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Thread: Chainsaw mill

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central NY State
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    3,374

    Chainsaw mill

    A friend called me today and asked if I am interested in helping him use his Alaskan chainsaw mill, in exchange for some lumber. I said sure.

    So here's the question - how much thicker should we cut the boards that we need? If I want 5/4 stock after planing, what thickness should we be aiming for?

    Also - we'll be using a 28" bar and a ripping blade. Any advice? I have chaps, safety helmet and steel toed boots.

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Bellingham
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    2,449
    I would be interested in hearing your impressions of the mill when you finish.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Tokyo Japan
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    Keep the chain sharp, and I mean sharp, if the mill is NOT throwing chips, change your chain or stop and sharpen it.
    The saw has to be set up right to run at full chat under extreme load for an extended period of time, most of the time a saw is run to cut cross grain even on a large log it will only run a minute or two, with ripping a long log it might run 5 to 10 minutes at full chat. The saw should burble slightly when in the log and running full out. If you need it, set up an aux oiler for the chain, this can be as simple as a steel can with a screw on lid, mount it over the chain on the out board end, punch a small hole in the bottom of the can, if the oil does not drip out enough loosen the lid.

    Make darn sure that the log is set up so the travel of the mill is downhill, this makes a HUGE difference in how much work it is, if it is level, or God forbid uphill, you have a lot of hard pushing to do, if it is slightly downhill, the mill will just about pull itself through the log.
    On longer logs, plastic felling wedges are your friend, use them, the saw will work a lot less if it does not have to fight the pinching of the kerf behind the bar and the wood will come out with a much smoother surface.
    I cut my slabs all to be around 7cm thick, I think if I were to ever do it again, I would have gone for 8 or even 9 cm thick, takes longer to dry but I can then rip that into two boards with my bandsaw down the road, making less work on the mill.

    A couple more things bring a shovel and a rake, as you go you will spend time on your knees working the mill, you want a nice smooth area to work!

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    North West Indiana
    Posts
    6,098
    Invest in a couple high quality chipper chains. They will pay for themselves that day. Otherwise, all Stu said is spot on!
    Jon

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!

    Host of the 2015 FAMILY WOODWORKING GATHERING

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
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    actually ken,, in all honesty i really think yu would be much further ahead finding a band mill to do the cutting.. less waste and wear and tear on yu and your friend..and in my opinion better quality lumber and more of it out the logs.
    in my area its 50dollars an hr going rate and a good sawyer can cut alot lumber in a hour.
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central NY State
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    Larry, I think you're right, but my friend bought the equipment already, and plans to use it.

    We worked for about 4 hours today, and granted, alot of that was learning curve stuff, but we cut a few boards of maple and cherry. It is pretty hard work though.

    I took a couple of smallish cherry boards home with me, they are 4" thick and about 30" long, perfect for turning pedestals for a Shaker 3 leg table. The maple is still in the woods, waiting for the next trip.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails cherry boards.jpg  

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Tokyo Japan
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    15,807
    Looks great!

    Get the bark off them boards ASAP that is where the bugs hide
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  8. #8
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    Oct 2006
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    Central NY State
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    yes sir!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Delton, Michigan
    Posts
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    also seal the ends of those as well..and the one is from the center of the tree and maybe the other as well..they WILL split..the one on the left is definite and the right one is a better than 50% chance.. you generally take and cut to 3" center section and then when yur finished yu have a3x3 or 4x4 cant left..you can cut all up and just plan on taking the 3 or 4" out of the center..
    If in Doubt, Build it Stout!
    One hand washes the other!
    Don't put off today till tomorrow!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Central NY State
    Posts
    3,374
    I'm going to rip the middle out of them, and use them for the pedestals on small tables. I'll remove bark, rip and and seal them today.

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