Alligator or chainsaw? Advice please.

#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.
 
#3
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.
 
#4
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.
 
#5
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
 
#6
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 ?.
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#7
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

saw.JPG


Tell your lass to do one, fire up the Lister and fill the air with petrol fumes and sawdust.
 
#9
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.
 
#11
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

View attachment 66265


Tell your lass to do one, fire up the Lister and fill the air with petrol fumes and sawdust.

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.
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#12
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.
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.
 
#13
Does it come in pink?
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 !
 

TheIronDuke

ADC
Book Reviewer
#14
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 !
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.
 
#17
Here's an idea that I've used in the past LINKY

If you wish to paint it then Pink may be good :)

On the chainsaw side of things, then as others have said, Stihl or Husqvarna is the way to go. Always try and get the saw from a proper Arbiculteral specialist as you'll get the after market service. Buying these things off the www looks good in the short term but when you want the backup it may not be so good.

If you are going to only be an occasional user then I've found that using Aspen 2T fuel saves an enormous amount of frustration. 2T has a shelf life of 25 years and doesn't go "off" like a normal 2 stroke fuel mix when left in a machine. Also, the fumes given off don't seem to give you a blinding headache that normal 2 stroke fuel does.
 
#18
what I do, being poor, is split the logs down the middle using good sharp wedges , so your 12" now becomes 2 half moon semicircles of 6"
much much easier to saw , and they are an easier shape to saw and more stable on the saw horse. Its a must that the wedges are acute angle
and sharp so they bite in the wood lengthways. That way you can deal with some really big diameter logs. Why burn petrol and do your ears in
at the same time ? ... buy a good quality bow saw, not a cheapy £7 lob... false economy. Hand tools are underrated nowadays, because
SO MUCH CHEAP SHIT IS ON THE MARKET. that their effectiveness is considered less than it should be.Make sure all blades are sharp and
oiled /waxed.
 
#19
I've tried them all, chainsaw is a pain, doesn't stay sharp for long, and I've never had much luck sharpening them.

Tablesaw is ok, but if you get it wrong feeding the wood in the kick hurts like hell.

If you can split longer lengths first, an alligator saw with the green wood blade is good, if the wood will fit, chopsaw is very fast.
 
#20
With my H&S hat on (rather than actual usefulness).....

For an infrequent user, most advice would be to go for a recip.

Against general opinion on here, for home-based cutting I would also recommend an electric chainsaw rather than petrol - safety features like kick-back brakes tend to cut in much quicker.

Hire is f--ing expensive, especially if the company insists you hire safety gear and you take into account HAV trigger times. You can pay £150 for an hour and a half's cutting.

Some of the bench saws out there look like death traps.

My old man used to have 300acres of orchard - surprisingly enough, I've seen/heard too many things go wrong with big chainsaws to screw about with them and I use a Bosch electric for home use. Plenty big enough for my needs and kept well-oiled, tensioned and sharp, never had an issue. Out of the change you might be able to afford a decent kevlar jacket/bib trousers and a visor - a much better spend IMHO.
 

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