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#204868 02/20/10 12:24 AM
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O.K. PB'ers. I just re-read the chainsaw debate from a year ago and have the contenders whittled down, plus there's a new one waiting ringside.

I try and use my fireplace insert for the main heat in the house, but I have a fully functional 90% efficiency natural gas forced air furnace in the house as well.

I'm burning thru 5+ cords (probably closer to 7 cords) of wood a year now, and have a good sized woods behind the house. The amount of trees that either break during storms, or die over the course of a year provide enough wood to heat the house for me. I cut wood 2 years ago, (for the winter of 2008/2009) and bought 5 cords of wood in the Spring of 2009. I'm not happy with the quality of the wood that I purchased, and have decided not to buy any more unless it's absolutely necessary.

A neighbor made me a great deal on his 27 ton two stage log splitter, so I'm set there.

I have a small echo arborist saw that takes up to a 16" bar, but I'm finding out that the saw is too small to cut many of the trees efficiently. I figure that I could get by with a saw with a 20" bar, but having the capability to put a bigger bar on the saw would be nice. There are trees that measure over 24" diameter (4.5' off the ground) that will need to be taken down in the next few years.

Dad has a Stihl 029 that is rougly 5 years older than my Echo, and with fresh chains and same size bars on each saw my echo will cut faster than his stihl. Faster chain speed maybe?

In any rate, the 3 old contenders are Stihl, Echo and Husky. The new contender is Dolmar. There are local dealers of all 4 saws. I expect to buy a saw this size once and never have to think about buying another saw. I know that the Dolmar is pricey, but a friend of a friend has one and he said that it puts the other saws to shame in it's cutting speed. On their website, they spec 13,500 rpm for the saw.

So, what's the consensus given the amount of wood that I need to cut and the size of the trees? Too bad there wasn't a way to put a poll on the forum.


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wish i could help you on a large saw choice. i'll be runnin the piss out of my little echo again all this weekend, what a great little saw, 10+ yrs old, regular maintenance, and still runs like a screamin banshee..

remember the thread on chain sharpening? maybe file down the dogs on yer dad's stihl and it will cut like butter.

my brother (professional tree guy/arborist) has a 10+ yr old stihl (24" bar) that has never caused him any problems.

that would be my only input.

good luck esshup.


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Scott, I learned a lot this year by talking to Tom G. He sells some chains that have made all the difference in my 16 inch bar Echo. My 12 volt sharpener also helps. RPM's quit interesting me when I decided to not build any more engines.

I also have a 25 year old BIG Stihl that I only use to cut down bigger trees. That doesn't happen much anymore because I don't enjoy splitting as much as I used to. It's also too big to get in and trim junk.

I've never heard of the Dolmar but the majority of the pro's that I know still use Stihl or Echo.


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I still have 2 Sachs-Dolmar Chain saws that my father bougt in 1980 they are running smoth.
I would gues that Sachs-Dolmar is the same as Dolmar.
I'm self prefering Jonsered but thats because a friend is seling them so I get discount prices, that no body else can match.

If I were to buy without friends price, I would defenetly stick to Dolmar.
They might be a bit heavy (weigt) compared with other brands of same preformance, but they defienetly last (live) for a long time.


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Dave and andedammen:

Thanks. Yes, Dolmar is the same as Sachs-Dolmar. I don't care what the engine RPM runs just as long as the chain speed is up there. My Echo seems to run quicker than my Dad's Stihl, and that's what I think helps it cut faster, even tho it has a smaller engine. Dave, if you can get Tom G to weigh in on this I'd appreciate it. I have to run into town today, and I'll stop by the dealer and see what they have to say. The majority of trees that I'm cutting will be Pin Oak, with Hickory and Sugar Maple running a close 2nd in volume. Sassafras brings up the rear with a smattering of River Birch thrown in the mix as well.


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Read TomG's comments in this thread... Time for a new chainsaw


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I'd stick with the three manufacturers you've identified. All three are rugged -- if you stay away from the "home owner" series. All three have great parts support.

I've been cutting about five cord a year for about 35 years now, but I've been using them for nearly 50 years. Chainsaws last me about 15-20 years.

For the last three seasons, my trimming saw has been a Husqvarna 2.7 hp e340 with a 16-inch bar. My bucking saw is an 3.5 hp e455 Rancher with a 20-inch bar. Both have been trouble free, and both usually start on the 1st or 2nd pull.

