PW Turns 40: Our First Tool Review

PW Turns 40: Our First Tool Review

Troubleshooting: the Milwaukee electric chainsaw

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the May 1981 issue of Pacific Woodworker. This particular model is obviously no longer on sale in stores, but you might find one on eBay if you feel like recreating the experience.

If you’ve ever thought about using a chainsaw in your shop, but didn’t like the dangers of gasoline-powered models, an electric chainsaw could solve your problems.

Many carpenters working on large architectural pieces, artistic compositions, or free-form furniture have found that using a chainsaw can save them a very tedious cutting job. The advantages of an electric chainsaw are instant starting at any temperature, reduced maintenance, the absence of wasted time in mixing and refilling the fuel, the absence of exhaust gases and the absence of dangers inherent in the presence of flammable materials. The only major drawback is that you’re tied to a power source by an electrical cord, but that’s a small price to pay for all the benefits.

One of the best electric chainsaws on the market is the Milwaukee Chain Saw. It shares all the advantages mentioned above, along with the excellent Milwaukee quality construction. – -The motor is rated at 15 amps and has ample power for sawing hardwoods. The Milwaukee chain saw is one of the few electric chainsaws that offers the choice of a 16 “or 20” bar length. Flush cuts can be easily done as there is no bolt housing or protrusion. The saw feels very good to hold, as the handles are positioned with well thought-out positioning. While playing, the instrument feels very positive with quiet and smooth power transmission.

PW Turns 40: Our First Tool Review

Charlie Cobb demonstrates on a nearly completed railing how he used the Milwaukee chainsaw to achieve the desired angular effect.

Charlie Cobb, a carpenter in Santa Rosa, uses a Milwaukee chainsaw in the furniture and architectural designs he produces for clients. Most of the work Charlie does is custom fabrication using koa and he has been using the chainsaw for about nine months. The chainsaw is used to rough out the basic design and then numerous sanding steps are performed to complete each project. The hassle of having to use different saws with different blades is eliminated, which frees up time to focus on the actual work.

He made three major pieces, including the railing he’s currently working on, with no need to sharpen the chain. The glued lamination Charlie uses in his work dulls the chain faster, but there are no normal chainsaw hazards of cutting dirt, rocks, or hardware in the trees.

Every shop doesn’t need an electric chainsaw, but there are some specialized woodworking businesses that would be greatly simplified by using a chainsaw. If you don’t want the negative side effects of a gasoline chainsaw, but want this kind of cutting ability, the Milwaukee electric chainsaw would be a good tool to investigate.

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