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new chainsaw time

Nov. 1, 2016, 10:52 a.m.
Posts: 6449
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

bought this used 394xp w/30" bar along with a 24" granberg mill to cut some beams for a few building projects I have on my property, definitely overkill for trail work and I wouldn't really want to slut it around in the bush all day clearing blow down either but it's been great for its intended purpose so far. Sorry about the large photo, I have the computer skills of a rock so that's why your monitor might blow up. Sounds like a Harley when I'm hard on the gas which is music to my ears :)

For all around trail work and small jobs I'm still rocking the tiny Poulan I've had for years. I like how quiet it is and how little fuel/bar oil I need to carry for a days use. Seems to run better than ever the more I abuse it too.

Nov. 3, 2016, 12:49 p.m.
Posts: 109
Joined: Nov. 30, 2010

Poulan FTW

This. Cheap [HTML_REMOVED] cuts wood. I purchased a pro saw a few months ago as an early happy retirement present to my self. Other than a better mounting system for the handle [HTML_REMOVED] a couple pounds lighter, I am left…. underwhelmed. At least I now know why pro tree guys have multiples of the same saw. When the saw they are using gets hot [HTML_REMOVED] cantankerous, they throw it back in the truck [HTML_REMOVED] grab a cold one, saw not the beverage. C'est la vie.

trailworker: pics of the tiny Poulan, please!

Nov. 4, 2016, 12:12 a.m.
Posts: 351
Joined: March 4, 2013

the poulans do a great job. i had a wild thing that took about 5 or 6 years of fairly heavy use/abuse before the clutch started to go and the carb needed a rebuild.

but no comparison to a pro saw. although with a poulan you can leave it stashed in the woods and not worry if something happens to it

Nov. 4, 2016, 6:05 a.m.
Posts: 9
Joined: April 23, 2008

Totally depends what kind of building you're doing. I started buying a Stihl 170. As long a you keep it sharp that saw is awesome! Super light and felt fine on a pack while riding. I wound up finding a husky 371xp on Craigslist though which I've been pretty happy with. No problems ripping some good sized logs.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BGA3HK0tTPj/

Nov. 4, 2016, 4:57 p.m.
Posts: 889
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Totally depends what kind of building you're doing. I started buying a Stihl 170. As long a you keep it sharp that saw is awesome! Super light and felt fine on a pack while riding. I wound up finding a husky 371xp on Craigslist though which I've been pretty happy with. No problems ripping some good sized logs.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BGA3HK0tTPj/

nice.

invest $40 or so into a beam machine, it'll make cutting beams a lot easier.

http://www.beammachine.com/

context is everything

Nov. 11, 2016, 3:57 p.m.
Posts: 121
Joined: May 13, 2014

I use a Stihl 461 at work, routinely. It is heavy, but has tons of bottom end and grunt. I would not like to use it for trail work, however, since it is heavy. With practice I can get VERY straight cuts on length, but I am familiar with the saw.

I personally have a 271 with an 18" bar, and use that for my trail work. It is a little on the heavier side, but so long as the chain is sharp it is awesome; I have cut through 3'+ diameter hemlocks (recent fall) with ease…just let the saw do the work. The large dead spire on the top part of Grannies was done by me with the 271. Took some time but no problem with the cutting. But I find, especially for smaller saws, having a sharp chain is key. I can get the 461 to cut with a duller chain by brute horsepower, but that doesn't work so well with smaller cc saws.

Without stating the obvious, I hope it goes without saying that eye and ear protection along with chaps are mandatory in this discussion. Along with steel toed boots. I was going up to do some work on the mountain I ride and in going up I ran into two hikers. They might of been bikers, but they had only their dogs. I chatted with them and mentioned the saw etc…and pointed out the chaps I had. The older man said "not everyone has the money for chaps" at which point I got a bit upset. I pointed out that if you can afford a bike of a few thousand dollars $170 chaps are cheap. To say nothing of potential cuts, a femoral bleed (in need of a pressure point) or psychogenic shock. It amazed me that someone would think the safety gear was option, as if the expense of the saw was enough. I would be very upset to find out someday a trail worker, using a saw, was hurt or died due to the lack of safety gear, even in a heat wave. When it comes to chainsaws, there is no small accident. I have had 3 incidents at work where the chaps saved what would of been a bad cut, and I never forget to use them. In fact, in my training of new hires in a saw, my mission statement is: you cannot grab the saw without eye, ear and chap protection first (I also stress gloves). After all, blood, sweat and tears is a euphanism.

Nov. 11, 2016, 6:22 p.m.
Posts: 351
Joined: March 4, 2013

i think the 241 or 261 is around the sweet spot for building in these parts. not that much that really requires a bigger saw unless you're milling or in the odd area that really has lots of downed big stuff. but plenty of decent sized stuff that is worth having that much power for. just my own opinion, for whatever it's worth.

echo the points on safety gear for sure!

March 15, 2017, 6:12 p.m.
Posts: 5429
Joined: April 10, 2005

https://www.liveleak.com/view?i=1bd_1489348251

Anyone ever drop a tree like this guy?

April 12, 2017, 7:45 a.m.
Posts: 9
Joined: April 23, 2008

How often do you guys seem to go through bars/chains? Given I'm cutting a lot of old growth half buried logs but still.

April 14, 2017, 3:14 p.m.
Posts: 889
Joined: Nov. 23, 2002

Posted by: cbennett

How often do you guys seem to go through bars/chains? Given I'm cutting a lot of old growth half buried logs but still.

the answer is HIGHLY dependent on not only how you use your saw but how you take care of it. proper sharpening will make a huge difference. i haven't swapped out a bar yet on any of my saws. on my little saw (ms190t) i've been thru about 4 chains i think, and flipped and dressed the bar twice. the narrower chain for that saw will wear faster than a wider chain though.

for sharpening def get a guide. you can get these little roller guides are nice but i've found that the guide that holds the file works best as it keep the file from deflecting/bending while you push it through the teeth and this results in a sharper chain and more even sharpening. also do the same number of strokes on each tooth. if you happen to mangle a single tooth from hitting a rock or something don't file it down till it's sharp. eventually as the rest of the teeth wear it will fall back to the point where it's the same as the other teeth. you can get some really nice guides from husqvarna and stihl that also file down the rakers at the same time as you sharpen the teeth.

if you're willing to spend a few bucks tho the timberline sharpener seems to be the cat's ass when it comes to manual sharpeners

roller guide

file guide

file and raker guide

ps - it's also worth getting a stump vise. it's makes it way easier to sharpen a chain in the field.


 Last edited by: syncro on April 14, 2017, 3:22 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
April 17, 2017, 8:25 a.m.
Posts: 9
Joined: April 23, 2008

Thanks for the info. I think I've just been stupid and running my chain a little too loose and then my chain develops a lot of side to side movement. I use a file guide and bench vise at home. Decided to just buck up and buy a new bar/chain and take better care of it. I'll probably swap the bar/chain for any buried logs.

April 19, 2017, 12:47 p.m.
Posts: 109
Joined: Nov. 30, 2010

Posted by: cbennett

Thanks for the info. I think I've just been stupid and running my chain a little too loose and then my chain develops a lot of side to side movement. I use a file guide and bench vise at home. Decided to just buck up and buy a new bar/chain and take better care of it. I'll probably swap the bar/chain for any buried logs.

Good idea! Having a "junk" bar & chain for cutting nasty, dirty wood will save you in the long run.

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