The only complaint I have is the chain recommended for the 455. It also came with an extra chain -- so I have two of them. Because of the multiple angles, I cannot sharpen it with my electric sharpener. I'll change over to a different type of chain next season.


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 Originally Posted By: jeffhasapond
Read TomG's comments in this thread... Time for a new chainsaw


JHAP: I did last night, but there is no mention of Dolmar. I've got an Echo CS-340 that I've used a lot in the 5 or 6 years that I've owned it. I've replaced the rubber isolators for the handle, gone thru a couple of bars and untold chains. It's a great lightweight saw.


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For what it's worth I own a Husky and love it. Starts right up after months of sitting and the local repair shop is able to re-assemble it after I open in up and let all of the parts out.


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IMHO Stihl. Cutting live oak in florida is the equivalent of cutting through concrete(only slight beer induced exageration), so much so that you can actually have sparks as you cut through this wood(seen it, done it, bought the T-shirt). I love my two Stihls, but it could also be because I have a dealer nearby, and use Stihl chains.

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I am partial to my 30 year old Stihl 041AV with 20" bar. It is a screamer. May be the best saw Stihl ever made. It can handle big stuff easily. Not as easy to handle at my age though vs when I got it as a young guy. I would look for a used one in decent shape on eBay or CL.


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I stopped by the Dolmar dealer today and discussed saws. He recommended either the Dolmar 6400 or the 7300 with a 24" bar. Either saw will run a bar from 20" to 32". The bhp of the 6400 is 4.8, the 7300 is 5.7. The weight of both is 13.6#. Engine RPM is governed at 13,500 rpm. All the other specs are identical between the 2 machines (fuel/oil tank capacity, bar and chain sizes) The 7300 is $86.00 more. They are running in the same price range as a Husky. I heard a rumor from a friend today, he said that the new Huskies need to run their own bar oil...

The dealer said that if I could wait, he heard that Dolmar was going to have a Spring promotion, although he didn't know exactly what it was or when it would go into effect.

I'll check out Stihl and Echo tomorrow, Husky on Monday, and I'm trying to track down a local Jonsered dealer. My buddy has a Husky 372XP that I'm going to borrow and try out.


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I'm looking at getting a new chainsaw myself, so I am closely following along...


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I'w looked thru diferent consumer tests in scandinavia/europe, most off them are aimed at the hobby/gardener marked, and in this segment sthil is a winner do to light weigt and easy to start.
However in the semipro and profesional marked there are 3 brands that makes the seems to be the brand of choise.
Husquerna/Dolmar/Jonsered
There is also a 4'th contender Sihindaiwa??????? this one does not compete with the other 3 except on one point price ($) it scores on high horse power for money, but falls thru on ewery other pharameters.
Husqarna high on most pharameters, best on ergonomy (draw back runs out of chain lubricant before gassoline)
Dolmar high on most pharameters (draw back weigt and high price)
Jonsered high on most pharameters (draw back bad acses chain tightner)

I think I would choose Husquerna based on the tests I'w read now,
and then avoid topping the gasolin tank when starting off to compensate for litle lubricant tank, thats do to the fact that ergonomy and weigt does matter with me ageing(it stinks to admit)

If I where a full time pro probably I would go for Dolmar.

In the end I will stick with Jonsered do to special discount, and the fact that it seems to be marginal differences on the scores of these top 3 contenders

I would not the runner up Shindaiwa because it dosen't belong on the list if it wasen't for the much lower price.

Service, parts, customerloyaltie other products may be an isue, when you choose from hom you buy, local.


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 Originally Posted By: esshup
I'll check out Stihl and Echo tomorrow, Husky on Monday, and I'm trying to track down a local Jonsered dealer. My buddy has a Husky 372XP that I'm going to borrow and try out.


Chainsaws are like beer. You'll never get a consensus on which is best, and that's the way it's supposed to be. Choose the color of your banner, hoist it proudly, and be prepared to defend it.

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I just got a couple of those Husky 455 Ranchers and so far they seem to be good chainsaws.

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 Originally Posted By: bobad
 Originally Posted By: esshup
I'll check out Stihl and Echo tomorrow, Husky on Monday, and I'm trying to track down a local Jonsered dealer. My buddy has a Husky 372XP that I'm going to borrow and try out.


Chainsaws are like beer. You'll never get a consensus on which is best, and that's the way it's supposed to be. Choose the color of your banner, hoist it proudly, and be prepared to defend it.


