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Thoughts on electric chainsaws?

 
Cj Sloane
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Please chime in.
I have a Neuton cordless which is OK, good for saplings and I'm looking to get something a little beefier. I'm particularly interested in the Oregon 40 volt or any others that have a built-in sharpener.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The best one is by Oregon, the same company that makes chain for half of the world. Theirs is self sharpening.

Edit - It's been two years since I started looking at these things.  I now have 4 cordless electric saws and make a good portion of my living using them.

 There are several models that I would now recommend over the Oregon. The self sharpening mechanism has been problematic.

 E-go, Green Works, Stihl make really good cordless saws. Makita makes a very suitable topping saw that is great for small jobs. I would not buy their larger saw that takes two batteries, because of price and an awkward shape.





 
Cj Sloane
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Dale do you own one?
 
Dale Hodgins
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John Polk
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I am a little afraid of the 'self-sharpening' feature.
It makes it too easy to hit the button whenever you feel the blade could be sharper.

I would imagine that one could go through chains really quickly without a little restraint.
(Oregon is in the business of selling chains...duh.)
 
Christian Kettner
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Hi CJ...I think Paul talked about the electric chainsaws on podcasts 263 or 4
Updates from the lab part 1&2 ...hope I'm not wrong on the location but he did talk about his experiences with them
 
R Scott
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Yeah, but a sharp chain will cut with half the power of a dull chain. That is CRITICAL on a cordless tool.

Oregon sells that chain for lots of saws, but you have to put the bar in a special sleeve and sharpen around the tip sprocket. That part looks hokey. This that is a button like the old oilers, that is slick.

Personally, I have bought a couple carbide chains for one of my saws--the one they were cheapest for. They stay sharp FOREVER. Definitely worth it if you cut hard wood like locust or hedge.
 
Cj Sloane
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Paul did talk about the Makita and another one on a pod cast but not the oregon. Just looking for more input.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I've had Oregon chain on many saws. It's the industry standard. I'm not dumb enough to sharpen unless it needs it. I agree with Mr. Scott on the power issue. Sharp saws cut faster and they cut straight. This seems like the perfect limbing and coppice saw. I often find myself in tight spots where fumes accumulate.

I want one.
 
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Couple of years back a penny poker machine flashed an unexpected royal flush at me so I took that $117 dollars and bought a Black & Decker 18v chainsaw. It's very handy for branches and young trees just a hair larger than my old lopper can handle. But battery life is very poor. I'm lucky to get all the way through a 4" piece of hardwood without needing to swap batteries. Frankly I would get more utility out of a fancy pair of long-handled loppers wirth the gear teeth.
 
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I am having serious electric saw desire after seeing that Oregon. Any ideas on where some of the best places to purchase might be located - other than the InfernalNet?
 
Cam Monroe
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Watching this thread with great interest.
I am planning a chainsaw purchase in the next month, this Oregon saw, might be just what my little 1 acre plot needs.
 
Cj Sloane
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Jack Spirko does a pretty good review of the Oregon electric chain saw on this podcast. It's quite a ways in, the 3rd listener call.
 
David Livingston
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and the cost of one of these little darlings is ...........
I too am looking for a chainsaw soon like in the next month or so

David
 
Bill Erickson
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David Livingston wrote:and the cost of one of these little darlings is ...........
I too am looking for a chainsaw soon like in the next month or so

David


My use of google-fu indicates an on-line price between $350 to $400 depending upon the battery pack plus shipping - maybe. Not sure what a brick and mortar place is going to charge. The Greenworks ones out there, seem to be not as robust, but less expensive. Oregon cuts faster and is apprently the choice of professionals, while the Greenworks have a lower cost and still work, albeit slower.
 
Dale Hodgins
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--- Benefits of going cordless ---

