Since I was around 15 or 16 years old I have used a chainsaw to cut wood mainly for burning in wood-stoves. Over that time the chainsaws I have used were mid-line between starter consumer versions and professional saws. They have served me well for the most part. But when it comes to cutting up large tree trunks they just don’t have the power to be efficient. So after all these years I have purchased a pro-grade chainsaw with a larger engine. I now have a Stihl MS 461 which has a 77 cc engine and a 25 inch bar.
The chainsaw I have used for the past 10 years or so is a Stihl MS 290 it has a 56 cc engine and I run it with a 16 inch or 20 inch bar. A few weeks ago I was working on cutting the trunk up of a large red oak which had blown down a year and a half past. Each cut I made with the 290 took around 3 to 5 minutes or so to make as the saw would bog down when the bar was fully engaged with the trunk. I have 3 or 4 more trees like this that are down or will be coming down, so a lot of time would be spent just cutting the trunks for firewood.
My preference for firewood is to hand split large 20″ – 30″ logs usually of red oak. It is surprising how much split wood you get out of one log. The picture below is a stack of split firewood which came from one 24 inch diameter log. As you can see that is a good amount of wood. With only 4 or 5 logs you can have quite a stack of firewood.
I took the new (actually I bought a used saw from a local guy) 461 out and cut up 6 large logs out of a trunk of red oak and was really pleased by it’s power. Each cut took only 45 seconds or so. Compared to 3 minutes or so with the 290 it is a substantial time savings. I figure the less time I spend with a chainsaw the safer I am. The 461 is heavier by 3 pounds, but for limbing and other smaller trees I will continue to use the 290. Now I just have to finish splitting the logs below and I will be ready for winter of 2018.