The best chainsaw in the world… probably

Lumberjack fun that makes sawing wood like slicing through butter

Stihl MS 500i, from £1,320
Stihl MS 500i, from £1,320 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

Not having a garden, I don’t cover enough gardening tech, so I went on a trip recently to Waiblingen, near Stuttgart, home of Stihl, the Mercedes-Benz of gardening tools. I saw many wonderful things – of which the GPS technology that allows foresters to use a mobile to geolocate trees in need of surgery was just one. But the winner for me was the new MS 500i chainsaw, for which Stihl makes expansive claims. The journalists I spoke to on the open day averred it was the best chainsaw they had ever tried – that said, it’s not a good idea to argue with people who make chainsaws. It certainly does seem to have the best power-to-weight ratio of any chainsaw. It was light enough for me to wield with relative ease, reasonably quiet and so powerful that slicing a perfect centimetre-thick disc from a log 35cm in diameter was like putting a hot knife through butter. The wood I cut is in my loft, packed in hay for a year – the world champion lumberjack Marco Trabert, who was there, said this would preserve it without it cracking. Health and safety note: wear protective gear when using this. Be careful and have fun. It’s unbelievably satisfying.

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