Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Poulan Predator

After the ice storm hit, I went to three stores to buy a good saw to help removing my trees. Of course, the gas powered chainsaws were sold out, and naturally the electric ones were also gone, but these people had picked the shelves clean of every type of saw - no matter how ridiculous ... I called around, I even went to the stores in town that had no power. I was hoping that in those suddenly "cash only, no credit cards" stores, maybe there would be one left. Nope, nope, and hell no ...

One of my neighbors had a visit from a tree service company. She only had one mortally wounded Bradford Pear tree in her yard. They gave her a quote that covered bringing down the part that was still standing, chopping all the wood, and piling it up within five feet of the curb - all for the low, low price of $600. Gouge, gouge, gouge. I have three trees, so the survey says ... $120 more or less for a chain saw and some sweat beats a $2,000 drumming!

On the third day of looking, the happy Walmart voice told me that two more skids of chain saws just came in and they would have them out on the floor in about an hour. I rushed over to the store, had to parked a mile away from the door, and sprinted in (so what that it looked like a ruptured hog on ice!?!). I found the chain saw pallets in a sea of people. I got my saw!

It's a Poulan Predator. It has a powerful, but compact 34cc engine that didn't complain too much starting for the first time in 28 degree (F) weather. The instructions for starting the chainsaw are in pictures by the handle. The instruction manual was a little more technical, but cold starts are a snap. You pull the handle five times, then pump the little primer bulb 6 times, then pull till it starts.

It's got an Anti-vibration handle on it that really makes for comfortable operation of the saw. It is small, but you can feel its 11.8 pound mass after welding it for a couple of hours. The vibration is very low. The "sweet spot" on the cutting chain is right where you'd expect it to be. It is noisy, so wear ear plugs. The operation of the saw is cleaner than I expected. It directed saw dust away from me, but some dust did accumulate in the area where automatic chain oiler works - not an excessive amount, but it was noticeable. You definitely want to wear eye protection when using this or any saw. The instruction manual spends a lot of time discussing kickback. If you are careful and pay attention to your technique, you can minimize kickback and other problems. There is an inertia activated chain brake on the saw just in case though.

This saw is small and inexpensive. It's got plenty of power too. It fits well with the type of work that I need it for. I cleared the very large Bradford Pear tree that was split open and dead in my front yard in just an hour and a half. Highly recommend it for odd jobs and occasional work.

It does come with a one Year Guarantee too. Unlike many other items sold in Walmart, the Poulan Predator is Made in the USA.


Ron Simpson said...

I got a Poulan Pro from the Tracto Supply Co. It was the last one on display. It was a 200 saw on sale for 150 and i got a 40 discount. It is sweeeeet

linearthinker said...

I've been using a Poulan 18" in Calif for over 8 years since my big Stihl 045 with 36" bar was stolen. I love it. I work up pine and oak up to 30" + dia. for firewood. 100% wood heat. Going to Walmart now to check out a Predator for girlfriend's tree and limb cleanup in Fayetteville. Listing for about $135. They were excellent saws a few years ago.