Well I've been looking for an electric saw for a while to do somewhat quieter cutting of bowl blanks and the like in the front yard and pulled the trigger on the Oregon CS1500.
The short version is that if you need to do a bit of light work its not a bad saw. If you need to cut up a winters worth of firewood this is not for you. It looks like it will probably get by for bowl blank trimming although the big saw will still come out for ripping bigger pieces and initial cutting up the large chunks.
- Not quite as loud as a gas saw, about like a loud shop vac or maybe an electric leaf blower.
- pretty lightweight
- metal bits where it seems to matter
- saw shuts off immediately when the power is cut, no coasting down like a gas
- power seems pretty good for a small electric
- Bar seems a bit flimsy/wiggly (perhaps unfair comparison)
- self sharpening chain is a bit grabby, cuts ok for cross cuts but decidedly mediocre on rips and seems like a gimmic (fixable, takes a regular chain).
Overall I'm fairly happy with this as an ancillary saw.
My comparison saw is really no comparison at all, its a professional grade Husqvarna 372XP I inherited from my grandpa. There is really no comparison between these two saws, the 372xp is just orders of magnitude more saw so I'll leave that at that.
I picked up the saw from Amazon where the price seems to vary day to day from about $119 to $140, I paid $122 shipped which seemed pretty fair (I put it in my cart at 126, they raised it to 136 the next day and then three days later it dropped back to 122 at which point I removed the 136 version from my cart and added the 122 version and went on my merry way). If you're not familiar with camelcamelcamel.com its a good way to keep an eye on these shenanigans.
The other saws I looked at were
- the Stihl MSE170 CB-q http://www.stihlusa.com/products/cha...r-saws/mse170/ but it runs well over $500 and I couldn't see that for an electric.
- The Makita 4051A http://www.makitatools.com/en-us/Mod...x?Name=UC4051A which looks like a pretty solid saw as well. This was my second choice, it retails for a bit over twice the price of the Oregon saw.
I considered the WORX and Echo but the they appeared to have to much plastic in the wrong places (I might be wrong on this, as I haven't actually touched the current versions). I tend to use tools like this perhaps a bit heavy so I wanted to get a least a bit of work out of it
I also briefly considered the greeworks 80v portable https://www.amazon.com/GreenWorks-GC.../dp/B00SU75KPU - but you'll note that there is another $200 in the charger and battery on top of the $170 for the saw so almost $400 out the door.. Might be amusing if you were investing in the battery technology and sharing between devices but not really compelling at the moment.
Based on what I could tell the Oregon was looking like the value leader.
Here's a picture of the saw with a yardstick under it.
The bar is 18" and uses a 3/8" 0.050 gauge chain. IMNSHO the bar is a bit flimsy, its a narrow tip anti-kickback bar and when used close to full extension the tip starts to wag a bit. Again I'm comparing to my bigger saw with a 24" bar but I've never seen that one wiggle. The "self sharpening chain" (has a weird flat top profile and a stone you can run against it by the sprocket) seemed like a gimmic when I bought it, and still does after having used it. I'll see how it goes but I'm thinking a regular 3/8" 0.050 pitch chain of the non self sharpening variety may well be in my future. At $10/chain vs $35-40/chain for self sharpening variety I'm willing to spend a little file time.
Mostly metal in the right places on the inside though. They suggest replacing the sprocket every two chain changes which seems a bit often perhaps, I guess they're embracing the "wear part" of that piece. If you look close you can see the stone used for "self sharpening" has been fully gummed up with wood and bar oil after ~an hour of use.
My first project was to trim the ends off of this piece of old walnut I've had kicking around for a while. A friend had cut it out of some waste tree someplace a few years back and crudely "slabbed" it a bit (off center, and crooked.. but.. hey points for trying). It did a pretty ok job at this. If you don't try to hurry it along to much the chain pulls itself through at a reasonable clip and gets the job done.
Having trimmed the ends off to see how bad and where the splitting was (pretty bad and everywhere), I figured what the heck and cut a slab off of the side of it. As you can see I got the job done but it was a bit of a slog.
This was pretty much full reach of the bar across and the chain that comes with it is NOT in any vague sense of the term a ripping chain. I was able to score the end enough to mark where I wanted to follow down the sides for the slab but it was pretty heavy going and cutting straight into the end grain is when I noticed the bar tip getting really flappy. The majority of the cutting was at a pretty steep angle from the side (45d or flatter along the wood grain) which went ok if a bit slow. It was able to get the job done but I've have been back in the house 30+m earlier with the other saw. I suspect a more traditional chain would have done a lot better or at least easier job (especially if filed at a bit of a shallower angle).
The saw didn't really bog down to badly though even when I was really pushing it bit harder than it liked to be.
I don't have any really green wood to try so not sure how it'll handle that, odds are a bit better The walnut isn't the toughest wood around but this chunk was pretty much bone dry so it was a good workout for the saw anyway.
The saw wasn't to bad about jamming up when pulling long curlies, about the same as my other saw or maybe a bit better at clearing them.
That's all I've got so far.