MS 261 C-M - $549.95 DSRP


Reserve with STIHL Express for In-Store Pick Up

The same great MS 261, but with advanced STIHL M-Tronic™ technology for optimized performance in various conditions.

The MS 261 C-M features low emissions, high fuel efficiency and the advanced STIHL M-Tronic™ engine management system. STIHL M-Tronic™ helps deliver maximum performance across a wide range of cutting conditions. The system digitally monitors changes in elevation and temperature and automatically adjusts for fuel quality, varying octane levels and dirty air filters. The MS 261 C-M also features red...Read More
Print Spec Sheets
MS 261 C-M Specifications
DISPLACEMENT 50.2 cc (3.06 cu. in.)
ENGINE POWER 3.0 kW (4.0 bhp)
POWERHEAD WEIGHT 4.9 kg (10.8 Ibs.)
FUEL CAPACITY 500 cc (16.9 oz)
CHAIN OIL CAPACITY 270 cc (9.13 oz)
GUIDE BAR LENGTHS* (Recommended ranges) 40 to 50 cm (16" to 20")
STIHL recommends #3634 (26 RM3 67) OILOMATIC® Saw chain and 16" 3003 008 6813 Ematic™ guide bar combination. The actual listed guide bar length can vary from the effective cutting length based on which powerhead it is installed on.
Model Features
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    Anti-Vibration System
    STIHL has developed a system for minimizing the vibration levels of handheld outdoor power equipment. The STIHL anti-vibration system helps reduce operator fatigue and provides a more comfortable working experience.
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    Pre-Separation Air Filtration System
    This time-saving technology boosts the efficiency of the engine’s filter system, doubling the time between air filter cleanings. Air drawn into the engine is first separated via centrifugal force, ejecting the heavier dirt particles before being routed to the air filter. This pre-separation means less dirt to be captured by the air filter, resulting in less frequent cleaning and maintenance.

    More Information

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    Side-Access Chain Tensioner
    The side-access chain tensioner makes it much more convenient for the user to adjust the saw chain with a bar wrench as opposed to the typical location of the guide bar adjustment screw.
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    Decompression Valve
    The decompression valve, also referred to as 'deco' or 'deco valve', vents compression in the cylinder for easier starting. The decompression valve temporarily reduces the compression in the combustion chamber during cranking and helps reduce the effort needed to pull the starter rope. It is opened manually and closes automatically as soon as the engine fires.
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    Built in the USA
    Indicates products that are built in the United States from domestic and foreign parts and components.

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    Toolless fuel and oil caps with retainers
    Simply lift the lever and twist the caps to remove or tighten. There‘s no need to use a tool to tighten or loosen.
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    Reduced-Emission Engine Technology - Caring for Nature
    The STIHL Inc. “Caring for Nature” seal identifies its powered products that are more environmentally conscious, producing zero or low exhaust emissions. STIHL Inc. defines “low exhaust emissions” as being cleaner than EPA and/or CARB exhaust emission standards.

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    STIHL M-Tronic™ 
    This product features M-Tronic™ (M) - a new generation of Intelligent Engine Management that eliminates the low and high speed carburetor adjustment screws, compensates for dirty air filter and changes in elevation and fuel quality for optimum engine power at all times.

    See it in action!

    More Information

Standard Features
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    Common Features for Chainsaws
    View the features common to many STIHL chainsaws.

Important Information
WARNING! The occurrence called “kickback” can cause serious or fatal injury. Always read the instruction manual carefully before using your saw. STIHL uses a green and yellow color-coding system to help you select a powerhead, bar and chain combination that complies with the kickback requirements of ANSI Standard B175.1 (gasoline-powered saws) and §30 of UL 1662/ ANSI Standard B175.1 (electric chainsaws). Ask your STIHL dealer about safe operating procedures and the advantages of the STIHL Quickstop® chain brake, STIHL Quickstop® Plus (Q) additional chain braking feature, STIHL reduced kickback bars and STIHL low-kickback saw chains.

STIHL recommends the use of green reduced kickback bars and green low kickback chains on all STIHL chainsaws.
WARNING! Improper use of any power tool may cause serious or fatal injury. Read, understand and follow carefully the operating and safety instructions in your instruction manual before using such products.

STIHL products sold through U.S. STIHL Dealers are for distribution in the United States only.
Click to view the STIHL Limited Warranty Time Periods
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    Bar and Chain Oil
    STIHL Bar and Chain oil is formulated to adhere to the bar and chain, and to reduce wear. Special agents in the oil formulation help keep sap and pitch from clinging to the bar and chain.

