Dead and Down

electric chainsaw

The Little Electric Chainsaw that Could

One of the reasons that we chose this location for our ranch was because the land here is littered with cypress, pinon pines, red cedar, and juniper trees by the hundreds.

These trees are regularly hit by lightning, and this causes them to die, or to lose branches. This type of wood is referred to as “dead and down” as we can harvest it without cutting down and killing trees.

Although most of our heat comes from the sun with our passive solar building design, there are times when it is cloudy and we need to additional heat. To generate this head we use a kiva-rumford fireplace and we burn dead and down wood from the ranch.

In the six years we’ve been doing this, we’ve used less wood than the lightning is providing – so our system is fully sustainable.

To harvest this wood we have been using a traditional gasoline chain-saw that we purchased from, the “Poulan Pro PP5020AV 20-Inch 50cc 2 Stroke Gas Powered Chain Saw With Carrying Case” for $231.14.

Initially this gas chainsaw worked fine, but after less than a year it began developing problems. We spend a lot of money buying parts for it (fuel filter, primer bulb, spark plugs, etc), and finally gave up and took it to a repair shop. At that point we’d spend over $150 and the saw still didn’t work reliably or cut particularly well.

Tired of the smell of gasoline, leaking oil, unreliability, difficulty starting and very high expense we finally gave away the Poulan and bought an electric Earthwise chainsaw. The Earthwise saw was on sale for $62 down from $109 (which was less than the $83 we spent on our last repair bill on the Poulan).

We bought a 100 foot extension cord and with either our Honda EU2000i generator or our truck battery and a 2,000 watt inverter. The result was amazing!! No more need for hearing protection! No struggling to start the saw! No worries about having put Stay-bil in the chainsaw gas can! No more mixing fuel!!

The Earthwise runs instantly without hassles. It’s much lighter than the Poulin, and that means less fatigue when cutting. It slices through 10 inch and 12 inch logs with ease — just as fast or faster than the Poulin. And we don’t have to stop every few minutes to re-fuel, tighten the chain, and guess if the bar/chain oil is out. The Earthwise has a bar/chain oil reservoir that is visible, so you can see at a glance when it needs to be refilled. The chain can be tightened with a turn of a nob. Why didn’t we do this years ago?!

We’re working now on creating a little solar generator on wheels that we can use to power devices like this saw with free solar energy and deep-cycle batteries. This will make the process even more sustainable and clean

I recommend that you look into this new generation of powerful plug-in chainsaws, as well as the new cordless chainsaws with high-voltage battery packs. This saw has dramatically improved winters here on our ranch and we’re thankful to have found it.

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