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Author Topic: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation  (Read 1293 times)

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Offline llb022

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Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« on: January 04, 2019, 09:57:34 AM »
Hello Everyone,

I wanted start a some what specialty side business of slabbing logs with a chainsaw mill. This would ideally be a weekend thing. My question is what would you start off with in regards to bar length? My thought was 36"(I'm in east texas area) and I would be using an alaskan style mill setup.

My thought would be offering my service to those wanting to have a tree cut up into slabs for their own use and also picking up free peices and slabbing those to dry and sell later. 

Do any of you operate a similar operation or is this?

Also my budget would be $1000 I've done some research and it seems I could potentially get the essential peices (chainsaw, 36"bar, chains, alaskan type mill for under 1k)

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.



Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2019, 11:08:29 AM »
   What's the biggest tree/log you plan to be able to cut? Sounds like that would be the determining factor then you need a saw that will pull that length bar. How about support equipment to move the cut slabs? They get real heavy real quick.

   I had a big walnut slabbed about 10 months ago on a Lucas Slabber. The sawyer had wedges and rollers and used pipes to roll the slab off the cant on to the roller then over to where he could reach it with his forklift. I think the smallest slab weighed about 120 lbs and the biggest weighed nearly 600 lbs. 
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Offline llb022

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2019, 11:46:03 AM »
WV Sawmiller,

Due to your other questions/statement on moving them around probably 30"(max) at this point as I don't have any heavy equipment to move things around with nor do I plan on investing in anything like that. My thought at first was that I'd need to cut large pieces to have a niche but unless the owner of the log/logs had a tractor or other equipment that just wouldn't be possible. Maybe I'll just go with small pieces 18-24" logs yet keep the longer bar for those that protrude out in places.

I do have a truck and access to a trailer. Possibly a winch and worse case a come-along. Does this sound reasonable to do? :) 

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2019, 12:38:09 PM »
From my experience (Stihl 090 saw head and Granberg mill with 66" bar), I can tell you that chainsaw milling is brutal.  It's a lot of work.  Be prepared for that.  I don't like doing it in the middle of summer because of the heat.

It's not worth it in my opinion to make lumber or small slabs.  I have a chainsaw mill for doing the large stuff I can't slab on my band mill.  I've slabbed 7 large logs with my chainsaw mill, and I have 7 more waiting to be done.  Most of these are 36"-50".  My number one regret is not having an even longer bar, as I am limited to a throat opening of 48" with the bar and mill I have.  Just because you have a bar of one length, when you get it mounted in the mill, you will have a shorter throat opening.  So a 36" bar will have a much smaller opening, meaning your max log size might be 24 or 26 or 28" depending on the mill you have.  I would suggest getting the biggest mill, and biggest saw head.  You can always mill smaller stuff with the bigger mill, but if you get a short mill as you propose, you will be seriously limited.  There are plenty of bandmills around that can slab up to 36" much faster and more efficiently than a CSM.  To be effective, I think you'd have to be specialized in larger logs than that- those that most bandmills can't do.  That's a niche for the CSM.  

If you really want to do this as a side business, save up more money, get the longest equipment you can, and specialize in slabbing the largest logs is my advice.

They are now making band mills with no frills that can do larger logs.  Woodmizer now has  this band mill, for slabbing up to 67" for about $41K.  https://woodmizer.com/us/IndustrialEquipment/Headrigs/WM1000

That is out of most small sawyers price range, which is why a chainsaw mill is still viable.  It's slower and more labor, but you can get the job done.  It's not worth it for me to buy the woodmizer slabbing mill above because I don't get enough "BIG" logs to justify it.  But the chainsaw mill lets me do the logs I get, but that material is mostly for me personally.  I bought my CSM and head used and had to do some work on the saw head to get it back running right.  I have about $3K in my setup, which is a far cry from $41K.   I couldn't get enough "BIG" logs to justify the $41K.  Consider actual needs vs. Wants.
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Offline richhiway

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2019, 12:40:54 PM »
you need a minumum 70cc saw and you should have a few bars and chains. you don't need as long a bar most of the time. a shorter chain is easier to sharpen and takes less power. The ripping chain from granberg is very good.
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 12:53:13 PM »
I-22,

   Please forgive me if I'm sounding negative. I sure would not want to burst your bubble if this is really a goal you have set for yourself.