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    Complete Filing Kits
    Kits available for the following chain types: STIHL PICCO Mini; 1/4" pitch chain; .325" pitch chain; 3/8" pitch chain; .404" pitch chain.
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    Chain Pitch File Diameter File Guide
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    Part Number
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    3/8 PMN 9.32 5/32 4.0 0811 411 8073

    5605 750 4327

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    3/8 PM
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For Your Safety
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    Pro Mark™ Chainsaw Boot
    Before you head out of the door for your next chainsaw job, lace up the stylish STIHL Pro Mark™ Chainsaw Boot. This boot will help keep your feet protected from the elements with its inner GORE-TEX® fabric, delivering water-resistant technology and optimal breathability. Plus, its deep lacing hooks will help keep your feet securely fastened while you’re hard at work. Complete with a padded steel toe and a comfort sole made of rubber, this high-quality black suede work boot is designed with safety in mind. The hardworking STIHL Pro Mark™ Chainsaw Boot meets OSHA requirements for protective footwear in chainsaw use, as well as EN 17249 (Class 2) and EN 20345 S2 requirements for chainsaw protective boots. Swing by our store and try them on for yourself!
  • STIHL Pro Mark™ Hi-Vis Zip Chap Zoom
    STIHL Pro Mark™ Hi-Vis Zip Chap

    If you are a tree care or emergency service professional working along roadways, we recommend the Pro Mark™ Hi-Vis Zip Chaps. They combine full wrap-around lower leg protection with high-visibility nylon fabric that meets Class E reflective requirements and earns a Class 3 reflective rating when worn with the Class 2 reflective vest. The chaps also feature reflective tapes made from Reflexite Brilliance Series GP-340, making them visible by motorists traveling up to 50 mph. Inside, there are nine layers of Avertic™ Pro by Engtex® cut retardant material, helping reduce the risk or severity of injury in the event of contact with a rotating saw chain on a gasoline-powered chainsaw. Rows of heavy-duty zippers run along the entire inseam of the chaps, helping to ensure they are an effective fit and are easy to put on and/or remove. Stop by our showroom today and check out these versatile chaps.

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Are You Ready for a STIHL?

