Pros: Initial Price, Carrying case, Easy to use
Cons: Chain dulls quickly, Uses as much chain oil as it does gasoline, Gas Oil Mix
Well I needed a chainsaw to cut up some trees that fell on my property during a heavy windstorm. So I began my 1 day quest for a chainsaw.
I went to Sears because I have had excellent luck with Craftsman products, and they offer a variety of brands. I chose the Craftsman 18 in. Gas Chain Saw, 42 cc because of its extra power and bang for the buck. The other craftsman models, and other name brands all had less power, for a greater price.
I was a bit skeptical about purchasing a chainsaw, I have heard of many horror stories involving these dangerous tools. I thoroughly read the instruction manual before I even started the saw.
WHAT I GOT
(1) Craftsman 18 in. Gas Chainsaw, (1) handy black carrying case, (1) 3.2 Ounce 2-cycle oil mix, and (1) Wrench/screw driver combo kit, and (1) Owners manual.
This saw Features.......
18 in. guide bar
42 cc 2 cycle engine
Low kickback chain
Automatic Chain Oiler
Adjustable Chain Tension
The saw is a little heavy to the average Joe (and Me). It weights 22.3 lbs, and can get quite heavy holding it for long periods of time or holding it in an elevated position. The exterior construction is mostly plastic, while the 18" guide bar is made of metal. The chainsaw does have a chain brake, that you can push forward and it will lock the blade in place. I believe this to be some sort of safety feature, but I am not 100% sure of its application. I know if you push the chain brake forward it locks the blade. This is a useful application if you want to set the saw down while it is running on idle.
Initially the Chainsaw looks kinda like a toy, but rest assured it isn't. After reading the manual and saftey precautions I filled up the Bar/Chain Oil reservoir, and Mixed the Gas/Oil for the gas tank. The saw takes a little more than the recommended 6 pushes of the primer bubble, and a couple of tugs on the cord. With the choke pulled you simply keep pulling the cord until it starts for cold starts. If you have a warm engine the choke must be push in prior to pulling the cord. I usually have to pull the cord 10-15 times before the saw actually starts.
Once the saw is started you are ready to go, and this saw definitely goes. The saw will run on idle without you having to pull the trigger. To make the chain spin you will have to pull the trigger, the harder you pull the trigger the fast the chain will spin. I had no problems going through a 17 inch trunk, in fact the manual claims it can actually go through a 36" dia trunk. With some work, I think it can do it. The saw cuts through small branches in virtually seconds, the 17" dia trunk took only minutes. This tree was very much alive so the wood is quite wet. Once you start cutting into the wood you will notice that a fair amount of saw dust will come shooting out. Some will come towards you, and some will go away from you. Either way make sure you are wearing safety glasses while running this or any chainsaw.
After 15 minutes of cutting you will notice the chain is beginning to sag a bit below the guide bar. This is a clear indication that the chain needs to be tightened. To tighten the chain tension you need to loosen the 2 hex bolts on the side of the saw to be finger tight. Once finger tight you can adjust the tightening screw to adjust the tension of the chain. Once to your desired tightness, you must tighten the 2 hex bolts. If you manage to pop the chain off you will to completely remove these bolts, and pull off the chain brake assembly. Consult your manual on how to refeed the chain onto the gearing and guide bar.
The saw uses as much bar/chain oil as it does pre-mixed gasoline. I had to refill the tank several times during my task, but in the end I only ended up using a 1/2 gallon of gasoline/oil mix. Towards the end of my task, I did notice that the saw was not cutting through the wood as fast as it once was. Well I learned that wet wood will dull the chain much faster than dry wood will. I had no choice in the situation as the tree was covering my driveway. Sears will sharpen your chain blade for a small fee, or you can spend $20 for a completely new chain. Sears even sells kits to sharpen the chain yourself, but I am told it is quite tedious work.
Finally, the saw eventually ends of in its handy carrying case for storage. I highly recommend running the saw out of both bar/chain oil, and gasoline before putting it away for storage. The automatic chain oiler will continue to oil the chain while in storage. Leaving and oily mess inside of the case. Do yourself a favor and run the oil out of the chainsaw before storing.
ONE FINAL NOTE - I found it interesting to note that the front cover of the owners manual says in bold letters "FOR OCCASIONAL USE ONLY". I guess that is a clever way of saying not meant for contractor use.