Alligator or chainsaw? Advice please.

Discussion in 'DIY' started by foggy_balla, Feb 29, 2012.

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  1. As the title suggests, after any genuine advice/guidance/opinions on what would be the better option. Main usage would be for cutting timber. I have two wood burning stoves to feed and a ready supply ofl fuel for them, (felled trunks and branches between 2-6 feet in length. Thickest trunks would be approx 8-10 inches diameter). Last year I used a hand saw for cutting into suitable lengths for chopping, but took a bloody age never mind the effort! Suggestions as to which, and better makes/models would be appreciated. Budget is in or around £100-150. Cheers in advance.
  2. You'll not get much of a chainsaw new on that budget I'm afraid. Cheapo McCullogh shite from B&Q is just that - go for a decent make like Stihl, new or secondhand and it'll last years - my Stihl is at least 25 years old and going strong - gets used for the cutting and felling job - then indoors to dry before cutting into logs with a bench mounted circular saw.

    Another option is one of these - great if you operate it as a crew served weapon complete with loader...Portek Saw/Log Horse The Best Log Cutting Bench Around | eBay

    Small electric saws just don't have the cojones for long stints of wood cutting - the motors burn out.
  3. Cheers so far. Saladin, the log horse looks the ticket. Definitely consider that or something like it if I go with a chainsaw. Realistically, whatever I get is only going to get used a couple of times a year for cutting the fuel for my stoves into "axe-splittable" size. Last couple of years I've cut, chopped and stacked 2-3 tonnes of timber in spring for use the following winter. Not much use or need for a saw beyond that. Local place near me sells re-conditioned petrol chainsaws within my budget. Husqvarna and Stihl amongst others. Reason I had considered the like of an alligator saw was that not used a chainsaw much in the past, and given I'm only going to use it half a dozen times a year I thought it may be a more reasonable (and safer!) option.
  4. If you are just cutting firewood to length outside your house occasionally then I would go for an electric saw like the Makita shown above. If you want to go and cut down your own trees then I would get a Stihl or Husky petrol saw as they have the best parts back up and dealer support. A Ching-Dong chainsaw from Lidl will be considerably cheaper but when it goes wrong you won't be able to get any parts for it. If you do get a cheapie saw from Aldi make sure it has an Oregon bar so you can get spare chains and bars.

    Whatever you get make sure you get a sharpening kit and teach yourself how to use it!

    I go to F R Jones and sons in S London for my kit and maintenance.

    Try one of these with a 14" bar - you won't go wrong for what you need it for.

    Stihl MS 181 chainsaw (31.8cc) | F R Jones and Son
  5. Got a 30 year old Mc Culloch which gets used occasionally for small branches and stuff, maybe they don't make em like they used to :? and there's always the Husqvarna for serious jobs.

    Seeing you only need the chainsaw for a few days a year have you considered hiring one ?.
  6. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    Depends on the thickness of what you are cutting and how often. A B&Q McCulloch 14" will cost about £120. Its a piece of shite. Theres a 18" Husky 351 on eBay for £100. Its a nice tool.

    Husqvarna 351, like 346xp, 353, 350 | eBay

    That'll cut your sticks then you need to split them. Theres all sorts of tricky 'effortless' log splitters out there. They are mostly bollocks. Buy a heavy maul for about £20 and get some exercise.

    Or man up. Buy a restored Lister D for about £60. Belt it onto a saw bench - theres a rusty old lot on eBay now going for 99p. This one is making £50


    Tell your lass to do one, fire up the Lister and fill the air with petrol fumes and sawdust.
  7. Thought of hiring one, but figured that buying one would pay for itself within next 3-4 years.
  8. TheIronDuke, that was the road I was venturing down, chains and reciprocating blades are fickle, a rotating blade is reliable, when its getting blunt you just go slower or press harder.
  9. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

  10. The like of that could be a winner alright. Da in-law usually fells half a dozen trees on his land each year (usually birch/alder) and chops them into 4-8 foot lengths of branch/trunk. I usually fill couple of trailer loads early spring time and pile them behind my garage. Borrowed one of his chain saws a few years ago and managed to knack it. He was fairly alright about it, and point blank refused to let me replace/repair it but reluctant to borrow one since. Last two years have done all the cutting, chopping and splitting by hand. Don't mind the splitting so much with my axe, but the cutting is a time consuming bollocks. Diameter of most of the logs is around the 8-10 inch mark, hence why I wasn't bothered by anything particularly heavy duty.
  11. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    You need a chain to drop trees and cut them into manageable lengths but cutting / splitting them into a size that will fit in a stove is a hassle. You can get a Lister D, restored by some engine nut on eBay for around £50 - £60. They chug on forever and were built to be serviced with a half inch spanner and a hammer.

    Saw benches are cheap because the engine nuts (people who go to shows with them) dont like them. If you hang about and watch eBay you can get a mini-sawmill for around £100 and it will run all day on £2 of petrol.
  12. A rather fetching bronze actually, with a lovely red chain guard. Might not be "old school" but with the nipper chucking logs on at the end it certainly fires through the cutting. You still get a decent belt of fumes from the Stihl, just a lot less back-ache !
  13. TheIronDuke

    TheIronDuke LE Book Reviewer

    OK. The only problem I can see, is you will go through chains at £10 a pop. With a circular blade it'll last forever. Just give it a stroke with a file in the spring.