   I am not a chainsaw miller so can't answer most related questions. I would suggest you try to observe such a saw in operation. I have watched a slabber at work and it is a lot of work and needed a lot of support equipment. As to trying to cut 18-24 inch logs then you are competing with typical bandmills who can cut the same logs much faster and I gather with a better finish. I routinely cut live edge slabs that size on my mill and it is not even one of the newer wide models. 

   If the customer has a tractor and a basic pig pole he can probably drag the log out, load it on a trailer and take it to a mill or at least drag it to a landing where a portable mill can come saw it. Can you compete against that and still make a profit?
Howard Green
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Offline appleseedtree

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2019, 01:18:28 PM »
Agreed:  Brutal is just one of the words to describe how tough it can be if you do much of it. Dust in the face, noise, vibration to the hands.  Use all the safety gear including a dust mask. Get the biggest saw head you can afford, with a box of files and plan to sharpen the chain often so it cuts at its best, and take the depth gauges down to about .050 thousandths or more below the cutters as opposed to the .025 recommended for crosscut chain. Ive never found the special rip chain to be enough benefit to make it worth buying. Ill start with a crosscut chain and each time its sharpened flatten the angle a little more until its about 5-10* on each tooth. If you have several bars, use the shortest one thatll work for a project as the shorter the bar, the faster the chain will spin. Ive done most of my big woodworking projects by knowing every sawmiller in the country, but no one near me can saw a 42 beam or a really wide slab. Thats where the CSM is very practical and Im glad it sits mostly on the shelf!

Online charles mann

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2019, 03:23:12 PM »
What part of east tx are located? 
Iv got a 36 granberg and started off with a jonsered 2166 ( husq 372 equev) and bought a 32 bar. Cutting cedar was fine, but knarfed into a 28 pecan and found out quickly that i needed more power. The saw handled it, but was SLOW and dang it was hot, not just the central tx summer hear, but kneeling over the powerhead made it fell 2x hotter than it was. I bought a stihl 661 a few yrs back during a valentines sale, i paid $999 for the saw and a 36 bar. 
I did a comparison on a fresh felled red oak i hauled in from east tx. Once i got my top cut done, i used both the stihl and jonsered and the stihl, having a bit more power, cut nearly 2x faster with less force required to push the saw. Didnt really have to push it, it mostly grabbed and pulled itself through the oak. 
When i get back in a few, ill open the mill up and measure how wide, with a 36 bar, it mill cut. 

As stated above, most band mills can handle the sizes of logs you are looking at marketing. But with a budget of $1000, its gonna be nearly impossible to buy a high cc ( stihl 661/880 or comparable other brand) and then a $450-600 bar. 
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Offline FalconFan

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2019, 04:00:13 PM »
I have a Sthil MS661 with a 36" bar. Im pretty sure this slab was about 30" wide. Takes a while to cut. If you want to make some money using a chainsaw mill you might consider cutting and drying the slabs and then making simple tables or something out of them. I think this would make your profit margin go way up as opposed to just selling the service of slabbing logs for folks.


 


Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2019, 04:02:30 PM »
Hi I'm a sawdust addict.  This is my story of chainsaw milling.

Four or five years ago I had visions of using a chainsaw mill to cut up blow downs and other trees here on the farm.  I bought a Granberg Alaskan mill and mounted it on a Husqvarna 372 with a 36" bar and ripping chain and added all the other tools - total was north of $1,000 by about $500.  (Should have saved that money for my bandsaw mill.)

I cut a green 28" red oak and one 20" dead pine.  It was then when I had 11 2x6s after 6 hours that I realized chainsaw milling is not for any sort of production.  Sharpening the chain every couple of cuts was not fun.  I went on to cut some short slabs that were used for some furniture eventually.  

I was 50 or 52 years old at the time and have never been afraid of hard work (used to farm tobacco and still work a cow-calf operation).  I got over my chainsaw milling enthusiasm rather quickly.  Words like brutal, dirty, hard, back breaking and a few other words not appropriate for a family oriented forum describe chainsaw milling. 

Sawmilling isn't for the faint of heart.  Chainsaw milling takes a special kind of patience. I don't have it.  In hind-sight, I should have found somebody with a chainsaw mill and tried it out.

I'm perfectly happy cutting slabs up to 26-28" wide on my sawmill.
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Offline FalconFan

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2019, 04:14:47 PM »
I will admit the chainsaw mill was a gateway to purchasing a band sawmill. Good thing is, if you are going to have a band sawmill eventually, you will need a good chainsaw so that money will not go to waste. 