Stealth --- Many of my customers would prefer that the world not know that we are trimming Gary Oak trees or others that the city has rules about. You're not allowed to remove them without a permit. Trimming branches by the house and driveway are allowed but ill informed neighbors can be a pain.
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Noise --- Sometimes I need to trim something in town on Sunday or during other times of noise restriction. These things are pretty quiet so long as I don't include the sound of breaking glass. OOps.
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Fumes --- I don't do the giant Douglas Firs or other really tall stuff. Most of my pruning jobs find me inside 20 ft rhododendrons, azaleas, cedar or laurel hedges and other stuff that is so thick that the fumes don't readily blow away. I sometimes wear an asbestos mask and I often have to stop what I'm doing and move to a new area to escape the fumes of the gas saw. There are times when I use a chainsaw inside a house. I often travel with a chainsaw in my van. It is triple bagged to prevent gas fumes from escaping.
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Instant starting --- Quite often I need a chainsaw for one minute or less. There's no start up time with the battery powered saw.
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Cut time --- I have cut firewood professionally and I've done hundreds of tree removal and landscaping jobs in town. In the forest, the electric would probably make a great limbing saw. Most of the chainsaw work that I do in the city involves ladders, climbing and other acrobatics to get to the branches that need cutting. I've done many giant hedges where I walk along the cut off tops of cedars and firs. This work has very little in common with production cutting of firewood. The speed of cut has little bearing on production. The time it takes to get the ladder moved and to get myself into a safe position far exceeds the time to actually complete the cut. Pissing around with the pull cord requires that both hands be off of the ladder or whatever structure I'm hanging off of (one customer calls me Spiderman). I have walked up many ladders with the saw idling in order to avoid doing the tedious and dangerous starting procedure at the top of the ladder. My saws require one or two pulls, usually one. In this type of setting the electric would usually save time. Climbing is safer, start is instant. A 3 second cut takes 6 with the electric. Insignificant. I often loose time when I move away from fumes until they blow away. This and the constant starting and stopping waste far more time than any loss in cutting speed with the electric. I have sometimes used a battery powered reciprocating saw with a tree blade in tough spots. It cuts much slower than any chainsaw.

On my average in town tree job, the saw is actually cutting wood for maybe 15 minutes a day. These jobs involve lots of lopper work, hedge pruner work, climbing, walking, roping, ladder moving and clean up. I'm constantly moving my ass. Larger cuts give me an excuse to stand still for a moment. Suppose that cut time is doubled. There's 15 minutes. That number could only hold true on the ground. The electric has the advantage whenever stuff under 6 inches in diameter is cut from a ladder or while climbing. 12 pounds is a nice weight and something that I could easily hold at arms length. Back to the 15 wasted minutes --- Subtract from this, any time spent messing with fuel, sharpening time, starting time (about 50 times a day when I'm on a hedge), and time spent dodging fumes. I have done a few laurel hedges with a corded electric saw. Not only do you have to drag the cord around, falling debris gets caught up in the cord. Still it was worth it to avoid the fumes.

I don't expect that using an electric saw will slow me down in any way. It will save time. I will use it whenever that makes sense. On most jobs, that will be for 80% of cuts and 40% of total wood produced. Big wood cut with a gas saw adds up fast.
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Safety --- I wield a chainsaw like a barber wields scissors. Still there are dangers. The electric offers greater safety on ladders since it doesn't require starting and the dangerous practice of climbing with a running saw. With a gas saw, the chain continues for a bit after the gas is released. If the idle is set too high, the chain can be in continuous motion. When climbing with a running saw, the gas can catch on a limb and start the chain.

Even when walking on level ground, it is possible to get tangled up in debris and fall flat on your face. The gas saw can accidentally be given a shot of gas during a moment like this. If you are ever about to fall, toss the saw to the side, not in front of you. I've tripped a few times but never landed on a running saw. Many have. Treat it like a live grenade. Get rid of it !
 
John Polk
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Also, consider that saw to be free.
Over its lifetime, it will save its purchase cost in gasoline/oil.

I am not a huge fan of electric saws for heavy work, but I had one for any light work within reach of a drop cord. Now that the battery operated saws have more power they make a wonderful option for any light work - even in the middle of the woods, or 50 feet up in the middle of a tree.

 
Dale Hodgins
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John Polk wrote:Also, consider that saw to be free.
Over its lifetime, it will save its purchase cost in gasoline/oil.

I am not a huge fan of electric saws for heavy work, but I had one for any light work within reach of a drop cord. Now that the battery operated saws have more power they make a wonderful option for any light work - even in the middle of the woods, or 50 feet up in the middle of a tree.

Much of my fuel cost has been when just a little leaks all over my stuff. What a pain. I've made a few trips for chainsaw stuff. All of the extra gas for the van counts.

I just learned that Stihl and Husqvarna have 36 volt units. Husqvarna are the standard for loggers and others who are serious production cutters. Stihl are the most common rental. I will be very surprised if these two don't eventually dominate this market. ---
---

I pissed away $300 hard earned dollars on a disposable McCulloch and another $250 on a Homelite saw when I was quite young. Both were dead in months. I bought my first Husqvarna when I was 21 and haven't made one stupid purchase since. All have been Stihl and Husqvarna. I've had plenty of opportunity to try out junk like Poulan and Remington and mid range stuff like Shendeiwa, Oregon and Ryobi. These saws belong to customers. All of these trials have occurred when they have starting or other trouble or on rare occasions when I have no saw with me and a customer needs some little thing done. Even the better ones make me respect the Swedes and Germans a little more.

Now I can't wait to go to the Husky dealer tomorrow. That sharpening system on the Oregon machine sure looks good, but I would give 5 to one odds that Husqvarna has made a superior machine. Dealerships are everywhere on the coast. I've never had one problem that wasn't dealt with promptly by a guy who really knows saws.
 
