From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Testing Low Oil Sensor on Honda GX Engine
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 22:13:52 -0400
On Fri, 13 May 2005 12:48:41 -0700, "Ulysses"
>"Neon John" <email@example.com> wrote
>> This photo shows a typical Honda magneto. It's the black thing sitting
>> at an angle on the left.
>> This photo is of the Honda mini-4-stroke engine used on their weed
>> whackers but the magneto is representative.
>That must be a blessing having a 4 stroke Honda weedwacker engine. I have a
>Ryobi 2 stroke and I usually have to fiddle around with it for half an hour
>to get the thing running right so I can use it for 15 minutes. Noisy and
>dirty (engine) too.
Yes it is. I used the Honda engine to build a hand held battery
charger but I have a Ryobi 4 stroke weed whacker. I'd never go back.
It starts the first or second pull and will actually idle smoothly. I
can't say that the noise is a lot different because the engine turns
at about the same RPM as a 2-stroke one but it is somehow less
I've just about completely converted to electric tools including the
chainsaw because I'm SOOOO tired of all the small engine maintenance.
I have a homemade power pack (golf cart batteries, inverter, charger)
mounted on a 2-wheeled hand cart for smaller jobs and a 2kw gas
generator mounted on another 2 wheel hand cart for the longer jobs. I
just roll the power pack out to the vicinity of the work and then use
a lightweight 18 ga cord to get power to the appliance. I've cranked
the voltage up on both the generator and power pack to compensate for
the small cord.
It is REALLY amazing how much less tired one is at the end of a day of
cutting firewood without the heavy vibration, noise and weight of a
gas chainsaw. My mid-size Remington has a 16" bar and is as fast as
one of the mid-sized homeowner type gas saws. Husky has a very
powerful gear drive electric but I haven't needed that much power yet.
I use my cube van http://www.johngsbbq.com/Truck.html for gathering
firewood. I've mounted a 2kw inverter permanently in the truck. The
alternator can feed it continuously. It's powerful enough to run any
of my electric implements. I also have one of those cheap chicom 120
volt operated winches (harbor freight).
I cut down a tree and de-limb it. I use the winch to drag the trunk
to my truck. The truck has a lift gate and I've discovered a neat
trick. I winch the big end of the trunk onto the lift gate so that
the end sticks over the edge. I raise the gate until the trunk is
pinched between the gate and the truck body. This lifts the entire
trunk up to about waist level. I can then casually walk along the
trunk to buck it with the saw without having to bend over. And
without having to stumble over the limbs. For my tired old body this
is a Godsend.
I've built several wheeled log racks. I just roll the rack out of the
truck, load it with logs, winch it back on the lift gate, jack it up
and roll it into the truck. At home I roll the rack off the lift gate
and into its place in the storage shed. That way I only handle logs
twice. Once when stacking them on the rack and once when I take it to
the wood heater.
It took a bit of work initially but now this system lets me gather as
much wood in a day as I did 30 years ago when I was a young'n'strong
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Chainsaw "Square ground cutter" sharpening?
Date: Sat, 08 Oct 2005 15:31:57 -0400
Not quite answering your question directly, but you might want to take
a look at the carbide tipped chain. I didn't realize they still made
that chain. I used to use that type on a bow bar with an 80cc
McCoulloch SuperPro when I was doing high volume firewood harvesting.
The carbide chain takes a lot of horsepower but even with dirty trees
and the occasional rock strike, stays sharp all season.
If I were doing any wood cutting at all nowadays, I'd have another bow
The one I use is somewhat wider and more squared off than this one.
The difference in fatigue at the end of the day after using a bow vs a
regular bar is remarkable. When felling a tree with a bow, one stands
behind and to the side of the tree and simply pushes the saw in. For
delimbing and bucking, one can remain fully upright and let the weight
of the saw do the work. And because the bar is so narrow, it rarely
gets pinched and wedging is rarely necessary except when felling to
direct the fall.
I see in googling that the usual panty-wetting types scream about
safety. I can't see any difference. Any chainsaw is dangerous in the
hands of an incompetent.
