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Thread: Saws what is to much saw?

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    Default Saws what is to much saw?

    So I have been window shopping for chain saws. I have owned and operated saws here in Alabama more than I really care to think about. However the environment here is the total opposite of Alaska so I was wondering if anyone has any advise. Our goal around here is green hardwood like oak and hickory, I think you guys tend to cut mostly downed trees or beetle kill? In our area the Stihl MS 880 Magnum is the king of the beasts. This is a really big saw and it's needed for the larger oaks. The thing is when I look at the trees around fairbanks they seem to be pretty small at the base. I hate to buy a 2k dollar saw and never really need that much. What do you guys that cut all your own wood use?

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    Member Gerberman's Avatar
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    I have an 042 magnum, with a 36" bar, so I can stand up and cut the small trees on the ground, I also have a smaller saw when I have to pack it out a ways. I always get the longest bar the saw will handle to eliminate bending over all day when cutting wood. I always have a few extra chains, so I do not have to stop and sharpen in the field, I just change out the chain and sharpen at home in the evening. Every once and a while I have to cut a tree that is 24" on the butt, most are only about 10". You do not need to haul a large saw to cut wood up north.

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    Gerberman good to know, I don't mind waggin a heavy saw if it's needed but I would rather work smart not hard. I am cheap and tend to buy my chain in bulk rolls. We have problems with idiots driving nails in trees here where I cut. Rednecks can never have enough tree stands.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    No oak or hickory in Alaska so what we might use here isn't likely going to apply for the L48. Regardless I have a Husqvarna 16" and a 20" Farmboss.

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    Sorry Dave I was unclear in the OP I am moving to fairbanks in a couple of weeks the saw will be for use there.

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Fairbanks has little trees. A good 16" would be plenty. In Valdez I can usually knock down old growth with a 20" although when they get about 40" in dia. I start wishing for something a little bigger.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    I've been using an old 034 for years up here......
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    I find the 170/180 Stihl to be plenty of saw for 99% of my cutting... Mostly 6-8" spruce with the occasional birch up to 12".

    The narrow kerf on these helps make up for the lower power.
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    I have 009, 250, 049 so i'm covered for all Alaska except SE.
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    MS390 with a 20" bar for the big jobs and a little mini pruning saw with a 14" bar for the little stuff.

  11. #11

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    No point spending money on saw you don't need, and not humping any more weight than you need to. Pick up a 036, think they call them ms 360 now. Put a 24/25" bar on if and you can cut almost any tree that far north safely. Keep your chain sharp and that set up rips.

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    I'd rather have too much saw than not enough. Also don't like bending over to cut. I run a MS460 with a 28" bar for most of my cutting. I have several larger saws, and have an 026 for hauling on the wheeler.
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    My current number one selling saw is a Stihl MS271 (I'm a Stihl dealer). It basically replaces the old Farm Boss 290. With a 20" bar, it's all you really need. If you are cutting 10 cords a year, this saw will last a lifetime with proper care. It's a rare time we ever come across a tree up here that exceeds 20".

    Do I prefer professional level saws like the MS261 or MS362, yes I do. They come at a much higher price, though, and I don't want to push my customers into a more expensive saw that they don't need. I will say, that if you can afford it, a professional level saw will put more wood on the ground faster than the farm and ranch saws. I burn 30 cords of year to heat my business. For the last couple years I have used a MS441 for most of my bucking. It isn't much faster than a MS362 in smaller trees and I'll be switching over to the smaller/handier saw soon.

    Before I became a Stihl dealer I had Husqvarna saws. I still own several and run them occasionally. I have nothing against them, but their dealer network in Alaska is virtually non existent. In Fairbanks I know there are at least two Stihl dealers with service departments. I don't know if that's important to you or not.
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    I've been a Husky guy for years but as said by AKDoug the dealer network is not conducive to getting service. I bought a new MS441 this year with a 32" bar to replace my 20 year old 272XP Husky that finally gave up the ghost. I like it, its a little louder and it seems like it has a little less rpm but more torque. We have lots of sand here, seems like the chain goes between sharpenings quite a bit longer with the slower turning Stihl.

    I bought a new 357XP Husky 3 years ago. Size-wise, its really nice. Like the light weight. I do not like that there is no full wrap handle option for it, and it is extremely fast, again being an issue in the sand. It will run a 24" bar no problem.

