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  1. #1
    jalepenio jimenez
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    Looking for a trail saw...

    I'm looking for a small saw (chainsaw) that has some decent power and doesn't weigh too much. Anybody have any recommendations for make/model and bar length?
    I dig, chop, strangle, yank, stomp, annihilate, mutilate, eradicate, and FU goatheads

  2. #2
    I need skills
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    wood carving chain saws

    A buddy of mine used to carry an itty bitty gas powered wood carving chain saw. It was light, and small.

    It didn't work well on big stuff though I have occasionally wondered if such a tool would be handy for us too. Sorry, I don't recall the brand.

  3. #3
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    While weight is questionable...I won't run anything other than a Husqvarna. Stihl makes a decent saw though.

  4. #4
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    First of all how big of logs are you cutting? Saws have a maximum recommended bar length. I recommend getting the longest bar for the particular saw. That way you can have the lightest saw for the biggest log, although you sacrifice some power. I use a Husky 359 with a 24" bar, so I can basicly cut up to about 4' diameter logs, which is necessary here in the Sierra. I also use a round file chisle chain with a full skip which is quicker to sharpen and allows a faster cut. It is also more kickback prone, though. If you're in the East or the Rocky's with smaller trees go down to a 20 or even 16" bar and you can get a smaller lighter head to match. Husky or Sthill is a matter of personal preference. There are also some nice handsaws you can get from pruning suppliers if you just have an occassional smaller tree. I spent about 60 bucks on a good one.

  5. #5
    jalepenio jimenez
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    Quote Originally Posted by bpressnall
    First of all how big of logs are you cutting? Saws have a maximum recommended bar length. I recommend getting the longest bar for the particular saw. That way you can have the lightest saw for the biggest log, although you sacrifice some power. I use a Husky 359 with a 24" bar, so I can basicly cut up to about 4' diameter logs, which is necessary here in the Sierra. I also use a round file chisle chain with a full skip which is quicker to sharpen and allows a faster cut. It is also more kickback prone, though. If you're in the East or the Rocky's with smaller trees go down to a 20 or even 16" bar and you can get a smaller lighter head to match. Husky or Sthill is a matter of personal preference. There are also some nice handsaws you can get from pruning suppliers if you just have an occassional smaller tree. I spent about 60 bucks on a good one.
    Good info.

    Most of our trees are 30" or less. 359 is bigger than my needs, but I am partial to Husky's and am looking at 353 if I can get it with a 3/8 pitch bar/chain. I'm with you on the full-skip chain as well as chisel tooth.

    Still curious what others are using. Weight vs. power is actually my biggest consideration.
    I dig, chop, strangle, yank, stomp, annihilate, mutilate, eradicate, and FU goatheads

  6. #6
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    stihl ms 250

    Here's a reply from someone who has only had 1 chainsaw, but uses it a lot, for different things... I bought a Stihl MS 250, as it has the best power to weight ratio in the Stihl line, for more of an entry level saw. It looked big enough to buck firewood, yet small enough to hike with all day. I use a 16" bar.
    I have been totally stoked on it.... As far as clearing trails goes; I can fit it on my pack, but usally just carry it, alternating between hands, I have never biked with it and don't really plan to, I think its too big for that... But when it's time to cut something, no problem, I think its big enough for anything around here in Colorado (in contrast to the last poster...) If I were to buy a saw specifically for maintaining trails I'd get something smaller, although this is probably the perfect size for building them....

  7. #7
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    I use a Sthil 021 with a 16" bar. I've had this saw for over 15 years and it has been a very reliable saw. I have only had to do routine maintenance and it has never been to the shop.

    The saw weighs about 12 lbs with fuel and bar oil. I usually carry it in a backpack or with a sling over the shoulder. I usually carry tools in case I throw a chain or need to sharpen the chain along with extra fuel and bar oil. I also carry a pulaski just in case it get the saw stuck and have to chop it out. Most of the time I walk in to clear trees, but I have pulled a Bob trailer. I really don't like the Bob trailer in technical trails.

    I always ride with a folding saw in my camel back and have cleared trees up to 8" trees with it. It's not as fast a chainsaw but it beats having to come back.
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  8. #8
    Who turned out the lights
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    We bought a couple of Shindaiwa saws for our club trailer b/c we know a guy who sells Shindaiwa (got them for 10% over cost). He gave us a great deal on the saws, blowers and string trimmers, which was a good part of why we bought them.

