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Charl
2nd Jan 2014, 11:49 AM
Hi everyone,

It has been ages since I last posted anything, but that is because I have been practicing my woodworking!

I would like to ask a question about chainsaws as I am at the stage where glueing blocks of wood together to make blanks is boring and buying turning blanks is expensive. So I want to be able to mill my own blanks as I have a friend who can supply lots of timber from chopped down trees.

I have a budget of about $250 for the chainsaw and have had a look at a few. It seems to me to be a toss up between these two chainsaws,

Mcculloch CS400T (made by Husqvarna)

McCulloch CS 400T - 18" - Chainsaws (http://www.mcculloch.com/au/products/chainsaws/cs-400t-18/)

and the Ryobi RCS5145N

RYOBI New Zealand: 51cc 2 Stroke Petrol Chainsaw (457mm) (RCS5145N) (http://www.ryobi.co.nz/NZ/Products/PowerGarden/Petrol/Chainsaws/RCS5145N)

On paper the Ryobi seems the better one to go with to me but I just wanted to know from people who know more than me about chainsaws if that is the right choice or is there something even better out there for the price?

If this is in the wrong section please feel free to move it. I did have a look but couldn't find a chainsaw forum.

chuck1
2nd Jan 2014, 12:18 PM
I was told by the mechanic that fixed my very old mcculloch that the New ones are a chuck away item? but that's just one person's judgement!
my Chainsaw was my dads early 1980's model and has had a hard Life but won't part with it as to replace it is over $1000.
not sure if secondhand would be a good call?

artme
2nd Jan 2014, 01:16 PM
I had a McCulloch for years but it got to the stage it wasn't worth fixing.

From what I have heard and seen the modern McCullochs are not much chop.

Sorry to say, but anything in your budget range probably won't be much of a saw.

Perhaps an electric one would be a better choice.:shrug:

Timless Timber
2nd Jan 2014, 02:05 PM
Maybe try and up your budget a little and get a 2nd hand Stihl 034 AV, for around say $350

Back in 1983 ish (might have been 84) I bought one new for around $830, which came with muffs and a visor and hard hat - couple falling wedges etc...

I used it for ~ another 4 years in the wheat belt gathering mallet firewood - then another 20 odd years on the farm and serving double duty at our sawmill for docking Jarrah saw logs.

Then I gave it to my eldest son - (Who works for DEC/PAW) and he has used it for fire-wooding these last few years...

So it's ~ 30 years old.

They had a full magnesium crank case and chrome lined bore.

Its on its original piston cylinder and rings and still going like a champ.

Lad had the local stihl agent take the head off for a look see and the chrome lining above the exhaust port is just starting to peel a little.

Were he to replace the cylinder with a new one (and put a kit thru it i.e piston rings and bearings as long as he used the OEM parts and the new 036 Stihl super cylinder will fit with very minor modification) I reckon it would go another 20 years without a problem.

They just seem impossible to kill.

Sadly he sold it last night...(for around $350) as he is buying 2 new stihl 066' magnums.

As long as you keep up the maintenance on them - they seem to go forever - virtually bullet proof.

Others mileage will vary no doubt.

Cheers

Tim the Timber Turner
2nd Jan 2014, 05:43 PM
Don't expect too much out of a $250 saw.
At this price point they are really only a hobby saw suitable for use around the garden.
I agree a second-hand 034 would be a much better investment.
Just about impossible to kill one of these.
Cheers

Tim:)

Moti
2nd Jan 2014, 05:53 PM
Also worth considering PPE as part of your budget - at the minimum a pair of chainsaw chaps (Chainsaw Protective Clothing (http://www.newagearbor.com.au/shop/category129_1.htm))

You might want to also have a look at a chainsaw course especially if you've never used one before. It's all fun until someone loses an eye (or leg)

training.gov.au - AHCARB205A - Operate and maintain chainsaws (http://training.gov.au/Training/Details/AHCARB205A)

brendan stemp
2nd Jan 2014, 08:34 PM
If your budget is a max of $250 then I would consider a Stihl electric. If you can bring the timber to your workshop then there is a lot in favour of electric chainsaws.

jasons673
2nd Jan 2014, 11:09 PM
I feel victim to buying a cheep bramar saw from ebay, it had all the right specs and price @ under $ 200.00 . Delivered in a short time etc. very happy with the purchase! Until I had to use it!!!
it constantly leaked bar oil, for every cut I made, the saw had to be stopped and the chain adjusted. It vibrated like crazy, but being male, and the great deal I'd made I could over look these things, especially if the wife asked how the new saw was going. Grumble, grumble, grumble. It got to the stage I left it out it were I shouldn't have and it was stolen:; that was a happy day! I did end up buying the $1000.00 husky, and haven't looked back, just wished I'd spent the $200.00 a little wiser.
But I still had mates that come to cut timber with their $300.00 specials from bunnings, fresh chain and still wonder why the they can't get through a 6 inch log and after four meters have problems!
Still and husky have specials for the entry level saws around the $400 mark, treat them well you have lots of years service from them.