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Cj Sloane
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How about a quicky - yay or nay? Very briefly why?
 
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Cj Verde wrote:How about a quicky
This is what most guys want to hear every day
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I tested the smaller one since a bar could not be found for the big one. It's awesome. I started out with a plunge cut to full bar depth into Douglas fir. It didn't kick. Then cut about one sq ft slice in the big block in about 6 seconds. My best guess is 3 seconds to cut a 6 inch diameter branch of maple or birch. The larger machine has 30% more power for only $30 more. It's even quieter than the video indicated.

Several other tools run on the same $200 each batteries.

1. The blower is superior to some gas models. It kills a battery in 15 minutes which is faster than any of the other tools. You could stand on a skateboard and go places with this as a jet pack. The chainsaws last 35 and 25 minutes. These batteries store more power than the Ryobi tools that last longer on a charge. The Stihl equipment draws more power and compares well to small gas stuff in performance. They charge to 80% in half an hour. The charger is much larger than I've seen elsewhere.

2. Regular hedge trimmer --- Super well built, but not the machine for me. There's a trigger and a safety bar that must be compressed with the other hand for it to work. I must have one hand operation for when I'm hanging off a ladder. Even if the trigger were strapped in the "on" position, It wouldn't work one handed. It's balanced for the cutter to sit at about 30 degrees above level when carried by the handle. They've anticipated that operators would monkey with it to bypass safety features. It's a bit heavy for arms length operation. The hedgers last up to 2 hours on a charge. It takes less energy to lop than to saw. The robust cutter head with large openings, could remove all fingers in an instant.

3. The pole hedger is a beautiful thing. The weight is borne close to the body. Whether on the ground or the ladder, this is the one for me. Easy adjustments. The trigger and hand holds are exactly as they should be.

Here's some video --- The put in a sound track which is silly when we want to hear how loud. They're quiet. ----


This video shows the smaller saw pretty well. Not the best presenter. I couldn't find one that involved cutting except a couple that had no clue as to what we might want to see. ---
 
Cj Sloane
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Dale Hodgins wrote:
Cj Verde wrote:How about a quicky
This is what most guys want to hear every day
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I tested the smaller one since a bar could not be found for the big one. It's awesome. I started out with a plunge cut to full bar depth into Douglas fir. It didn't kick.


Sigh......

Without getting into further trouble, I was wondering if you could do a plunge cut with an electric chainsaw so that was very helpful!
 
Dale Hodgins
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I often need to cut stumps that are less than a foot across to within an inch of soil level. In order to do this without hitting dirt or rock, I pick a clean line and plunge to the opposite side. Now I can cut both ways to finish it. I can use the top part of the bar so that the debris is blown away from me and any dirt on the bark is not drawn through the cut. Once the stump is removed, I do several plunge cuts into what is left, sometimes removing a cone of wood from beneath soil level. I advise customers to pile dog and cat poop on it and cover with soil. Rich carnivore poop rots stumps fast.

The ease of plunge cutting would make the saw great for timber framing and for any sort of round wood construction. Purlins and rafters often need their bottoms shaved after they are in place. I've done this with a gas saw spewing chips and exhaust a foot from my face while I stand on a ladder. The lack of kickback is very handy for guys like me who will never change their ways.
 
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Stihl and Husqvarna equipment comes with an optional waist mounted battery pack that allows the tool to run 5 times longer. It's most commonly used with the blower.It's $850. I mention in another thread the idea of using an old mobility scooter ad a power pack for using these tools with a cord. 3x12v equals 36 volts. If used with an inverter, the mobility scooter could take regular, cheap corded chainsaws to within 75 ft of every tree on my property. For bulk cutting of larger stuff that's on the ground, this is the least expensive option with the longest battery life.

Unfortunately the Stihl pole hedge cutter is a stand alone unit. Other brands have a chainsaw attachment that can replace the cutter head. That's a deal killer for me. Gas powered yard tools come with many attachments run by one motor. The Stihl combi system includes hedge cutters, pole saw, blower, trimmer, edger, power grass scythe, and a little cultivator. Right now, only batteries are interchangeable on the cordless stuff. Each tool has its own motor and handle. They could compete better with gas if a combi line were developed.
 
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This chainsaw - pole saw has an 8 ft. reach. Most people would be able to reach stuff 14 to 15 feet from the ground. Add 3 feet if operating from the back of a pickup truck. If a truck were fitted with an inverter, this 9 amp machine would be great for clearing high branches along tree lined driveways. Mine is 5/8 of a mile long. This or a better brand of this concept, could make road maintenance quick and safe.
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Erica Worhatch
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I've recently purchased a Greenworks 40v. It works great for what i'm dealing with, smaller trees & clearing slash. Really wanted an Oregon, but they wouldn't ship to Alaska (I liked the auto sharp feature).

