When I was researching the Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf Chainsaw, the word which kept cropping up time and again was ‘beast’. Hardly surprising, since this aptly describes the power generated by one of the most powerful homeowner saws you’ll currently find on today’s market.
It’s definitely not for the faint hearted but if you’re on the lookout for a good quality, high performing product which can handle pretty much anything you throw in its path, then the Timber Wolf might just be the saw for you.
Read the rest of this review to learn more
Performance and Handling
The Timber Wolf is a medium/heavy duty chainsaw designed for people with sizeable areas of land, farmers, ranchers and homeowners alike. It’s well suited to cutting large amounts of firewood, clearing serious storm damage, as well as bucking logs and felling trees. In fact you’d be hard pushed to find a tougher home use saw.
So let’s look at how it performs and who would benefit most from a saw like this. First off, when it comes to starting, there is a decompression valve which makes pulling the starter rope easier. There is no primer bulb on the Timber Wolf and a few users mentioned that this might have helped to make starting a little easier.
Full instructions are provided on both ‘cold’ and ‘warm’ starting procedures and these need to be followed closely. Although the majority of people had no problems, a number of users mentioned that they had difficulty starting up the saw, even though they claimed to have followed the operating procedures. Others mentioned that it takes a little getting used to but once you have mastered it, starting up is relatively straightforward. It’s difficult to assess whether a number of these starting issues are due to inexperience and not following instructions properly as opposed to genuine issues with the product. What I can say is that the Timber Wolf doesn’t suffer in this regard when compared to most other gas saws I have reviewed. Gas saws can sometimes be a little temperamental and you do need to familiarize yourself with the starting
procedures and it is no different here. One ‘valid’ complaint is that a number of users found the rear handle to be small, which means you can’t start the saw in the recommended manner by placing your foot in the handle opening to hold the saw down. The hole simply isn’t big enough.
If there were a few issues about starting, there were none about CS-590’s performance. This saw has enough power to handle most jobs you are likely to encounter around the home and farm. Users mentioned that it cuts easily through both hard and soft woods and can make thicker cuts without getting bogged down like other saws. Users mentioned that they had been able to cut up oak and maple trees up to 20 inches in diameter without any issues. If it can get through wood like this, there isn’t likely to be much it can’t handle. With this kind of cutting ability it makes it an ideal saw for cutting cords of firewood as well as clearing up fallen trees caused by wind damage.
In terms of handling, there are a few points which should be mentioned. This is a pretty large chainsaw and it isn’t the lightest around. As such, unless you are pretty fit and used to working with heavy power tools, you need to take care as fatigue can become an issue after a while. Regular breaks may therefore be needed. To help, the saw has an anti-vibration system and whilst the manufacturer doesn’t issue any measured vibrations levels, users advise that vibration isn’t excessive. However, this saw is a step up from most homeowner saws and I would suggest that unless you have some wood-cutting experience then this would not be an appropriate ‘first buy’ chainsaw.
Learn more about the Timber Wolf in the video below:
The CS-590 has enough power to accommodate bars from between 16” and 27” in length.
The original purchase has a 20 inch bar. This is Echo’s own brand 20 inch Pro-Lite bar. It has a sprocket nose and reduced kickback qualities. The nose sprocket helps to reduce chain friction and therefore improve speed and cutting performance. You will, however, need to grease the sprocket hole on the tip of the bar and this can be done with a cheap grease syringe.
Fitted to the bar is Echo’s 20-inch Pro-lite chain. This has a 3/8” pitch, a 0.05” gauge and 78 drive links. This is a very popular size chain on both home owner and professional saws. Replacements are readily available from Echo and are of a decent quality. A few experienced users mentioned that they had swapped their chains for Oregon full chisel 70 link chains for even better cutting performance. You should note that these are NOT low kickback chains and should only be used by the experienced operator.
There is a side chain tensioning system on the Timber Wolf. As with all saws the tension needs to be checked regularly to prevent the chain slipping from the bar and keeping it taut is a relatively simple operation. The spark plug lead is removed and the chain brake unlocked. The tool provided is then used to loosen the bar nuts and then the tensioning screw turned to get the correct tension.
As well as keeping the cutting components tensioned, the chain also needs to be kept sharp. If you are proficient at doing this you will need a sharpening kit, including a 7/32” round file, holder and flat file. If this is not something you feel confident doing, then you should have it done professionally.
Design and Construction
The Timber Wolf is a large, durable chainsaw constructed from metal and hard plastic components.
On the left hand side of the saw you will find the usual features. The oil reservoir cap is situated at the front of the powerhead unit and the fuel tank cap at the back. One neat feature is the translucent oil tank which allows you to keep a close eye on your fuel levels.
There is a full wrap front hand to assist with cutting at different angles and in front of this is the hand guard and chain brake. The brake can be manually activated by pushing the guard into the forward position. On the front of the powerhead unit is a metal bumper spike, which pivots on the wood to provide stability when sawing.
The left side of the saw is shown above. As you can see, there is a side mounted chain tensioning system. The chain catcher is also shown (See ‘Safety Features’ section).
The above image shows the rear of the saw. The features on this are pretty standard, although as mentioned earlier in the review, the rear handle opening is quite small making it difficult to start with your foot holding the saw down. You will note that the air filter cover has a knob for easy removal. Access through this cover can also be gained to the ‘air shutter’. This can be changed between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ to prevent carburetor problems in winter and summer. Just place to the correct setting.
