New tool for the homestead – a chainsaw

So last year I was borrowing my wife’s grandpa’s chainsaw. He bought a Craftsman little saw specifically for a tree in his yard, but other than that he didn’t have a ton of use for it. He needed it back this spring for a few other things and I was wanting to do a bit of cutting for firewood for the winter (assuming I get my wood furnace installed this fall!). My wife was headed out of town for a weekend so I figured that might be a good time to get a tree or two cut down. I have been trying to decide what saw, but ultimately, I decided to get this Husqvarna 455 rancher¬†from Amazon. They were about $40-50 cheaper than the local place, not to mention with my Amazon credit card I get another 5% off Amazon purchases.

So, I now have a saw! One nice thing is that this should have quite a bit more power than the Craftsman. I may be wrong on that, it is 42cc vs 55cc, but I imagine the output on the Husky will be more (hard to tell since Craftsman doesn’t list the horsepower.

So I have taken down a 20″ or so tree (DBH, probably more like 24″ down where I cut it). My technique is adequate, but I am out of practice so the execution is definitely lacking. My cuts aren’t horizontal , my hinge cut went nearly all the way through and the cuts weren’t parallel either. Despite this, the tree went EXACTLY where I wanted it. I figure that one tree got me close to a cord of firewood. I have it all chunked up, but probably only 1/3 of it is split. I’d have more done, but I need to build up the callouses on my hands. I was getting blisters from swinging the maul and I didn’t want to tear them open.

I don’t generally want to cut too many 20″ trees down (I don’t have many, maybe 5-10 trees on my whole property that are 18″ or larger). This one actually was a pretty nice tree too, but it was right between two other pretty nice trees. I wanted to take this one out to allow the other two trees to start branching out their canopy better.

Thank goodness I have a tractor too! When I was bucking the wood I misjudged the tension on a limb; I knew it was in tension, but I thought I could go about half way but the saw was bound up less than 1/4 of the way through. Of course it was at the end of the tree and I hadn’t really started cutting it up other than the limbs. I got the tractor and with the bucket couldn’t budge it, it simply started lifting the back end up off the ground. However, I got a better idea and put the chain on the hook on the 3 point quick hitch. The lift capacity there is about 2000lbs vs 800lbs, plus the center of gravity is much better. That was sufficient not to lift the tree, but get enough tension off it to get the saw out. Otherwise I’d have had to go borrow a saw from my neighbor to free it up (not a huge deal since he was out cutting firewood anyhow).

Anyway, I am excited to have a saw. I won’t say I am eager to use it; after all, it is a TON of work cutting up trees, loading, splitting, etc. Still, I am excited to be harvesting dollar bills from my property (the wood furnace will save me close to 700-1000 gallons of propane per year. In a cheap year of propane that is $1000-1500. I may or may not harvest the 4-6 cords per year I may use, but I bet I can EASILY harvest 2 or 3 cords. Heck, I think I can harvest that much just taking out some trees to open up clearings or clearing the property line.

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