Paul Butzi |||

Sometimes things get better


This Stihl 021 chainsaw has been a trusty companion/tool for a long time. It was given to us as a gift in, oh, 2000 or so. So it’s at least 22 years old. It’s missing part of the handguard, said injury occurring when a pretty substantial log rolled over it. When that happened I thought it was surely toast, but other than the handguard it seemed like it was ok, so I just kept using it. Every once in a while I’d be tempted to replace it, but every time I figured this one still worked, and so I just kept using it.

Until recently, when it was running badly and I figured I’d take it in for a tune up. The technician fiddled with the saw for a bit, showed me how it was seriously lacking in compression, and to fix it would require a major overhaul. And that, to be honest with me, it would be better for me to buy a new saw, because my trusty 021 was Just Plain Worn Out. And because, he pointed out, the new saws were quite a bit better.

So I replaced it, with a spiffy new saw of about the same size and power but quite a bit lighter. It has an electronically controlled carb, so it automatically adjusts for a bunch of things. It’s got an improved starter. It handles better. It has more convenient fuel and bar oil caps. None of those improvements are massive changes but together they add up to a pretty substantial improvement. The new saw is just… better in every way.

So after some thought I also replaced our large chainsaw. The new saw is (like the new small saw) slightly lighter. But this new large saw is not a consumer saw, it’s a pro saw. It’s built like a tank, it’s nearly double in power what the old saw produced when new (but the old saw is presumably no longer producing full power, just like the old smaller saw wasn’t). Like the small saw, electronically controlled carb. Again, the new large saw is Just Better In Every Way.

We plug along through life, using the same solutions to problems and the same tools , just because of personal inertia. But notwithstanding what all the doomsayers are telling us, the world just keeps getting better. So it makes sense to periodically look at what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and what tools you’re using and ask yourself Is this still the best thing to do? Is this still the best way to do it? Is this still the best choice of tool for the task?”

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