59.8cc Professional Grade Engine
The CS-590 Timber Wolf oozes power, thanks to its 59.8cc professional grade 2-stroke engine, capable of generating almost 4HP. This provides it with plenty of strength to cope with some of the most demanding jobs around the home and farm.
To fuel the machine, you will need to mix gas and oil in the ratio of 50:1, so for example for every 4 liters of gas, you will need 80 milliliters of oil.
The recommended gas should be between 89 (mid-grade or higher) and 93 Octane. The gas should not have an ethanol content over 10%. Gasohol, known to be of good quality, can also be used. Gasohol may contain up to 10 % Ethyl (grain) alcohol or 15 % MTBE (methyl teriary-butyl ether). Gasohol containing methyl (wood) alcohol is NOT approved.
In terms of the oil mix, 2-stroke engine oil is used. For example ECHO premium Power Blend X™ Universal 2-Stroke Oil can be used. The fuel is added through the cap on the side of the saw and, as indicated earlier, the fuel tank is translucent so it is very easy to keep an eye on your fuel levels during cutting. The tank itself has a capacity of 21.8 fl oz. (0.17 gallons)
The engine speed ranges from 2,600 r/min (idle) to 13,000 r/min (wide open throttle). The engine also comprises Echo’s G-Force Engine Pre-Cleaner system, which helps to reduce the number of times you need to clean the air filter by pulling dirt and debris out of the air box.
One final note of caution. The engine has been adjusted at the factory to operate in conditions up to 330m (1,080 feet) above sea level. Above this, to ensure proper engine performance and to meet emission compliance, the carburettor may need to be adjusted by an authorized Echo dealer.
Chain Oil System
The cutting components are kept lubricated by an automatic, adjustable oiler. These type of oilers tend to be found on the more expensive machines and offer several advantages. Firstly, you don’t need to remember to release oil manually to the chain and secondly, you can adjust the rate of flow to match cutting conditions.
The oiler has a capacity of 10.1 Fl. Ounces (300ml), which is a respectable size. When using the saw at an average 7,000 revs per minute, the oiler will dispense around 4 ml per minute on its lowest setting, which equates to around 75 minutes cutting time. The maximum oil discharge rate is 14 ml/min at 7,000 rev per minute which equates to 20 minutes cutting time.
Adjusting the rate of flow is done by turning an easily accessible screw on the underside of the saw. Oil levels should be checked regularly and the reservoir filled each time you refuel.
In terms of the bar oil to put in the saw, a good quality bar and chain oil should be used (Echo recommends its own brand). When this is not available, motor oil can be used (SAE 30 in summer and SAE 10 in winter).
A chainsaw as big and powerful as this needs plenty of safety features and I’m pleased to say the Timber Wolf has this covered. It has features such as:
- Reduced kickback bar and low kickback chain to reduce the likelihood and severity of kickback. (Chain meets both US and Canadian safety criteria in this regard).
- Automatic chain brake. The brake will operate in the event of severe kickback as well as if the front hand guard is pushed into a forward position. The brake is designed to stop the chain in a fraction of a second.
- Front and rear hand guards to protect the hands from flying debris as well as coming into contact with the cutting gear.
- Chain catcher. This is designed to protect the operator’s hand if the chain derails or is broken when the saw is in use.
- Spiked bumper. These are metal spikes fitted to the front of the powerhead unit which provide stability when cutting.
- Lockout switch. This is a safety switch which must be depressed before the throttle trigger will work.
This is bigger than your average homeowner saw and care is therefore needed when using it. The best way to stay safe is to operate it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and wear appropriate clothing and safety gear. Read out article: Chainsaw gloves, chaps and other essential apparel for more information.
The dry weight of the CS-590 is 13.2lbs, excluding the cutting equipment. This would add in the region of 3 pounds to the overall weight and don’t forget, petrol and oil needs to be added. When in use, this saw will weigh over 16 lbs. so probably isn’t suitable for anyone who struggles lifting heavy objects.
As well as an operator’s manual, this saw comes with a scrench/combination wrench and a safety tip for the blade.
Some users expressed disappointment that the product did not come with a box and a good quality scabbard. You can get an Echo Tough Chest for this saw, which costs in the region of $40.
• Plenty of power for the toughest jobs.
• Excellent cutting ability
• Flexible blade sizes
• Automatic, adjustable flow oiler
• Good safety features
• On the heavy side
• No carry case
Echo CS-590 Consumer Ratings
There are hundreds of on-line reviews of the Timber Wolf and overall they are excellent, reflecting the saw’s quality. With almost 90% of people rating it as either excellent or good, it definitely gets the consumers’ thumbs up.
People like its power and cutting performance, and the fact that it is able to handle most things put in front of it. Users also appreciate its quality and durability.
Some consumers found the saw difficult to start, although it is hard to decide if a lot of this was down to inexperience or not following the instructions correctly.
You should buy this saw if:
• You are looking for a good quality, high performing chainsaw
• You have regular medium/heavy duty cutting tasks to carry out.
• You are accustomed to using powerful saws
You should not buy this saw if:
• This is your first chainsaw.
• You struggle with heavy weights
• You don’t want to carry out a lot of maintenance.
• You have a limited budget
The warranty on this product extends to 5 years for consumers and 1 year for commercial users.
This is excellent and compares favorably with many of Echo's competitors.
Price of Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf Chainsaw
This saw is currently available at just under $400. This puts it in the same price bracket as saws such as the Husqvarna 445 and 450. The Timber Wolf is definitely a match for these saws and we therefore believe the price to be fair.