opinions wanted: chainsaw on a stick?

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Feb 20, 2007
I have a ryobi 4-stroke line trimmer, works great. Also have a craftsman electric bush trimmer, though it's 3/8" cut width is too small for all the bushes on our property and I'm always wrestling with it to cut. So.... was wondering if I should: 1. buy a chainsaw attachment for the ryobi $100 2. there's a lightweight 18v chainsaw for $120 3. just get a new electric bush trimmer with a larger cut for $60 Opinions? Critical factor: I have very weak wrists. Anything on the ryobi power head will rely heavily on neckstrap. Can't grasp very firmly. Thanks! Mike
From my experience most of the hedgetrimmers/chain saws on-a-stick are fairly well balanced. The idea behind them is being on the ground is always safer than being on a ladder with power tools. I would go and take a look and ask around. Anything that you don't feel comfortable with just stay away from. Some of the power tools out there are way cool, but that doesn't negate the fact that it scares the poo out of me.
Please describe what kind of work you are attempting. Pruning branches off? Shearing hedges/bushes? Cutting off brush at the base?
I have the Ryobi 2-stoke pole saw and it can be a pain. I have used it over my head to cut some limbs off a tree, worked well once I hoisted it up there. I also used it to prune the base of some pine trees at ground level, and it was a bear, and I'm not exactly a small dude. If you are working over your head and can manage a single heave-ho to get it up there, you might be OK. Otherwise, go for something lighter. On a seperate note, the engine is at quite an angle when you are trimming overhead branches, is that power head rated for that attachement? I would worry about starving it for oil.
Originally Posted By: MichiganMadMan
On a seperate note, the engine is at quite an angle when you are trimming overhead branches, is that power head rated for that attachement? I would worry about starving it for oil.
That's a legitimate concern with the four strokes. I wouldn't be holding it straight up with the back of the motor pointed at the ground. The Ryobi Expand-It attachment will be easy to store, but the attachment probably weighs about as much as an electric saw by itself. Having it attached to the powerhead will definitely make it a heavier tool than an electric. In this case I'd go with whatever electric saw has the best warranty.
Thank you for the thoughts. We have some thick bushes along the front of the house--- 4-6' tall and 6' wide that require trimming 2-3 times per year. some of the stems are easily 5/8" or thicker. I am also constantly cutting limbs off the trees as they approach the house. it's a two-story on sloped ground so there is height involved. the bushes are so thick it's very hard to get around the top. Weight is a concern if the device isn't well-balanced. the electric chain saw was light, but doesn't have much reach. I also don't know how much it will tug on my hands, though I doubt it would be any worse than shoving a trimmer thru the bushes. (I've never used a chain saw-- always been very intimated by them as a family friend was killed using one years ago when the chain broke and cut him and he bled out). I've actually resorted to my electric circular saw for limbs up to 2.5". balanced, two hands, not a long stick to leverage against, but it's not the right tool for the job, and it's actually heavier than the 18V rechargeable ryobi chain. Wish they had a try before you buy program. I think the electric chain, which was lighter than the chain on a stick, would be a better tool. But I've never used one. Thoughts?? (and thank you--- having hand injuries ALWAYS requires more planning and thought than the old, "yep, this is what I need....") (BTW-- good point on the powerhead... there is a limit to how much tilt/lean it will tolerate.... about 45 degrees.) M
Sounds like you have an old motorcycle injury to me, hold on to the bars a bit too long? I always say that chainsaws are dangerous, which is why there is safety equipment for sale at a reasonable price. I always wonder what someone would pay for a set of chaps when the chain was in mid-air.... Sorry, back to topic. You might look a bit strange, but I would buy the electric pole saw and try it out without actually cutting anything. If the store is reasonable, they should take it back if you can't work with it. I think adding a ladder to an already complicated situation on uneven ground might hurt more (or something more important, like your head) than the pole saw will hurt your wrists. You could also try a velcro strap on your left arm so the total weight of the saw is carried by your lower forearm instead of having to go through your wrist. That leaves you only positioning and operating the switch with your right. The lesson I learned also, don't stand anywhere near the branch you are cutting off, moment of complete stupid. I was smart enough to throw the hardhat on, so it was more loud than ouch. It didn't fall anywhere near where I thought it would.
MichiganMadMan: you, sir, are a very careful and I dare say gifted reader. You are close. I had a "cycling addiction" for years.... an endurance rider that also worked up the finesse to ride over picnic tables, etc... and it was rough on the hands. It didn't become an injury, however, until working full-time and going to school nights. biking started it, typing finished it. There were indeed a couple of years with an antique CB440, and fortunately the rubber always stayed down. I use my OPE in EXACTLY the manner you are describing. velcro, straps, whatever. I pull the mower behind me with a 1" climbing strap around my arm to avoid using wrists. Neighbors always stare at first until they ask or figure it out. Have done it for years, pretty good at it. Hearing your perspective on this, and another trip out to just hold on to these lawn weapons and swing them around, the lightweight chainsaw is out, and likely the chain on a stick. I hadn't considered an electric pole saw.... that's a really good idea-- especially if I can also go horizontal with it for the thicker bush stems... or maybe just a longer, but balanced, trimmer with a wider cut capacity. some of those get pretty heavy. perfect things for me to think about-- thank you! Mike
A few of my friends who are two wheelers have similar issues. One of them has a difficult time in the airport because they had to put his wrist back together with metal pieces. He has strength, but not much dexterity. When I had my big crash, I proved my wrist was stronger than my shoulder, who would have thought!? Hope the electric pole saw works for you. It seems like the best piece of equipment for your situation. Good luck, MMM
I can't imagine using a chainsaw type blade to hedge back shrubs. It tends to grab, tear, and leave mangled tips that will not be healthy for the shrubs. For pruning tree limbs up high, do you have enough wrist strength to use a manual pole pruner? A good one will have razor sharp teeth that melts through limbs. Pros use them all the time. Your bush shearing seems to be more of a challenge. Pictures would help.
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