Chain Saw Choices

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    What is your opinion of the Poulan Brand Chainsaw. I see them in 16" on sale and fairly inexpensive. The idea is to cut up 8' lengths of firewood and mostly poplar standing trees. I've used Jonserud before and Husquvarna as they are popular with loggers in this area. Stihl is probably the best brand, but can't afford that right now.
    I could probably find a good used one of different brands if I looked around. I did that twice already and they didn't last more than a couple years. I put a lot of use on them, and probably the owner before did too. Had a new one lasted about 6 years (Jonserud 67cc). Time to think about getting another chain saw for next season .

    What is your brand and size chain saw for doing the firewood and tree cutting in your 'stead?
     
  2. dreadstalker

    dreadstalker Well-Known Member

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    i have had my poulan about 5 yrs now.it gets a lot of use about 9-10 cords a yr.no problems as of yet(knock on wood)
     

  3. Jolly

    Jolly Well-Known Member

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    As an occasional use saw, they're ok, especially for what you pay for them.

    But you'll never confuse a "Wild Thing" with a Husky 55. Even with your eyes shut. :)
     
  4. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Throw a tough old log in back of your pickup and visit a few shops that sell various brands and give them a try. Most regular saw shops have demonstrator saws. The box stores dont.

    After suffering for too many years with two brand new MacCulloch 605's, I bought an ancient Sears which was a definite improvement until oiler quit, then lucked into two used Shindaiwa saws. Really cheap (one was $5, really) and they are top of line in quality, equal to any of the older professional Husky or Stihl or Sachs. I am really impressed with mine and when they go to chainsaw heaven, I'll be looking for another one.

    Frankly you just have to figure what makes most economical sense for you. Perhaps used quality saw that lasts only couple years but is reliable those two years would make most sense, maybe a new high quality saw that 'should' last several years would or maybe a cheaper new saw that should last 2 to 4 years. Only you can figure. I can only say that these Shindaiwa saws I got are such a pleasure to use compared to the old cheapies that I'd have to be flat broke with cheapy being the only saw available to get me to buy one ever again.
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We found ourselves down a saw when the old Stihl 034 AV super croaked its last. From what folks here said about the Poulans I figured what you did, (and as Christmas was coming and cash was short) so I bought a Wildthing to run as a second saw to the Sthil 039 we still had. My bro has put a few hours on it sawing firewood and likes it well enough. Its a lot smaller than what we're used to but fires up well from cold and is easy on fuel. Vibration is a bit of an issue, but no worse than the old Pioneers or Sears jobbies we've had. As said its no Stihl but far better than expected and well worth the price paid if it can last even 3 years here. So far so good though most tools are only as good as their owners. Ask me in 3 years time!
     
  6. Nan(TX)

    Nan(TX) Well-Known Member

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    After looking at the local chainsaw offerings and the Internet the best deal we found (in 2002) was over the Internet there were no taxes and the shipping was free so it came to $302.50 with a case for a Husqvarna 55 rancher 18” bar. Robert really likes the smart start feature and the adjustable oilier.
    www.southwestfastener.com/productsHusqChainsaw.htm
     
  7. Rod Torgeson

    Rod Torgeson Well-Known Member

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    moonwolf....I used my Poulan 16" last fall for the first time and liked it real well. My other and bigger saw is a Stihl and it is about 22 years old. Anyway, I cut 24 pickup loads of wood last fall and used the Poulan for about half of them. It is a little bit lighter and doesn't wear you down. I am pleased with it. Hope this helps. Rod in Appleton, WA
     
  8. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    Ive bought poulans for one consistant reason...
    when one poops out I have last yrs junk for parts.
    but I have a pile of them for parts and I have nted that 2 things die on them, the carbs and the auto oilers.
    the oilers i dont whine over I have an oilcan handt and pump a squirt on every now and then, that doesnt kil the saw.
    the carbs do, and the carbs cost about 30-50 bucks (where I can get them local) so for another 50, I can pick up a whole new saw.
    I have one older one that I stuck a 10 inch bar on for limb cutting, its outlasted them all I think because little load is put on it. some last loonger than others, nad I dont make it a point to keep anything clean so.. they get punished. If you took care of em and cleaned them nice, you might drain some more life out.
    poplar trees are softwood, easy cutting.

    your going to pay 99 bux per here on a deal day maybe a little more, so for the price, you get a nice saw.

