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Discussion Starter #1
I've got a chainsaw question for all you turners: what, in your opinion, is the best chainsaw setup for cutting medium to large bowl blanks out of green logs(hardwoods, including oak, ash, maple, elm, etc.) on a limited budget(under $300). I know that that is a bit low as far as quality chainsaws go, but I'm hoping to stay within that range. Do I need a ripping blade(if that is even a real thing)? Is an 18" bar enough? How many cc's should I be looking for? I'd like to buy something that could also do light duty with an Alaskan Sawmill, but I understand that my budget constraints may not allow this. Thanks for any advice, and if you think I'm way off, don't hesitate to let me know.
 

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If you are just looking for something cheep and low maintenance and cheap I would go with an electric chainsaw. Ive seen plenty of folks halve up bigger bowl blanks with one... I'd suggest going on craigslist and seeing what's around. Make the seller start it up give it some revs and watch him cut a few. In terms of brand the best brand out there is STIHL "In my opinion" Go to any professional tree trimming place and ask em what brand they use and 9 times out of ten thats the answer. Husqvarna comes in second and is also a very dependable saw. In terms of which model with stihl I would go with the ms 250. I do lots of larger bowls and it handles them just fine. It comes with an 18 inch bar which is all you will need and is much lighter than the next model up and helps with user fatigue. very maneuverable. happy turnin,
Bond
 

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I was going to suggest the MS250 with 18" bar also. I feel like it's the best 300 buck saw there is, as well as best power to weight. Even though the new ones are designed to run ethanol gas, I always avoid it if possible. Most of my saws were new in 1999,- 290, 036, 066, and a newer 180, and all still run fine.

The 250 is too light for a mill. I run the 066 on one end, and the 036 on the other. I wouldn't bother with a ripping chain for cutting out bowl chunks, but you will need to know how to sharpen a chain. I whet lightly at each fill up.
 

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The word "best" and the phrase "limited budget" may be in conflict.

Stihl or Husqvarna may be the best brands, some folks prefer one over the other.

How frequently will the chainsaw be used. Small gasoline engines can be a maintenance problem.

I have an infrequent need for a chainsaw for the same purposes as you. I looked on Craigs List and purchased a used Husqvarna electric chainsaw, model 316E which means 16in bar. I think it is 12 amps.

This works for my needs - as long as I am within extension cord distance.

If money were no object, I would look at one of the high end Stihl gasoline powered saws, which cost about $700. Since money is an object, I can just dream.
 

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I have used a stihl 170 with 16 in. bar. It had a 14 when I got it. It cut better with the 14, but wanted the extra 2 inches. It does well. But, I just purchased a ms 251 with an 18 in bar. I think it was 349 with a free carrying case and I bought a 6 pack of oil and got an extra 1 year warranty. Haven't used it yet though. I figure it is a big step above the 170 and it still works good after I had some minor repairs done on it.
 
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chain saw

I have a Jonsered (Swedish saw) that I paid $350.00 for about 30 years ago. I wouldn't sell it today for $400.00. Best saw that I have ever owned. You see alot of them up north but not too many down here in Florida. I bought mine in New Hampshire.

I think the Husqvarna and also the Stihl are excellent saws.
You might have to ante up another $100. (approx) to get one of these quality saws.

Dick
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm thinking I may just exercise a little patience here and save a little more bread, so as to be able to entertain the idea of a larger, higher quality saw. In the meantime, I may go with the suggestion of a smaller electric saw, possibly used. That will allow me to process most of the chunks I already have, and I can easily seal up the rest. Thanks a bunch, guys!
 

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Camden said:
I'm thinking I may just exercise a little patience here and save a little more bread, so as to be able to entertain the idea of a larger, higher quality saw. In the meantime, I may go with the suggestion of a smaller electric saw, possibly used. That will allow me to process most of the chunks I already have, and I can easily seal up the rest. Thanks a bunch, guys!
I like that idea. I use an MS 250 16" to trim blanks but an electric would work just as well and maybe better for that purpose. I use an MS 362 with a 25" bar in the woods. It has made the job of cross cutting larger logs and ripping them in half a much easier job, but it's not easy to trim blanks with it. If you are going to turn a lot of green wood I think a 2 saw setup is ideal.
 

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Tractor Supply sells the Jonsered (sp?) now. Hadn't heard of them till now, been teetering as to buy one or maybe a Husky. Up to now been using Poulans--- they've worked just fine.
And I make use of an 18 electric too.
When I cut, it's a lot at one time.
 

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I was a Stihl dealer for many years. I found that if you FILTER your PROPERLY mixed fuel when you fill the tank, keep the saw out of the dirt, carry an extra plug, keep the air filter clean, keep chain sharp and properly adjusted, and NEVER loan the saw, well, it will run and run.

Most of the service issues we found were fuel related, air filters that were never looked at, chains on backwards, fouled spark plug,and a dull chain.

I wish you well,

Dale in Indy
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks again for all of the help guys! My father ended up dropping of a new Poulan 18" yesterday. I guess he's just excited that I'm doing something with my hands. Probably not the first saw I would have chosen(simply because they never crossed my mind), and I don't normally associate weed-eaters with chainsaws, but the sumbitch cuts. As far as the maintenance concerns, I've been around and using small 2-cycle engines as long as I can remember. After getting my chore money taken away to replace a poorly maintained leaf blower, weed-eater or trimmer, I got damn good at taking care of them and fixing them if need be. I plan on passing that same ethic to my son as well. Thanks again, guys, and happy thanksgiving!
 
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