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Chainsaws for Landowners


In the last post we discussed equipment every landowner must have in order to maintain their property effectively. One of the items on the list is a chainsaw. Let’s look at some of the considerations when choosing a chainsaw for land managing and recreational property maintenance.

There are basically two version of chainsaws on the market. The small, ‘disposable’ chainsaw and the commercial chainsaw. By ‘disposable’ what I mean is that these machines are built with a very low maximum lifespan. Most homeowner versions are designed to work up to 100 hours. That translates to a very short life for the landowner and recreational property owner.

Conversely, the commercial saw is designed for around 2,500 hours of run time. As you can see there is quite the difference between these two versions. And interestingly, the cost factor is not that great between the two.

Personally I like the Stihl and Husqvarna brands of saws. These are primarily made for the industrial market, but their small to medium saws are built with the same ruggedness and lifespan as their bigger commercial saws.

When choosing a saw it seems to me that the primary use should be one of the considering factors. If for example you will be felling trees and cutting firewood you will want a bigger saw. While if you will be cutting saplings and limbs, a small arbiter saw is one to consider.

Recently, a friend of mine decided to borrow my Husqvarna 345. During this process, he accidently put the wrong kind of gas in the machine and melted the piston.  This led me on the hunt for a new saw. After a lot of investigating, and discussion. I settled on the Stihl Farm Boss with a 20 inch bar. If there is one thing I have learned as I have gotten older is that I do not need to bend over to saw a tree if the bar is long enough. Personal preference is that a 20 inch bar is about as big as a non-professional can handle and I needed a saw with the horsepower to move a 20 inch chain. And a saw that was under 13 pounds. Few people ever consider the weight of the saw when buying one, but two hours into cutting and the pound you saved at purchase is worth every penny.

Chainsaws are some of the handiest tools and some of the most dangerous tools. These cutting machines can slice through hardwood with ease. They can also slice through human flesh very fast. Too many of my friends have had severe saw accidents by one simple flash of inattention. Slow going and constant attention to everything around you is essential when using a saw.

When felling trees, the first thing you do is clear all debris, brush, and limbs out of your way from the area you will be working. Make sure there is nothing that could possibly impede your maneuvering and safe handling of the saw while felling a tree. Secondly, never push on the saw to try and get it to cut faster. If you are having to push on the saw to move it through the log. Stop. Take the few minutes to sharpen the chain and then resume cutting. It is always, and I repeat always a better use of time and effort to sharpen a dull chain. One good practice to get into, is every time you have to stop to refuel, take your file and hit the chain one or two passes per chain tooth to keep the chain sharp. Doing this will save a lot of time in the future.

Stihl and Husqvarna are in my opinion the only brands to consider when purchasing a saw for land maintenance. Other brands just do not hold up to the rigors of the work. I have seen far too many Poulan’s, McCullough, Craftsman, and Homelite saws just not be able to handle the tasks. A good Stihl or Husky will run you a little less than $500. But it will last a decade or longer for most landowners or land managers.

Chainsaw’s are invaluable tools for those who maintain property. Choose wisely, and be careful. When using a chainsaw of any size, it is always a smart idea when using a chainsaw to wear gloves and chaps. Ear and eye protection are a must. Chainsaws will make your work easier and thereby safer when used properly.