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    My neighbor and I cut a 1 1/2 mile trail this summer wide enough to get in with an excavator and dozer for clean up, as well as cleared my future cabin site and a 3 acre site for his. We cut so many trees I can't imagine the number but on one long day we cut over 500. We both used MS362's with 25" bars and had 170's with 16" bars for smaller stuff and "rescue saws" if we got stuck. We have the same saws to keep down on needing different parts/chains as spares when out cutting away from the rigs/wheelers. We cut lots of large birch and spruce trees and the 362 is an awesome saw! The 25" bar makes it easy for the larger cuts, as well as limbing without having to bend over. The 362 runs all day long in all conditions and require very little maintenance. That said- at the end of the day, I will admit I like handling the lighter 170 just because it is so much easier on your arms after a long day. It is a lot of saw for the money and it still amazes me that it is so inexpensive. Less than $180 for a new saw is hard to beat! I am considering getting a big saw for a chainsaw mill since we have so much felled timber, but for now- the 362 and 170 are all I can imagine needing. FWIW my neighbor is very experienced in logging and has quite a few saws including one with a 5ft bar. He can do more with a smaller saw than I can, so I will attest to experience can make up the difference for a smaller saw. Everyone I have talked to that has used the Farm Boss has nothing but praise for it. Husky has a huge following here and I never hear negative things about them. Good luck with choosing!

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    I assume you're talking about cutting firewood. I've been using a 20" Husqvarna 455 quite a few years now. Not the most expensive saw on the market, but it's worked fine for the few cords of wood of wood I cut every year. We generally get a permit and cut in the State wood cutting areas:
    http://forestry.alaska.gov/wood/firewood.htm In the designated cutting areas you're allowed to cut anything standing or otherwise. The choice is usually spruce, birch or aspen. I generally go for birch and tend to prefer the big ugly trees that are near the end of their life. The large birch can be up to 2 feet across at the base but most are smaller. Hope this helps....Louis
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBEE View Post
    My neighbor and I cut a 1 1/2 mile trail this summer wide enough to get in with an excavator and dozer for clean up, as well as cleared my future cabin site and a 3 acre site for his. We cut so many trees I can't imagine the number but on one long day we cut over 500. We both used MS362's with 25" bars and had 170's with 16" bars for smaller stuff and "rescue saws" if we got stuck. We have the same saws to keep down on needing different parts/chains as spares when out cutting away from the rigs/wheelers. We cut lots of large birch and spruce trees and the 362 is an awesome saw! The 25" bar makes it easy for the larger cuts, as well as limbing without having to bend over. The 362 runs all day long in all conditions and require very little maintenance. That said- at the end of the day, I will admit I like handling the lighter 170 just because it is so much easier on your arms after a long day. It is a lot of saw for the money and it still amazes me that it is so inexpensive. Less than $180 for a new saw is hard to beat! I am considering getting a big saw for a chainsaw mill since we have so much felled timber, but for now- the 362 and 170 are all I can imagine needing. FWIW my neighbor is very experienced in logging and has quite a few saws including one with a 5ft bar. He can do more with a smaller saw than I can, so I will attest to experience can make up the difference for a smaller saw. Everyone I have talked to that has used the Farm Boss has nothing but praise for it. Husky has a huge following here and I never hear negative things about them. Good luck with choosing!
    I have some 056's in fantastic shape that would be great to run your mill.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SmokeRoss View Post
    I have some 056's in fantastic shape that would be great to run your mill.
    I will keep that in mind! If you have time to let me know which models of the 056 you have and price I would appreciate it. I was planning on a MS660 as some of the mills recommend close to 100cc saws. I see that 056 saws had 3 models varying from 87-93cc with quite a bit of horsepower.

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    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by iammarkjones View Post
    So I have been window shopping for chain saws. I have owned and operated saws here in Alabama more than I really care to think about. However the environment here is the total opposite of Alaska so I was wondering if anyone has any advise. Our goal around here is green hardwood like oak and hickory, I think you guys tend to cut mostly downed trees or beetle kill? In our area the Stihl MS 880 Magnum is the king of the beasts. This is a really big saw and it's needed for the larger oaks. The thing is when I look at the trees around fairbanks they seem to be pretty small at the base. I hate to buy a 2k dollar saw and never really need that much. What do you guys that cut all your own wood use?
    If you intend to buy after you get here, make Rod's Saw Shop your first stop when you start shopping. Firewood trees in the Fairbanks area generally run 12-14" DBH and smaller. Any mid-range displacement saw will do for 99% of Alaska. If you intend to cut in winter, a saw with heated handles is well worth a few extra dollars. I run a 371XPG with 28" bar and it's more than enough saw.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBEE View Post
    I will keep that in mind! If you have time to let me know which models of the 056 you have and price I would appreciate it. I was planning on a MS660 as some of the mills recommend close to 100cc saws. I see that 056 saws had 3 models varying from 87-93cc with quite a bit of horsepower.
    I have one of each 056 built. 056 AV, 056 Super, and an 056 Magnum II (96cc's) with only a couple of hours run time on it. The Super and Magnum both have full wrap bars and large falling dogs, although those aren't things you need for a mill.
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