How to buy - Cutting-edge chainsaws

Sally Drury answers questions on ease of use, the latest chain advances and infield maintenance for chainsaws.

Q: Have there been any developments to make chainsaw use easier?

A: Several. One of the biggest is the AutoTune from Husqvarna. This new feature for the XP chainsaws has been developed to provide optimal engine performance through an automatic engine setting — so no time is lost on carburettor adjustments.

AutoTune also regulates idle-, lowand high-speed settings and comes with diagnostic technology. It compensates for different fuels, altitudes, humidity, temperatures and clogged air filters. The first saw to be delivered with AutoTune is the professional users' 576XP.

Q: What is the point of the new chain from Stihl?

A: Stihl's latest chain is carbide-tipped to stay sharp for up to four times as long as a standard chain to optimise performance and reduce maintenance.

The Picco Duro chain could prove beneficial to less experienced users such as landscape contractors as well as hire firms and anyone cutting "dirty" wood. The smooth running behaviour, low vibration and low kickback properties should make the chainsaw easier and more comfortable to operate.

The carbide-tipped cutters are precision soldered and have a distinctive golden colour. When necessary, sharpening is carried out using a diamond grinding wheel tool.

Q: Is there anything new to help with infield maintenance?

A: Right now you can get a file, guide, chain oil and shot of two-stroke — along with integrated safety helmet — as part of a special promotion with the DCS4610 from participating Makita dealers for the price of £215 plus VAT.

Spaldings UK, based in Lincoln, has introduced the Oregon 12V chainsaw sharpener to its grounds maintenance range. The portable sharpener comes equipped 5m of power cable and cigarette-lighter plug.

It has three sharpening stones for a variety of chain pitches, a built-in depth gauge and quick-adjust sharpening guide for uniformly ground teeth.

Q: What is TAC from Husqvarna all about?

A: Ideal for hobby users, forestry students and those with limited experience, Husqvarna's 445e TAC features Triple Activated Chain brake technology (TAC). Starting price is £417.38.

In addition to the brake being triggered by the usual inertia mechanism and the front kickback guard, activation can be also be brought about when a new guard added to the rear handle is activated by the user. Together, the three different modes form a brake system that can help to prevent injury.

TAC encourages a more ergonomic working posture because if the user bends their back instead of their knees when working, the right hand is likely to trigger the new rear chain brake.

Q: Who is supplying Solo chainsaws now?

A: Lely UK of St Neots, Cambridgeshire, has taken on the UK distribution of the German-made Solo range of outdoor equipment. It spans models for consumers, semi-professionals and arborists.

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