How “rebuildable” are mid-level or modest pro-level chainsaws?

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MarkMac77

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I’ve been lurking the forum a lot while doing chainsaw research. This is far and away the most active and knowledgeable forum I’ve found.

I’m a middle aged guy who owns a single acre. My use for a chainsaw is pretty limited, maybe processing the odd tree that falls over on my property, cutting an annual Christmas tree, and collecting a couple cords of wood via a “dead & down” permit the USFS issues.

Until now I’ve been making do with a 18V Sawzall and 18v Milwaukee 16” chainsaw. I learned a lot using the electric chainsaw over the last few years, but it has definite limitations that appear as soon as you attempt real work. For instance, a few weeks ago I hooked up the horse trailer, loaded up the ATV and dump cart and drove 120 miles to the pines to get firewood. Once there I learned that the Milwaukee batteries don’t tolerate the cold. I wasted a lot of time and fuel to only come home with a bunch of dead batteries and a half-cord of wood. I only managed the half cord by rationing my cuts, bringing home 5-6 foot lengths, and then cutting them down to size at home.

So I started looking at gas chainsaws. I ruled out the Wal-Mart bargain models. The similarly priced string trimmers and such just don’t seem to last long before suffering a mortal failure. I really hate throwing away a tool because a cheap part breaks. I DO NOT want to be repeatedly pulling a starting cord in the snow, sweating and cussing a crappy saw. Granted I can’t justify a *need* for a mid-level or modest pro-level saw in terms of wood volume, but I really want something RELIABLE, with quality hardware, that is rebuildable, where I can get a leaky crank seal replaced instead of trashing an otherwise functional tool. Also, while I may not process a lot of wood, I am diligent about ‘exercising’ my tools. So I’ll make sure it gets a few minutes of run time periodically in the off season, and gets fresh fuel and tune-ups.

I’m looking at $500ish, 59cc saws, specifically the Echo CS590. It appears to be well built, and have good replacement parts availability, with replacement top-end parts, crank bearings and crank seals only a couple clicks away.

Is this kind of the starting point for a “good reliable chainsaw” that’ll last, or do I still need to level up more to get the life and durability I’m looking for?


Note, I do all my own maintenance & repairs on my truck, tractors, ATV & dirtbike. I have good luck with bigger engines, but the small weed wacker engines just never seem to come back to life once they get a problem.

Thanks in advance for any input.
 

link

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Until now I’ve been making do with a 18V Sawzall and 18v Milwaukee 16” chainsaw...
That's some step up to an Echo CS-590.
You sure you wont even try a MS251 first? it have the low weight and the high power - if you want to go proff which you probably don't need thats a MS261. Less weight for your back to carry around buddy, I dont know about you but I'm passing 50 and certainly appreciate "not" to carry around more than I really need...
 

Czed

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I’ve been lurking the forum a lot while doing chainsaw research. This is far and away the most active and knowledgeable forum I’ve found.

I’m a middle aged guy who owns a single acre. My use for a chainsaw is pretty limited, maybe processing the odd tree that falls over on my property, cutting an annual Christmas tree, and collecting a couple cords of wood via a “dead & down” permit the USFS issues.

Until now I’ve been making do with a 18V Sawzall and 18v Milwaukee 16” chainsaw. I learned a lot using the electric chainsaw over the last few years, but it has definite limitations that appear as soon as you attempt real work. For instance, a few weeks ago I hooked up the horse trailer, loaded up the ATV and dump cart and drove 120 miles to the pines to get firewood. Once there I learned that the Milwaukee batteries don’t tolerate the cold. I wasted a lot of time and fuel to only come home with a bunch of dead batteries and a half-cord of wood. I only managed the half cord by rationing my cuts, bringing home 5-6 foot lengths, and then cutting them down to size at home.

So I started looking at gas chainsaws. I ruled out the Wal-Mart bargain models. The similarly priced string trimmers and such just don’t seem to last long before suffering a mortal failure. I really hate throwing away a tool because a cheap part breaks. I DO NOT want to be repeatedly pulling a starting cord in the snow, sweating and cussing a crappy saw. Granted I can’t justify a *need* for a mid-level or modest pro-level saw in terms of wood volume, but I really want something RELIABLE, with quality hardware, that is rebuildable, where I can get a leaky crank seal replaced instead of trashing an otherwise functional tool. Also, while I may not process a lot of wood, I am diligent about ‘exercising’ my tools. So I’ll make sure it gets a few minutes of run time periodically in the off season, and gets fresh fuel and tune-ups.

I’m looking at $500ish, 59cc saws, specifically the Echo CS590. It appears to be well built, and have good replacement parts availability, with replacement top-end parts, crank bearings and crank seals only a couple clicks away.

Is this kind of the starting point for a “good reliable chainsaw” that’ll last, or do I still need to level up more to get the life and durability I’m looking for?


Note, I do all my own maintenance & repairs on my truck, tractors, ATV & dirtbike. I have good luck with bigger engines, but the small weed wacker engines just never seem to come back to life once they get a problem.