    I don't know the model offhand, but they have 16" bars, and work really well for a saw with a 16" bar. The size of the bar does tend to limit what you can cut and how quickly, but it's light and it works well. I went with the Shindaiwa stuff b/c I've had extremely good luck with their string trimmers. Their trimmers rev up to a higher rpm than the Stihl trimmers (faster head speed), and they seem to be almost bulletproof. A LOT of professional landscapers use Shindaiwa trimmers/blowers, and for good reason.

    Just another option to throw at you.

  9. #9
    Ride Responsibly
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    I bought a 16" Poulan at a yard sale, light, fast and cheap, go with an Oregon bar and chain when it is time to upgrade.
    I also have a 20" inch Sthill for harder stuff so it is not that I do not know from good.
    The Poulan starts fast, cuts fast and I am not out a bunch of money if something breaks.
    Keep the chain sharp and do not store with gas in the carburetor and any small saw should do fine.
    Oh yeah, get an automatic oiler, remembering to pump is a pain.

  10. #10
    jalepenio jimenez
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    Haven't decided on a saw yet. Still don't have permission from the landowner to start clearing trees, but should know soon. I did find this website:

    http://www.portable-electric-power-g..._chain_saw.htm

    with a great comparison between Jonsered, Stihl, and Huskys if you scroll down a bit on that web-page.

    The serious hunt for a saw hasn't started yet, but the info I'm getting here is definitley helping. Here is something I like in Stihl:

    MS 200- 2.15 cu. in. / 2.1 horsepower @ 8.4 lbs. vs. MS210- 2.15 cu. in. / 2.0 HP @ 9.7 lbs.

    If these specs are correct, the MS 200 is 1.3 pounds lighter with more HP at the same displacement. With a 16" bar I might be able to cut trees up to thirty inches if I do it right. I'll have to find one and check it out.
    I dig, chop, strangle, yank, stomp, annihilate, mutilate, eradicate, and FU goatheads

  11. #11
    CrgCrkRyder
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    I have been using a Echo 305. I think the newer model is the 306. It only has a 14 inch bar, but is very light and I can put it on a bike rack (don't have a BOB). It has been very relaible so far.

  12. #12
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    if you were a professional faller, you might be able to get away falling a few 30"-ers with a ms200, but i wouldn't recommend attempting to do full on trail clearing. that is a back handle version of a pro- in-tree saw. it is very good and made to be worked everyday on smaller trees or from a bucket for limbing. if you are doing the occasional fallen log or hazard tree, you might be happier with some thing around a 250, if you are doing more intensive work, possibly a woodboss or 260. i have a old 026 for large jobs and a 192t and a 170 for small jobs. the 192t is terrific because i can strap it to my rack, and even though the shop says not to cut anything over about 4" with the 170, i have training, and i have taken many 8"-ers with it.

  13. #13
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    Don't forget some good chaps and ear plugs to use with your chainsaw.

    I recently got a new husky 455 with a 20" bar and it is far superior to the old 16" puolon I use to run. The overall weight of the husky is just right and the way they isolate the motor from the handle really reduces fatique on long cuts and big days. The saw nicely fits in a bob trailer.

    It is definatly worth it to spend the money on a good saw. I would also recommend a stihl, they just had an amazing deal on the husky at costco.
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  14. #14
    jalepenio jimenez
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    Not planning on falling anything bigger than a few inches, but some of the trees that are down and need to be cleared are bigger.
    I actually was a professional faller for seventeen years, but haven't owned a small saw since the late 70's. I always ran Husky's, but not at all adverse to going with something more befitting light/medium trail work. I really don't know too much about these smaller saws, but after looking at an Echo at Home Depot, I'm struck by how much they look like a toy, albeit a gnarly, nasty toy.
    I'm discovering you can't buy Stihls over the internet, but you can buy Huskys. Ultimately, that may have some bearing on what I buy.
    A final note: I still have my last two vintage early-nineties Husky 185's. They both still run like they did back then and will quickly dispose of a thirty inch tree. Husky's are probably the most durable pro saws out there (my opinion.) There cylinder walls were very hard steel and just didn't wear out. If anything went, it was usually a main bearing, which was easily replacable.
    Chaps are always a good idea and I always wore them. Having a falling/bucking wedge is another good idea. Ear plugs are a must, unless you don't mind loosing your hearing. My hearing sucks, I shout alot when I talk, and I always used earplugs.
    I dig, chop, strangle, yank, stomp, annihilate, mutilate, eradicate, and FU goatheads

  15. #15
    zrm
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    My smallest saw is a Stihl 026 with a 20" Bar. When I walk in I strap it to an old external pack frame and when I ride I load it into one of our clubs BOB trailers. If you are only cutting trees a few inches in diameter I find a folding hand saw is a good alternative although it's a lot slower and if you have a lot of trees to cut it's not a great option (but a great upper body workout).