\:D

I have a Stihl MS 180 C-B (14") I use for small stuff and limbing and a MS 310 (20") that would make a den of beavers green with envy. Plus they fashionably color coordinate with my tractor ;\)

Plus I have a Poulan (20") that I bought to cut up skids at the shop. The 180 walks all over that one, and we tried every type of grind on the chains. Did find a grind that worked ok but the available chains get dull REALLY quick.

I get my Stihl chains on ebay from dealers. I can usually save 6.00 or more per chain than at the local dealers. I do not use anti-kickback chains, but the ones with Warnings! Plus my BIL has some Hot Grinds! Stihl chains are the best in my opinion.

The 310 was replaced with the 311 and has a few more features.



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Tractor Supply sells Husqvarna, certainly makes it easy to find them.


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 Originally Posted By: CJBS2003
Tractor Supply sells Husqvarna, certainly makes it easy to find them.


I would like to try a Husqvarna, as Stihl chains work with them but I would have to do it under the cover of night as to not permanently scar certain relationships.

One guy that came out last fall to help with wood (he got 4 truckloads) had a Husqvarna. Seemed to work pretty good, but I heard a lot of bogging down sounds even after new chains. Maybe it needed a tune up, or something was going on with the fuel as being old or something. We only use Fresh Premium gasoline in our machines. There is a big difference.

Another guy came out with an Echo that he borrowed from work. Had nothing but problems and only got a bit of wood. The saw could have been beat up really bad by misuse at work and would not be fair on my part to make a judgement. I have had employees, and in 07 I can directly contribute every thing that was broken, mistreated or ruined to one individual

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 Originally Posted By: esshup
I stopped by the Dolmar dealer today and discussed saws. He recommended either the Dolmar 6400 or the 7300 with a 24" bar. Either saw will run a bar from 20" to 32". The bhp of the 6400 is 4.8, the 7300 is 5.7. The weight of both is 13.6#. Engine RPM is governed at 13,500 rpm. All the other specs are identical between the 2 machines (fuel/oil tank capacity, bar and chain sizes) The 7300 is $86.00 more. They are running in the same price range as a Husky. I heard a rumor from a friend today, he said that the new Huskies need to run their own bar oil...



If you are going to get one that big, you might seriously consider getting a smaller one also. A couple of hours with saws that size, if you don't use them day after day, will just beat any energy out of you that you thought you might have -- even in the future. For about the last 20 years, I've nearly always had three saws -- one small, one medium, and one reasonable. I would also get the shortest bar that you can get that will do the job 90% of the time. I find that my medium sized saws always got the majority of hours. They cut almost as fast when cutting wood 10-inch diameter or less, and you walk away a lot less tired.


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Cat:

I've a arborist's Echo in the stable that will take a 12",14" or 16" bar, and that's what I've been doing the majority of my cutting with. I can cut 20" dia trees with it, but it's a LOT of work. I'm seeing some trees that'll need a saw that are a lot bigger than 20" dia. My Dad has a Clinton chainsaw that he purchased in 1967 that has a 24" bar on it. If you want a workout, try cutting a whole day with that! Earplugs AND earmuffs. Their idea back then of a muffler was a 4" long slightly curved "straight" pipe with a screen on the end. I'll bet that saw weighs 30#.


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 Originally Posted By: esshup
Cat:

Their idea back then of a muffler was a 4" long slightly curved "straight" pipe with a screen on the end. I'll bet that saw weighs 30#.


Kinda like Open Headers on a 67' Hot Rod \:\)

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 Originally Posted By: JKB
Kinda like Open Headers on a 67' Hot Rod \:\)


'cept a LOT closer to your ears! Even closer than zoomies on a front motored dragster. (The few times that I drove my buddies, I was never comfortable having the R&P that close to the family jewels.)


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 Originally Posted By: esshup
 Originally Posted By: JKB
Kinda like Open Headers on a 67' Hot Rod \:\)


'cept a LOT closer to your ears! Even closer than zoomies on a front motored dragster. (The few times that I drove my buddies, I was never comfortable having the R&P that close to the family jewels.)


\:D

Or the rest of ya!

Some chainsaws have the same warning, jewel speaking! \:o

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I have a couple of experiences that may help. Echo dealers around me have been dropping the line now that the box stores carry them, but the better ones sure can take a beating. I have run their brush saws for years. I had a logger friend let me "play" with his Dolmar 7900, nice saw. Comparable to the 372xp Husky he has.

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