I need…..

…..a new chainsaw. My old Jonsared (the company is no longer in operation, it seems) was a smaller powered 45cc with a 16″ bar. Model 2145. It was pretty good. I liked it. To be fair, it was a smidge underpowered and I kinda wanted 50cc or even 55cc but, well, I didn’t have it so I just ‘worked’ the smaller unit a smidge harder. Still, it lasted 17 years. The upside of a 2145 is that it is relatively light (about 12 pounds) and it is amazing how heavy even that begins to feel after an hour or so of continuously risking blood loss on a remote beach somewhere.

The other day, I had been working it down at the lagoon and stopped it to move around a log I was working on and, when I went to pull-start it up (usually instantly), I heard a clunk and nothing would move after that. It felt like the piston came off the wrist pin and seized. Of course, no one can tell that simply by pulling on a cord but that was what came to mind – ‘Engine went, I think it is the wristpin’.

Sal said, “Yeah, sounded like that to me, too!”

Chainsawing logs strewn higgledy-piggledy over treacherous slimy-boulders-on-the-beach is not my idea of fun at the best of times and so the engine seizing was OK with me. Good excuse to quit doing that. Expensive, to be sure, but so is a leg or arm replacement. I took it as a sign to start taking care of myself and went in for tea and a cookie.

Since then I have been ‘shopping online’ for a new chainsaw. I am thinking of a Stihl 50cc or a Stihl 55cc. There’s a MS271 called a Ranch Boss or something silly that has good reviews and, as I get older, 50cc feels powerful enough…but..but….well, I think I want the MS 291 at 55cc and a man wants what a man wants, ya know?

Is this a big deal? No. Buying a chainsaw should NOT be a big deal but you would probably NOT be surprised to learn that one is judged a bit by their chainsaw choices out here. Like one’s outboard choices, ya know (I am happy to be in the Yamaha cohort now).

To be fair, you are more likely to be judged by the size and shape of the sawdust your chainsaw spews (that is how guys know what kind of a chainsaw sharpener you are and that is a skill with a huge status metric and not one to be ignored) but the saw itself is a close second. Big engines and long bars are signs of manliness. So are big scars and so there is an off-setting influence there, too. Fear and ego. Fear has always influenced me. Ego is beginning to wane.

There is a grim deliberation at play here…..just how long and rosy is my chainsawing future, anyway? Do I have to buy for the 15 year rule? Will I be chainsawing at 88? Maybe buying a good chainsaw is not the best investment……long term….ya know? In fact, maybe getting a good, newer, sharper, more powerful chainsaw is the very reason I never get to the grand old age of 88?

I wonder if Hasbro makes a nice light, cheap and safe chainsaw?

18 thoughts on “I need…..

  1. Once again JD your post is timely.
    I have had a STIHL MS260 for some years and have found it quite suitable for most gigs, but we bought a MS362C for the bigger wood we’d cut here and to have a spare saw. We heat with wood so it is critical. I found even the lightish 260 a difficult chore when up the hills clearing and longed for something lighter. I tried a number of different blades for our Husqi 525RX Landscape Trimmer but found it unsuitable, tho it’s grand for those wicked rambles! I had seen a battery powered chainsaw on a YouTube Channnel, “Outdoors with the Morgans” I believe, who gave it rave reviews, so I was eager to try it. It took a while for the shop in CR to get it in but on one of our rare visits I scooped their last one. The next day (we usually end up doing over nights due to weather and/or tides, or just the volume of our shopping needs, as I said, we are not as efficie t as You as yet!šŸ˜‰šŸ™‚) we also bought the ‘big’ STIHL Mi500, the new one with electronic fuel injection as we have plans to use a chainsaw mill to make some lumber. It is BIG but lighter than others it’s power. We’ve not tried it yet as the chainsaw mill had to be ordered. Next trip, as they saved me one! Plus there is a BIG Doug Fir that I have my eye on. It is topless but 5 or 6 feet across at the base so the 500, with its 36″ bar, should be fine for that. The shop had 40 of them and I scored the 4th last one. But it’s the battery powered MSA140C that I use, by faaar the most. Additional batteries were also on sale at half price so I grabbed one as well. They charge PDQ and last for as much work as I can do before a good rest is needed. REALLY impressive. And light. I have cut logs up to 12 or 14″ with it, just to see, and it did very well. Easy to clean and seems to stay sharp a long time. The only negative is that the chainlube runs out before the battery so one must be careful. Still, (STIHL???šŸ˜‰šŸ˜‚šŸ¤£) I highly recommend it, really for anything under 8″. I don’t know how long it’ll last cutting rounds at 8 or 10 inches but I KNOW it’ll do it just fine. It’s light, needs no gas and so no nasty fumes, and charges relatively for free, from our solar. There are bigger versions as well, and bigger bars n batteries available, and honestly, if your manliness can take the hit, it WILL meet most of your needs (honest!)… tho I haven’t tried it much on salty, wet wood, so there may lie the rub, but only as I just don’t know. Easy to carry and quiet. Just sayin’!!!
    I wish you much wisdom and luck in your hunting! David.


