At press events, editors often have an opportunity to operate new equipment while learning about the latest technology. These events have a similar look and feel to dealer meetings hosted by equipment manufacturers, where engineers and product managers talk about new products.
During these events, I take notes as much for Rural Lifestyle Dealer articles as for my own personal knowledge. Lately, I have been thinking about chainsaws. A few nights of severe storms this summer have topped about a half-dozen trees around my property in rural Wisconsin. And a stand of pine trees — planted too close to each other several decades ago — is rapidly dying out. I figure I have a couple of good weekends worth of wood to cut and stack.
For years, I have used a McCulloch chainsaw made in the 1980s. It’s heavy and all of the engine's vibration is directed straight to my arm, but it starts every time.
Before he retired, a friend ran an equipment dealership in central Wisconsin that catered to profesional and amateur loggers as well as large property owners. When I'd stop in I would wander over to the chainsaw room. I promised he would be the first to know when I bought a new chainsaw, but it was hard for me to justify replacing something that didn't get a lot of hours and never let me down.
Chainsaw technology has advanced in the years since McCulloch produced its black and yellow chainsaws in Lake Havasu City, Ariz. — a town founded by Robert McCulloch himself — but not until a Husqvarna media event a few weeks ago did I appreciate just how much.
The new chainsaws offer better ergonomics. They are lighter, run with less vibration, and chain tensioning has been made easier, too. The chain breaks have been improved. All of this adds up to a chainsaw that is safer and more efficient to run.
Buying a new tool when the right job presents itself makes sense. That's something my Dad taught me. I think it's time to put the old saw on the shelf. And, since Husqvarna owns the McCulloch brand — which their surveys have shown still holds a lot of equity — I may not have to change colors.
To the untrained eye, chainsaws look like they always have. They have a handle, an engine, and a long blade. Your customer probably has an old one in the garage they use sparingly. But when he or she wanders over to your wall of hand held equipment, does that consumer understand the technology that's packed into a chainsaw's compact body? Tools such as chainsaws are designed to make work safer and more efficient, even fun. Take the time to explain the differences between a new tool and an antique!