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Stihl MS 361 CQ

Posted by newjerseybt 5b PA (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 11, 06 at 9:14

Stihl states that the CQ has the same features as the MS 361, but with a secondary chain braking system (Q). This saw also features the ElastoStart shock-absorbing starter handle.

I thought the MS 361 already has a vibration absorbing system and a brake. Are these additional features overkill and a waste of money? I am new to chain saws so maybe I missed something.


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

  • Posted by canguy British Columbia (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 11, 06 at 11:00

IMHO, they are overkill. You can add the elasto start handle to your saw if you wish. The secondary brake and quick chain adjust are aimed at the lazy occasional user who is more of a hazard to himself than the tree. However, how many of those would pony up for a 361 over the 180? Just my .02CDN worth.


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

I have the "plain" MS361. I really like it and have used it a lot. It has a surprisingly good vibration absorbing system and I don't even wear gloves when using it. It has the usual manual chain brake control, which I apply as soon as I finish a cut before I change my footing for the next cut.

I also start the saw with the brake on and, to save wear on the clutch, release it quickly after it starts. I could start the saw with the brake off, but it's not a good idea. I don't think the Q feature gives you the opportunity to start the saw with the brake off.

The secondary chain brake engager (the Q feature) on the CQ would engage the chain brake if you accidentally dropped the saw (I haven't done that yet, but some people have dropped saws) or just lost your grip, because it engages the brake when you stop squeezing the throttle trigger bar.

On my MS361, the throttle would return to idle, and the clutch allows the chain to coast to a quick stop, but no chain brake would be applied. I discussed that with my Stihl dealer, and he said the Q feature makes the saw somewhat harder for him to work on when servicing the saw.

I bought my saw just as the Q feature was coming out and it wasn't available in this area yet and the dealers didn't know when they would be getting them. I had a bunch of trees laying in our garden and I needed to cut them up, so I bought my saw without it. This was my first chain saw and I probably would have paid extra to get the Q feature. But after using the saw a lot, I don't feel the need. The manual brake works fine, and becomes second nature.

I think the ElastoStart feature might be an improvement, although I am getting by fine with a conventional starter cord.

I would advise that you talk this over with your Stihl dealer. The Q feature is an added safety feature, but you should always be very careful and alert when using the saw, regardless of how many safety features it has. You are the ultimate safety feature that the saw has.

MM


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

It is interesting that they do not offer that option on the higher end pro saws. The design seems like an expensive homeowner version IMO.

I would bet that most pros do not buy that feature. You would think that the brake would be engaged more than necessary (everytime you release the handle) which means premature wear.


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

Newjerseybt,

I made a misstatement in my original message, when I said that "I also start the saw with the brake on and, to save wear on the clutch, release it quickly after it starts." Actually, I start the saw with the brake on and, to save wear on the clutch, when it starts I quickly tweak the throttle button to drop it into idle, leaving the chain brake on the whole time. I don't know what I was thinking when I typed that original message.

MM


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Homeowners vs pros

Newjerseybt,

"It is interesting that they do not offer that option on the higher end pro saws. The design seems like an expensive homeowner version..."

I agree. That's a pretty good characterization of it. The saw also comes with a non-aggressive "green" chain, which most pros would disdain as being like training wheels. The green chains cut with a smaller "bite", which makes any kickback much less violent. Pros are very familiar with kickback and they can control it. So the chains they use cut much faster than a "green" chain. But I think for a new user a green chain is a good idea.

If a Stihl dealer knows that you are experienced with a chainsaw, they will usually swap the "green" chain for a faster cutting chain. Since I was just learning on my saw, I thought the standard green chain was appropriate for me. Once you get the saw through its "break-in" period, during which you should keep the RPM down a bit, it can really scream with RPMs well over 10,000 when cutting. Even with a green chain, the woodchips just gush out like they were coming from a firehose. (A slight exaggeration.)

Your dealer will probably "tune" your saw before letting you have it, and he probably will use a device that measures its RPM. He will also verify that the oiling rate is good. There is some sample-to-sample variation and some saws are a little faster than others, but all of the MS361s are very fast. The faster the saw is, the more work you can get done before you or the saw runs out of gas. I usually finish my session before the gas runs out.

MM


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

Thanks for the advice MM...

I noticed that the MS 361 saw sells at a zero discount so the best place to buy is where the best service is.

Regarding safety, I checked a couple of sites that sell Kevlar reinforced pants. I guess they expect pro-arborists to buy the product as the pants size have a maximum 30" inseam which tells me they sell to "short lean climbers" who are probably the only ones able to get up a 100 foot tree anyway. Too bad these sites don't sell safety pants to folks who are 6'3" like myself who like to keep their feet on the ground, have less experience with a saw and want to avoid serious lower leg injuries.


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

  • Posted by canguy British Columbia (My Page) on
    Tue, Sep 12, 06 at 11:01

LOL. The Husky pants all have a 32" inseam with up to a 44" waist so I guess arborists and fallers are fat or they are lean but all are short.
Stihl and Husqvarna have reasonably priced chaps designed for the homeowner that are not up to WCB standards. I try to sell a pair with every saw, they are a lot cheaper and easier to replace than body parts.


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

Newjerseybt,

"I noticed that the MS 361 saw sells at a zero discount so the best place to buy is where the best service is."

