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Old February 22nd, 2017, 11:02 AM   #1
Sandals
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I've only ever had a cheapy, 10" store brand job.
Was ok for light trimming etc.

Have new house, and 2 big tree's to come down, and a bunch of others that need trimming. So time to step up to a big boy saw.

Recommendations on brands, and bar length greatly appreciated.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 11:06 AM   #2
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I've only ever had a cheapy, 10" store brand job.
Was ok for light trimming etc.

Have new house, and 2 big tree's to come down, and a bunch of others that need trimming. So time to step up to a big boy saw.

Recommendations on brands, and bar length greatly appreciated.
I've got a 7 or 8 year old ms290 that I've not even cleaned the air filter on yet

Great all around saw, I run an 18", but I think a 16" is plenty.

I cut about 8-10 cords a year. I probably run about 15-20 Gallons of fuel through it each year, which is actually quite a bit.

My next saw will be one of the smaller climbing/limbing saws with a 12" or so bar.

I've considered a bigger saw, but at the end of the day logs any bigger than I am already dealing with are a bitch to split and handle anyway.

You'll get a lot of opinions of course, but my ms290 has been a perfect homeowner saw for a guy who heats 100% on firewood.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 11:15 AM   #3
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I got my new echo last year. I cut about 2-3 cords of wood and a bunch of other misc cutting, trimming....etc etc

It's a CS-490, 50 cc with an 20" bar. I am very happy with it, cuts very well and is easy to start (after I found out I was starting it completely wrong). Since I figured out the user issues with starting, it starts 2 or 3rd pull every time.

It's not used every week, but when I use it, it's used hard. The main thing I like about it is the weight, it's lighter than a comparable Stihl and most certainly a Husqvarna. I'm not real sure about the Tractor Supply Jonsred, but I wasn't impressed when I looked at them.

I could have gotten away with a smaller saw, as the 20" bar is really needed every time, but I got it because I wanted to have enough saw for when I did need it. I've dropped quite a few large diameter trees with it and was very happy with the performance. For most jobs, you'd be just fine with a 16" or 18"; if you're using it for a lot of trimming your arms will thank you.

I recommend Echo, just my opinion but i've been very impressed with my saw and I would definitely buy another one.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 11:17 AM   #4
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I have 4 for various projects. One cheap saw with a 14" bar. That is my saw that might end up getting in the dirt, rotted wood, etc that will kill a chain fast. Its also light which is great for awkward cutting.

I have a Stihl 023 and Stihl 025 with 16" bars which is my general felling saw. Light weight enough to haul around, not enough HP to really cut massive amounts of wood per week.

My severe duty saw it al old McCulloch Pro Mac 60cc with a 20" bar. Its a monster, will rip dry oak without concern, but it is very heavy for carrying and felling. Once the tree is down and limbed with the 025, I get the Mac out to cut the sections.

If I had to pick one saw to go out and buy now... It would be a Stihl 310. Same weight as the 290, little more hp. Although cant go wrong with a 290 either. Great family of saws.

And dont get hung up on bar size. Bigger bars become more awkward to use and there are very few trees I'm tackled that a 16" bar couldnt handle. I cut about 16-20 FULL cords of wood per year (not face cords). And most of that is felling standing dead trees, as opposed to having 8' logs delivered.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 11:29 AM   #5
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Husqvarna 371xp with sugihara light weight 24 inch bar Oregon semi chisel chain. I have a 20 inch bar also but I don't like to have to bend so far to reach wood on the ground.

The handiest saw I have ever had.

I have a small 12 inch bar echo for small limbs and an old (1971) mcculloch pro 7-10 20 inch bar for when I want to wake the neighbors.

As for brands to recommend, that is up to personal preference. If you are cutting a lot of wood step up to a pro series saw vs. a home owners series.

Main brands I would consider:

-Husqvarna
-Stihl
-Echo

-Oregon chains.



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Old February 22nd, 2017, 11:51 AM   #6
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My Jonsred 2255 is a hell of a saw but it leaks all of its bar oil out over a weeks time. I bought it new, had it leak, took it back and the new new one leaks as well. Seems its a common issue.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 12:04 PM   #7
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I "inherited" my dad's 440 xp due to his body strength issues due to nerve damage (if i recall, currently on loan to my father in law... I better ask if he still has it, haven't seen it in a month or so).

It's done everything I needed it to do so far. Had some issues with the bar/chain when I got it from my dad, but seems to be fine now. Never had issues with getting it to run, although it's a little cold blooded.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 12:15 PM   #8
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I have a Stihl ms290 farm boss with 18" bar. I've had it since I moved into the current house, so around 12 years. If I can't cut it with this saw, I don't want to.

