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Author Topic: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.  (Read 2607 times)

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Offline dadkins

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Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« on: March 30, 2018, 07:52:40 PM »
I recently purchased a Stihl 661 for use as a mill. It came with a 25" Rollomatic bar and cross cut chain. I also purchased  a 36" Alaska Mill. 

What type of bar / ripping-chain setup would be best for cedar, poplar softwoods?

What type of bar / ripping-chain setup would be best for oak/hickory hardwoods?

Offline Skeans1

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Re: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2018, 10:57:22 PM »
You might look into Cannon Super bars if I have to run 42"+ bars they're the super bars they're heavier and stiffer.

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2018, 12:30:16 AM »
I would by a .050” guide bar (groove width) and use an Oregon clutch drum and drive rim for 3/8”/.050 chain and use stilhls 63 PMX los profile ripping chain. It makes a 1/4” kerf and Can hold up easily to the power of the 661. You will have fast feed rates, smooth cutting and less waste. I did this with my 372XPW husky several years back and it was the single best change up I did. It was a full 30% increase in cutting speed over the granberg 3/8” std ripping chain. You will not be disappointed. 
Turbosawmill M6 (now M8) Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2018, 08:51:06 AM »
I recently purchased a Stihl 661 for use as a mill. It came with a 25" Rollomatic bar and cross cut chain. I also purchased  a 36" Alaska Mill.

What type of bar / ripping-chain setup would be best for cedar, poplar softwoods?

What type of bar / ripping-chain setup would be best for oak/hickory hardwoods?
Welcome to the forum dadkins. Lots of good advice from forum members on here.
The little narrow kerf 3/8" Picco works great getting that extra piece of lumber off a squared cant but don't do all your milling with it.
Ideally the 25" Stihl b/c you have already is all you need for your 36" mill.
Resharpen the 30 degree top plates of the cutters to 10 degree and start milling. Square up a pile of cants and when your ready to mill them into lumber put on a similar chain but a old used one that's sharpened back to near the guide marks on top of the cutters, now you have a narrow  kerf chain.
After your saw is nicely broke in and when you're ready to use the full potential of the 36" mill go for the longer b/c.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 10:50:02 AM »
Lower depth gauges for softwood.  Higher for hard . 
10 degree top plate for both . Unless really dry hard then set at 0°.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline dadkins

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Re: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2018, 06:57:47 PM »
I would by a .050” guide bar (groove width) and use an Oregon clutch drum and drive rim for 3/8”/.050 chain and use stilhls 63 PMX los profile ripping chain. It makes a 1/4” kerf and Can hold up easily to the power of the 661. You will have fast feed rates, smooth cutting and less waste. I did this with my 372XPW husky several years back and it was the single best change up I did. It was a full 30% increase in cutting speed over the granberg 3/8” std ripping chain. You will not be disappointed. 

mad murdock- I have been looking for a Stihl 63 PMX low profile ripping chain, and can't find one. Who sells them, the local Stihl dealer said that Stihl quit making ripping chains. Amazon, eBay don't have them either
 


Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2018, 11:47:07 PM »
Well if you want to run Picco chain just file in your own angles on regular Picco . If you can't file then you may be in trouble.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline HolmenTree

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Re: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2018, 08:06:36 AM »
I would by a .050” guide bar (groove width) and use an Oregon clutch drum and drive rim for 3/8”/.050 chain and use stilhls 63 PMX los profile ripping chain. It makes a 1/4” kerf and Can hold up easily to the power of the 661. You will have fast feed rates, smooth cutting and less waste. I did this with my 372XPW husky several years back and it was the single best change up I did. It was a full 30% increase in cutting speed over the granberg 3/8” std ripping chain. You will not be disappointed.
Actually Murdock all rim sprockets are .063, never heard of a .050 rim.
Plus there is no Oregon rim sprocket made in 3/8" LoPro/Picco pitch in a standard 7 spline rim to fit a 372XP or MS661.
Stihl made 066/660 7 tooth spur sprocket drums in the 3/8" Picco pitch for the Logosol chainsaw milling setups years ago. Still might find some through the dealers or on Ebay. But the longest bar they made and recommended for the Logosol in Picco pitch was 16 inch. I got one of those bars and the laminated Picco nose sprocket is not removable to put on a longer bar. Probably why you switched to a circular blade mill driven by your chainsaw powerhead from all the trouble of the mismatched Picco trouble wear and tear.

The OP of this thread is interested in 36"-42" bar on his Alaskan mill. From my experience running a 36" .063 Picco chain on my Stihl 066 on a Alaskan mill with the proper Logosol Picco drum with a all pitch roller nose on the 36" bar....the result was the chain stretched out of pitch very quickly and the links kinked up then causing the chain to eventually break.
Plus that narrow kerf Picco chain with the tiny drive links was way to unstable to cut true in the wood kerf in that length. Spruce knots were especially bad throwing that little chain off course with that long bar.

I ended up using full size 3/8" chain and .404 in 36" length to mill the slabs off the logs and square up into cants with my 090AV and 395XP. Then use the 066AV with 16" Picco b/c to mill the lumber off the cants.
Making a living with a saw since age 16.

Offline mad murdock

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Re: Bars & Chains for milling Hard and soft woods.
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2018, 12:22:24 PM »

mad murdock- I have been looking for a Stihl 63 PMX low profile ripping chain, and can't find one. Who sells them, the local Stihl dealer said that Stihl quit making ripping chains. Amazon, eBay don't have them either
 
dadkins, I bought mine from Bailey's, (former forum sponsor), but if it is no longer available, I would do as Holmen tree suggests, he has a ton of chainsaw milling under his belt as well, probably much more than I.  His advice is good, as well as others on here.  I have to say, I bought my 63PMX chain more than 5 years ago, and when I did, I bought 2 loops for the 32" bar I have.  I am still on the first loop, and soon will be ready to break out the second.  It has worked extremely well for me.  It is not hard to re-file a chain to a straighter top plate angle as suggested by HT, and I would do that, if the 63PMX is no longer offered by Stihl.  I would think it would be though as that chain is recommended by Logosol, and they support a lot of folks around the world with their mills and systems.  
Turbosawmill M6 (now M8) Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D


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