Charl
3rd Jan 2014, 05:13 AM
Thanks for all of the advice guys, I was talking to my Dad last night about it and he said he had just bought one of the Mcculloch saws from Bunnings and that I could borrow it to have a play. I also have borrowed a stihl from a friend so I will try both, compare and go from there. I wont be using the saw everyday or anything like that so will see how I go. Like my Dad said, why buy a Rolls Royce just to go do the shopping in when a Toyota does the job!

Mobyturns
3rd Jan 2014, 09:51 AM
Have a look at the small Stihl 210 -270's etc. They are small but capable saws.

I can second the comments on the 034's. Used one for years on & off in surveying. Always dependable. If McCulloch make their new chainsaws like their brushcutters be wary.

Talk to your local repairers for both petrol & electric chainsaws. They will soon tell you which ones they see most!

Paul39
3rd Jan 2014, 12:03 PM
I have a Stihl 029 with 20 inch bar I bought used from a pawn shop. It is dependable and powerful. It leaks bar oil. It is best to drain gasoline and bar oil if you are not going to use the saw the next day. Husqvarna has a good reputation here also.

It is good that you will be able to try a saw. Bigger is not always better, as you are lifting and maneuvering more weight. If you don't use the saw several times a seek you will not have the muscles trained to operate a long session.

I'm good for an hour or two max with the Stihl.

I also have a selection of electric chain saws from 10 to 16 inches. A 16 inch saw will cut a 30 inch trunk. Keep in mind the size of timber you will be getting so as not to get more saw than you need.

I'm a 74 year old geezer. If you are 25 and lift weights and run five miles every day, get whatever you can afford.

I bought all used at auction or from flea markets. With a sharp chain the 16 inch makes short work of breaking down bowl blanks. I like crazy grain from stumps and crotches so the blocks will not split with a hammer and wedge.

I make the blocks a bit longer than the diameter and then split them down the middle with the saw.

I use a Dremel rotary tool and a proper size grind stone to sharpen the saws. I find it is faster and more consistent than using a file. I find I can get the chain as sharp as a professional sharpening shop.

With a gas saw the helmet, face screen, ear protection, all-in-one is good. Also at the very least, good stout shoes and heavy jeans.

Below are some of the bowl blanks and found timber. The limp chain on the saw is after a long session. The chain adjustment on that saw does not hold too well and needs tightening after a couple of hours. For $20 I have had years of service. The big chunk of cherry in the back of my Ford Festiva / Kia Pride is one of four picked up from the side of the road.

Timless Timber
3rd Jan 2014, 01:29 PM
If you don't buy a set of chainsaw chaps first - don't buy a chainsaw.

They can be very unforgiving and you get no do overs when it all goes wrong.

Sooner or later it does, (go horribly wrong).

Its not if - its when.

Cheers

Iva Onearm - useless chainsaw operator. :wink:

(I Scarem - road train drivers cuzzin & Ive Noleg - useless crock shooters uncle).

BCC
3rd Jan 2014, 02:40 PM
I agree with a bit more quality. I've had a Stihl 028 for 25 years and it hasn't skipped a beat. All our houses have been wood heating only and I have cut it all with the Stihl. I'm all in favour of safety equipment but I've never had chainsaw chaps. I'm unsure how my leg would get close enough to the bar? I have found the all-in-one helmet, ear muffs and fine shield fantastic over the years; no fogging up inside goggles and the helmet doesn't fall off when you bend over because the integral ear muffs hold it on. We recently bought one of the small Stihl saws for ~ $300 on special for pruning and it does a great job on bigger stuff too.

Bruce

BobL
3rd Jan 2014, 04:00 PM
I agree with a bit more quality. I've had a Stihl 028 for 25 years and it hasn't skipped a beat. All our houses have been wood heating only and I have cut it all with the Stihl. I'm all in favour of safety equipment but I've never had chainsaw chaps. I'm unsure how my leg would get close enough to the bar? . . . . .

That's probably what the 10,000+ people that injured their legs using a Chainsaw in the US in 1999 said.
This is a very instructive image showing what can happen - the 30% injury rate on the hands is from folks thinking they can hold a piece of wood or a branch and hold the CS with the other hand while cutting
http://www.woodworkforums.com/attachments/f13/298848-makita-electric-chainsaw-problem-injuries3.jpg
Since this study was undertaken and chaps have become more widespread the number of leg injuries has dropped significantly.