    Im making my next one (has to be big for the job coming) a stihl, a mid size monster is going to run me @350. I was looking at huskys but they are all plastic like a poulan... at least the sthl has a metal case.

    for my frugalness with poulans I have a pile of carboretorless parts saws.... if I can ever find a cheap supply of those weed eater carbs i can repair them all!
     
  9. Countrybumpkin

    Countrybumpkin Well-Known Member

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    Gonna have to agree w/ c.numb-I had a pulan, and after a year or so of hard cutting, the thing becomes a hit-miss starting affair, and most of the time it was miss...for the price of fixing it I got a used Stihl, and have cut tons w/ that...you get what you pay for, and unless you like shopping for saws every year or so, break out your wallet and buy something good the first time.
     
  10. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    I've got one of those larger cc weedeaters and replaced carbs on it once already. Still worth it for the job it does.
    Like Ross says if I could get 3 years out of wildthing, that's about $50/year to own and use it. If it cuts up 40 cord of wood in that time, that's fairly economical as long as the saw doesn't occupy time in the repair shop.
    I had husky and johnserud big cc models that people convinced me would 'last forever'. Well, 6 years isn't a bad 'forever', and that was some hard use clearing some good sized trees probably 80 cords of wood. The saw cost at that time $400....either way, looks like were looking at $50/year to own the damn things. PLUS gas/oil and, of course...'free' labour. :rolleyes:
     
  11. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    if you look at it as a disposeable tool, and dont expect it to last forever, yup... they will do the job plus. while they run, I dont have any complaits the cut what i want nice. Ive cut quite a lot on one wildthing. If a 350 buck saw konks out in 4 or 6 yrs i will be upset to no end, but the carbs can be rebuilt, I priced a rebuild kit for the one I was eyeballing [stihl] and it was like 20 bucks.
    i'm TOLD you can buy poulan rebuild kits but no one has them.???
     
  12. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Yup, I really do like the Poulan but not the gas ones. I am an electric man through and through. Figure they will always start, well most of the time. Got the biggest 16" electric and have worn out a number of chains, some parts but she is a strong goer. Motor is the best of the breed. Don't have to do all that much cutting. About half my wood is from contractors building or tearing down lumbered things. That I cut up if necessary on a saw buck with the electric.

    Trick with buying the electrics is look in at the drive socket. If that is a cheap thin screw or bolt holding on the spacer / socket, don't buy it. Is how they get the planned obselescent part and you probably ain't going to get another, maybe not be able to extract it once it sheers off. Left hand threads so won't have one in the toolbox. On the Poulan it is a hefty big bolt. Remingtons are real dogs as are most other electrics.

    When Motorola won't do the trick to bring in the wood and I have to go hunting the wild cellulose in its native state or they bring tree chunks too big, I like these little numbers. Got a bigg'n, will probably get a couple more with different teeth if I get back into the wood hunting more from trees.

    http://www.crosscutsaw.com/1.html

    Wonder why they ever went out of style? Used a lot of them as a kid. If I get it well tuned, probably can beat your average bear with a cheap chain saw after they screw around with the gas and all the rituals required. Cut up a 30"+ big cherry last year in a few hours. Plus don't have to use that Bowflex for the week. ;) Starts every time on the first pull. :)

    Little story:

    Old Clyde decides to start a hardware store. Stocks all sorts of chainsaws. This Yuppie looking dude comes in and says he "Going back to the Land" and needs some serious machinery.

    Clyde sells him a top of the line MacCulloch. Comes back in a couple days and says it won't cut worth a damn. Bar really looking out of alignment, chain in sort busted of up state. Handle grips with rips.

