It is a question I often get asked by Chainsaw Carvers and Arborists or Tree surgeons. The answer is both simple and slightly more convoluted. The simple answer is they work. Day in, day out they perform, often in ways they weren’t even designed for.
More about CS-281WES: http://www.echotools.com/products/category_detail/id=3586
For the more convoluted answer, read on. I hadn’t used a chainsaw for more than 25 years when I moved into a building next to a Tree Surgery firm. They have a good reputation and a customer base that regularly asks for those odd things tree surgeons get asked for, like cake stands, rustic signs and that sort of thing. Their boss also did a few chainsaw carvings as a side-line.
As with any busy firm, the side-line things got left until the last minute and I was often asked to do signs and the like to help them out (I have been in the woodworking trade most of my life). One day, a carving had been ordered and was due imminently. Could I do it? Please?
It only took the one carving for me to get the bug, but I hate having to borrow tools, which was the way the first carving had been completed.
So, I started researching chainsaws. I’d done a chainsaw and brushcutter course 25 years back, just after the 1987 storm that damaged many thousands of trees, but the modern tools are not quite the same and my reason for wanting one was totally different. I’m also 30 years older, so weight was a factor too.
Another consideration was the fact that I like to be a little different, and I could see a definite advantage in not having the same saws as the Tree Surgeons used. There would be no confusion as to who owned them. Oh, and I like the best, but that was not something that I was qualified to evaluate at the time.
As with many items of equipment there was the Mercedes v BMW, Canon v Nikon type of war and lesser known brands were almost forgotten (Audi, Pentax etc) and it seemed to be the same with chainsaws. So I looked beyond the two major brands and found the ECHO brand.
Taking weight, power and price into the equation, along with the very good warranty offered by ECHO, I ordered a CS-280WES. It was fine and I was quite pleased with my first chainsaw purchase, but I soon realised that I needed something a bit different for carving. It had a standard bar running 3/8LP chain and to run a carving bar I needed ¼” chain.
I looked up and called the nearest dealer. “Yes, we have one on the shelf. Bring your saw and we’ll fit it for you”. That is the kind of answer I like. Two hours later my shiny CS280WES was running ¼” chain and sporting a nice new carving bar made by the same people that made the ECHO bars. All my subsequent purchases have been with that dealer.
That was all coming up on 4 years ago, and I now spend 90% of my working time on chainsaw carving. The chainsaw arsenal has expanded slightly, including having added a couple of CS-281WES's, all sporting different bars, which get better with more use. I'd guess at 20% better after 3 months daily use. But it didn’t stop there.
The culprit that got me into chainsaw carving now uses an ECHO CS-450 for his blocking out, and has another 4x CS-450’s as ground saws for his crews. He also uses a CS-281WES for detailing his carvings and will replace his bigger orange and white saws with ECHO saws as they require it. The reason? Back to the simple answer. They work, day in, day out!