Need a chainsaw recommendation

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Forum topic by Axle505 posted 03-12-2016 02:45 AM 746 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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143 posts in 859 days

03-12-2016 02:45 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chainsaws carving

I’m attending a community college as a wood carving major. I’m new to a lot of things in the field…and chainsaws.

I have a plum, or fruitwood, tree burl stump that is 28 inches along its widest point and around 36 inches in length. I’ve decided to shape it into a cylinder so that I can carve it better. Here’s a picture. I need a recommendation on what chainsaw to get to include the blade length and engine cc range. I understand that Husqvarna and Stihl are the chainsaws of choice. I’m not rich. But, I am willing to pay $250-$300 for this item. I would like to read what others have to say here.

15 replies so far

View Redoak49's profile


3280 posts in 2012 days

#1 posted 03-12-2016 02:49 AM

Those are two of the best brands of chain saws. A word of caution is that stumps like that contain dirt and sometimes rocks. Either of these will dull or damage chains.

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6764 posts in 2222 days

#2 posted 03-12-2016 03:00 AM

Rent one for a day from your local rental place. That way they can deal with the chain after you trash it :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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18351 posts in 1880 days

#3 posted 03-12-2016 03:08 AM

Find a nice stihl on craigslist. I regularly see nice saws with 18” bars. That would do you well.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View BurlyBob's profile


5549 posts in 2289 days

#4 posted 03-12-2016 03:35 AM

Bill and Brad both have great ideas. If you’ve never handled a chainsaw get some with some experience to guide you. I had a kickback once. It wasn’t a pretty thing. You don’t want one.

View Axle505's profile


143 posts in 859 days

#5 posted 03-12-2016 04:07 AM

Hoping it does not have many rocks. Originally, the tree was in a plastic planter of which the roots broke through. The plastic all but disintegrated.

Took a carving knife to a piece of the trunk—wood is pretty dense—cuts at almost a polish.

View Lazyman's profile


2043 posts in 1411 days

#6 posted 03-12-2016 04:18 AM

It may depend a little on how much you plan to use it. If you only plan occasional or even one time use, a cheaper consumer quality chain saw, especially one off of Craig’s List, might get the job done as long as you start with a sharp blade One the other had I just recently noticed that Stihl is now selling what looks like non-professional versions of their saws for less than I have seen them before. Not sure if this is a new development or if they just started carrying them in the local hardward store.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View scottstef's profile


18 posts in 1304 days

#7 posted 03-12-2016 12:07 PM

I would ask your teacher for their reccomendations. Once you know what they suggest you want, we can better help you. Used from cigs list is a great idea.

View tomsteve's profile


790 posts in 1242 days

#8 posted 03-12-2016 12:46 PM

fisrt things first is pressure wash that thing.
for chainsaws, and going by your descrition, id suggest 35-40 cc with 16” bar.
for brand, dont be afraid of echo sold at the BORG. they are a good saw- some say better than the stihl and husky homeowner saws. i havent ran one, but read a lot of good about them for homeowner saws.
even the poulan and bluemax brands might work for ya if youre not going to be using it much.
and get eye and ear protection.
read up on chainsaw operation. dont straight gas it- they require mixed gas.
might be wise to get a spare chain,too.

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2538 days

#9 posted 03-12-2016 01:01 PM

If you intend to use it again and again, you will want to buy a Sthil. If you plan on this being a one time issue, rent as Brad suggests.
I went years without one, and finally got tired of half-baked chainsaws that I rented. They don’t seem to know how to sharpen a chain.
I finally bought a Sthil, the biggest I could afford at the time.
I don’t use it that often, but it is really nice to have there when I do need to cut up a log.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1744 days

#10 posted 03-12-2016 01:45 PM

If you might want to do any carving with the chainsaw in the future, look into carving bars (usually reserved for smaller displacement saws) and see what they which makes and models they’re available for. If you’re going to buy new, Makita, Echo, Husqvarna are all good saws, as is Stihl, however, you get tend to get less saw for your money if buying new. There can be some real deals on all of them when buying used. Get the shortest bar you can that will do everything you need it too, replacement bars get exponentially more expensive the longer they are, chains do as well to a lesser extent.

