So, I Bought a Chainsaw Today

This was not an impulse decision. I have been working with an 18″ Echo for the past 5 years chopping logs into firewood, cutting down dead trees, and clearing slash from the fallen. 3 of those I have been interested in the prospect of chainsaw carving. Still a bit timid toward the monetary embarkment of a new artistic skill, I researched the topic to death until I finally said, “This summer I am going to get me one.”

Normally saws come with a 3/8 chain on a regular bar that looks like a fish. Detailed carvings require a 1/4 chain on a bar that tapers almost to a point. To change that bar and chain requires a sprocket with a 1/4″ pitch. Not all chainsaws can be modified in that way. Eventually I decided on a STIHL model 171 because there is a STIHL certified shop in Durango and it was the least expensive for what I was doing. Originally I wanted the 192 CE arborist saw simply for the weight of it, but the top handle trigger made it difficult to maneuver. You can get them in the rear trigger for about fifty bucks more. This made the 171 over a hundred dollars cheaper for the sacrifice of a little more than 3 pounds.

Now I have two saws. Three if you count the outdated Craftsman with the equally outdated and broken oil pump. Outdated in this realm means finding a replacement part is next to impossible even with the vast resources of the all powerful internet. The Craftsman is still usable. You just have to keep manually lubing up the bar and chain after every few cuts or so.

The first two recommended projects are an eagle and a mushroom. The eagle allegedly teaches you every basic cut you would do with a carving saw. The mushroom is designed to be easy, quick, and repetitive practice without a schematic. Everyone knows what a mushroom looks like, right? There are a lot of stumps leftover from thinning the forest this summer. I have a feeling they will all become mushrooms.

Well, gotta go. I got logs to cut.

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