    If I was shopping for a saw, I'd be leery of getting too small of a saw. I look at a quality saw like a Stihl or a husky as a long term investment that will be used in a lot of different circumstances. Yes, weight is an issue and you don't need a big burly pro logger saw, but the real small saws don't have the capability for bigger trees that you may encounter years down the road.

  16. #16
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    the 026/260 w/20" is a pretty standard combo, lots of people use that, i see you are in idaho, which is mostly softer woods, this combo works good, and parts are everywhere, the motor is 50cc, and this saw bucks 20" poplars and pines without problem, husky makes some comparable, if i was going to replace my 026, id look at the 353. these arent really small lightweight units though, your 185 is HUGE!! i had a 480 from the 80's, and it was replaced w/a stihl 440, just for reference, the 440 is lighter and more powerful and 8cc's smaller, just all around better. a 200 might be too small to to much bucking, but would be great for just about anything smaller than a foot. something around 45cc's in either brand would be just the ticket. not great for bucking but if you only need to clear a tree, it'll make 2 cuts and be small/light enough to clear saplings all day long.
    Last edited by blahwtf?; 07-21-2008 at 06:11 PM.

  17. #17
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    Stihl 192, just bought one, weighs 6.5 lbs, fits in pack..

  18. #18
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    Jonsered

    Mudflap,

    If you want to try before you buy, walk up the street sometime and I will loan you my Jonsered 2145 with a 16" bar. Normally I don't loan out my saws but since I know you, your background and your trails are our trails, you are welcome to borrow my saws.

    After last seasons horrid brush clearing experience with a bigger saw (Jonsered 630 24" bar), I decided to get something a little small. I have been really happy with the performance of the smaller saw. I have cut several trees up to 24" and it seems to cut right through them. As long as the chain is sharp it screams through the wood.

    I am headed out of town this Friday about 5:00 so catch me before I leave or I will be back next Thursday.

    Happy trails.

  19. #19
    jalepenio jimenez
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    My dilema...

    Being pretty proficient with all aspects of a chainsaw, I just don't know how small I can go and still be able to do what I intend. I'm guessing my proficiency will allow me to go smaller than what people may be suggesting and still get the job done, but I'm not so sure that is true. I don't want to end up with a too small saw and regret it's purchase, while at the same time I don't want one that is bigger than I may need and be packing around the extra weight all the time. I still haven't gone shopping other than the web so until I do I won't really have a handle on what is available.

    Irishbuddha, that is a very nice gesture and I will certainly try and take you up on it in some fashion, like accompany you on a trail work detail one of these days. It's about time I got off of my ass and pitch in with some of the work that is being scheduled around here. You guys (and gals?) are doing an awesome job and words don't do justice to the kudos you deserve.

    One other important consideration for me is chain pitch or size. A lot of these small saws run .325 pitch chain. To me, that is pretty small stuff and I admit my adversity to it, as I used to run .404 chain, the beefiest chain out there for sawing our size timber and I still snapped chains (popped rivets) every so often. Anyone experience chain failure who runs .325?
    I dig, chop, strangle, yank, stomp, annihilate, mutilate, eradicate, and FU goatheads

  20. #20
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    sorry, i run 3/8 on everything. but the people at http://www.arboristsite.com/showthread.php?t=1754 talk about it being better in revving saws, ie the 345xp talked about here. they also talk about the 345xp vs. the 026 and the pros and cons. the 2145 is the same as the 345xp. both companies being owned by the same parent company. my opinion (and i have been around both): the 026/260 is at the small end of the big saws, and the parts and support are all over for them, and they cost more, the 345 is a great midsizer that can handle the same size bars and is lighter than the 260, it has a little less hp, but can rev higher, as such, maybe a half skip or full skip might not be a bad idea to allow chain speed to be kept up during larger bucks.

  21. #21
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    Get a saw made for climbing

  22. #22
    jalepenio jimenez
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    In recognition and appreciation of those who posted in response to my original query, I thought I better post the results of my search for a saw.

