Well, I finally dun it … I got me a chainsaw!
We had a small grove of alder trees that were too near to our sheds, so they came down early this spring, before they had a chance to leaf out and get too heavy with sap. I figured that it was about time I learned to use a chainsaw. We have a 24” Stihl gas-powered chainsaw, but it’s a wee bit heavy for me. I’m a slightly built 5’5” and suffer from tendonitis and carpal tunnel syndrome if I try to lift too much weight repetitively with my forearms. Thankfully, I’m otherwise lucky to have a wiry, tough Celtic constitution!
So, I ended up getting a battery-operated 14” Ryobi chainsaw, which weighs in at slightly more than half the weight of our old chainsaw. It runs on 40V lithium batteries, and a full charge on a 4.0 amp-hour battery gives me just about as much cutting time as a tank of gas on the old saw. Who’da thunk it – a solar-powered chainsaw! A couple of hours charging on our solar panels, and the battery is back up to full and ready to go to work again. When I think about the “total energy equation”, I’m not sure our “solar-powered” chainsaw is truly saving energy and reducing carbon emissions when you consider the processes of mining lithium and manufacturing the battery. However, it’s convenience wins out – light weight, no cord, and no packing gas in from Sayward.
The saw itself is quite amazing. I thought it might be a bit underpowered, but I had no problem bucking logs up to 12” in diameter, and probably could have done larger diameters if I cut from both sides. I’m impressed! And it got me out cutting this year, when I usually just do the splitting, which made the work go much faster. It even forced me to learn some new skills, and at the end, left us with a nice pile of cut rounds of alder, still waiting to be split.