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Chainsaws of the top handle variety tell me about them

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  • Chainsaws of the top handle variety tell me about them

    Living where I do and of the type of fuel things like hot water systems use I'm starting to think a saw beyond the bow/bushmans thing I currently have might be useful, trying to swing an axe in tight spaces possibly while up a ladder seems a tad impractical.

    So I've been looking at top handle saws obviously there is a wide variety however I'd like to buy a good one once rather than have to throw something out ever 5 or so years after putting up with some really average performance. The main thing we will be cutting in peppermint tree although it is WA and the odd chunk of dead hardwood is inevitable.

    So currently I've looked at Makitia (supposedly made by Dolmar in Germany although the made in Japan on the saw I looked at makes me think otherwise) Sthil and Husqvarna. Advantages of the makitia its cheap ($400) and very light, disadvantages its in a hardware chain store getting parts might be a bit of an issue. Its purchase price allows funds to get a proper firewood saw at some point.

    Sthil there are two specialist shops that stock them that are relatively close (so parts and support aren't really an issue) three models one for about $700 a superlight tree surgeons saw 780 and the full tilt pro top handle for around $1300.

    Husqvarna Has a similar line up with a common mans version for a 750 an pro version with auto tune etc for 1350 and I think the local shop has a NOS (new old stock) earlier version of the top handle for around $1100.

    Other brands? direct experiences? thoughts comments, where to by a good hockey mask all useful!
    Harvey community radio has a motorcycling show listen over the web here ,Facebook here yes I am the goose that hosts it.

  • #2
    I have a little Husqvarna and it is AWSOME only cost a few hundy I did the research and the Husky came out on top Better built and the chain is thicker and stronger than Sthil


    • #3
      Arborist saws are pro gear so you will pay a premium for them. I wouldn't touch makita if it was free let alone paying for one. Stihl and husky are the only choices if you want longevity and spare parts availability. My preference is Stihl but that's my preference. Husky have had good feedback but I personally find that they lack torque and feel generally cheap. They are lighter though if you are going to be working for an extended period. All my gear is Stihl and while expensive and heavy they never fail to work and always have the power to get any job done. I found that huskies tend to be chain killers when working hardwood too.


      • #4
        Stihl proudly advertise that they're not available at Bunnings or Masters - there's something. Ok maybe I'm a bit biased after years of buying crap throwaway stuff at Bunnings, but Stihl...

        Got me a MS251 with the easy start thingo and space-shuttle tile tipped chain about this time last year and it's great. Starts easy cuts wood and has the tool-less tightening thing for the chain. Maybe all the decent ones are like that but the rubbish I was using before was a pita.

        I have so far found it entirely suitable for cutting jarrah firewood, and it's equally at home encouraging neighbours to turn wee-hours music down


        • #5
          I did a lot of work many years ago with a little Homelite 16"...

          Most of the work was dropping quite big dead Jarrahs and I had to miss stuff on the ground...

          I started from the top and worked down...

          When your are 40 feet from the ground a small saw that can be one handed is a plus...

          Yet it could still take down the trunk at ground level with a bit of work...

          It was cheap and I can't remember having to replace anything but bars and chains in the two to three years I used it...


          • #6
            My old man has a Stihl - the thing is now 30 years old, but apart from premix, chain oil, the odd chain & a spark plug it's still going strong. It's just a wee 35cm, but used to make firewood with it as it was our only heating in winter in Europe for about 5 years! Look after a Stihl and it looks after you when you need it!


            • #7
              I consider myself experienced with regard to chainsaws and firewood. After having the luxury of using work chainsaws of various sizes I chose the $700 Stihl Woodboss as my firewood chainsaw just over a year ago. I suggest you buy one of those but I wouldn't recommend using it if you are up a ladder. If you are pruning small branches (<200mm) I suggest you hire a very small chainsaw suitable for use one handed.

              For firewood I have found the bigger the better, even up to an 066, but it generally doesn't warrant buying such a large one unless you need it for bigger jobs than firewood. The $700 Stihl needs to work fairly hard with big logs (700mm) but it can still manage it. Larger saws become heavy but once they're cutting through the log the extra grunt outweighs the inconvenience of weight.

              You will find that the Stihl shop will have a sale every few months but they don't drop the price of their saws so much as just include extras, such as safety equipment or a spare chain.


              • #8
                A few months ago I decided to buy a new chainsaw and it had to be something decent.
                Having spent many years using chainsaws in a variety of uses my decision was limited
                to either a Stihl or Husky with a preference towards the Stihl but I was prepared to keep
                an open mind.
                After a solid discussion with both dealers it was obvious to me that Stihl was the way to go
                for a variety of reasons. So I purchased a MS 381 and I am super happy with my choice both
                in performance and the fact it probably will last another 15 years or so.

                It cost $1249 but if one factors that cost over a fifteen year period it actually works out to be a
                bargain. Especially when you consider that Stihl carries a full range of spares for their range for at least
                twenty years.
                Last edited by Tiger1; 09-04-2014, 01:14 PM.
                They say money can't buy happiness. But you can use it to buy a Triumph and you never see sad people riding Triumphs.


                • #9
                  Huskies, Stihl are definitely great saws.
                  40 years ago we used Huskies, Jonsenred, Homelite and McCullock in the bush.
                  I think the latter two went broke and the names were bought by the Chinese and they produced "shit" under a respected brand name.


                  • #10
                    Need to trim branches up trees?

                    Cut firewood or clean-up around the house?

                    Production softwood? *

                    * Personal preferences... Stihl make an excellent product as well. My 15 year old fencing saw (026) can live in the shed for years at a time. Take it out - squirt of CRC, fresh fuel, will fire 2nd or 3rd pull then run all day.


                    • #11
                      have a look at the japanese tools. ECHO and shindawa make extreemly good 2 stroke tools. the shindawa's are marketed toward professionals who need to use them day in day out.


                      • #12
                        for one handed Stihl 020 FTW
                        faster ya go closer to nirvana


                        • #13
                          wanna race?

                          faster ya go closer to nirvana


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paraletic View Post
                            have a look at the japanese tools. ECHO and shindawa make extreemly good 2 stroke tools. the shindawa's are marketed toward professionals who need to use them day in day out.
                            I've been using Echo chainsaws for years, my oldest about 10 years now. Highly recommended. Never had a problem starting any of them. Get parts off Sandersons in Osborne Park.
                            The crux of the biscuit is the apostrophe.


                            • #15
                              I've got a Stihl MS311 Farmboss and I love it. For home use you'll be fine with either Stihl or Husky.

                              A good dealer will mean much more to your ownership experience than which of those two saws you choose; having a couple of dealers close by I'd lean towards the Still.