    • I have always insisted that Sal NOT use a chainsaw. She has all the strength and can master the skills but she is much too attractive to risk scarification. It’s OK for me. For obvious reasons. Still, I bought her one so that she could go down the logging road in the winter to Quilting bees when the Alders fall like matchsticks. It is electric and battery powered. A Yardworks 36 volt 14″ bar. Cheap like Borscht. And I have used it and it feels great. Cuts well. Anything under 12″ is easy but over that and it seems to bog a smidge. I decided to go Stihl 271 Ranch Boss 50cc. 16″ bar. It will do what I do and it has a bit more juice than the Jonsared so I should be fine. It’s coming out on the water-taxi in a week.


      • If you are ever in the mood David to explain how your ‘taxi’ works I’d love to hear how you arrange it all. I suppose the original ferries being right outta CR help there, so there would just be some semi-dodgy logistics involved. We try to use neighbiur pick up or drop off if possible, but our watertaxi is a 250+$ for a one-way. Still cheaper than going to town I suppose, but for us there is the 1.5hr drive from CR to the car park that makes vendor drop-off almost impossible, unless we use the barge outta CR, Inlet Nav, all the way, and those guys are Great.


      • Well, here is how the water-taxi works for us. Way West is one of two services (also Discovery Launch). Both of ’em will carry freight for about 30 to 35c a pound. So, if we get 50 pounds of groceries, it costs us $15.00. However, what makes it a do-able deal is that SaveON will take the food order by way of their online site and arrange for a taxi to take it to Way West at the right time. All that is done for the 35c fee. So SaveON does the shopping, packing, labelling and delivery to Way West on a Friday morning and by Friday noon to 1:00pm, it is delivered to our community dock a couple of miles from us.
        As it happens, WW wants at least $50.00 to make a stop (150 or so pounds) and so we arranged with a few neighbours to buy with us. And so every other week, we get a 500 – 800 pound delivery and WW is happy and so are we.
        Caveat. WW does a regular Friday run, like a bus schedule up this way. And that is because they have a regular ‘call’ other than us. If we wanted the delivery on say, a Wednesday, things might change. Bottom line: WW won’t deliver a loaf of bread and a liter of milk to you for 45 cents. But they will deliver a few hundred pounds if there is any day that they have regularly scheduled to go up that way anyway.


        • Very, very nice. Almost door to door delivery. Not doable for us but with our neighbourhood group we seem to manage very well. Being able to stay way from town for 3 months is nothing to sneeze at I believe! Well done!


      • Oh yeah….most companies in CR will deliver to WayWest or call a cab. So it is NOT just SaveOn (tho they have been very good). I got C&L to deliver my new chainsaw but, of course, I will have to wait until the ‘milk run’ done every other Friday. On THAT Friday, I will get groceries and a chainsaw.


  2. I know…some say it is in production, others say it is not…or that it has been rebranded as Redman or something….no matter. It is dead. Long live the Stihl. I went and bought a Stihl MS 271 today.


  3. Stihl is good in my opinion!Nice to know you have new equipment when I come over to cut and split some wood to pay for my steak


  4. Stihl MS260 is a great saw. If you go too big – they are heavy! The new version of the MS 260 is the MS 261 (Pro saw) will last forever! GP Outdoors did a good video:

    Cheers šŸ™‚


    • Thanks, Grego. Nice to see a new name in the comment section. Especially one who uses a chainsaw. But I committed already. Went with the 271. As I age, I am losing my balance and, where I am doing the cutting, that is dangerous. Slimy boulders. Logs all higgle-de-piggly. The end decision was based on keeping it as light and handle-able as possible. I am likely only in the cutting business for a few more years and I would like to do it as intact as possible (altho copious amounts of blood loss have already occurred.)


  5. It’s funny though…it seems in your blog you are asking for advice or feedback, and then in your comments you say…too late, already bought it an on its way :-)….some people might call you “strongwilled”. For me, it’s almost like looking in the mirror!


    • True…kinda…..I was asking for advice but, of course, I was reading reviews and asking neighbours at the same time. My blog readers do not, as a rule, use a chainsaw as much as the locals do so, when a very skilled and experienced forest-guy told me that he just bought a Stihl 271, that kind of sealed the deal. .


  6. Is the Water Taxi out of Campbell River?
    I was quoting a job on Stuart Island a few weeks back and had to work out the travel logistics.
    A days travel time up and a days travel time back …for 3 men…. plus a few days there ….adds up.
    Dont think I’ll get the job but worth the brain exercise to quote it.


    • Our main water taxi, a neighbour also does one but more out of Port Mac, lives around the corner and charges from their dock to pickup to delivery to their dock at approx. 250$/hr., which is the usual time it takes to get us to the car park on Van Island, an otherwise 15 or 20 minute one way trip for us. Its been a while tho since we used the taxi as its just so dear!


    • The WTaxis go out of CR and ‘part of their milk-run’ is the Senora Lodge run on Fridays. That is why we do our food run the same day. The time to get to CR is six hours from NVan and then it is a one hour run to Senora Lodge. Day one is travel. Senora has lodging. Last day is a bit quicker to get back to NVan because you can book the taxi precisely going back. Harder to do leaving NVan when ferries are involved. Senora management isn’t cheap. The cost won’t bother them. But doing a helluva good job is what gets you a return visit.


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