Smooth and sharp: Professionals try the new Husqvarna X-CUT® saw chain

Tagging along with professionals as they test Husqvarna products in real environments is the most exciting way to see if our efforts have paid off. In the case of the new X-CUT saw chain, however, the excitement may have been mixed with a certain nervousness on the part of the test managers. Would this wholly new product for Husqvarna gain the acceptance of hard-working loggers and arborists?

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A pine forest, a few kilometers outside of Huskvarna, Sweden, got an unexpected visit one warm May afternoon. Sixteen men and women, all dressed in orange, were suddenly let loose, revved up their chainsaws, and in a matter of seconds, they were busy felling and limbing pine trees, cutting slices of hardwood logs and generally using their machines in a seemingly random manner.

They were the H-Team, a select group of professional loggers and arborists from seven countries, regularly employed to test Husqvarna products. All of them take down trees for a living, and they know when the chainsaw they are holding uses its full capacity – and when it does not.

The product in focus this afternoon was the new Husqvarna X-CUT saw chain, which, for everyone in the team, was a totally new acquaintance. Husqvarna test managers and product developers on site were understandably a bit nervous, hoping, as this was the first meeting between the pros and the saw chain, that this would turn into a long-lasting relationship.

Six professional verdicts

A generous set of Husqvarna 450 and 550 chainsaws, randomly equipped with X-CUT SP33G saw chains and the comparable H30 standard saw chains, were lined up for the team’s use. During work, the professionals constantly alternated between the saws to make as accurate a comparison as possible.

Afterwards, six of them were asked to comment on the new saw chain and how it differed from the standard product.

I put it through some hardwood logs, some oak, and it was very smooth, not at all grabby or sticky. I also did a few plunge cuts through the wood, and it did that with no hesitation, no jamming in the cut. I then fell some trees, which it did very well, again with no jamming. It stayed sharp through the dirt and the bark. Also, after cutting hardwood, felling, bucking and plunging there was very minimal stretch, if any. Usually, with a new chain, you would expect to retention it every two to five minutes for the first fifteen, twenty minutes. The X-CUT chain was very smooth, very fast all-round – I would say a very productive chain.”

– Andy Campbell, logger working in the Norfolk area, United Kingdom

“I found the durability a huge improvement. As a test, I cross-cut some timber going deep down into the dirt four or five times, and afterwards the X-CUT continued to be productive even though it had lost its edge, and I could actually have continued with it if I had to. I did the same with the standard chain, put it in the ground twice, and it was so bad I had to stop and re-sharpen it. The pre-stretching also seems to work, because for the couple of trees we fell we didn’t have to retention the chain. I think this will benefit arborists, because obviously, there is no way of tensioning a chain when you’re up in a tree. Overall it will be a lot safer and also more productive, as we won’t have the down time.”

– Jo Hedger, runs an arborist company near Southampton, United Kingdom

“I like it a lot. It felt sharper and brought lower vibrations to your body. Without a sharp chain, you can do nothing – you lose a lot of energy, a lot of time, for nothing. The X-CUT seemed to go smoother to the cut. With this chain, I think you can do a lot of work. Already when I opened the box I got the sense of something new. Then, when I first tried it, I was so happy because all that we had hoped for with this new chain came true.”

– Martin Götz, works in urban tree care in and around Frankfurt, Germany

“It seemed to be more powerful, but at the same time the cut was really
smooth and clean, and you didn’t have any problem with kickbacks when
you did bow cuts – I’m really impressed. The sharpness is really great
too – I don’t know what they’ve done, but the material is really good.
In my everyday work, a fast cut is the most important thing. It doesn’t
matter if you cut branches or make big removals, you have to have a
powerful chainsaw with a really smooth and fast cut so you have control
over your work when you’re up there on your spikes.”

– Gabriele Dovier, runs an arborist company in Milan, Italy 

”The most important thing about the chain is that it stays sharp long and
that it cuts fast. This is mainly for safety reasons – if the branch
doesn’t come off fast enough it can swing in. The first feeling was that
it was more aggressive than the other chains, but also cutting smoother
and quicker. Out of the box it doesn’t elongate, and it’s sharp
straight away. The main difference I think is the speed. When I bore cut
it just worked itself in, it was easier to use and I got more

– Johan Pihl, arborist working in the Gothenburg region, Sweden 

“I was a little skeptical at first. I didn’t think I would feel any real difference, but after cutting all day, and having a real comparison side by side with the standard chain, it was pretty amazing. There was less chatter, less vibration and a lot smoother cut, especially when bore cutting or doing straight-through cuts. In my everyday work, the most important thing, at the end of the day, is efficiency. You want the chain to make the saw run at its optimal performance. With a chain like that, I feel that it does.”

– Jared Abrogena, arborist from California, US 

As you probably can tell from these comments, the enthusiasm among the H Team at the X-CUT testing was very high. It’s actually hard to fully catch the excitement in plain text. Good thing, then, that we also filmed the whole thing.