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3399 days

#11 posted 03-12-2016 02:01 PM

I did a little research in roughly the same price range just a couple of months ago….I was hoping to spend $200, but pondered going as high as $400. I looked closely at Echo, Husky, Stihl, Makita, etc. The problem I discovered as that many of the better brands cater more to the pros than the homeowners, and that many really aren’t all that great at the entry level $200 consumer range….it’s a “you get what you pay for” sort of thing. They all have their share of mixed reviews in that price range. I felt like maybe I should buy used in my price range, spend more for a new one, or try catch a deal on a new one.

During a call to HD about their chainsaws, I discovered that they sell several brands, but use the Makita’s in their rental center. I ended up finding a closeout deal on a Makita/Dolmar 3416 from Grainger for $159 plus s/h ($300-$350 new). Another call to a local service center confirmed that they are good saws, and that they do service them, which was a big part of the decision. It’s been great so far, but I’ve really only got a couple of hours on it.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View JayT's profile


5673 posts in 2234 days

#12 posted 03-12-2016 02:09 PM

If you might want to do any carving with the chainsaw in the future, look into carving bars (usually reserved for smaller displacement saws) and see what they which makes and models they re available for.

- bigblockyeti

+1 to that. Buying a saw for cutting firewood (where you are using the weight of the saw to help cut) is totally different than getting one for carving that you will have to support the whole weight of the saw and manipulate it in all sorts of different ways and angles. For that, you want a small. light saw with minimal vibration. Plus, with a carving saw, the very tip of the bar & blade gets used a lot. That’s one of the things manufacturers specifically warn against with general purpose saws because of the danger of kickback.

The couple of chainsaw carvers I know use a few different saws on each project. A larger one for roughing out, but then quickly switch to smaller, lighter saws for most of the work. They also have multiple small saws with different bars and blades. The best of those will run over $500 new and since they tend to be purchased by professionals, any used ones you find are generally worn out.

Another option might be an angle grinder with a carving attachment. Don’t know if that’s an option for you or not, but would definitely be in your budget.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Lazyman's profile


2043 posts in 1411 days

#13 posted 03-12-2016 02:52 PM

Just had a thought. If you are planning to just use this around your house (or within about 100’ of an electrical outlet anyway), an electric chainsaw can be much cheaper and eliminate the problems with the engine that usually plagues the cheap 2-cycle ones. Even the expensive Stihl needs regular engine maintenance and if you don’t use them often and take care of it, you’ll have to get it serviced. They’re also a lot quieter too.

For example, Worx makes one with an 18” bar for about $100 (Walmart). B&D has one with 16” bar for about $75 (Sears). I have a cheap Remington 10 or 12” chainsaw that came on the end of a pole saw for pruning trees that has worked great for 15 years. I’ve used it a lot and even cut an 11” hickory log down to size for milling lumber on my bandsaw. No messy fuel mixing and no frustrating engine maintenance or repairs. Other than chain sharpening and chain oil, I have done nothing to it but clean the saw dust off it and re-tighten the bar after pushing it a little too hard when pruning 35 trees at my dad’s place. If you don’t have a farm or ranch or take it somewhere you don’t have electricity available, this is the way for the average homeowner to go in my opinion. If you can find one on Craig’s list, you can get an even better deal.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View bonesbr549's profile


1557 posts in 3090 days

#14 posted 03-12-2016 03:12 PM

For a chainsaw Stihl is the tops. Ain’t cheap, but its a one time buy.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View MrRon's profile


4793 posts in 3267 days

#15 posted 03-12-2016 05:16 PM

Stihl is the best, but for the type of carving you want to do, I would recommend an electric chainsaw. That will allow you to carve indoors where a gas powered saw can’t be used.

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