    I read a lot of info on the internet and then looked at some of the saws that are available out there, weighed the pros and cons of them all: cost, weight, power, and durability and finally decided on the stock Husky 346XP w/ 18 inch bar and .325 pitch.

    Here's why. Cost: $450 (hell of a deal.) Weight: w/o bar and chain 11# (ugh.) Pow: 3.7hp. Durability: I opted for the pro range of saw rather than the homeowner range and had to pay more for that, but, with the pro range comes a saw more durable, easier to work on, easier to replace certain parts, more horsepower, and a big factor for me as an ex-pro, it has an inboard rim sprocket drive on the clutch (I have an aversion to outboard paddle wheel drive clutches.)

    After market bar, chain, and drive sprocket and I am able to run 3/8 pitch if I so choose. Have to wait and see how I like the .325 before I do that though.

    Here is something a little unusual for me: I haven't even seen the saw yet: it's on order. Yup, I bought it sight unseen. I only had Husky's other models to look at to get a feel for the saw, so if things don't work out, I'll let you all know.

    Thanks all for the great feedback.
    I dig, chop, strangle, yank, stomp, annihilate, mutilate, eradicate, and FU goatheads

  23. #23
    jalepenio jimenez
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    I finally got a chance to see what my new little gas powered machette could handle the other day on one of our local trail clearing days and boy was I impressed!

    After madly slashing and swinging it's blade through some pretty thick under-growth, I finally stopped and looked back to see everything within an arms reach of a couple hundred yards of trail nicely cut to ribbons. Still had all my fingers, toes, and shoelaces and no profuse bleeding. All in all, a good day, as I was still able to move my arms and feel my fingers.

    A review of my new little toy: to begin with, I think I am going to like the .325 pitch chain. With it, the saw ate through a 16" log without any loss of rpm. It has all the power I think I will need and is pretty well balanced with the 18" bar. Although it may not be intended for big wood, I'm sure it will easily handle 24-30" logs, but doubt I will be attempting to fall anything bigger than 20".

    Something they didn't tell me and I didn't read in the literature prior to buying, and only found out when I went to adjust the Hi-Lo carb jets was that they set those adjustments at the factory and then put half-turn limiters on them so that the consumer can only make minimal adjustments to the mixture. I'll see how those work out and if I don't think they are that effective, I may remove the limiters also. I think they have something to do with the Clean Air Act and keeping the exhaust within certain parameters of it's allowable emissions.

    I made a few modifications to the saw before I ever took it out. I know some of you won't approve, but the first thing I did was remove the chain brake, both the handle and the mechanism. Gone: one pound. Next, I cut off the chain catch and instead hose-clamped a short piece of old bike tire to the back handle-bar mount behind the clutch cover to deflect the chain and protect the gas tank incase of a thrown chain. And finally, I removed the bucking/falling dogs from the front of the saw and the spark arrester screen from the muffler.

    Now my little toy will fit into a small backpack much more conveniently with the bar and chain off and won't cut through the bottom of the pack with the dogs removed. As for the chain catch, well if you've ever thrown your chain into them, you know how it can smash some of the teeth up pretty good. It is really for stopping the chain before it gets to the gas tank and cuts a hole in it, so instead, the double layer of old bike tire is there to stop that from happening. I took the muffler screen off because it doesn't take long for it to become clogged, thus building too much back pressure for efficient carburation and I do carry a shovel and small fire extinguisher with my fuel jugs, just in case, although with all my years in the woods sawing, I have yet to hear of a chain saw starting a fire.

    Bottom line: I already know that I am going to like this saw and don't have any regrets about putting out the cash for it. I also really liked the Stihl ms260 as being equivalent to the 346xp, but they wanted fifty bucks more for it, and besides, I am a Husky fan.

    I really considered what someone said about getting all the power I could see ever needing, and the last thing I wanted to do was end up with something too small. I think I did right considering that.
    I dig, chop, strangle, yank, stomp, annihilate, mutilate, eradicate, and FU goatheads

  24. #24
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    The little orange one the could

    Glad to hear you like your new saw! I figured you would like it as much as I like my little red version. Can't wait to see the Orange version.

    Dan said you chewed right through the next stand of trees and brush I was dreading. Looking forward to working with you this fall.

  25. #25
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    The Saw and the Mudman rocked.

    Mudflap cleared what it would have taken me 3 days to do in 1/2 of a day. We had a great day. Thanks, Mudflap
    If you ain't hike you ain't Mnt Bikin

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