There is an excellent video on youtube of a near miss leg injury showing how easily leg injuries can happened.
An experienced CS operator pulls the saw out of a cut and revs it up and lets go of the trigger handle - the saw spins around and almost takes his leg out.

Not many people are aware that chaps don't work against electric chainsaws.

EX's Timber
3rd Jan 2014, 04:12 PM
V

There is an excellent video on youtube of a near miss leg injury showing how easily leg injuries can happened.
An experienced CS operator pulls the saw out of a cut and revs it up and lets go of the trigger handle - the saw spins around and almost takes his leg out.

Do you have a link to this Bob?

mach70
3rd Jan 2014, 04:39 PM
Most of the timber Dad & have cut over the years (firewood) have been with a Makita 16" electric saw.
All the petrol saws we have had were problematic...having said that they were McCulloch's or Poullons, which IMHO are crap!
Use to get plenty of stares from truckies seeing us cutting wood without any noise. The old genset would be 100+ mtrs away usually and it ran fairly quietly to boot.
I now have a couple of few Sthil saws (2 009's & 2 034's? ) and we dont need the firewood.

I will be looking at getting a Sthil later on with a big bar as Im interested in slabbing and burl hunting.

Grandfather (RIP) use to have some big ass saws, real old thumpers, (He cut timbers for the mines in Norseman)... I've seen cars with smaller engines :D.

Electrics are also a lot quieter so if you are cutting in the backyard it wont upset the neighbours as much.

Cheers

Shawn

BobL
3rd Jan 2014, 05:07 PM
Do you have a link to this Bob?

I spent a few minutes trying to find it but no luck. I will ask my mates over on the arboristsite - that's where I first saw it.

Christos
3rd Jan 2014, 06:30 PM
.....Electrics are also a lot quieter so if you are cutting in the backyard it wont upset the neighbours as much......

Where the fun in that? :q:U

Mobyturns
3rd Jan 2014, 06:47 PM
Not many people are aware that chaps don't work against electric chainsaws.

Still wear the chaps - far better the saw chewing up some material first.
I did a fair bit of research into injuries associated with wood turning etc and came across some very interesting US stats on chainsaw injuries - very few people get killed as a result of a tangle with a chainsaw - but the average injury involves some 110 stitches.

Go with the steel toe caps, chaps, helmet & visor plus a good set of ear muffs. It still surprises me the number of "professionals" who harvest wood without the minimum PPE as is mandatory in any commercial use of a chainsaw.

Colin62
3rd Jan 2014, 07:41 PM
Still wear the chaps - far better the saw chewing up some material first.

Couldn't agree more.

I just wish the chaps weren't so bloody hot to wear, especially this time of year. And they're so thick, I can hardly bend my legs to pick up anything that drops to the floor. (Approaching old age is also a factor though.)

NeilS
3rd Jan 2014, 07:43 PM
If you don't buy a set of chainsaw chaps first - don't buy a chainsaw.



+1 on that.

I keep one electric chainsaws for working near the house (and neighbours) - they are quieter!

But a good electric one (Stihl or Husky) is still not cheap. The cheap ones have nylon gears that last no time at all.

If you can find one, a second hand Stihl or Husky electric would be a good buy. Most don't get much use and you don't have to worry about whether the previous owner got the fuel mix wrong.

Note: In some ways electric chainsaws are more dangerous than fuel models. They take much longer to come to a stop after releasing the trigger and the momentum of the electric motor can drag the chain through a lot of flesh while doing so.

Quieter is only safer for your ears.

BobL
3rd Jan 2014, 08:28 PM
Still wear the chaps - far better the saw chewing up some material first.

Given a choice I would still wear chaps while using an electric saw because they better protect against other situations when cutting even if they don't do much for chain cuts. The sorts of things I am referring to are thinks like a chain coming off or knocks and bruises etc. Not only do chaps do little to prevent a cut from an electric CS they may make things worse.

All CS cuts are nasty because chainsaw chain tears about the same amount as it cuts. So as well as cutting, it removes "stuff" and leaves highly jagged wound edges that take longer to heal than a clean cut by a by a sharp instrument. The fabric covering on a set of chaps offers little more protection that a pair of jeans and a single sharp CS cutter will slice straight through it. Chaps rely heavily on their loosely bundled kevlar fibre innards being pulled out by the chain, jamming the drive sprocket and stalling the motor. This won't happen as easily with an electric CS which has much more torque at lower RPM than petrol powered saws. What then also happens is the (usually very dirty) bundles of kevlar fibres that are supposed to stall the motor are then continually dragged through the wound leaving an absolute mess for surgeons to clean up otherwise infection etc becomes a major issue. Even when regular clothing is cut it is torn and dragged into the wound and causes problems.