Online charles mann

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2019, 04:38:22 PM »
I just opened my granberg up as wide as it will safely go and the 36 mill will cut a max of 33 & 11/16. 

To find that niche you are looking for, going to 48-72 mill, but that blows your $1000 budget out of the water, by 2-2.5x as much for a bar and power head. 
If you are just doing it as a side hobby to make a lil spending $$, then start from trees and sell a finished product, like tables (coffee, night, dinning rm, sofa ends), even bathroom and kitchen counters, with install. 
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Offline John Bartley

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2019, 04:39:27 PM »
Hi I'm a sawdust addict.  This is my story of chainsaw milling.

Four or five years ago I had visions of using a chainsaw mill to cut up blow downs and other trees here on the farm.  I bought a Granberg Alaskan mill and mounted it on a Husqvarna 372 with a 36" bar and ripping chain and added all the other tools - total was north of $1,000 by about $500.  (Should have saved that money for my bandsaw mill.)

I cut a green 28" red oak and one 20" dead pine.  It was then when I had 11 2x6s after 6 hours that I realized chainsaw milling is not for any sort of production.  Sharpening the chain every couple of cuts was not fun.  I went on to cut some short slabs that were used for some furniture eventually.  

I was 50 or 52 years old at the time and have never been afraid of hard work (used to farm tobacco and still work a cow-calf operation).  I got over my chainsaw milling enthusiasm rather quickly.  Words like brutal, dirty, hard, back breaking and a few other words not appropriate for a family oriented forum describe chainsaw milling.

Sawmilling isn't for the faint of heart.  Chainsaw milling takes a special kind of patience. I don't have it.  In hind-sight, I should have found somebody with a chainsaw mill and tried it out.

I'm perfectly happy cutting slabs up to 26-28" wide on my sawmill.
Ted,
Thank you for your frank honesty.  Rarely do we hear when people realise that the romanticism of a pursuit is not the reality. I have serviced and test ran a chainsaw mill (during my days as a power equipment dealer) .  I sensed from that very, very short experience that what you posted is what my experience would have been :)   
I think a CSM has applications such as remote sites, "special" logs, etc, but I think for anything that involves the theme of  "production", the words "chainsaw mill" and "production" are oxymorons.
cheers
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Offline Hooterspfld

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2019, 05:55:14 PM »
I was in your boat about 2-3 months ago, with a slight difference. I had a project in mind (sturdy table for our back porch). I figured I would buy a saw, Stihl 362CM $800 with a 25" bar and an alaskan mill of ebay for $120. Worst case scenario I could always sell the saw and mill on craigslist and get a big portion of my money back. 

Well things changed after I got my first log, after cutting down a 25" diameter maple I realized that I needed a bigger saw to slab it. So then I spent $1200 on a stihl 661CM with a 36" bar. After slabbing up the maple I got ahold of a big Post Oak. With the 36" bar I was able to get slabs up to 30-31". It's took a good 6-8 hours to slab up the oak, and was a two man job. I cut 3" slabs 10 1/2' long and they weighed in at 300lbs plus!

If you really want to make some money, I think you're going to find your going to need to dry the wood and possibly as others have mentioned make tables or some other sort of finished product. That's at least what I'm running into. I'm looking at building a small kiln out of a storage shed and some other equipment I already have. (my cost will probably be less than $200) With the lumber I have drying now, hopefully I will be able to get it in a kiln towards the end of the summer. Perhaps by next Christmas I will have products that start returning some of my investment. Until then, I'm going to continue to saw any free logs I can get my hands onand get them air drying. I'm also always looking to pick up odd jobs clearing storm damaged trees  and harvesting firewood for my own use and for sale. 

By next Christmas, I will have a better idea of if it's smart to invest in a Stihl 880 and bigger bar. If nothing else, I've got a new hobby that I enjoy and have some new tools that I enjoy using. Plus the stories and knowledge shared here at the Forestry Forum are well worth the investments I've made so far. 


Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2019, 07:09:32 PM »
Hi I'm a sawdust addict.  This is my story of chainsaw milling.

Four or five years ago I had visions of using a chainsaw mill to cut up blow downs and other trees here on the farm.  I bought a Granberg Alaskan mill and mounted it on a Husqvarna 372 with a 36" bar and ripping chain and added all the other tools - total was north of $1,000 by about $500.  (Should have saved that money for my bandsaw mill.)