MS 261 C-M is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 160.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The 261C-M is a quality chainsaw. I have had many Stihl products in the past and still do. My last saw a Stihl 031 lasted me 36yrs. My new saw a 261 seems to be built to last as long if not longer. I love Stihl products.
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Just ok I've had some problems starting it and I was very careful to follow the break in instructions and the re-calibration procedures.
Date published: 2017-10-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from This product is garbage it blew up after 4 hours of use. I bought this saw brand new. I bought it on a Tuesday. I used it sparingly tuesday and wednesday for less than 4 hours. It blew up. It would not start or run. I brought back. They rebuilt it. They had it until the following friday. At that point they had it for twice as long as I did. They refused to give me my money back. They refused to give me a new saw. Now I am stuck with an already broken not sounding correct chainsaw, that I am actually afraid to use. I own three other stihl saws, (none of them commercial grade) the big commercial trimmers, blowers. I am appalled. I will not be buying Stihl products anymore. At least with the cheaper brands they will give you new unbroken equipment or refund your money. I can actually go through two cheaper saws and stihl be ahead of the game.
Date published: 2017-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just go and buy one ! Seriously, this chainsaw is sooo good in EVERY way possible.I've had nearly all the other "lesser" home owner Still chainsaws and this is justsuperior in every single way. It's so easy to start, it idles very smoothly, the power and torque are exceptional and it's very nicely balanced.The M Tronic system is just outstanding. I've got a 16 inch bar and the Pico Duro carbide chain. This combination makes for effortless, safe and super fun cutting.Do not economise for the sake of a couple of hundred dollars - This is my go to chainsaw every chance I get. I always use Stihl Motomix pre mixed fuel - using regular gas and adding oil is just stupid these days because you will get problems coming at you fast.Best model chainsaw ever, ever, ever !
Date published: 2017-10-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice light saw Bought to cut smaller diameter trees and bust up slash piles. Power is about as expected for a 50cc saw. Have a 90 cc saw for most other work. No problem starting and good acceleration unlike other competitors small computerized saws. Ran about 7 tanks gas thru it so far.
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lightweight work horse I have a Farm boss MS290 that we have used reliably for years. This saw met our need but as we moved to the mountains and put in a wood burning stove, we needed a new saw that was lighter and with good power, not only for felling but bucking as well. We had a tree service come and take down a damaged 80' maple and I saw that their "go to" saw was the MS261. We purchased one and never looked back. Great saw, highly recommended.
Date published: 2017-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply the Best I have owned many saws over the past 30 years and I was hesitant to try the M-Tronic but boy am I glad I did. This is the easiest starting and smoothest running saw I have ever used. The power is unreal for a saw this light too. It flat out eats and begs for more. I'm very very impressed. My MS460 magnum is for sale because It's not in this saws league as hard as that is to believe.
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great all around saw! I purchased this saw to use around the house and to put in my RZR for when my wife and I are out riding trails. I have medium sized diameter tree's around my house that needed cut back and this saw did that with ease. We also have a wood burning fire place in our home, so, next fall I will be looking forward to putting this saw to work. Easy starting, doesn't get finicky at elevation. I went with the professional series just because I know that they are built a little stouter and have nicer features to them. If someone is wanting a saw for around the house or something that is easy to carry on a side by side or ATV that is dependable and built well, I highly recommend this saw to you! It's well worth the extra money over the 241!
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from New to Chainsaws I bought this chainsaw just before Irma hit. In Inverness Fl at Ace Hardware. Great crew of people there. First chainsaw I've ever purchased. I used it a few times to cut up some large oaks that had fell during the storm. I took it back once because I didn't think the chain was being oiled properly. The folks at ACE took it out back and put it through it's paces and showed me how the oil system worked. I think it was a little clogged but it's been working fine since then. After returning to Key West I've been using it daily to cut up softer wood. For me it starts cold in 1-3 pulls and usually one pull after being warmed up. I'm still getting used to the saw and as I stated it's my first saw. I've used a few others in my life. This one feels great as far as vibration and seems to cut anything I put in front of it. I haven't noticed a need for more power but I'm sure folks that use these on a daily basis might require more? I'm very happy so far with the purchase and would buy another Stihl product.
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tool This is about the lightest chainsaw I have ever operated.Very agile and can cut through an oak tree in no time.Very impressed and the quality is above reproach, STIHL has succeeded with this great tool.
Date published: 2017-09-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Starts easy, nice balance, cuts like a dream. Very happy with our purchase.
Date published: 2017-09-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from "Upgrade" downgraded This is my second MS261CM. The first one was stolen and it ran like a scolded dog. This new one with a facelift surges and I'm pretty sure the bar isn't perpendicular to the powerhead. I can also feel exhaust coming out of the head. Needless to say it's going back to the dealer. Not impressed. I wish I had my old saw but unless it's found I'm stuck with this over priced MS271. Wait a couple years for the bugs to be worked out.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Finicky! I wish I would have dispensed with all the C-M baloney and just focused on weight and reliable starting