But - I would still wear them.

How many folks know about the need to keep chaps clean so that the kevlar or polyester fibres are free to run out of the cut and jam the saw and how to properly clean them.
Chap Specifications & Care (http://www.labonville.com/Chap-Specifications-Care_ep_55.html)

Colin62
3rd Jan 2014, 08:38 PM
How many folks know about the need to keep chaps clean so that the kevlar or polyester fibres are free to run out of the cut and jam the saw and how to properly clean them.
Chap Specifications & Care (http://www.labonville.com/Chap-Specifications-Care_ep_55.html)

I certainly didn't. Thanks for the link.

CJR72
4th Jan 2014, 06:36 PM
Chaps and good boots are a great idea but its pointless when you see how many people still use the left foot which is only inches from a serious injury to hold down what they're cutting

as for saws ,all good advise,but don't ditch the idea of the mcculloch,i know a few people that absolutly abuse them little saws and they just keep going,my brother has one and sad to say he treats it bad,its had 3bars in about 2 years numerous chains and i even seen him cutting corrugated iron with it,i think with proper care and maintenance it would be ok,personally i own mostly stihls ,i have repaired a few of those mitre 10 $100 saws and to be honest they are pretty good,only real let down with them is the garbage filter,fuel lines and carb gaskets,but if your mechanically minded or know someone that works on small engines for beer they are worth looking at:beer:

BobL
4th Jan 2014, 07:06 PM
Chaps and good boots are a great idea but its pointless when you see how many people still use the left foot which is only inches from a serious injury to hold down what they're cutting Or to cut up a fallen tree or branch above the ground they stand right up against the log with their boots under the log and cut by standing next to the saw and rotate the saw so the nose comes close to their boot. A guy I know felling trees in -2 C weather cut 3 toes off doing this.

Chief Tiff
4th Jan 2014, 07:09 PM
A while ago I posted THIS THREAD (http://www.woodworkforums.com/f132/budget-chainsaws-139469/index7.html) asking about a cheap chainsaw and had pretty much the same replies and advice; but owing to the lack of 2nd hand stuff here in Bundy I ended up with an E-bay cheapy, THIS ONE (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/BBT-40cc-CHAINSAW-SAW-325-Oregon-Chain-Walbro-16-NEW-Wood-Chain-Saw-/251157812143?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item3a7a2c13af). It cost me around $170 delivered and uses genuine Oregon chain and bar.

The purpose of the saw was only to get rid of a dozen or so palms. Since then it has been used very intermittently; on average it only gets fired up once every 4 months. The only thing I've done with it is replace the chain as I quickly discovered that: 1) electric chainsaw sharpeners take off WAYYYYY too much metal; and 2) don't try to cut palm tree root balls that are full of grit coz they blunt a chain quicker than I can blink. This machine has performed splendidly.

I would never pretend that this machine is a quality machine that will cut down a forest every year for the next twenty; but on the other hand with the amount of usage I give it it'll probably last that long anyway. It has completely paid for itself and if it self destructs on the next pull I'll just toss it and buy a new one as I expect the availability of 2nd hand Stihls will still be a bit poor. I might consider a new mini-boss but I couldn't justify the price of a bigger machine new.

My personal thoughts? If you can't afford a big brand machine try one of these, and spend the rest of your budget on PPE.

BCC
5th Jan 2014, 11:09 AM
I know the safety issue is a bit off topic, but BobL, thanks for the injury info. I'm always happy to learn. I will cut next time with renewed caution.

Bruce

NeilS
8th Jan 2014, 10:40 AM
I know the safety issue is a bit off topic...



IMO, safety issues are never off topic when it comes to chainsaws!

Mobyturns
8th Jan 2014, 10:09 PM
IMO, safety issues are never off topic when it comes to chainsaws!

Safety issues are never off topic when it comes to any powered tools subject. :)

When you read through accident statistics & research it becomes very apparent that if the injured person had taken the time to read the instruction manual supplied with the tool, obtained the recommended personal protective equipment and followed widely published safe operating proceedures, they most likely would not have been injured or at least the severity of the injury would have been greatly reduced. :?

The comment above re no PPE - no operation of the tool is to be considered a not negotiable no matter how small the job at work or at home.

A good mate who was a very experienced tradesman nearly lost all fingers to an angle grinder with a meat axe blade all because he just wanted to do a quick job. :oo: A minute changing to a grinding disk would have saved 6 months off work etc etc. At work he knew he would be sacked if he used the grinder in that manner. He was at home - no rules - but he knew he was doing the wrong thing and could "get away with it" because of his skill and experience as he knew the risk and how to control it. So so wrong!