Thanks in advance for any input.
I actually bought 2 echo 590s when they are introduced I intended to use one until it needed rebuilt them use
The other
I ran that first one over 7 years no issues at all other than a friend flipped the bar and didn't clean the oil hole in the bar and fried the oil pump
Echo replaced it free of charge.
And I cut a lot with it.
I'd recommend them to anyone needing a 60cc saw I ran a 24" because I had so many Husqvarna bars that's what I ran you have to drop a link and put a s hook bar adapter or whatever to tighten the mount around the bar studs.
also the 490 is a good light 50cc saw I had one for 4 year's
Once again no issues I ran a 18" bar
On it for limbing.
Sometimes you can get 590s nib for 350.00 on eBay
 

mudfly

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Based on your usage I highly doubt you would ever wear a 590 out to start with. Buy one keep it sharp with good fuel and oil mixture and run the heck out of it. 590 may be slightly heavier than some other 60 cc class saws but it's also cheaper and I doubt you will notice that much.

Forgot to add, I leave my 590 at the inlaws so I have a decent saw to use when I'm there. Really reliable and will put firewood in a pile very nicely.
 
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as a general rule, buy quality now and have less regrets tomorrow.
As for rebuilding them, technically all saws are rebuildable, from the bottom of the rung wally world china export stuff on up, however there is a cost point where its just not wise to rebuild one, a factory Stihl rebuild kit is around $300 give or take (with recent inflation? I could be way off) you can buy a new stihl for around $400. I gets even more disparaging with the chinesium saws as the parts are about the same.
Granted you can go and get the aftermarket parts and save about 1/2 the cash in parts, but from experience you will only get about 1/4 the lifetime at best. Where as with factor parts, you will get nearly identical life out of a rebuild (maybe more depending on why said saw needs rebuilt...)
 

sean donato

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as a general rule, buy quality now and have less regrets tomorrow.
As for rebuilding them, technically all saws are rebuildable, from the bottom of the rung wally world china export stuff on up, however there is a cost point where its just not wise to rebuild one, a factory Stihl rebuild kit is around $300 give or take (with recent inflation? I could be way off) you can buy a new stihl for around $400. I gets even more disparaging with the chinesium saws as the parts are about the same.
Granted you can go and get the aftermarket parts and save about 1/2 the cash in parts, but from experience you will only get about 1/4 the lifetime at best. Where as with factor parts, you will get nearly identical life out of a rebuild (maybe more depending on why said saw needs rebuilt...)
Last saw I rebuilt I got $400.00 into a at the time $750.00 saw. Pretty much decided if it needed a top end it was going to be sold off for parts, or tossed in the shed for rehabilitation at another time.
 

link

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I actually bought 2 echo 590s when they are introduced I intended to use one until it needed rebuilt them use
The other
I ran that first one over 7 years no issues at all other than a friend flipped the bar and didn't clean the oil hole in the bar and fried the oil pump
Echo replaced it free of charge.
And I cut a lot with it.
I'd recommend them to anyone needing a 60cc saw I ran a 24" because I had so many Husqvarna bars that's what I ran you have to drop a link and put a s hook bar adapter or whatever to tighten the mount around the bar studs.
also the 490 is a good light 50cc saw I had one for 4 year's
Once again no issues I ran a 18" bar
On it for limbing.
Sometimes you can get 590s nib for 350.00 on eBay
You have changed.
 

Bubster

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Sounds like a 590 might be more saw than you need, which is a good thing. As far as rebuilding , I doubt you would ever need to with what you are cutting. Look at a 445 Husqvarna as well. Lighter, cheaper, and parts are everywhere. I think 45-50 ccs is more what you need.
 

Maintenance supervisor

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Some saws will last years others generations. As stated all tools are rebuildable within reason.
A Promac700, Super Xl-12, poulan 4200, husqvarna 77,and the Stihl Super 028 will last your lifetime and then some if maintained and not abused .
Don't let yourself be talked out of some bigger saws either , I was in a saw shop 3 years ago and bought a 100cc Super 1050A Homelite for 100$ . I rebuilt the carb ,put new fuel line and rim drive on it for about another 75$ , it is a tank but just a fantastic piece of machinery! Running anything from 20" to 42" bars.
I ran a Promac700 and a 10-10 exclusively for almost 2 years and they never failed to start or cut.
There's alot of good choices out there.
 

esean

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Like Bubster says, depending on the size of the firewood you cut, a lighter 50cc saw might be easier to use.
 

cdherman

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I cut probably 4-5 cords of wood a year, plus cleanup duty on my 10 acres. I have an old Deer (Efco) CS-56 (56cc) that is big and heavy. Its really more than I need, most of the time, but indeed nice with the occasional large tree. I think all the guys giving advice are correct. 60cc saw may be more than you need.

I do a lot of cleanup and small stuff and some trimming from my poor mans bucket (shuttle cage on a pallet fork on my loader) so I have smaller saws too. It would be a horror to live with only one big saw. Get a smaller saw and longish bar. You can still work through the bigger stuff with patience.

As for rebuild. Doubtful with care you would ever need to completely rebuild any quality saw discussed here. BUT as I have painfully learned with my EFCO/Deere CS-56, parts availability is EVERYTHING. (EFCO no longer makes parts and Deere never did) Little stuff will break. Lines will get old, and some are specialty jobs that cannot be replaced with off the shelf stuff.

Buy an Echo or Stihl or maybe a Husky. Do NOT buy Home Depot etc. Buy something from the aforementioned that is common and used in the trades. You will have parts, service manuals, and internet wisdom down the road. Not so with the entry level crap. Nice thing about Stihl is that there is nothing really unsupported out there. My impression is that Echo makes some entry level stuff that will not get long term support.

But sounds like you are looking at saws that are beyond that category anyhow.....
 

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