On Sat, 8 Oct 2005 01:59:19 -0700, "Bill" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Question: How do you properly sharpen a saw chain with a "square ground
>cutter"? (This is flat filed as opposed to round filed.)
>The chain with these square ground cutters is Stihl RSLFK, RSLK, or RSLHK.
>( http://www.stihlusa.com/chainsaws/types.html )
>Do you just use a flat file and free-hand (without any guide)?
>I found some information on this at the Oregon saw-chain web site. It says;
>"Only use files specially designed for square-ground chisel cutters,
>available from your chainsaw dealer." [Double-Bevel, Hexagon, and "Goofy".]
>This was on the last page of the following link...
>Anyone know where to buy these files online? Or which type of file is best
>Comments/Opinions on saw chain which is "square ground" -vs- "round ground"?
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Need recommendation for a chain saw
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2005 21:58:30 -0500
I'll second that advice.
I cut enough wood each year to heat my cabin, 2-3 cords or so. On
impulse one day several years ago I bought one of those $50 Remington
electric chainsaws just to see what it would do. Long story short, my
gas saws have not been cranked since. It's still running just fine
despite being made out of plastic.
I recently picked up Remington's new high power saw. About $90 if I
recall correctly. It's much faster than the small one, yet will still
run on from the 1500 watt inverter I have mounted in my truck.
I have the inverter in the truck and feed the saw with a 100 ft long
very light gauge (18) cord. I've turned up the voltage in the
inverter to compensate for the voltage drop in the cord. The cord is
so light that one doesn't notice it much.
Being able to saw and listen to the radio or music is very nice. As
is having it "start" instantly. No gas and oil to mess with. Less
Sam's Club sells the inverter like I use for under $100. I just pull
up to where I'm going to cut, leave the diesel engine idling and go to
work. If I'm not going to do too much cutting I don't bother with the
engine and operate from the battery. I have a separate "house
battery" separate from the cranking batteries so I don't have to worry
about not being able to crank.
Around the house, I have a power pack that I run the saw from. Xantrex
sells them or you can assemble one. Mine consists of a 2 wheel hand
cart, a large deep cycle battery, a 1500 watt inverter and a battery
charger. I run my saw and my homemade electric mower from this pack.
Also, when I'm doing physical labor, a nice cooling fan :-)
If you want an electric saw on par with the midweight gas ones, take a
look at the Husky electric. It cuts like a mutha. The downside is,
it's as large and heavy as a gas saw. Still the instant starting and
the lack of noise is nice. I haven't bought one yet, though I do seem
to be drawn to the display where I find myself caressing it
On 31 Dec 2005 14:00:37 -0800, "Andy" <email@example.com> wrote:
> While the Stihl and Husky are great, most any chain saw will last
>a long time if you don't use it much and take care of it....
> HOWEVER, for light use as you suggest, your best deal is an
>electric one, about 14" or so, which sells for about $60 anywhere under
>any number of brands. My first was electric, and I still keep one around
>for cutting off fence posts, small limbs, sometime ripping a 2X4, ---- just
>a great accessory for anyplace I have electricity. They don't have so
>much power to buck with, so I easily can use it with one hand just like
>a pair of scissors. This is really handy in a tree while hanging from a
>limb with the other hand........
> My first electric lasted me 10 years and was broken only when my
>ladder fell off a tree and bent the bar...... The motor and chain were
> I now have a McCullough gas that I am happy with, tho it is also
>for fairly light use, but where I don't have electricity. I tend to baby
>it on maintenance and cleaning, and had to replace the chain after 3
>years. for about $20......
> It all boils down to 1) how you plan to use it and 2) do you plan
>to take REAL GOOD care of it........ a $60 electric can last you a
>lifetime, and you don't have to mess about with gas and oil and cranking
>and broken starter ropes.................... and if you need a gas one
>later, you'll still find you use the electric whenever you can plug it
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Chainsaw purchase advise
Date: Sat, 20 Jan 2007 15:28:13 -0500
On 20 Jan 2007 08:29:13 -0800, "Harry K" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Sorta OT but on the subject of big bars on saws: The most rediculous
>thing I saw was when I was in the shop picking up mine after service.