I cut a green 28" red oak and one 20" dead pine.  It was then when I had 11 2x6s after 6 hours that I realized chainsaw milling is not for any sort of production.  Sharpening the chain every couple of cuts was not fun.  I went on to cut some short slabs that were used for some furniture eventually.  

I was 50 or 52 years old at the time and have never been afraid of hard work (used to farm tobacco and still work a cow-calf operation).  I got over my chainsaw milling enthusiasm rather quickly.  Words like brutal, dirty, hard, back breaking and a few other words not appropriate for a family oriented forum describe chainsaw milling.

Sawmilling isn't for the faint of heart.  Chainsaw milling takes a special kind of patience. I don't have it.  In hind-sight, I should have found somebody with a chainsaw mill and tried it out.

I'm perfectly happy cutting slabs up to 26-28" wide on my sawmill.
Ted,
Thank you for your frank honesty.  Rarely do we hear when people realise that the romanticism of a pursuit is not the reality. I have serviced and test ran a chainsaw mill (during my days as a power equipment dealer) .  I sensed from that very, very short experience that what you posted is what my experience would have been :)    
I think a CSM has applications such as remote sites, "special" logs, etc, but I think for anything that involves the theme of  "production", the words "chainsaw mill" and "production" are oxymorons.
cheers
If one is slabbing 4-5' long logs of a special character, a chainsaw mill maybe the way to go.  Much longer than that, go to a bandsaw mill!  
Those that want to build their homestead using a chainsaw mill have more grit than me!
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2019, 08:39:54 PM »
I have been hired a couple of times to saw up logs for someone who had a CSM and gave up on the project.  The last one told me I had sawn more in a couple of hours - with my LT 35 - than he had sawn in a whole weekend, and that was just poplar.  

So like others have said, best to look at your goals and needs from a realistic standpoint.  
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Offline Don P

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2019, 09:46:02 PM »
  I certainly won't disagree. I'll play a little devil's advocate just for perspective. They have their place but it is niche. The 60' 12x12 top plates, 40 &20' 10x12 lower plates, 30' end wall logs and several other wings in this barn were done in the woods with an Alaskan. The larger portion of 20' logs there and rafter logs were done on the Lucas which was much faster and also has a slabbing bar but could have been done with the Alaskan. Those 60'ers took us 3 days each from standing to delivered but that was much cheaper than they could have been sourced from elsewhere. This was specialty work, we scrambled to keep 3 timberframers supplied with material. It more than paid for the saw but is not an everyday kind of job nor is it for everyone.
<br

>


My avatar is a pic from when one of the oaks at the courthouse was taken down, we slabbed it up and loaded it on a DanG/Deadheader trailer with the winch on the trailer, there were 4 of us tag teaming it and we were raking up the grass by the end of the day. Equipment makes it easier, on the project above we had lots of equipment but we have done minimal support on site work. Give me a lever long enough, the ancient tools and techniques do work just fine, I can load huge logs on a trailer solo manually so sure I can load slabs as well, but the time/cost just went up. I did say we, usually it is 2 of us, solo can be done but is much less fun. I do think your order is backwards, we started with the biggest Husky and bar and have then gotten shorter bars to speed up the smaller cuts, size is what provides flexibility and usually larger slabs are what people think they want. Underpowered rigs don't make it, there is no replacement for displacement.
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Offline John Bartley

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2019, 10:33:13 PM »
 I certainly won't disagree. I'll play a little devil's advocate just for perspective. They have their place but it is niche.
Excellent illustration of the niche !!
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Offline llb022

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2019, 12:56:39 AM »
Well right off the top I just want to say thanks to all of you. I was a bit surprised to get so many detailed/well thought out responses sharing your personal experiences and recommendations.

After reading over each of your responses several times and thinking over them I think due to the budget I have and my goal of just getting outside and making a little extra money I'm going to go the route of just picking up free logs that I can mill and store to dry and make smaller things to sell. As this will take a little time before I can actually use any of the wood I think I'll utilize the saw to do some other small jobs that can generate me some income.

I think I will get a saw powerful enough run a 36" bar for starters and work with that.

*Note: My goal with this little endeavor to allow me to get out of the house, have fun and make a little extra money to pay off debt. I currently work as a software developer and some physical labor would be a good thing. :) 

Lastly if this goes fairly well I think I'll revisit the idea of the niche market slabbing very large logs. 

@charles mann ... I'm in lufkin, tx


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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2019, 10:44:59 AM »
For wanting physical activity with wood under $1k budget, have you considered building log furniture?  Would be worth a look.
 
