16" bar. It has been perfect for most situations. Obviously if you are out cutting redwoods down you will need something larger, but for occasional use a large saw is not needed. My 55 year old father has a 20" Jonsered and a little 13" Stihl I pieced together for him for trimming. He often reaches for the 13" just because of how light it is.


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Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386053 03/26/20 09:58 AM
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hatt Online Content
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My 43cc Makita with 16 inch bar is a beast. I'd look in that engine size range for a general purpose saw.


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Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386058 03/26/20 10:03 AM
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JohnnyJohnson Offline
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Get a Pro Stihl most people don't need a really large one I'd suggest the Farm Boss with a 20" Bar. Bite the bullet once and you'll have a saw that will last a long time. Or you can buy a cheap saw and be piling a bunch of repairs into it and buying another saw in four or so years.

Last edited by JohnnyJohnson; 03/26/20 10:10 AM.

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Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386072 03/26/20 10:12 AM
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StarCaller Offline
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a 20" makes your life WAY easier than using a 16"

Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: JohnnyJohnson] #5386073 03/26/20 10:12 AM
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jeepman3071 Offline
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Originally Posted by JohnnyJohnson
Get a Pro Stihl most people don't need a really large one I'd suggest the Farm Boss with a 20" Bar. Bite the bullet once and you'll have a saw that will last a long time. Or you can buy a cheap saw and be piling a bunch of repairs into it and buying another saw I four or so years.


10 years ago I'd agree, but with Stihl now making parts harder to obtain I'd steer clear of them. Many of my customers have been having a hard time getting their Stihls repaired without going to the dealer and paying lots of $$$. It's sad but that is the new reality. I'd say brands to look at considering my own/my customers' experience would be Husqvarna, Poulan, Jonsered, Makita, or Echo. Maintenance and using the correct fuel mix seems to be more important than anything else with modern saws. I have a customer with a cheap Poulan "Wild Thing" saw he bought at home depot and basically uses it commercially with very few issues. The more $$$ spent on a high end brand doesn't necessarily mean you will get a better saw unfortunately. I've seen many "quality" brand saws with Chinese parts on them.


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Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386078 03/26/20 10:15 AM
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fsdork Offline
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I bought a Husqvarna 440 X-Torq a few years ago, and have processed a couple trees with it for firewood while camping. I have no complaints about it so far. With its 18" bar, it seems to be a good middle ground, as it's enough to take a decent sized tree down and buck it, while not being too unwieldy for limbing. In a perfect world, I'd have a bigger saw for felling and bucking, and a second small saw for limbing, but I don't cut enough wood for that to make sense.


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Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386085 03/26/20 10:23 AM
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brages Offline
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Originally Posted by Snagglefoot
I was checking out chainsaws and for sure the 60 cc 20 to 24” inch saws are cool. Ho Ho Ho. They seem to price out at about $500 to $600. Then there are the 30 cc models that can be had for about $200 dollars. I have access to free timber from crown land with just an inexpensive permit, plus some of my own trees, but I don’t use more than 1 cord per year. What category of chain saw would you recommend. The $300 to $400 difference would be equivalent to buy two cords of of split wood in my area. The trees here are Ponderosa Pine and Douglas fir that range from 12 to 16” in diameter. Also, tell us about your favourite chain saw. Thanks.


My favorite chain saw is the Stihl 026, because they are cheap to find used, light, tough, and easy to work on and find parts for.

I am a fan of the 16" bar + 50cc saw for general firewood use. Light and easy to handle.

Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386102 03/26/20 10:40 AM
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nlife Offline
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I have a 38cc Craftsman with a 16" bar that I bought about a decade or so ago. I picked it up on sale for $100. I don't use it often, but certainly find that the bar is a bit small. I'd like 20" bar since a bunch of the windfall I've been coming across has been a bit tough to handle. Not impossible, but a bit tough.

The saw itself runs great. No problems yet.

Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386105 03/26/20 10:44 AM
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I am going to get a lot of disagreement here but I have always got great service out of Poulan saws. They make an 18” poulan pro for about 160 to 180 usd, you do not need much horsepower for pine. For one or 2 cord a year this saw should be good for many years as long as you use no alcohol fuel. If you were cutting 20 or more cords then a better saw would be smart. For your use premix saw fuel of any 40:1 brand would probably save you some money in carb life down the road.

Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386111 03/26/20 10:51 AM
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Astro14 Offline
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For your needs, 45-55cc, 16-18” bar. Husqvarna or Stihl.

Bigger, more powerful, heavier will just be more up front $$, more work (weight, vibration) to cut wood, and more cost (fuel, chains, etc.) to own.

Last edited by Astro14; 03/26/20 10:52 AM.

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Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: StarCaller] #5386124 03/26/20 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by StarCaller
a 20" makes your life WAY easier than using a 16"

That depends on what you're doing. Carrying a bigger saw to do smaller work is harder on you.


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Re: Sizing Chainsaws [Re: Snagglefoot] #5386134 03/26/20 11:20 AM
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I cannot comment on what a guy needs, just tell you my set up. 4 years ago I picked up a husky 445 with the 18"bar. Great saw for general farm use. I don't have wood heat as living on the prairies, south of the tree line makes it a bit harder. I have [censored] near buried the 18" bar while dropping some trees on my property. I keep the chain sharp and it pulled as fast as I needed it to. Also the 18 " gives me a bit of reach when doing brush work.

I picked up a 16" bar as well, which works great to switch to when doing lots of limbing. I have a lot of mature trees and hedglines on my acreage and the little 445 does all I want it to do and more.

I thought of getting a pro saw but the 445 does a great job and it was relatively inexpensive as I got it on sale. Its light enough to climb but has some juice for heavy cuts.

I have a couple different bars and a few loops of chain to swap between. I use oregon or husky x cut low profile chain. If I processed firewood then maybe I would get a more aggressive chain but the low profile works great in the thicker brush and garbage I am clearing.

Regardless of what you get, keep the chain sharp and all things clean, greased and oiled.


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