Stihl Model A Chainsaw: The First Gas Powered Stihl Saw

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The Stihl Type A was the first gas Stihl Chainsaw.

The two-man chainsaw was also known as the “tree felling machine” and was released in 1929. It was a 235 cc, 6 hp saw that could be run with a 24 – 40″ bar.

While it wasn’t the first Stihl chainsaw (that first was an electric saw that came out in 1926) it was the first gas saw made by Stihl.

This is what we know about it.

Stihl Type A Chainsaw

earliest stihl chainsaw

This is the Stihl Type A – she’s a beauty!

pictures of the Stihl A Chainsaw
A working Stihl A

They shared, “The STIHL type A tree felling machine is a two-person saw with 6 hp and a weight of 46 kg.”

One of the reasons this model was called the Tree Felling Machine is because the first electric saw released by Stihl was not suitable for felling trees. It was only designed for cutting already felled logs in a yard.

One place you can see an original A Type is at the Stihl Museum in Germany.

Here are a couple of pictures taken by Wayne Sutton of the saw at the museum and shared on (more images over there).

stihl tree felling machine chainsaw
Photo: Wayne Sutton

The saw was made between 1929 and 1932 and weighed 46 kg or 101 lbs.

stihl type A
Photo: Wayne Sutton

There are other Stihl A Chainsaws in private collections and on display in museums around the world, such as at the Totma Museum in Russia.

You can see the Totma Stihl A in this video.

The presenter speaks Russian – if you don’t, you can set the subtitles to English and follow along.

He’s very excited to see the saw and shares some of the following:

  • The saw is in a section of the museum about industrialization and logging
  • It’s marked as a Stihl Type A.4 so it’s likely modified from the first saws produced
  • Stihl had a contract with the USSR to supply these chainsaws
  • The engine design was first used for a motorcycle
  • Even the handles on the Type A were from or designed based on motorcycle handles
  • The first saws had trouble with cooling as on a motorcycle the oncoming air would cool them and this was not there when used as a chainsaw

The auto-translate feature on YouTube is not great on this video, but there’s plenty of other good info and close-ups of the chainsaw.

Regarding the sale of chainsaws to the Soviet Union the man in the video brings up Stihl’s history blog where it says:

1931: STIHL defies the global economic crisis

Andreas Stihl travels to the Soviet Union, where he receives an order for several hundred STIHL tree felling machines.

Unlike most German companies, he does not have to dismiss anyone in spite of the deep economic crisis.

Up to 26 machines per month are produced with a staff that has now reached 38.


Stihl Type A Specs

Stihl A die cast chainsaw model
A die-cast model of the Stihl Type A

The Model A’s production years were between 1927 and 1932.

It has a 235 cc (14.3 cu in), 6 horsepower, single-cylinder engine (piston ported). The saw has a gear reduction drive and manual jaw clutch.

It was constructed of sand-cast aluminum and designed to take a bar of 24 to 40 inches (60 – 100 cm).

The Tree Felling Machine

So while the Stihl A is an important part of chainsaw history, Andreas Stihl was not the first to come out with a petrol chainsaw.

That honor belongs to Emil Lerp of Dolmar Chainsaws. However, Stihl was and remains at the forefront of chainsaw invention and development.

If you know more about the A let us know in the comments below. It’s a rare saw, but perhaps not as rare as the Stihl 096…!

Featured image from the @STIHL Twitter account.


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