A Firewood Processor with a circular saw or a chainsaw?

In our previous post, we listed the most important features you should consider when buying a new firewood processor. But we are aware that the first question in mind is often: which one is better, a circular saw or a chainsaw? Both have pros and cons, so we hope this blog post will help you with your decision.

 

A Firewood processor with a circular saw has longer sharpening interval

When choosing a circular saw people often consider that machine with circular saw blade is more efficient and maintenance-free. It is true that with a circular saw the sharpening interval is indeed longer and you don't need chain oil for the maintenance. On the other hand, changing and sharpening the cutting blade is slower and more expensive than with a firewood processor with a chainsaw.

When the blade of a circular saw firewood processor is sharp, it cuts well. However, when the blade becomes dull, the problem is that the firewood ends up into wrong position. Operator needs to adjust the position, which slows down the work.

With a circular saw firewood processor many choose a TCT blade (tungsten carbide tipped) instead of a regular blade. The TCT blade lasts up to 10-20 times longer than a regular blade. Still, it will become dull eventually. Additionally, the TCT blade can be completely destroyed if it hits a large hard object inside the tree. But for example with sandy trees a TCT blade is a must-have when using  a circular saw firewood processor.

One of the advantages of the circular saw is that the resulting sawdust doesn’t contain any oil at all. It may also seem that it produces less sawdust than a chainsaw. This is however not the case as there are no major differences in the blade width between these two saw types. Sawdust from the circular saw machine is just very dense, whereas sawdust from a chainsaw machine is fluffier.

 

The modern firewood processors with a circular saw are safe to use 

Many still believe that a circular saw is dangerous. However, this too is a misconception. Modern circular saw firewood processors are safe to use as they nowadays follow the EU safety regulations. But because the circular saw blade rotates all the time, it requires different guards. For safety reasons, these guards can usually not be opened while the machine is running. When using a firewood processor with a chainsaw it is easy to stop the chain and all other dangerous functions. This allows you immediately to open the single large guard. 

Far more real problem with a circular saw is often the fact that a high-speed circular saw blade needs a lot of space. This is one of the reasons why circular saw firewood processors are significantly more expensive than same size chainsaw processors. To move around a large circular saw blade requires much more robust structures, resulting in significantly higher manufacturing costs compared to a firewood processor with a chainsaw.

In a smaller circular saw firewood processor the wood is often pushed to the circular saw by the operator and in larger machines the circular saw blade is moved towards the wood. This increases the demand for space and requires strong, often complex power line to rotate the blade. For example, a blade that has diameter in 27,5” (700 mm) cuts wood that’s diameter is only 11” (280 mm). At the same time the blade and transmission must move even more than cutting diameter of the log.

Starting a large circular saw blade is also difficult, especially without the release switch. This comes up especially with electric machines and in cold weather.

 

Firewood processor with a chainsaw is compact

Many see that the best feature of firewood processor with chainsaw is that the firewood processor and the chainsaw have the same chain ja chain bar and these can be varied when needed. With the chainsaw the normal chain becomes dull with time as does the one in the circular saw. The difference is that with a circular saw you will always have to turn to a specialized dealer, but you can easily sharpen the chainsaw yourself. Changing the chainsaw chain is also easy and you can do all other maintenance yourself too.

Hakki Pilke Pro series firewood processors feature our highly efficient AC 10 automatic chain tensioner that keeps the chain in optimal tension at all times preventing breakage and loosening. Correct chain tension greatly increases the useful life of the chain and improves cutting speed. With a modern firewood processor maintaining the chainsaw chain and chain bar is amazingly easy - you find the guidelines and video for the maintenance in our blog How To: Sharpening Your Chainsaw Chain.

When you don’t need a maintenance break to replace your chain, it can be easily done in the middle of the day and it takes only few minutes. With easy maintenance and replacement of the chain, it is more likely that you keep it sharp at all times. Sharper chainsaw chain makes the work faster. If you instead run the machine with a dull chainsaw chain, let’s say for example two weeks, because changing it would take too much effort, this will result in a big notch in the machine’s performance.

Nowadays TCT blade are also available for the firewood processors with a chainsaw. They also have the same lifespan as TCT blade for the circular saws. As the TCT blade are nowadays evolved, there are quality TCT blade available for the chainsaw where the carbide tips are soldered in the same way as in a circular saw blade. With the chainsaw also the TCT blade can be sharpened at home with a dedicated file or with diamond blade.

 

Electric firewood processor with a chainsaw is a good choice especially in cold weather

The chainsaw needs lubrication between the chainsaw chain and chain bar, but modern firewood processors have automatic chain lubrication with a stepless adjustment. This way, the oil is not wasted, and only minimal amount of oil adheres to the sawdust. There are also high quality biodegradable lubricants available today that don't mess the sawdust at all.

Many users appreciate the silence of the firewood processor with a chainsaw. Modern chainsaws also feature powerful sawdust extraction options and are available with a sawdust blower. This way, the fluffier sawdust does not spread to the environment. One of the advantages of a firewood processor with a chainsaw is that the chainsaw chain does not rotate all the time, which makes the machine more efficient to operate. It is also easy to start the machine as only the hydraulic pumps start.

One good thing about firewood processors with a chainsaw is their considerably smaller size compared to the machines with a circular saw. They also have a larger wood diameter than circular saw machines of the same size. For example, a 16” chain bar can cut approximately 15” (380 mm) diameter wood. The chain bar moves about 90 degrees, to a horizontal plane and back up. This means that the machine is significantly smaller in size and at the same time it is possible to cut considerably larger diameter wood. In all firewood processors with a chainsaw, only the chain bar moves, used either by the operator or by the machine.

 

A chainsaw firewood processor 

+ quieter

+ longer sharpening interval

+ you can sharpen yourself

+ cutting does not need lubrication oil

+ chainsaw chain is cheaper to renew and change

+ also available with TCT blade

+ cuts bigger wood diameter with the same size machine  

A circular saw firewood processor

+ electric processor needs less power

+ electric processor works in cold weather without problems

 

TIP: Whatever firewood processor you use, it's important to keep in mind that dull blades are never a good idea

For example, if the average diameter of the wood is 7,9” (200 mm) and the length 13” (33 cm), a sharp chainsaw can make 10 cuts per minute. Slightly dull chainsaw in turn makes 8 cuts per minute. This means that a sharp blade will produce 75 cubes a day and a slightly dull blade only 59 cubes. You can read more detailed figures from the calculator attached.

 

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