>Customer ahead of me picked up his saw and a 26" chain. After he left
>I asked the counter guy "did I just see what I think I did? A 26" bar
>on an 026?" "Yep".
Before you make too much fun of that guy, realize that he probably
knows something that you don't.
I ran the longest bar I could on my de-limbing saw when I was cutting
firewood semi-commercially. The reason was that at 6'7" tall, bending
over a felled tree to reach the limbs with a shorter bar was hard on
my knees and back. The long bar (with a roller nose the power loss
was minimal) let me stand more upright.
That was before I discovered the Brush Bar (aka Bow Bar.) I put one
of those on a Mac SuperPro 80 (80 cc engine) and never looked back. I
could both de-limb and buck while standing straight upright.
I still have and use that saw some 30-odd years later. So much for
the rumor that saw engines are short-lived....
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: How To Sharpen An Ax?
Date: Mon, 07 Jan 2008 00:49:46 -0500
On Sun, 6 Jan 2008 21:41:40 -0600, email@example.com (Ronny TX) wrote:
>Well then,it seems I need someone to tell me how to sharpen one the best
>way. :-) And thus,why I asked in here.
Just ignore the pecker-heads. This group is infested with 'em, unfortunately.
>And it has been years since I've needed to use an ax. And years back too
>since my Dad sharpened our ax. So on most things I simply used a large
>pair of lopping shears,a bow saw or a Sawzall,if I thought that was
>I did see someone sharpening their two bitted ax the other day on a
>electric grinder and that may be fine? But it seemed a bit of overkill
>to me. Wasn't sure though and I'm still not. For the ax I have is pretty
>blamed dull. So I have been tempted to use the grinder first and then
>the hand file to finish things off. Just didn't want to use the
>grinder,if doing so would take off more metal than need be? Can't see
>any good in that,if such produces too much waste of metal on a good ax
How you sharpen an axe depends on what tools you have or are willing to buy.
At the bottom end is an ordinary mill file for rough sharpening and a whetrock for
finishing. A round rock held in a GLOVED hand is the usual form. This results in a
slightly rounded convex surface which IMO, isn't the best for cutting.
At the top end is a water cooled slow speed wheel. A large diameter wheel properly
used will slightly hollow-grind the blade. That is, the blade gradually tapers
behind the edge and then quickly widens out. The radius of the wheel is ground into
the edge. Hollow grinding provides a narrow leading edge which lets the axe enter
the wood easily and then offers a shoulder to quickly initiate the split. And for
chopping, the hollow grind cuts dapper than a rounded edge because less wood has to
In between the two techniques are things like bench grinders and even hand-held angle
grinders. Both are generally too high speed and will de-temper the edge ("burns"
it). A de-tempered edge will either dull quickly or chip, depending on whether the
overheated edge is allowed to cool naturally or is quenched.
When I can't get to a wet wheel, I use an angle grinder operated at low speed. I use
an inexpensive "router speed control" like Harbor Freight sells for $10-20, depending
on sale prices. I clamp my axe in a vice with a wet sponge backing the other side to
help keep it cool. I operate the grinder at only a couple hundred RPM and stop often
to make sure the edge is remaining cool.
Final touch-up is done with a whetrock. A properly sharpened axe will almost shave.
If you don't wear a glove when whet-rocking, you'll discover how well it cuts hand
flesh too :-) I use a lightweight kevlar knife-proof glove like poultry workers use.
A leather-palmed work glove will work too if you're careful.
After using just about everything on the market, I've come to the conclusion that the
solutions to wood splitting are: a) a hydraulic splitter or b) even better, a
Stickler http://www.thestickler.com/. I've owned one of these since the mid-70s and
absolutely love it. I've cut and split a 10 cord pulpwood truck load of hardwood in
If I had to use something that I swing, I'd go with the Stotz. If you get one, be
sure and get the Stotz brand. Northern Tool (I think) sells a ChiCom knockoff that
is awful. Unbalanced and the grip is so large that I can't get even my huge hands
comfortably around it.
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: How are Poulan Pro chainsaws?
