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                  By Mike Dann

At a recent Maine Woodland Owners board meeting the question was asked: “Has anyone used a battery-powered chainsaw?” I hadn’t, but was curious about them. When I got home I had a stumpage check in the mail from wood I had salvaged from last fall’s windstorm. So here I had the happy coincidence of some discretionary cash, and an idea about what to spend some of it on. 

     I purchased a Husquvarna 120i battery powered saw. I purchased it for two reasons; I own and like other Husquvarna saws, and I wanted to support my local dealer. Full details on the saw can be found by clicking here.

     So, how did it work? We have areas on our woodlot which are old pasture. There’s a lot of one- to four inch poplar and grey birch, with some maple, oak, and ash mixed in. I decided to try some precommercial thinning, or a “chop and drop.”

     I was able to work about two hours with a single charge. We’re currently working in a stand that is old pasture that came in to white ash, with some maple and oak mixed in. There are a lot of one- to five-inch stems that need to be thinned. The photo shows the pile of two- to five-inch white ash, fourfoot lengths, that I was able to cut on that one charge. We have a Kubota RTV 1120 side-by-side we use to get around the woodlot and haul wood. The question was, “Can I cut a load of 16-inch firewood on one charge?” The answer: Yes, I can. Working in the same stand, I cut a load of white ash, about one tenth of a cord. 

Here are my thoughts on this saw:

  •  It’s pretty light, at 11 pound, four pounds lighter than my Husquvarna 353 gas saw.
  •  There’s no “struggle string” to pull; just an on-off button.
  •  It’s a lot quieter.
  •  It has the same chain-brake safety features as gas saws.
  •  With a correctly sharpened chain, it cuts hardwood well.
  •  It’s now my “go to” saw to have in the back of the buggy anytime I leave the dooryard. I’m   always seeing a tree that needs cutting, or a tree has come
     down across the trail.
  •  It will be my choice for boundary line cleaning and maintenance.
  •  The chain speed is slower than a gas saw, so it
     doesn’t cut as fast.
  •  It doesn’t cut stems less than a half inch well. The slow chain speed causes the stem to   vibrate, slowing the cut. 
  • It doesn’t have a lot of torque, so it can’t be forced, and pinches easily.

     I can now ride out to the woodlot in the morning, work a couple of hours, come home and plug the battery in, and have lunch and a nap. Then, with me and the battery both recharged, I can decide whether I want to work a couple of more hours in the afternoon. Perfect!     

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