|Review by Ick||posted 09-16-2008 08:26 PM||8498 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
I’ve been an owner of a Stihl 16” chainsaw for years. I have 50 acres that has substantial amount of Blackjack Oaks. These trees typically stay until 14” in diameter at the base, so the 16” bar has always been more than enough.
A couple of years ago, my wife treated me to a new Stihl Pruner. I’ve been so impressed with this tool that my old standard chainsaw rarely gets used. Whereas I thought the pruner would be a specialty saw, I find myself reaching for it first (and probably using it in situations where the other saw is more apprpriate). I could see for many people that this would be the only saw they would need.
The model that I have is sold as individual components:
- Cutting head is a 3ft section that contains a 10” bar and oiling tank.
- Fixed Length extensions. These are 3 ft. extensions and you can use none, 1, or 2 extensions.
- Power Unit. Various size engines to cover a wide range from occassional to professional use.
Reflecting on my experiences with it, this is what I would pass on:
- Pruners by their nature should make the operator feel safer. You’re several feet from the cutter, and standing firmly on the ground.
- But, also due to it’s length, I prefer to work alone. My wife normally drags brush for me, and I just have her work in a totally different area, if at all.
- The modular setup allows for configuring just what you need. Each of the sections has a drive shaft. The only issue I’ve ever had is that the sections need to fit together very tightly, or the connectors between the drive shafts will not seat properly. Stihl assists in have tape on the extensionis marking when you have a section fully engaged, but the more sections you add, the more precise you need to be with making sure that you are fully seated. Even 1/8” will cause you to not get power to the cutting head. It’s easily remedied by making sure there is nothing obstructing the connection and reseating each section.
- The item that caught me most by surprise, but makes perfect sense after using the tool, is the more extensions you have, the more torque you subject your body to. If I use both of my extensions, I have a pruner that is about 12’ in overall length. I’m 5’ 10” and this is a beast to man-handle. I’m only good for about 20 minutes, and I need a break; or I need to drop an extension. So, you need to pre-plan your work. I like to use all of the extensions, when I’m freshest; but I focus on the high stuff. I get the extra extension off and then come back to the same tree and trim the shorter stuff.
- The first item should give you a clue about thinking you’d gain extra height by working on a ladder—DON’T. I’ve worked out of a pickup bed, but you definitely need good footing.
- Another issue with having all of the extensions, is that there is some flex. You have to have a fair amount of strength to hold the cutter at the right amount of pressure to keep it from just digging in and binding. If you just let the weight drop on the limb, you’ll bind the chain.
- Without any extensions, it’s still about 6 ft long, which works well for cutting up larger pieces and is almost like a regular chain saw. I wouldn’t use it to cut a stump off flush with the ground, but I’ll get it within a foot, as long as the 10” bar is enough.
This is my 4th Stihl implement (2 chain saws and a weed eater) over a 25 year period. This is by far the easiest to start as they’ve gotten progressively better. One major advantage with this one over my regular chain saw is that the air filter on the regular saw needs to have sawdust cleaned off at each refuel. Since the air filter is 6 ft. from the cutter, this is never an issue.
-- Craig, Oklahoma