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Thread: Now All I Need is Some Wood

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020

    Now All I Need is Some Wood

    I figure this is mostly a turning tool, so I'll post it here...

    After wrestling with it last weekend, I decided it was time to upgrade my little Poulan "Wild Thing" chainsaw to something a bit more capable. Did a bunch of reading and asked advice in several places (like www.arboristsite.com), and had a long debate with myself deciding between several new models and several used models. I decided I wanted a Stihl, based on their reputation, and the fact that I like the local Stihl dealer. I also knew I wanted a 24" bar. My choices boiled down to the mid-range MS 390 or the professional line MS 361. They both have essentially the same displacement and horsepower, but the MS 361 is a bit lighter, and more robustly built. I looked at new ones, used ones, and tried to figure out the benefits and disadvantages to each.

    Even though I could get a used 361 for about the same price as a new 390, I ended up ruling out a used machine, since it's nearly impossible to really know the history of the saw and how it's been taken care of. Also, I didn't want to buy a project...I wanted something that was ready to run. (Never have been much of an engine mechanic.) Buying a new one from a dealer would give me a warranty, plus some local support for a tool that I'm not real familiar with the inner workings of.

    Still undecided on which of the two saws to buy, I went and had a long talk with my local Stihl dealer this afternoon, and had a new MS 390 and a 25" bar follow me home. I got a case for it too (it was on sale for $10), but it will only fit up to a 20" bar. No problem...I'll add a 20" bar in the next week or two. He convinced me that my needs would be very well served with the 390 for many, many years, and the extra benefits offered by the 361 would not be very apparent to an occasional user like me. It's seldom you'll find a dealer who will talk you into downgrading. I like this guy. The 361 is built for pros who are cutting all day every day. The 390 is more than enough machine for a weekend warrior like me (according to him), as long as I maintain it properly. That part I can handle. Between the 25" and 20" bars on the 390, and the 18" bar on the Poulan, I should have things pretty well covered.

    Now all I need to do is find another batch of wood to play with. Most of my current stock was already cut up months ago. One of the neighbors has a good-sized sycamore that's going to be removed, and I should be able to get some of it...I just don't know when yet. And I'm still trying to work a few tree service leads. I've still got one or two hunks of red eucalyptus in the back yard for a little playing this weekend, though. I'll get the new saw dirty then.

    The obligatory evidence, about the last time it'll ever be seen this clean:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,807
    Whoa, now that is some saw you got there

    You have the chaps, mitts and other safety gear, right?

    I happen to totally agree with your decision, that saw should last you a VERY good long time.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    ABQ NM
    Posts
    30,020
    I hadn't really studied chaps (or the technology behind them) until recently. Ill be getting some soon. When I was a kid, the older teenager who lived across the road from us laid a chainsaw across his thigh. Not a pretty sight. Travis has proven that even experienced guys get into the chain when they least expect it. (And I have nowhere near his experience.) The rest of the safety gear I've got pretty well covered.

    What I do need is a better way of holding chunks of wood while I'm cutting them. Setting them on a stump just doesn't cut it [no pun intended], especially with a stronger saw. Got any suggestions for a compact sawbuck or other similar rack suitable for holding short log sections? I do most of my cutting on a concrete driveway, so I have lots of incentive to keep the chain out of the ground.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
    Posts
    15,807
    Well, I do most of my cutting in the Dungeon with an electric saw, and I just use a junk piece of plywood on top of my worktable, but for outside, you want to make one of these things...............



    Sawing Platform from Laymar Crafts


    I've not built or used one, but from looking at it, and seeing as it featured in the in an article in the Winter 2006, Volume 21 of the American Woodturner Magazine, I figure it has some uses.

    The threaded rod is covered by plastic pipe, so you would really have to get into it to damage the chain.

    Take a look at the page on the link, well worth the read, I think.

    This fellow's "Hints and Tips" page is worth a good read as well.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    New Springfield OH
    Posts
    806
    Your never gonna wear out that 390 Vaughn. I got an ms290 last fall. Next one this summer is going to be the MS460. Going to retire the .075 That beast is just to much to lug through the woods anymore

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
    17,475

    another point of veiw!

    first, glad you got new saw.. but as for the bar on your saw, seems light powered for a 25" bar.. i have the ms440 magnum and its rated for up to a 32 but was told from my dealer friend that it handles a 24 much better.. in my area the loggers run 24-32 depending on what there job is.. the 440 has aprox 71 cc..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  7. #7
    Nice choice Vaughn...

    If I had to buy a new saw I think I would go with the MS360. I have the older version of a MS460...and while I like the power, it's a touch heavy. I think the MS360 would be the right combination between power and weight...at least for what I do.

    As for the brand, you could not have picked a better one in my opinion. There really are only two professional brands, Stihl and Husquvarna. The Husky turns up faster with more rpms, so it tends to take a smaller bite, but more of them per minute so the cutting speed is the same. The Stihl turns slower, but can take more of a bite because of the increase in torque it has. Which one is better depends on your style of cutting.

    Myself I like to file my chain so it takes out noodles (long strands of wood) rather then smaller chips. I like torque to do that so the Stihl works better for me. I also like the saw to really churn through the wood, with the HuskyI have pictured in my Avatar, I was constantly cutting, then backing off, being careful to feed the saw at the right rate to keep it from bogging down in the cut, or stopping the chain altogether.

    So by now Stihl and Husky end up being a preference thing. The reason Stihl are better then the Husky's are because of the piston rings. Stihl has two,while Husky has one. Since Stihl are retaining more of the explosions via the better seal, they turn slower,but have more torque. They also run, much, much cooler and this is where the longevity comes in. The double seal keeps a lot of the gases out of the lower crankcase area. This is where you seize chainsaw motors up. I have had my Stihl for 15 years and done some hard logging with it. My 272 Husky...in the same environment, seized up in 9 months. Both saws are about the same cc size and professional class, but there is a reason Husky's are a lot cheaper then Stihl.

    One thing EVERYONE can do...no matter the make, size or brand...is to keep the saw sharp. A dull saw makes YOU work and being tired and chainsaws don't mix. Another reason is heat. A dull saw heats the chain up. You can see this when the chain slackens up a lot...heat is expanding the links on the sawchain and making it "loosen up". This heat also goes into the saw bar which is bolted onto the chassis of the saw. This transfers heat right where you don't want it. Right in the lower crankcase area of the saw. Again heat here causes crankshaft seizures.

    Anyone can take this advice and toss it out the window if they will. When I became a Certified Logger I thought a full day spent on chainsaws was a bit excessive. 20 minutes into the class I was taking notes. Oh I had so much to learn, and still do, but chainsaws are simple machines with very complicated saw teeth. Simple little things make a huge difference in performance and longevity.
    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!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Posts
    11,833
    Good choice, Vaughn. Unless it gets stolen, this will be the last chainsaw you will ever buy. A 20" bar is pretty heavy duty, a 24" gets into the hard and dangerous to handle territory. Stihl will be my replacement choice. I don't disagree that the Husq. is top quality also. But, at least around me, the Husky cost 2X to 3X more than the Stihl.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Constantine, MI
    Posts
    7,891
    Great choice, great saw. Be safe!
    Host of the 2017 Family Woodworking Gathering - Sunken Wood

    “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk
    www.wrworkshop.com

  10. #10
    Cool Vaughn, Sure looks like a great saw. I'm thinking about upgrading as well. Having a good dealer nearby is a plus for sure. I've been eyeing the German-made Makitas on Amazon and other places. The Makitas get great reviews over on theforrestryforum. Trouble is there are very few Dolmar/Makita dealers around. Anywho, Congrats! Barry

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