 
Cj Sloane
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Erica Worhatch wrote: Really wanted an Oregon, but they wouldn't ship to Alaska (I liked the auto sharp feature).


If you purchase from Amazon I bet they'll ship to Alaska! Especially if you're an Amazon Prime member!
 
Cj Sloane
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OK! So I got the Oregon & used it today. My husband & I each cut down an 8" birch. Pretty easy since they were already leaning where we wanted them to go. They were about 50' tall and barely any limbs - perfect for what I'm attempting (a little bridge to the island where we're making a bee hut).

I did have to charge it for about an hour or two right out of the box. The only other thing was to fill it with bar oil, then press the button and pull the trigger. Awesome. I guess I'm a slightly wimpy woman cause I have a hard time starting a chainsaw - or pull starting anything really.

My husband did give it a thumbs up. He was really shocked that it had a built in sharpener. I told him the Stil & Huskevarner got better reviews but were $100-200 more and no built in sharpener. He thought the Oregon was fine.
 
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I have talked to several people who have the Oregon. They all seem to like it, but confirmed my suspicion:
The self sharpening feature is great, but you will go through chains a bit quicker. If every time it feels that it isn't 100% you engage the sharpener, you will wear out a blade quicker.

By itself, that is not really a disadvantage. (Don't forget that Oregon's prime business is selling chains...Duh!) If you are sawing with a dull blade, you are not only wasting a lot of your time, but you are also screwing up the hardening/tempering of the chain which is slowly killing it. I would hate to think of how many hours of my life have been spent on the job sharpening chains. Ouch! Also, I want to have several 'used up' chains: if I am felling a tree that I want the bulk of the stump removed, I will go into the ground to hack away at the bigger roots. Don't want to use one of my 'production chains' for that chore. Perfect time to switch to my 'spent' chains (& bars). It is handy having some equipment that is beyond its prime.
 
Cj Sloane
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John Polk wrote:
The self sharpening feature is great, but you will go through chains a bit quicker. If every time it feels that it isn't 100% you engage the sharpener, you will wear out a blade quicker.


I knew that going in & I'm OK with that. One question, how will I know when it's time to get a new chain?
 
Erica Worhatch
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Hey CJ, I do order from Amazon & still run into shipping issues. Many places will not ship to Alaska or Hawaii.
 
Cj Sloane
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Erica, consider adding your location to your profile, Alaska would be handy to know.

Shipping has been a little hit or miss with a prime membership, maybe it has to do with the dollar amount. The chainsaw came overnight.
 
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I knew that going in & I'm OK with that. One question, how will I know when it's time to get a new chain?

I haven't examined one of those chains, so I don't know if they are a standard chain, or one specifically designed for that saw. With Oregon's expertise in chains, I wouldn't be surprised if it was designed specifically for that usage.

As far as 'when to change it' goes, I think that would depend on several factors. I would suspect that sharpening at running speed vs hand filing would tend to lessen the hardening/tempering of the steel. If so, there will become a time when it seems to need resharpening after every few cuts. That is an indication that the chain is due for replacement. Other than that, I would measure the length of each tooth when the saw is new. When that length is around half of its original length, I would seriously consider getting a new one, and saving the old one for those dirty, rough jobs where you don't really care what happens to it.

To many, this may seem like a huge added expense, but with a regular chain saw, if you added up all of the hours that you spent sharpening during the life of the chain, even at minimum wages, you would have spent more sharpening than a new blade costs. In a heavy day of cutting, you need to stop production several times in order to resharpen all of the chains. This adds up over time. (Although, sometimes it is nice to take a quiet break from from the sawing...but it drastically cuts into your production for the day.)
 
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Hey CJ....yeah, I guess I didn't know which state to put since I have a foot in both AK and MO I've actually had to have items sent to my Missouri address so I could physically take them back to Alaska.


 
Cj Sloane
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John Polk wrote:(Although, sometimes it is nice to take a quiet break from from the sawing...but it drastically cuts into your production for the day.)


This saw is totally quiet when not running. It is an added benefit!
 
James Burnette
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I'm really thinking about the oregon now. I am a lefty and kinda worried about chainsaws anway. I heard Paul talk about how electric ones are safer. Anyone try this with a chainsaw mill? Maybe bypass the battery and run off power?
 
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Rj Howell
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I run a corded chain saw and love it.
The costs of a good battery one is prohibitive in my mind.

I'll use my gas/oil saw if required, but once bucked and moved closer to the house, the corded comes out!

Took me 4 years to burn out the first one.
This ones 2 years in and running strong!
 
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RJ what make were the saws?
 
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