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great all-around saw This is my first Pro-grade saw. I watched countless youtube videos on the entire lineup and Stihl's direct competitors before making my purchase. I feel that the features of the Pro Series saws are worth the added expense over the Homeowner and Ranch/Farm grade saws regardless of how little you might use one. I enjoy the lighter weight (sub 11 lbs), M-tronic features, decompression valve, tool-less filler caps for the bar oil and fuel, and the fact that they are easily rebuilt for many years of service. The power to weight ratio on this saw is excellent in comparison to the Ranch Series saws of this size that easily weigh 1.5-3 lbs more and are made of a less durable polymer and case that's more difficult to rebuild/replace. I went with a 20" bar and while it runs it with no issue, I believe the perfect combo for this saw and its power is a 18" bar. Since this purchase and the recent events of Hurricane Harvey in my area, I have become saw obsessed and I am nothing more than a weekend-warrior, that said, I am already considering the purchase of a 461 or 661 for my next saw. I guess you can say that I have been bitten by the saw bug.
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MS 261 C-M I have had several Stihl saws from my first an 028 to the largest MS461. In this mix of saws I have a MS 260 Pro. I really didn't need a new saw I really wanted to see what the C-M was all about. A"smart saw"? I have been using this saw to fell and buck trees for firewood about six months. In that six months I have processed about six cord and about three of that with this little saw with an 18" bar and chain.The first use I was working a locust tree that had blown over. The base of the tree was approximately 18" diameter while the length was 60-70' and not many branches. The power of the saw was quite evident as it had no problem cutting this tree up. There was no bogging down of the saw with a new chain(yellow). I did however have trouble starting the saw after shutting it down for a bit. I had flooded it. That was my fault though. I failed to read the manual before using. After all I have been using Stihl saws for forty years, I should know how to operate them. I was using the on/run/choke switch like a conventional saw. With the M-tronic one doesn't have to work the switch in the same manor. After I learned that I had no other issues with the MS 261 C-M. I ran the MS 260 Pro 16" bar and the MS 261C-M 18" bar on the same job to try and get a fair comparison. The 261 wins in all categories. It is faster, stronger, and more fuel efficient. I am glad I purchased this saw only time and usage will solidify that thought.
Date published: 2017-09-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Worst Experience Ever I bought this saw early in the year when a big oak fell at my church. I'd owned a Stihl before that I'd purchased from eBay. I never had a problem with that one, but it was stolen. I'd heard about the Stihl MS-260 from Wranglerstar on YouTube for years, so I took the plunge to buy it, knowing that as often as trees go down at my church, I'd need a heavy duty saw. The saw worked fine through that tree, but then, later this year as we started preparation for our annual Youth Camp, it stopped running mid-cut. I took it in and was told there was a known engine problem. They said it would take six weeks to repair. I couldn't be that long without a saw, so I went ahead and purchased a MS 170, the humblest of all Stihl's saws. We were clearing new land for the church, so that little saw got a huge work-out, but it never quit. Camp prep took about four months, so I eventually got my 261 back. Put it back in service, and the same thing happened again after a few days. I took it back in, and this time they replaced it within a week or two. Brand new saw. I put that in service, and probably put thirty hours on it before camp prep was done, without a problem. Then hurricane Irma blew in and took out seven trees at the church. I grabbed my 261 and headed for the church. A tank and a half in to the first big oak and my saw stopped again. I took it directly to my Stihl dealer, then went and got my 170 to continue work. That is a work in progress, barely started, because fuel is scarce still here in Florida, especially the ethanol free, which is all I run in my saws. Yesterday, I got a call from the Stihl dealer that Stihl had determined that my saw had been run "out of spec" because the chain on the saw was dull. I'd sharpened it before I started on Tuesday as I always do, but I'd put a tank and a half through it and I'm sure it was getting dull when it quit. Sawing fallen oak is a tough job for a saw, which is why I'd bought a pro model. I was told they would not honor the warranty. The head is cracked. I'm heartsick about this total loss. I admit that I work my saws hard, but isn't the logical thing to do if you have a tough job to get a saw that is rated for tough work? Perhaps I'm some kind of saw-killing nincompoop, but I never had a problem with the used Stihl I purchased used or the MS 170 I bought as a stand-in for my 261. I wish I'd sprung for the next model up. I can't afford that now, and I've lost confidence in the Stihl pro line. Impossible for me to recommend.
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best saw ever I just purchased this saw for a major project and it performed better than expected, the power was unreal and the weight was comfortable I used it all day on wet wood and it never complained, I must say it was worth the extra money! wow I am sold on this saw, way to go Stihl, I love my saw.
Date published: 2017-09-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I love this saw This is my kind of saw. It has lots of power and cuts like a saw should. I use this saw from 7000 feet to 10,000, at 10,000 feet it starts on the 4th pull when it is cold and starts very easy on one pull when its warm. My old saw was hard to start cold and wouldn't start warm. It is a delight to use, it is light for its horse power and will last me for years to come. Thank you Stihl.