    Ok, Clyde figures no damage. Under factory warranty. Trades in the top of the line Stihl. Comes back in another two days, with this one looking worse than the first. Says this one won't cut any better than the first.

    Clyde says Ok, got to look into the cause, they go out back to the woodpile and Clyde primes her and pulls the cord, starts on the first pull, revs her ........ rimmmmmmm, rimmmmmmmm, rimmmmmmmm.

    Young Dude, yells, What Dat!!!!!! What Dat !!!!!! :haha:
     
  13. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    Forgot to add in the cost of operating the chain saws (whether elcheapo or higher end models) is the cost of chains. I generally buy maybe 4 for the cutting season and keep sharpening them until they wear down to nibs. And I have bought 4 bars in about 10 years. One got bent while falliing some pretty big diameter trees. It happens.
    CN, the carb repair is a good idea. I'm not that mechanically inclined so the time I would spend trying to rebuild the engine or carb to any specs would be a crap shoot. Last time I had engine rebuilt in the expensive Johnsurd cost me $150 and it lasted another year before seizing up again. I hate throwing tools like that away, but sometimes have to bite the bullet in the name of getting the job done. I won't buy an expensive one right now again, but then the 35cc of the poulan might be too small for my work needs. The 60 + cc heavy powered Johnsy was perfect when it did the job. Have to think about this some more.
     
  14. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My Dad used to work in a chainsaw repair shop,
    baised on that the only saw my Dad will own is a Stihl. He had a little one that lasted for about 18 years of hard use. He of course replaced it with another Stihl.

    Mrs WHodunit
     
  15. melinda

    melinda Well-Known Member

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    just thought I'd add that there is a real good chain saw forum - who knew?? - on about.com - it's the forestry group. They have some great info and great folks there who are really helpful, and some tutorials and such.

    sorry I don't have the url handy, but I googled chainsaws and got it - asked my questions and got very good information very quickly. I believe Husquvarna? and Stihl are the 2 brands highly recommended (and debated) over there.
     
  16. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    further to what ross has said ,the poulin has lots of power and is lite weight. still have a pioneer as a back up and will have an 039 once i work out the carb problem(cant afford to have a pro do it pro=dumb 17 year old min wage shop worker) . the saw does not need to be big to work large. had a micro sears from 14 till 27 that cut down huge dead elm very tough little saw and was still running when i gave it away.all the high end saws have gone through a cheapening faze that will come out in the wash . don't like the look/feel of them at all! that been said the poulin has staid the same .carb goes new saw is cheaper than a carb replacement on a stihl @300. . half the battle is clean fuel and sharp chains .most likly you would get good service from the poulin and the price they want is very reasonable. princess had rebuilt power heads for 99. but then can tire sells the whole saw for 2 plus change.
     
  17. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    ford major, canadian tire has the poulin on sale this week for $150. That's $50 off the normal price.
    Thanks folks for all your input and thoughts.

    Rich
     
  18. Johnny Swank

    Johnny Swank New Member

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    I'd get the Poulan knowing you'd replace it sooner. The lifetime costs seem to work out better in the end. Rent a big daddy saw if you run across something enormous, otherwise a 16-18' bar will do you right and not weigh you down.

    A huesqvarna is an awful nice chainsaw though.
     
  19. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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    Owning a Poulan is a form of Karma. It's the universe punishing you for buying cheaply made stuff at places like Home Depot. It's trying to teach you that you never get something for nothing. And with a Poulan you get to learn that over and over again.

    My Poulan now occupies the first place of the "chainsaw holy trinity"
    You gotta have:

    1). One that doesn't work
    2). One that does.
    3). The third one to get the second one out when it gets stuck.

    :haha:

    P.S. I paid around $300 for Stihl that never fails. What a great saw!
     
  20. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    BTDT (been there/done that), but with only owning 2 chain saws at the same time. Never owned 3 all at once, except the time I found a Husky in the bush that some logger threw away.