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Mini-, cordless Chainsaws

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I'm sure these saws have been available and evolving, but it was only recently, at a paddling rendezvous, that I became interested. I came home and ordered one, a Thanos, 2.8 lb, 4" cordless electric chain saw.

My friend Steve and I regularly paddle woody stretches of my local river (Patuxent). Most of the time, I don't mess with timber blockages. I just want to get past them and get paddling again. But, on stretches where we regularly paddle, we sometimes invest the time to do a little clearing.

What can you do with a 4" saw. It's almost laughable. Turns out, you can do a lot. If you think about camp fire fuel, 4-6" logs are perfect, big enough to last a bit yet don't always need to be split. It's not hard to cut a 6" log with a 4" saw. One hand sawing with 2.8 pounds of saw is nice.

But Steve wanted more and upgraded to a Milwaukee, 6" saw, marketed as the Hatchet. I don't like the name. It's a little confusing when Steve asks me to pass him the Hatchet. But the saw cuts quickly and well. It weighs 4+lbs and cuts through 4" hardwood logs in about 20 seconds. True, the battery is a limitation, but I'd say yesterday we made 100 to 120 cuts before the battery gave out. Imagine how your arm would feel if you cut a 100 4-6" logs with your Sven saw.

Steve cutting a path through a strainer on the Patuxent
Steve-cut-strainer2.jpeg

Anybody else packing mini chainsaws with their paddling gear? Impressions? Recommendations?
 
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My sister bought a large cordless chainsaw, I can't remember the brand but it's either a 14" or 16", a bit less weight that a similar gas version. From what she says the battery (plus spare) is enough juice for the average "backyard amateur" and basically cuts anything a gas version would.

The key to any chainsaw type is knowing how to properly sharpen the chain. I've (casually) used and owned a Husqvarna for decades and still need to improve my sharpening techniques. The idea of not having to pull the cord to start my gas saw is very appealing even if the battery life is a bit short.
 
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Just a side note on the electric saws: Be careful.

During saw certification, we were warned that saw chaps apparently won't stop these chains. Not sure why they don't and I doubt that most here are likely to wear chaps but, if you've ever put a running chain into a body part, you might. (yep... Did that once. Which, it turns out, was MORE than enough.)
 
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The chains for the two mini saws I know about are thinner than chains for full-size chainsaws. It concerns me that the chains might be unique to these saws, and difficult or impossible to replace. At least Milwaukee is a known brand, so there is a chance there may be a supply chain behind the tool. The Thanos, I have my doubts. It has been my experience that inexpensive bicycles mass produced for the consumer market are often put together with whatever components might be inexpensively available at the time, and I've had some bikes for which it was impossible to buy components after the fact. If that is the case with the Thanos and you can't replace a chain, the saw is useless.

Other than being thin, the chain looks a lot like a typical chainsaw chain. Possibly chaps are better with thicker chains, but seems like a big gas powered saw would have a lot more power and inertia to go through chaps. I'm sure the guys teaching Gamma's class know more about it than I do, so thanks for the heads up. Now, where do I find a drysuit with built in chaps?

Up cutting on the underside of logs that you know will bind if cut from the top, with the Hatchet, was difficult and scary. The saw kicked and bucked like crazy, so I tried to avoid that.

A feature of electric chainsaws that I like is that when I take my finger of the trigger, the chain quickly stops. Depending on how my gas-powered Stihl is adjusted, the chain may stop (but not as quick) or keep spinning for a bit. So from that perspective, I think the electric saw is safer.
 
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I love my EGO 16" chain saw. I've never run out of battery, and had no trouble cutting 18" diameter logs. Quiet, instant stop, no maintenance.

Not sure I want to carry another 3 pounds or so on a canoe trip but interesting.
 
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Up cutting on the underside of logs that you know will bind if cut from the top, with the Hatchet, was difficult and scary. The saw kicked and bucked like crazy, so I tried to avoid that.

Chip, check the chain. Most of the electrics I've seen seem to be using a full chisel chain because it cuts very well. Downside is that they kick back more readily and won't stand up as well to dirt. If there's a semi-chisel option available in a replacement chain, it should tame the saw considerably.
 
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These look very handy for stream clearing. I paddle a number of small creeks and rivers and the Emerald Ash borer killed most of the White and black ash trees which have ended up in the creeks and rivers. I often bring hand saws but these small electric chainsaws like this might help keep a few places open.

The Stihl and Milwaukee look nice but I am not sure I want to risk that much while clearing stream. I see the benefit of firewood gathering while camping but can't bring that along camping it just seems wrong! I would rather hear an axe then an electric chainsaw. I know that is not rational but it is a rationalization.
 
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Most of my trips are to the BWCA or Voyageurs National park where even electric saws aren't allowed.
 
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These look very handy for stream clearing. I paddle a number of small creeks and rivers and the Emerald Ash borer killed most of the White and black ash trees which have ended up in the creeks and rivers. I often bring hand saws but these small electric chainsaws like this might help keep a few places open.

The Stihl and Milwaukee look nice but I am not sure I want to risk that much while clearing stream. I see the benefit of firewood gathering while camping but can't bring that along camping it just seems wrong! I would rather hear an axe then an electric chainsaw. I know that is not rational but it is a rationalization.
An ax makes more noise than these electric saws. They make a whirring sound, but it’s not very loud.

I tie a length of floating cord to my hand saw. I’ve lost a few over the years which I could have gotten back if they’d have had a cord floating up. I suggested this to my buddy. Guess he didn’t like the idea, because he hasn’t implemented. I think the saw could be retrieved out of the water and be dried. Not sure about the battery. The batteries have some circuit boards and are definitely not designed for submersion.
 
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Foxyotter……..
Laughter is the best medicine.
I would think that electric chain saws are like heart attacks, “Silent Killers.”
A roaring gas chain saw makes you aware that it can kill and/or maim in a heart beat. Little chain saws are to my mind are more dangerous because of their size.
 
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These electric chainsaws are becoming very good! Even in the winter time, I can use an arborist saw (trim saw) ALL DAY long non stop and only use two batteries. Summer is better… I highly recommend the Makita saws, and I’m a stihl/husky fan. They’re the only saws out that are More water resistant over the rest.

I’m not saying they’re waterproof, but that was a selling point for me on wet days.

And just to point out, the little Stihl that Geoboy posted has a top cover to absolutely minimize kickback from that upper quadrant. If anybody has ever had kickback happen, or been injured, you’ll appreciate that while fumbling around clearing a waterway or path.

Also worth pointing out, understanding binds (tension & compression) can help A Lot or have a backup saw of some kind to rescue your stuck saw
 
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