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A chainsaw for farmers – first test Euston Estate’s forester John Gray tried out Makita’s 55.7cc ‘Farmers Choice’ chainsaw

A few years ago Makita started its attack on the professional petrol-powered chainsaw market, with immediate success. Now it has added a chainsaw designed especially to suit farmers and farm use. We tested it first. David Williams reports. Makita electric tools have been a favourite of professional users for many years and are recognised as premium quality. Three years ago professional specification petrol chainsaws were added to the range and a group test by Farmers Guide including leading brands concluded Makita’s top saws were just as good, with some features preferred by users. The agricultural market for chainsaws is large. Almost every farm owns at least one and applications range from fence repairs and construction, to hedge and farm woodland maintenance to tree felling and firewood processing.

Designed for farms Makita’s new EA5600F45DN ‘Farmers Choice’ saw is a 55.7cc model, supplied standard with an 18in bar and chain. This size is capable of felling and cutting up medium sized trees and is typical of farm saws used away from the yard. The 2-stroke engine develops 4.1hp

Fuel and filler caps are well designed and easy to remove using a screwdriver without risk of the blade slipping.

are a new feature, making it almost impossible to lose them in the field and potentially saving trips to the yard or dealer for replacements. The recommended retail price is £510, which includes a rugged steel tool and transport box.

bigger contact area and allows the user to exert more leverage. “Captive nuts on the sprocket cover are a good idea. To be fair other saws have these now, but I know from experience how easy it is to lose small components when carrying out maintenance in the wood and the chances of finding them again are slim,” he added. Despite the lack of a decompressor the saw starts easily. “Some users might find it hard to pull over against compression, but it starts well and for most operators this won’t be an issue,” he explained. He also likes the controls. “They are a good size, easy to grip and use even with gloves and I like the fuel primer location. It’s large and accessible when you need it, but recessed away from potential damage.” The engine’s power proved particularly impressive. “Its size is almost identical to my 56cc saw,” he said, “but it’s much more powerful and

Test

The chain catcher is a nylon roller. John considers this a great feature; effective but won’t damage the chain and it’s easily replaced when it becomes damaged or worn.

and includes fuel saving features such as a Stratified Air Scavenging exhaust system through which unburned fuel is drawn back through the induction port. A centrifugal cleaner removes larger contaminants from the air before finer particles are removed by the heavy-duty air filter, reducing maintenance and extending working life. Spring assistance for the starter recoil removes the need for a decompression valve. Controls are large, and designed for gloved hands and the oil and fuel filler caps are cleverly shaped to allow loosening by screwdriver shaft rather than the tip for positive engagement. With its bar and chain the saw weighs 5.8kg and is claimed to offer excellent balance and low vibration. Captive nuts on the sprocket cover

For the test, we lent the new saw to Euston Estate, Suffolk full-time forester John Gray. The estate comprises approximately 2,510ha farmed in-hand growing combinable crops, sugar beet, maize for an anaerobic digester plant and vegetables grown in partnership with RG Abrey Farms. Outdoor pigs and free-range poultry are stocked on rented land along with Suffolk Punch Horses, Red Poll cattle and Suffolk sheep completing the ‘Suffolk Trinity’. Farm woodland, established parkland and conservation accounts for 1,000ha so there is plenty to keep John busy, and his own 56cc chainsaw can use up to 5-litres of fuel per day. “First impressions are that it’s well made with lots of great design features,” commented John. “I really like the balance. It’s a big saw but great to hold and feels right. The chain oil and fuel caps are much better than those of other chainsaws. My own saw caps become tired after a while and screwdriver tips can slip as the plastic wears, but the Makita has a much

copes well with larger trunk sections. The balance is good in work allowing good cutting control and my only criticism is the exhaust tone makes it sound noisier than my usual saws,” he added. The steel transport case also came in for praise. “This is really well designed,” observed the forester. “Tools and spares can be carried easily with the saw wherever it is working and the chain slot means it’s compatible with any size bar. The case is strong and will withstand the usual knocks. Usually saws are just carried around in the back of the pick-up with a few logs or anything else that’s rolling around, so damage can occur. This case will protect against that happening.” ■

Captive nuts on the sprocket cover reduce risk of loss in the field.

The steel case will protect the saw during transport.

The primer is easy to get at with gloved hands, but well protected.

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Farmers Guide December 2017  

Farmers Guide Magazine December 2017 Issue