It was way back in 1926 that Andreas Stihl designed an electric-powered chainsaw that was to revolutionise the world of commercial and residential gardeners.
With a small factory in Stuttgart, Germany, he soon started an assembly line making petrol-powered chainsaws. Over a period of 90 years Stihl has grown into a huge company, with eight factories in Germany, production companies on four continents, and supplying products to 90 countries.
In 2009 Stihl launched its cordless range of hedge trimmers which were quiet and powerful, and several years later a new era began with a complete range of lithium-ion battery powered tools.
These days a lot of four-wheel drivers and campers have moved on from their old petrol chainsaws to battery-powered ones for convenience; they are compatible with other skins (blowers, drills etc.) and there’s no need to carry smelly fuel and oil.
Just recently I spotted a compact Stihl product that may not be up there with the big boys but it certainly does the job. The new Stihl GTA 26 garden pruner is not only a handy tool for the garden but also in the bush.
It features a 4-inch bar, ¼-inch chain and with a 25 minute battery run time I’ve found that it cuts enough timber for a night away camping. Stihl claims that it can cut 80 or more 4cm branches around the yard, but when out on the tracks it cuts enough thicker branches for a good night’s fire.
This obviously has limitations on the thickness of the wood, its battery life and your expectations of those all-nighter logs that will burn through to the morning, but so far I’m impressed.
In the handy carry bag you get the GTA 26 saw, chain oil, manual, battery charger and a 10.8v (28Wh) lithium battery that takes about 15 minutes to recharge.
The lightweight GTA 26 also features a non-slip handle and second grip point, interlocking trigger, and a flexible hood. This thing is so quiet that you don’t need to wear ear protection, just eye protection.
It has a five-light charge status indicator so you can keep an eye on the battery charge, and a large and easy to use wing nut allows you to take off the bar and chain for cleaning and adjustment.
I’ve been using this saw for several months now and while it isn’t big enough to replace a full-size chainsaw for track clearing, or those larger bonfires, it definitely makes light work of cutting up enough wood for a night.
Priced at $279 from Stihl dealers, it’s debatable if it’s worth the money just for camping, but it’s well worth the coin if you have a little bit of land that needs some light pruning, and it’s also handy in the shed.