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice machine, but hard to cold start I used a neighbors old MS 034 pretty extensively, and was sold on Stihl quality, verses other saws tried. I read and watched a lot of reviews, and settled on the MS 261 C-M, and eventually got one. I like the design, build quality, and 'feel' of the machine very much. I like the pro-grade features. And I especially like the power:weight ratio of this machine. That was the main deciding factor for me in model selection.However, I have two 'cons' to share:(1) it is much harder to start than I had hoped - especially in a machine that is supposedly designed for easy starting (re: the M-tronics and decompression button). Takes about 12 pulls for cold start (1-2 at full choke, until decompression button first pops out; then about 10 more pulls, at half choke again using the decompression feature.) Usually stalls then too, after initial cold start. But will start more easily after that. (So much for M-tronics!) Note too, that you really need to use that decompression button on this model. Else the pull is almost impossible - very stiff and jerky. Warm starts are very good - one pull only (at run position works best on my machine, not on half choke as expected).(2) I am also a bit disappointed in the manual - both paper copy received, and on-line .pdf versions I have found. They are pretty good in most respects, but lack sufficient detail for things like carburetor tuning. There is even confusion about whether the manual received is really for the machine that I have. Which manuals, and which text and pics in the manuals, pertains to the MS 261 vs the MS 261 C-M vs the MS 261 C-MQ is unclear.I would probably still make the same choice again. But my new owner experience, getting acquainted with and comfortable with this machine, is more involved than expected. Am still hopeful that Stihl quality, reliability, and usability will prevail, once I get more familiar with this particular machine.
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great firewood saw I needed a new saw that could handle large elevation changes. First time out I was up at 9200 ft and I had no issues. The Mtronic system worked great. I cut dead pine and the saw had no problem pulling an 18 inch bar. Light, powerful with the latest technology. Stihl has real winner with the 261 C-M.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is a great saw that is replacing my old 026 and I really like it's lightness and easy start. The guys at d &b supply help me find the right saw for getting firewood! This is easy to,start, light weight and had all the power I need for cutting firewood . I also like the fingers only to open the fuel and bar oil caps.
Date published: 2017-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome midsize saw. if you want one saw that will probably do everything you need it to this is your saw. I also have a MS460 and a 066.
Date published: 2017-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Favorite saw from stihl Our company uses nothing but Stihl saws, wanted a new mid range saw so decided to try this one, was not dissapointed, not to heavy or cumbersome, but also has the power to go through the big stuff, in our opinion best all around saw we've tried in Stihl, highly recommended
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I like it I bought mine with a 20" bar and even the dealer looked at me like I was crazy.With the 20" bar pine is no problem and it went end to end on the bar through oak better then I thought it would.I will be purchasing a 18" bar thou for the smaller stuff.I have had no problems so far but I am not using it every day like some do out there but I am happy I finally bought a saw I don't have to fight to start.I also love the easy access covers on it and chain tightening is so easy. There is no reason to be putting away a dirty saw after the day is over.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best mid size saw in the market I was sceptical about this computer carb but I got used to it.Read the cold start manual before you start writing reviews guys.I'm an arborist difficult to impress me.I've had mine for over a year now.Over 389 take downs with it.Falling trees I am less fatigue and that gives me more productivity.Bucking on this saw is kind of tricky but the key is to not force the saw.The ergonomic on this saw is great.We'll balanced.Clutch cover is genius.Makes it lightning fast adjustments or replace the chain.Power is just out of this world.I have dropped oaks and buck them with this saw and never had oil problems nor over heating.Yes live oaks completely dismantled by this saw.Rigging with this saw is heavenly.I have never seen a saw take so much abuse and still starts all the time.My groundsman love it.Best and my onlyMid size saws.I run my 261 cm 18" bar full chisel Run non ethanol and stihl mix grey bottles.Stihl bar oil.Great job guys.
Date published: 2017-08-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Over engineering on a great saw First saw had a computer problem, blew up with 1 hour. Second saw, is working fine. This is a super fast saw! Reminds me of an electric saw. Very, very fast! But during short plunge, saw bottoms out a lot faster then my other 261's. So it's fast on surface, stops fast deep. This is due to increased speed. I can feel the difference right away in the saws. Don't buy the CM. But, the 261 is a great saw. Also, both saws you can not stop the saw with your thumb. Which to me is a safety issue. Again this is a great case for, if it's not broke don't fix it! I buy all stihl products for my business. I highly recommend buying the standard ms261.
Date published: 2017-07-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth the investment I was looking for a midsized saw that didn't wear me out, yet had some power. I looked at different brands and every model, but I was leaning Stihl due to parts availability. Weight to horsepower was a key factor. After weighing the pros and cons, and reading reviews, I opted for a 261cm. It has surprising power for its size. Light, powerful, well built, easy to start. I'm very, very happy with it.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great saw This saw is a beast. Starts easy, and every time. On lighter side with huge power for its class. Makes cutting wood not a chore. Eats it right up. Love the M Tronic, no need to mess with carb. Thanks Stihl!
Date published: 2017-07-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My wooding cutting friends are always asking to use my saw I bought a professional level saw what a great saw. I use it for getting firewood . Starts great, runs great and has plenty of power. It makes getting wood so much easier than using a home-owners type saw.
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great saw!!!!!!!!!!! I have owned professional saws my whole life as I worked for years as an arborist in one capacity or another. I started using homelites back when they were above average, next came jonsereds when they were highly rated, moved on to (I was stopped from mentioning a competitor brand name here which makes me suspicious any reviews are real!!!) and one big dolmar but always wanted a stihl. I have the 261 c and at this point in my life it is all the saw I will ever want or need. cuts everything and fast! so did the others but this one seems better. if satisfaction counts for anything this saw is better. it is definitely the fastest saw of the neighborhood but that may be because I know some sharpening tricks from my years of experience. buy with confidence this saw is great!
Date published: 2017-07-12
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