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 2008 11:13:59 -0400
On Fri, 1 Aug 2008 07:14:07 -0700 (PDT), Harry K <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Good point. The electric saw is almost always overlooked in these
>discussions. I do have one comment though
>>. "I use a very light cord, one that's barely
>> noticeable. The advantage of this approach is that the weight, noise, fumes
>> and vibration are back at the generator while the very lightweight saw is very
>> easy to use."
>The use of a 'light' cord seems wrong to me. Usually a heavier cord
>the longer the length is called for. For sure if the cord is heating
>up during use.
So it would seem according to conventional wisdom. I like to work outside the
box a bit. I don't like to yank around heavy cords so when I tried the 18
gauge cord and it worked, there went another conventional wisdom :-)
The 18 ga cord does get warm. Sometimes quite warm when I'm working harder
than I want to be :-) But the saw still cuts fine, if a tiny bit slower.
When running on my generator, its performance is brought back to normal by my
having clipped a bit more capacitance on the voltage regulating capacitor
inside the generator and by turning the governor up a bit. The voltage starts
out at about 140 volts at the generator and is what it is when it gets there.
When the sawing gets tough, the generator is significantly overloaded so
there's no telling what the frequency or voltage is. Think of the cord as a
long and very flexible coupling between the generator engine and the saw. Like
a diesel-electric locomotive in miniature.
The universal motor inside the saw doesn't give a whit whether it's fed 60 or
70 or 50 cycles or DC. I think that the generator's probably spinning at
about 65 cycles but I've never bothered to measure.
I use the same technique with my homemade electric lawnmower except that I
have to use a 16 ga cord because of the higher current draw. The light cord
also gives the very cheaply made motor a modicum of protection if I hit
something and stall the motor. It limits current until I can hit the switch.
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Firewood, the most expensive fuel
Date: Thu, 02 Oct 2008 18:17:35 -0400
On Thu, 2 Oct 2008 05:48:50 -0700 (PDT), Harry K <email@example.com>
>Latest cosst to me is my harvest of Black Locust in a 50 mile
>(roundtrip) haul costing me 1/4 tank gas per trip (about $20) in which
>I haul heat for 2-3 weeks per load.
>Maintenance for equpment? A gallon of gas, oil for chain and motor, a
>couple new chains occasionally.
>Your whole post sounds like you are afraid of a little hard work.
Yup. Before health stopped me from cutting wood, I used the McCullouh
SuperPro 80 that I bought in, oh 1972 or thereabouts. I'd hate to think how
many hundreds of cords of wood it has cut. Still screaming away (literally,
since mufflers were kind of an option back then :-)
I split wood with a "Stickler", the most wonderful invention known to wooding.
Once you use one of these, you'll look at a hydraulic splitter as the
stone-axe that it is. I bought my Sticker in the same time-frame.
I paid about $250 for the chain saw 36 years ago, about $100 for the Stickler
about the same time. I'll let someone else amortize those costs. I treated
the saw to a new carbide-tipped chain and bow bar every few years - maybe $150
total - and of course, I've burned a few hundred gallons of gas and used a
similar amount of oil.
BTW, that carbide-tipped chain would stay sharp a whole season, even with the
occasional contact with the ground. If they still make 'em, it's some of the
best money spent on wood cutting. At the end of the season I'd send it back
to the factory for resharpening. The fee was nominal, probably less than $20.
BTW2: if you've never wooded with a bow bar, you've never experienced just how
easy gathering firewood can be. Instead of standing to the side, jacking the
saw into the tree while felling it, you simply push the saw into the tree.
When notching, the saw's weigh does the work - I just guided it. When limbing
and bucking, I simply walked along the trunk, letting the weight of the saw
push the blade into the wood. The only exertion was lifting the saw back up
after each cut. The bow is so narrow on the working end that it almost never
got pinched so wedging or cutting from the bottom wasn't necessary.
I built my first central wood furnace using scrap yard materials. My current
fireplace insert came from an auction for the princely sum of $30 about 10
I'd be a WHOLE BUNCH poorer right now had I not heated with "expensive" wood
for most of my life.