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a 1st chainsaw

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BHwoodworking

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since dad has allowed me to get chainsaw when i am 16 i have been looking around. i have been focusing in on stihl, 2 models in general the MS 391 and the MS 261

from what i read up the 391 has problems with its engine, the cylinder head mainly, and am not willing to spend my money on something that stops working after 10 hours.

where as the 261 is for forestry, while i wont be doing that, it seems solid and doesn't seem to have a problem with the cylinder head.

any help would be very much appreciated

(BTW i won't be able to use it until i get trousers according to the epistle of mother
this is the pair i want to get https://www.engelbert-strauss.co.uk/cha ... -1298.html)
 

Trevanion

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What do you plan on doing with the chainsaw?

Chainsaw trousers, chainsaw gauntlets, proper chainsaw helmet with ear defenders and goggles :D
 

El Barto

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I had the 260 (model before 261) and it was really good. Now I mainly use a Husqvarna 346xp which is bloody great. Got it for £330 from eBay. 260 and 346 are very similar, both good.
 

NickM

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And some steel toecapped boots. I think it's also wise to do a safety course on how to use it safely (I didn't, but probably should have).

The two basic bits of advice I recall from when I bought mine, was to avoid the automatic chain tensioners (they tend to break) and to get a Stihl or a Husqvarna. I ended up getting a Husqvarna (a 550 I think) and it has been very good.

Please be careful...
 

Sheptonphil

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I have a 1.5 acre back garden and have used my Stihl MS 181 C-BE for the last three years. Perfect for all by general use, coppicing and ground tree work. It’s ergo easy start as well. Not the cheapest, but it will outlast me, unlike my Ryobi, which was a pig to start and was shot of after a couple of years in favour of the Stihl.
 

NickM

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Sheptonphil":vlommf4b said:
unlike my Ryobi, which was a pig to start and was shot of after a couple of years in favour of the Stihl.
Snap. I had a Ryobi which didn't last very long.
 

Paul200

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I live on the edge of woodland with permission to take dead and fallen timber for our woodburners. I've used a Stihl MS-181 for every aspect of what I suppose is woodland management. Brilliant piece of kit that's light and easy to use and has not let me down in almost 6 years of use. One bit of advice - if you're felling trees buy a spare bar and chain just in case a tree nips it!
 

sunnybob

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twenty years ago I wanted to hire a chain saw to cut down a big flowering cherry that was threatening the house. The hire shop refused me, untill I came back with a certificate of chainsaw safety from a recognised centre.
I argued that I could go and buy one with no hassle, but only wanted it for this one job. He gave me directions to B&Q.
He said the company had had so many insurance claims for missing limbs that they really didnt want to know any more.
fair do's.
be safe.
 

Woody2Shoes

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Hi,

I have the old stihl 080 which is a predecessor of the MS180 with a 14" bar. It's extremely reliable and well-engineered - being old, it produces pretty filthy smoke (as standard!).

I also have a fairly new Stihl 261 with an 18" bar. It's an excellent machine. It is the entry level machine with build standards of professional-grade design (using metal instead of plastic etc. etc.) as opposed to the 'consumer' models like the 180/181 which are engineered down to a price by replacing metal with plastic etc. etc. The 261's electronic ignition is reliable (touch wood) and results in much cleaner exhaust and much more power for a given weight of machine.

I don't know what you plan to use it for, but a good first saw would be a Stihl 180/181 - plus all the safety gear (face/eyes/ears/legs/hands/you-get-the-picture), plus some kind of basic safety awareness training (including care and maintenance - you'd laugh if I told you how long it took me to realize chains can easily be sharpened by hand!). Chainsaws are useful but dangerous...

My dad told me the story of his early years as a young doctor, being called out to a bloke who'd come home from work (in shirt and tie), spotted a fallen branch in the garden and set about it with his chainsaw - the tie caught in the chain - the guy bled out before my dad got there.

Cheers, W2S
 

HappyHacker

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I regularly see people using chain saws without any protection and they get away with it most of the time but not all of them do all of the time. Get some training and get all the safety gear.

The guy who sold me my gear told me of his experience. Doing a job for a friend with all the kit on, all went ok. He packs up when finished and his friend asked him if he could just cut a root out. He thought it was such a quick job he would not put all the gear on again. While cutting the root the saw slipped and went straight through his normal boot. He was very fortunate it stopped having only scraped his foot. He now ALWAYS wears full protection when using a chain saw as should we all.
 

Hlsmith

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I would recommend either makita/dolmar or echo if you want a long lasting saw
Makita dolmar are proper American forestry saws with more metal in them than any one else and echo are very well built
The latest round of Stihl tools are so full plastic and designed down to such a tolerance that they fall apart in your hands
Its not just there saws it's every tool they produce Absolutely nothing like the tools of even 2-3 years ago
 

Trevanion

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NickM":1buj5duu said:
And some steel toecapped boots. I think it's also wise to do a safety course on how to use it safely (I didn't, but probably should have).
I totally overlooked steelie boots! #-o Since I wear them all day, every day, I overlook that they're actually a safety feature! But definitely steel toe-capped boots, you can see videos of what a chainsaw will do to composite toe-capped boots and it ain't pretty, may as well be wearing sandals! I agree with the safety course advice too, it pays (in the lack of injuries) in the long run to have someone experienced to show you the safe way to use and handle a chainsaw hands-on versus trying to read/watch videos about it.

