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  #1  
Old 09-30-2013, 08:47 PM
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Lightbulb Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

I'm just starting to get into chainsaw carving, and I'm in need of some recommendations for essential tools to get myself started. I'm looking for something relatively lightweight and am interested in electric because I live in a neighborhood in the city and will be carving in my backyard, and although I know gas saws are more powerful, they are louder as well. Recommendations for a saw, bar and what kind of chain I need would be great-- I'm the daughter of a carpenter who grew up using power tools and am comfortable using saws, but I'm just not quite sure where to begin here.

Thanks a lot!

Heidi
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2013, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

Heidi,
You might find that electric saws produce a lot of their own brand of noise. They're no lighter than gas powered saws of the same power range either. As with any electrical appliance, a light weight extension cord is your enemy and can cause eventual damage to your saw. Makita or Stihl would be my first recommendations and I would personally look for one with an automatic bar oiler.

If you're buying a new saw, I'd recommend getting the shortest guide-bar offered as a standard option with that particular saw. Shorter bars give you more power to an individual chain tooth (speed) and have less leverage against you in kick-back or chatter situations (control).

Essential tools:
Small saw with a roller tip bar
Chain sharpening kit (files, guide, gauge)
Safety chaps, glasses, hearing protection, leather gloves.
7 EZ Pieces DVD by Mike McVay
This will outfit you for carving small mushrooms, turtles, basic bears or dogs, signs, etc.

Additional tools
More powerful saw
After you have the more powerful saw, put a dime tip bar (detailing) on your old saw.
4 1/2" angle grinder and coarse sanding pads (tuck your shirt in and tie back your pig tails while using this!!!)
Die grinder and eye tools

Getting more serious tools
Hand held belt sander (I like the 1 1/8" belt)
Saburr-tooth bits for die grinder
Hydraulic table for holding and adjusting height of your work
Hand carving tools (gouges, knives, etc)
Small pry bar or hatchet
Winter weight leather gloves (good for vibration dampening)

SAFETY
This is NOT carpentry. A habit of leaning over the skill saw to see the line you're cutting could get you killed with a chainsaw.
My personal safety rule for other people is "If I can swing the saw and hit you with it, you're standing too close."
Particularly when sanding or creating a lot of dust, you may want to wear a respirator and have a fan moving air across your work area.
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http://ChainsawArtistMap.com
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  #3  
Old 10-01-2013, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

In my opinion, this is the single most dangerous and least useful tool a chainsaw carver could buy.

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Old 10-01-2013, 01:37 PM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

Thank you so much for the wealth of info... this helps a lot, as I've been getting overwhelmed in my research by the wide variety of options available, even to beginners. I've been looking at both Stihls and Makitas; is there a certain model you would recommend (quality, most bang for the buck, operational ease), or know has worked well for other carvers?

Thanks again!
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:25 PM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by heidikeyesart View Post
I've been looking at both Stihls and Makitas; is there a certain model you would recommend (quality, most bang for the buck, operational ease), or know has worked well for other carvers?
Nope. 99% of what I carve is hardwood so, even though I have one, I do not carve with electric saws. The one I have does not have an automatic oiler so one must frequently push the oil button. Kind of takes away from concentrating on making art.

I tried a battery powered saw once and it felt like using a Prius to do the work of a log truck

Do a search for 'electric' on the UCCG Forum and you'll find many discussions on electric saws as well as the 1/4 pitch sprockets required to put a dime tip bar on them.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

Perfect, thank you. And your recommendation for a gas saw? I'm still weighing my options, and obviously as an experienced carver, you would know much better than I would-- especially since, as you mentioned before, many gas saws have the same noise range as electric saws and also are about the same weight. I don't want to feel like I'm taking a boy into battle with me to do a man's job.
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Old 10-01-2013, 02:58 PM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by heidikeyesart View Post
And your recommendation for a gas saw?
There's a loaded question. Are you trying to start a fight?

I prefer Stihl so will comment on their models. I have nothing bad to say about Husqvarna, Jonsered, or Dolmar. Never used a Makita gas saw. The local Echo dealer turned me against their brand and since that day I have bought 16 Stihl saws and blowers.... (dealers take note)

Stihl.
The MS-192 is a small, light weight saw with a fair amount of power. I run mine with an 8" dime tip bar.
The MS-200 is the same size as the 192, costs twice as much, does more work and I own 2 of them. I run mine with a 12" dime tip Sioux Bar. You may want to get hooked on carving before looking at the price tag of a Sioux but in the long run they are cheaper.

Because I use the MS-200, I have no need for larger saws in the 210 - 250 range so jump right up to the 290 - 360 range for my blocking saw. My 361 is the largest powerhead I can use for very long without getting fatigued.

For the really big stuff, I go directly to the MS-660 or 880 which is like using a motorcycle. Oh but the spray of chips is a beautiful thing

You've given no indication of where you live so I have no idea of what kind of wood you'll have available for carving. If white pine and western cedar are on the menu, start with small saws. If walnut and hickory are all you have, put more power in your hand.

Keep your work area clean of wood hunks (kick them out of the way) and protect yourself from tool vibrations as much as possible.
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http://ChainsawArtistMap.com
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2013, 05:54 PM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

HA, I like to stir up trouble.

Reading lots of great reviews on the MS192. Do you find it still has a pretty good amount of power? Seems like such a little guy-- I know it's made for arborists, and people keep talking about how light it is.

Also, I know you're not crazy about Makitas, but how does this package compare (price-wise and material-wise) in regards to purchasing everything individually? Seems easier to me than purchasing everything separate. ca0008-Makita 5012b electric with carving package. in Carving Packages at Log Home Store

I really, really appreciate your help!
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  #9  
Old 10-01-2013, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by heidikeyesart View Post
Reading lots of great reviews on the MS192. Do you find it still has a pretty good amount of power? Seems like such a little guy-- I know it's made for arborists, and people keep talking about how light it is.
By the way, arborist saws often come in a top handle and a rear handle model. I prefer rear handle saws.

Enough power? What are you sawing with it?
Locust? Not even close!
White pine? Good enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by heidikeyesart View Post
Also, I know you're not crazy about Makitas
I have nothing against Makita. I just don't have a need for electric saws and have not used a gas powered Makita because I've never had the opportunity. If Makita wanted to sponsor me, I'd be all over that LOL

I am a big fan of the Log Home Store (hello Scotty) but the owners manual shows a manual oiler on the 5012b I don't know what the options are for automatic oilers because electric saws are not interesting to me.

Bear in mind, with a gas saw, when you run out of gas it's time to fill up the bar oil tank too. With an electric saw, you never run out of gas so must be mindful of your bar oil situation. With manual oiler, you have to keep pushing that oil button.

"Albert" is carved in paulownia wood and could easily be carved with either the MS-192 or the Makita 5012b. It would take twice as long in sycamore and you might burn something up in locust.

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http://belrod.blogspot.com/

http://ChainsawArtistMap.com
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  #10  
Old 10-01-2013, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: Essential tools for beginning chainsaw carving... help!

Wow, Albert is amazing... that hair is just fantastic, love the movement there! I'm thinking soft woods to begin with... I'm in the city of Denver, but the wilderness and mountains aren't too far away, so I shouldn't have too difficult of a time finding wood.

What's the benefit of rear handle vs. top handle? Great point about the auto oiler.
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