February 21, 2012
See below for a review of the Husqvarna 346xp.
Don’t order a chain for a Husqvarna saw from Alamia.com unless you know exactly what you are doing.
I learned of http://www.alamia.com from this forum, and when I decided to buy a new saw, their price for a Husqvarna 346XP was very attractive. I ordered it online and had it shipped to Wellesley Island NY where I picked it up and brought it across the border into Ontario myself.
At the $468. US I paid, the saw is a very good machine, well worth the money and the trouble to get it here.
Last week I decided to lay in a couple of chains for the saw, so I clicked the appropriate boxes and paid online, all without any need to speak to a sales person. That was my first mistake.
After three days I drove to Wellesley Island Bld. Supply and picked up my chains. When I tried to put one on today, it was too short. A call to Alania and Sean answered:
“Oh, you likely need an 80 rather than a 78. Husqvarna uses both, depending upon which bars they have in stock at the time. Send them back and I’ll send you some 80’s.”
I expressed my disappointment with their online sales software that this eventuality was not addressed, and given the complexity of the shipping arrangements, decided to write the transaction off to experience.
Then I looked at the bar. It’s printed right there, the last number, 80 (drivers).
I thought I could maybe cut a chain down for my Husky 51, 64 drivers. Nope. It’s a wider chain, a .58, whereas the new one is a .50.
After 32 years as an English teacher, I still find new ways to be illiterate. $42.00 for the chains, $12 for shipping, $2.50 for bridge toll, $12.00 for gas. $68.50 to learn something completely new? Not so bad.
Cory Sly at his small engines shop in Elgin extended the chains and made me a new one for the Husky 51 for a total of $30. Turns out Cory’s prices are better on chains than Alamia’s.
Online shopping is great, but sometimes it’s better to buy local.
While I’m at it, I should comment on the saw in question:
The following is a contribution to a discussion on the Chain Saw forum of TractorByNet.com
Your original question was a request for feedback on the Husqvarna 346XP, so here goes:
I bought one last fall from Alamia for 468 USD. They were about 800 CDN at the time in Ontario. I was looking for a lightweight, high performance saw, as I’m not getting any younger or fitter. In my salad years I proudly wielded a McCullough ProMac 85 with a 28″ bar because I loved its cutting speed. Needless to say, I concentrated on the block wood and left the limbing to my dad with his lighter saw.
More recently I have used an inherited Husqvarna 51 with a 13″ bar. It’s a good saw, but limited in what it can cut. I bought the 346 with a 20″ bar to fill that gap, and it has filled that role well.
So far I have blocked up five trees over 20″, two wind-fallen Manitoba maples (box elder), two hard maples, and a bitternut hickory. When sharp, the saw cuts very well. I touched a rock and ruined a chain, but you can’t blame the saw for that.
Cutting speed in block wood is good. The real difference, though, is in the limbing. The 346 with a 20″ bar still weighs a lot less than the 51 with a 13″ bar. It is much less tiring to use because, apart from the weight, it reaches 7″ further. That means less back fatigue from stooping.
One surprise with the lightweight bar came when I jammed the tip roller after a pinch. I’m a bit prone to this particular goof. Once I had to pry the tip apart with a screwdriver to allow the chain to move. I’d never seen that before in 50 years of chainsawing. The bar still works fine, but it brought to my attention the fact that this is a lightweight, high performance machine, and shouldn’t be abused.
The safety concerns I read online are over-rated. Just don’t start cutting up loose blocks in a woodpile. It works like any other chain saw, just better.
I would definitely buy another 346XP. Thr new chain on the 51 is for volunteers. I’ll keep the light one for myself.