The only reason I asked "What do you plan on using the chainsaw for" in my original post is because I think a cordless (Battery, not petrol :roll:) chainsaw is an excellent choice for a first time saw if you plan on doing rather light cutting of firewood, pruning, general around-the-place cutting. You don't have to worry about fuel, or mixing fuel, or engine maintenance, or engine noise etc... It's basically plugging a battery in, oil the chain and away you go. I had a crack with a Makita cordless chainsaw the other day and I thought it was superb for a battery powered chainsaw, ran off two 18V batteries and was quite nippy cutting too, It was also fairly inexpensive at £120 bare, Since I know BH has already got some Makita 18V tools it might be a decent option for a beginner to a chainsaw.

Of course, If BH wants to get into small engine maintenance and the like and you want more power for tackling larger trees and logs you can't really beat a petrol chainsaw. Yet... You might be able to pick up a bargain secondhand though instead of buying new, since new ones are of dubious quality anyway and the older ones have reputable engines it might be worth going that route. I bought an old Dolmar off a retiring arborist for £50 if I recall, looked mank on the outside but the engine was as good as the day it was bought back in the 80s.
 

Tris

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Not experience of either saw you mentioned but stihl are going downhill IMHO.
Chainsaw trousers you linked to look OK, budget for getting proper chainsaw boots too, they are stuffed with the same fibre as the trousers and will stop your saw if you go through the outer layer.
The safety gear will probably set you back nearly as much as your first saw but what price a leg :shock:
Tris
 

Suffolkboy

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Really steel toecapped boots aren't enough.

FISA guidelines state chainsaw boots with cut protection that matches your chain speed.
 

Trainee neophyte

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My advice regarding a chainsaw is to buy the smallest one you think you can get away with. A 2 metre bar looks very cool, and will always impress the ladies, but how often will you be felling redwoods in California? You have to lift this thing, and use it safely for more than one cut, and a huge, unwealdy great lump of angry chaos becomes annoying very quickly. I use my pruning saw for virtually everything (Stihl 150), and only get out my "big" saw if I absolutely need it. Not saying you should get the unfeasibly expensive but tiny pruning saw, but think about what you will be cutting, and buy sized to that, and no more. If you ever need to cut down a 500 year old beech tree, you can borrow/hire a saw for those two or three cuts it will be needed for. You will then immediately put it down, because it will be ridiculously heavy, and use a smaller saw to break down everything else.

Every year I hear that Stihl are more plastic, and less well made. They still seem to sell though. Having said that, I have dropped mine out of a tree and broken the plastic handle on two different occasions, but it is tiny and plastic for a reason - weighs 3kg and is designed to be used with one hand. Real men buy Husqvarna, and spend the rest of their lives mispronouncing it.
 

BHwoodworking

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ive used chainsaws on occasion before ( :shock: ) the makita 36 v beeing one of them. and although it goes against my grain, i hated it. then ive also used and old stihl 036, i think, and i loved it. i was waring full PPE both times so dont worry..... (and mum wan nowhere near)
 

Suffolkboy

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Trainee neophyte":38ehmeju said:
My advice regarding a chainsaw is to buy the smallest one you think you can get away with. A 2 metre bar looks very cool, and will always impress the ladies, but how often will you be felling redwoods in California? You have to lift this thing, and use it safely for more than one cut, and a huge, unwealdy great lump of angry chaos becomes annoying very quickly. I use my pruning saw for virtually everything (Stihl 150), and only get out my "big" saw if I absolutely need it. Not saying you should get the unfeasibly expensive but tiny pruning saw, but think about what you will be cutting, and buy sized to that, and no more. If you ever need to cut down a 500 year old beech tree, you can borrow/hire a saw for those two or three cuts it will be needed for. You will then immediately put it down, because it will be ridiculously heavy, and use a smaller saw to break down everything else.

Every year I hear that Stihl are more plastic, and less well made. They still seem to sell though. Having said that, I have dropped mine out of a tree and broken the plastic handle on two different occasions, but it is tiny and plastic for a reason - weighs 3kg and is designed to be used with one hand. Real men buy Husqvarna, and spend the rest of their lives mispronouncing it.
Good advice.

I have a Husqvarna chainsaw because I am a real man and I pronounce it "husky"

I have felled hundreds and hundreds of trees with my 346xp. You don't want a big heavy saw if you are swinging it around all the live long day.

similarly long bars are good for some things but the vast majority of cutting a 13inch bar will be more than adequate, bearing in mind you can fell up to two and a half times the length of your guidebar that allows you to cut down trees up to 32" in diameter!

and simply crosscut up to 26 inch diameter.

That's pretty big.

I can't stress the importance of the correct training and PPE enough though. I know people who have lost limbs and in two cases eyes from misusing a chainsaw. Not beginners. Professional users.

The most recent being a couple of years ago a bloke walking from one job to another, chainsaw ticking over with the chain brake off, he tripped and a stick got caught inside the handle, revved the saw and he fell on the spinning chain. He lost his arm at the armpit.

If you aren't cutting use the bloody chain brake!

I remember my chainsaw course (nearly 20 years ago) The statistics were that firewooding was the most dangerous thing you could do with a saw. Lots of untrained people with no PPE and very poor practice.

Chainsaws are a fantastic tool buy don't take them for granted.
 

BHwoodworking

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i was looking at something like a 16 in bar.

or would that be a bit unwieldy for a newbie like me?

is 15in more like it?
 
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