No issues with it. I put a tune up kit on it a few years ago after I tried to run some old mix through it. I now make a fresh mix every spring with my first cut and no problems.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 12:42 PM   #9
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I have 3 stihls.
Small Kim in gone, can't recall the number but it works great for small stuff and goes with me in the jeep.
-ms250 with the easy start, 18" bar for general use, smaller trees & branches.
-ms310 with a 20" bar for bigger stuff.

I've had great luck with stihls and know more than one person who prefers them for professional use. Plus I like that they have fixed prices so you don't need to shop around and they refuse to sell thru the big box stores.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 12:43 PM   #10
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Can't go wrong with Stihl or Husqvarna. I like my Stihls, but the debate between those and Husqvarna will never end. It's like Ford vs Chevy. I like that Stihl is more common and easier to find parts and dealers for. Even Ace Hardware tends to carry lots of maintenance and replacement stuff. Husqvarna saws are probably every bit as good, but ease of getting repair and maintenance parts isn't as good so I've never felt a need to switch. In either case it's worth stepping up from the homeowner level to the pro series.

My saw is a 20+ year old Stihl 036 Pro with a 20" bar. It's basically the older version of the MS360/361/362. It's powerful and has been bulletproof. I bought it off craigslist 5 years ago and haven't had to do any more than normal maintenance, and I go through about 10 face cords a year heating my house. I've been thinking about grabbing an MS250 or 260 for the smaller stuff, but haven't felt like spending the money.

I agree with what Chad said, a 16-18" bar is plenty for the vast majority of stuff you'd do around the house. I'd look for a Stihl from the MS250 up to MS362 range, with 16-18" bar. Keep it sharp and oiled and let the saw do the work and it'll never let you down. My FIL got a new MS210 a couple years ago and it's a nice saw. It's a little small for my uses, but if it's the type of thing you're likely to use once a year for the occasional down tree or branch, it'd probably be fine.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 01:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnyJ View Post
I have a Stihl ms290 farm boss with 18" bar. I've had it since I moved into the current house, so around 12 years. If I can't cut it with this saw, I don't want to.

No issues with it. I put a tune up kit on it a few years ago after I tried to run some old mix through it. I now make a fresh mix every spring with my first cut and no problems.
This is where I'm at.

I thought I wanted a bigger saw so I could grow a better beard and wear more flannel, but then I realized I have enough flannel already.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kickstand View Post
This is where I'm at.

I thought I wanted a bigger saw so I could grow a better beard and wear more flannel, but then I realized I have enough flannel already.
Well I've got the awesome beard, I don't have any flannel, I may need to go buy some.


I love the feedback all.

Kind of the realm I was already thinking, but real world feedback is always great.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 01:32 PM   #13
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I was happy with my 250 till I had a couple trees come down that it struggled with.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 01:33 PM   #14
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I have 3 stihls.
Small Kim in gone, can't recall the number
Is that a North Korean model?
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 01:50 PM   #15
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I strongly recommend buying two saws. A couple of years ago when I bought our property I was at a local Stihl dealer and was planning to buy a mid range Pro saw (MS261 I believe). The Stihl regional rep was there and convinced me if I was willing to spend the price of a Pro saw I could get two decent saws and be happier. I went with an MS180 with a 16" bar and a MS271 with a 18" bar. I use the little MS180 95% of the time because it works great and doesn't weigh anything. I only use the larger saw for actually felling. The small saw was only a couple hundred bucks too.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 02:22 PM   #16
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Got a MS290 and a MS310, with shit loads of use. Always ran aggressive chains. Always been flawless.

I want to find a reasonable arborist style saw to carry in my jeep, but those get pricey.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 03:06 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Got a MS290 and a MS310, with shit loads of use. Always ran aggressive chains. Always been flawless.

I want to find a reasonable arborist style saw to carry in my jeep, but those get pricey.
I have the Korean version. fawk I can't even figure out what I was typing that auto correct changed. anyway my small one is the Stihl 193 lightweight arborist saw with a 14" bar. There are 2 versions, home and pro.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 03:06 PM   #18
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if 18" of bar is too much for you just hire it done?
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 03:45 PM   #19
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Jonsered and Husqvarna are the same parent company.

We've always used Sthil or Husqvarna saws.

My local small town hardware store carries Jonsered saws, so I decided to throw my money his way on my newest saw.

I picked up a Jonsered CS2245 with a 16" bar and it has become my new favorite saw.
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Old February 22nd, 2017, 06:37 PM   #20
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Not to sway the thread, but is sharpening even worth it with chains being relatively cheap?


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