I agree wholeheartedly. All Stihl dealers are supposed to be full service, but there are good ones and then there are better ones.

The Stihl dealer where I bought my MS361 had orange chainsaw pants that looked kind of poorly made, so I went to a different Stihl dealer (who sold several makes of chainsaws) and liked the look of the Husqvarna chainsaw pants, so I got them. They were also orange.

I kind of wanted chainsaw pants in an overalls style, so they they could hang from my shoulders and not from my waist, but none of the dealers that I checked had that style. I still put on my chainsaw pants every time I use the saw, although I have never had an incident. My wife insists I wear the orange pants. They go on sort of like chaps, so they are relatively easy to put on and take off. Presumably they are filled with a fibrous material that will gum up and stop the chain before it can get through to do damage. I keep my bar-release tool in the pocket of my orange pants, in case a tree "captures" my chainsaw bar, so that I can quickly move the expensive part of the saw to safety.

Another thing that you will want is a good chainsaw helmet. It combines a face mask, a hard hat, and ear protectors. (When I am felling a tree I keep the ear protectors up, because I want to hear any creaking noises the tree is making.)

In the Stihl catalog I saw a chainsaw helmet with a full length face protector made of clear unbreakable polycarbonate plastic, but my dealer said that one wasn't available in the USA, so I got one with a black screenwire face mask instead. After using it for a bit I came to like the black screenwire mask because you can see through it just fine and it won't fog up like nearly everything else I have. My regular eyeglasses have polycarbonate lenses, so they provide some additional protection but sometimes they fog up almost as bad as my safety goggles.

I have taken to using my chainsaw helmet when I am using my MacKissic shredder-chipper, as a much superior alternative to the safety goggles and separate ear protectors that came with it. The goggles always fogged up in a couple of minutes. I do most of my chainsaw work and shredder-chipping work during the fall and winter, when the air is cooler and fogging up is a problem. My spring and summer are more devoted to gardening and landscape related activities.

Since I do a significant amount of chainsawing in cold weather, I have some of the Stihl brand winter grade bar & chain oil (it comes in a blue plastic jug). It's significantly less heavy than the summer oil. I also have some of the Stihl brand summer grade bar&chain oil, in the orange jug. Some people have been known to use old motor oil in their chain saws. Don't do that, that's just crazy. Your chain saw deserves the best bar & chain oil that you can get.

I'm not sure that the pros would agree that the Stihl oils are the best. My dealer "threw in" a jug of Otasca bar & chain oil with my MS361, and that stuff was good. Talk about thick and stringy--that stuff was what they call "long". I think it was considerably heavier and stringier than the Stihl summer oil. I bet the pros prefer that stuff, because they run their bars and chains smokin' hot anyway, and don't need no wimpy winter oil.

When it comes to chainsaws, I am more of a "weekend warrior" and the Stihl summer & winter oils are fine for me. Just remember, when your chainsaw is really cold, don't stick your tongue on it. Especially not on the sharp part. And especially not if it is running. (grin)

MM


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

Hi canguy..

The WCB standards seem to include additional layers of Kevlar (pants) which seem to afford additional protection if the saw is at a higher RPM and the chain has more aggressive teeth. The boots also seem to be at higher standards with additional steel protection besides the toe. I may order the boots and pants from B.C. for extra safety. Is your store online?

I am much more safety conscious as I just learned my buddie's son-in-law took a chunk of meat out of his leg. He never held a chain saw in his life and was not paying attention. I have very little time on a saw but realize you have to keep your mind fully engaged in what you are doing at all times with no distractions. You have to think if the saw kicks where is it going? If it slips where is gravity going to take it. Anybody sneaking around you? If you unspring a branch what is going to happen..and dozens of other unexpected scenarios.

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MM:

I saw the orange Stihl pants but there was no one in the service department to help me. This is the second Stihl
sales and service center in which help is scarce. Maybe I will go back to the first dealer as it is closer. I wish I had recommendations for NE PA.

Even though I am not climbing (I hope), the screen mask and helmet will be a plus in case somebody above is not paying attention and drops a 300 pound limb on my head. lol


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RE: Stihl MS 361 CQ

Newjerseybt,

"I saw the orange Stihl pants but there was no one in the service department to help me."

I know the feeling. I have trouble finding help in Home Depot or Wal-Mart. I think in a situation like yours I might just help myself and go back and get a pair of orange pants and try them on. If that didn't attract some store help, I would look for a bell to ring or just yell. Have you tried the Stihl U.S.A. Dealer Locator?

"Even though I am not climbing (I hope), the screen mask and helmet will be a plus in case somebody above is not paying attention and drops a 300 pound limb on my head."

I don't climb with a chain saw or even climb a ladder with one. I will leave that to professional arborists. But you can need the chainsaw helmet even if nobody is working overhead. And I have had small limbs switch me in the face when I was limbing a downed tree and I was grateful for the face screen. Before I fell a tree, I always look up in it to spot any hazardous dead wood.

A couple of years ago I felled a tree that seemed healthy when looking up into it, but I didn't see the concealed dead wood above the healthy foliage. I had made the notch and as I was making the felling cut and the tree started to tilt, a sizable piece of dead wood fell without warning and "rang my bell". I felt the impact in my neck, but the helmet did a great job of cushioning the blow. I wouldn't want to be without my helmet.

MM


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