TOH Tested Chainsaws

Power at Hand

The new generation of chain saws offers the perfect balance of speed, size, and weight for weekend lumberjacks. It is possible to cut down a tree for wood or remove it after a storm. It’s easy to get started with our five favorite engines. Let’s go!

What are the key features to look for in a chainsaw?

1. A transparent gas tank or one that has a window to see the fuel level.

2. For quick and simple chain adjustments, a tool-less tensioner is available.

3. A primer bulb and an easy-start system are paired together to fire up the engine with fewer pulls.

4. Large enough handle to keep your boot in place during starts.

5. You can use your wrist to nudge the blade brake.

Hot Stuff

Certain tree species emit more heat when they are burned than others. This is expressed in British Thermal Units (Btus). The higher the number, it is hotter. These are the top common firewoods.

Moving from Forest to Fireplace: Technique

A game plan is essential when cutting down trees to make firewood. Here’s yours:

1. You can cut diagonally into the trunk at a angle of 70 degrees to the ground, until you are about one-third through the trunk and a few inches above grade.

2. To complete the notch, make a horizontal cut and then remove the wedge from the trunk.

3. Cut the hinge: Slice towards the notch’s tip or slightly higher on the opposite side. This will create a thin strip of meat that is 3/4 to 2 inches in width. Shout, “Timber!” Now, take off all limbs.

Lifting

A timber jack is used to cut a log in sections without pinching it.

1. With the T-shaped kickstand in between you and your log, slip the jaw around it a few feet away from the cut end. Push the handle until the bark touches the inside of your jaw.

2. You can pull the handle back so that the jaw is bitten and the kickstand lifts the log.

3. Place the handle on the ground, and cut the log into the length that you need for your fireplace.

Splitting

Place the log section on a larger log, or solid ground. The blade of the splitting ax should meet the edge closest to your face. Leave one-third of it hanging free. You don’t want the blade to be buried in the middle. Grab the handle in one hand, the top with the other and lift the ax up overhead. Swing the handle through your top hand and drive the blade in the perimeter.

Tip: If wood is your primary heat source, a log splitter is worth it. It is a labor-saver.

Stihl MS 250

When we placed the 18-inch bar in a log of 17 inches, this beast didn’t hesitate. Its engine is more powerful and larger than many in the DIY category, and it came to life with only three pulls. It could have been paired with more user-friendly features, such as a primer bulb. The blade brake is placed well, and the looping handle allows you to cut stumps almost flush with the ground.

Oregon CS250S

A 40-volt lithium battery can make 125 cuts in a log measuring 3 inches in diameter before it needs to be recharged. It can also be used to cut small trees, but it is quiet enough to be run on Sunday mornings. The 14-inch-long bar of the cordless saw has a built in sharpener. The translucent window allows you to check the level of your oil through it.

Ryobi RY40510

This 10-inch tree saw is not designed to be used for large pruning jobs or storm damage cleanup. We love the long life, the battery gauge and the tool-less tensioner. It is not comfortable and could make long tasks difficult. Although the battery is located ahead of the handle, it helps keep the saw balanced while slicing logs. However, the blade can feel awkward if it’s parallel to the ground.

Homelite UT10568

This entry-level saw is ideal for cutting through logs upto 15 inches in diameter and sectioning down branches after a storm. You get a toolless chain tensioner, anti-vibration design and a primer light for less than $200. The bolt-on safety tip keeps the chain from kicking back and rounds over the tip, which we like, even though it prevents plunge cuts.

Husqvarna 440 e-16

How do I start it? The instructions are printed right next to the handle. We were able to cut a dozen pieces of storm-damaged conifers measuring 6-inch and 8 inches in diameter without any problems. To prevent the saw binding, it was necessary to cut larger logs using the 16-inch bar. This saw isn’t as fatigue-inducing as many chainsaws. The handle has springs that insulate from engine vibration. DIY-friendly indeed.

About the Author

author

Darius Matsumoto

Hi, i am Darius. Woodworking is my another hobby for the last five years. I love to write woodworking project and also ideas.

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