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Thread: Chainsaw question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel

    Chainsaw question

    this is definitely the cart before the horse, (no lathe or roof yet...)but...

    Spotted a 16" mccullough chainsaw on craigslist for $50. I was thinking if I picked up a small chainsaw for cutting blanks out of logs...

    no model number, says that it runs and includes three chains and a 16" oregon bar

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Goodland, Kansas
    Ned I had one with the 16" bar, a C-man 16" and had a Poulan with a 16" bar. None of them really had the power to cut much other than small logs. Cutting bowl blanks was a joke. Now I am talking of cutting 10" to 16" bowl blanks. The C-man cut better than the other 2 believe it or not. I bought a 18" stihl 360 and haven't looked back. Just my $1.298.
    Bernie W.

    Retirement: Thats when you return from work one day
    and say, Hi, Honey, Im home forever.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    that's about what I thought. time to save my $50 then.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    My chain saws have always been 16" with 3.4 engines. Plenty for taking down trees and cutting firewood, IMHO. The original Poulan I had did take the 18" option but I felt better with the 16 incher. Current Homelite is 16" and I like. But, when buying a used chainsaw, make sure the seller wasn't a professional firewood cutter/seller. If he was, that saw will have several more lifetimes of use on it than the average homeowner. For what you have in mind, an electric might fill the bill for lot less money and fuss.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Orem, Utah
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    For what you have in mind, an electric might fill the bill for lot less money and fuss.
    Yeah ... I certainly couldn't justify buying a "real" chainsaw for the small amount of wood I go through. I picked up an electric at Home Depot (the most expensive of the 3 they had at the time, but still only $80 or so) and I think it'll do me for quite a while.

    THIS THREAD has photos of the blocks of sycamore I was able to process with the saw.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Ned Bulken View Post
    Spotted a 16" mccullough chainsaw on craigslist for $50.

    Trust me on this ....

    Run .....

    As far and as fast as you can from the McCulloch .....

    Buy a Stihl or a Husqvarna, save your pennies and buy a good one the first time, look after it, don't lend it to anyone, keep it clean and sharp, most importantly keep the fuel FRESH, and you will get good service from it.

    cheers from a guy who made his living fixing other peoples saws ...

    John (Stihl dealer for many years - Husqy owner/user for many years)

    EDIT ::

    Franks suggestion about electric is a good one. Stihl makes a couple of nice ones, but they aren't cheap and .... electrics are more dangerous than gas and AFAIK, safety pants are rated for gas but NOT electric due to the gear reduction system they use to drive the chain.
    Last edited by John Bartley; 10-19-2007 at 04:38 PM. Reason: added comment

  7. #7

    I'd steer away from that McCulloch ! I have owned a McCulloch for 31 years and it's served me well. But.......I bought a professional models all those many years ago and know the story behind it.

    BTW...the bar length is meaningless. I have a 16" bar on mine but it's a pro model that would take up to 30" IIRC. Watch more for the size of the can put different lengths of bars on them.

  8. #8
    The other thing to consider is the cuts you are going to be making. Typically cutting bowl blanks involves as much rip type cutting as it does cross cutting. Making rip type cuts with standard chain takes a lot more HP and finesse than the cross cuts.

    I would concur on the comments on McCullough but the point of my post is to say that you may be able to get along with a lower HP/torque powerhead if you buy some rip chain for the rip cuts. Means changing chains so you will want to plan all your cross cuts and then go back and do all your rip cuts.

    Or just buy a high HP/torque powerhead.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    I've got two electric saws, for where you are, an electric saw would be good, IMHO, and they do cut..........

    The larger (but old and heavy) Shindaiwa, I'm cutting bowl blanks in this pic.

    and the little 12" Makita

    A sharp chain is real important on any chainsaw, but on the electric saw, they are even more so.

    One other thing, check out a real chainsaw dealer, I heard from a couple a while back in the US that said they took good used electrics as trade-in saws, and basically could not sell them, so they were offering them to me for free, but the shipping would have been more than I could buy one for here in Japan, so I passed.

    A good chainsaw shop, one where they service what they sell, is also a good place to pick up a refurbished used saw for a fair price.

    Chainsaw chaps, mitts and face shield are all part of the game too, so don't but the tool unless you can afford those too, IMHO.

    Last edited by Stuart Ablett; 04-20-2013 at 03:52 PM.
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    One common mistake that most people make, and saw makers thrive on, is buying a saw based on a bar length. That is like buying a car based on the size of the tires it has. You can put 36 inch mudders on a Ford Ranger, but if you don't match the tire size to the engine output, you just have a really tall, underpowered truck. In the chainsaw world, you can have a really long bar that has no power to pull that extra chain through the wood.

    You should always buy a saw based on CC's. I prefer a saw in the 50cc range matched with a 16 inch saw. For general carpentry, firewooding and the occasion tree clean up, this is more than enough saw. In fact I own one and use it 5 times more often than my bigger 72cc saw.

    As for the comment about keeping a saw sharp, I agree, but would say a sharp saw is more important on a gas powered saw if longevity is what you are after. A dull saw creates a heated chain, and that transfer heat to the bar. keep on using a dull saw and it puts heat down into the crankcase of your saw. Since these are 2 stroke engines that don't get good lubrication down in the crank, you can quickly smoke a crankshaft in very short order. You will also be very exhausted using the thing

    Whatever saw you do get, think safety in mind. In Stu's pictures it looks like one has a chain brake, and the other does not. I would get a chain brake. All saws kick back and there is a ton of stories in Maine of people getting biten by a saw. In fact I got a nice gash on my leg from a chainsaw. They are not toys.

    Still, stay away from safety chain. All it is, is a dull chainsaw chain. Its safe because it doesn't allow the saw to cut!! Put on a regular chain, file it often and be wary of the raker height. I file mine pretty low, but I don't allow people to use my saw. It cuts like a son of a gun, but you gotta hold on tight. It kicks.

    Now about brands. I know most people on here don't use a saw like I do, or as often, or in felling trees and logs. Still used chainsaws are a dime a dozen. Thats bad if you are buying a new one and trading one in, but if you are looking for a good one, you can get a great a dealer... and spend just as much as a new lower grade saw from the BORGS. In my opinion, there are only two saw makers. Husky and Stihl. Jonsered is a nice saw but surprisingly it is made by the same company as Husky.

    I prefer Stihl. Remember the heat story I was telling you about earlier? Well Husky has a single piston ring. It allows the saw to rev higher in RPMs, but does not cool as well. I have smoked many Husky saws, but never huffed a piston on a Stihl yet. They run slower in rpms, but because they have better compression, you can file your saw to take advantage of their brawn.

    Save you money and buy a good used Stihl, that is my opinion. Good, cheap used chainsaws are everywhere!!
    Last edited by Travis Johnson; 10-21-2007 at 10:47 AM.
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

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