Our Stihl MS 311 is on season four and just felled and bucked what was probably tree number 550 or so. Good saw, way better than other chain spinners we’ve enjoyed over the years, lke the borrowed chainsaw that dumped gasoline on you if you happened to tilt it backwards, or the ancient howling monster I used in Crested Butte to buck enormous piles of delivered timber that my mom heated her house with back in the day. That oily beast rattled so harshly I’ve still got a cyst in my wrist.
Yeah, this Stihl is something different. Vibration absorption is beautiful, exhaust recirc’ cleans up the cloud of hydrocarbons you used to spend the day working in. But nothing is perfect. Gas cap still pops off if you don’t get it on just right, and some of the Stihl fasteners are weak. I found out the latter when I stumbled on some rocks and set the saw down hard. Snapped a few bolts, worst being one anchoring the chain lock pivot.
Repair shop told me they were two weeks out on work. Heck, this time of year!? Autumn is the best time to get that wood chewed up. Time for DIY. A few hours later I had the broken fastener drilled out and tapped to 1/4 20, replaced with a socket head bolt with a trimmed head. New sparkplug, clean the air filter, replace fuel filter. Bar is nearly trash but we might as well take it too the limit and save a few bucks. Ready for another 500 trees?
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.