I agree with the go big or go long comments above.  An argument could be made for shorter beams as well.  Rustic garden planters are another idea and could be used green.  Otherwise, the only time one can compete with a CSM over a bandsaw under 30 diameter is when something valuable (sentimental or real value) is stuck in a backyard with no other options except a crane or firewood blocks to remove.
 
Would be worth it to save up for a wider setup, but the Alaskan can be upgraded later with longer bars and rails.  There are also double ended bars to run two power heads.
 
I think the best addition to a CSM would be a buddy.  Lack of equipment can be overcome with simple machines (wedges, come alongs, ramps, levers, etc.).  But to do that, you may need that third and fourth hand.

Here's another excellent thread to peruse:
Weekend Sawyer's experience
Lucas 6-13+slabber, Mr. Sawmill bandmill, orange chainsaws, JD SSL, Case Backhoe, farm tractors, trailers, and 150ish acres of trees.  Fledgling woodshop with CNC router, laser engraver, Woodmaster 712, and a Berlin 108 moulder (project).  Oh, and a lovely (patient) wife and four offbearers.

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #20 on: January 05, 2019, 02:52:24 PM »
I would strongly encourage you to focus on building outdoor items since you won't have a way to ensure your wood is dry and bug free.  This will help prevent upset customers who have cracks appear in their products once they are brought inside or have a house full of bugs show up.  Outdoor / rustic benches, tables, seats, made from unique wood etc can sell for a very nice price, heck there is even a member out here who sells $300 out houses.  :D  The photo below was from a piece of reclaimed pine a customer brought me to fix for him as it was not flat.  He paid over $400 for it and was building an indoor table, problem was the wood had not been sanitized and you can see the result - just imagine if you sold this to someone as a kitchen table.  

http://forestryforum.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=34297&pid=257393#top_display_media



Franklin buncher and skidder
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Offline llb022

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #21 on: January 05, 2019, 09:03:28 PM »
I would strongly encourage you to focus on building outdoor items since you won't have a way to ensure your wood is dry and bug free.  This will help prevent upset customers who have cracks appear in their products once they are brought inside or have a house full of bugs show up.  Outdoor / rustic benches, tables, seats, made from unique wood etc can sell for a very nice price, heck there is even a member out here who sells $300 out houses.  :D  The photo below was from a piece of reclaimed pine a customer brought me to fix for him as it was not flat.  He paid over $400 for it and was building an indoor table, problem was the wood had not been sanitized and you can see the result - just imagine if you sold this to someone as a kitchen table.  

http://forestryforum.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=34297&pid=257393#top_display_media
lol I agree with making outdoor things as that would also allow me to get a quicker ROI and less headache

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #22 on: January 05, 2019, 09:10:23 PM »
I-22,

    If you want to test the market why don't you find a local bandmiller, acquire some of these logs you seem to have sourced and take them to have them milled then process them. You should be able to test the water that way with hardly any initial output and see if they sell. Most of us have an hourly rate we would apply to sawing live edge stuff like you are describing and it would be a very low initial investment. Good luck.
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Online charles mann

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #23 on: January 05, 2019, 09:39:20 PM »
Den-Den, a member on here is in your area with a homemade mill, plus there is a guy in huntington that has, or had a WM mill that advertises on FB. 
Do you have access to a kiln? That will be a step to locate/build to turn out a finished product, at least for the hardwoods. I did a 2 cedar slab for a co-work that lives near spokane, wa. I air dried outside for 9 months, then brought it inside for a few more months, then hand planed it, tapped it off, filled the voids with 5 qts of epoxy bar topper, planned again, sanded and did a final seal on top, bottom and all sides, leaving 4 dime sized openings on both ends, to allow the wood acclimate to the eastern wa environment. He let the slab it for a yr and just installed it. There was a 1/8 wobble in it, which he addressed from the bottom with a shim. I myself dont have a kiln, but on WMs services site, i located a guy just north of me that charges $30 a day. 
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Offline llb022

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #24 on: January 05, 2019, 10:14:22 PM »
I would strongly encourage you to focus on building outdoor items since you won't have a way to ensure your wood is dry and bug free.  This will help prevent upset customers who have cracks appear in their products once they are brought inside or have a house full of bugs show up.  Outdoor / rustic benches, tables, seats, made from unique wood etc can sell for a very nice price, heck there is even a member out here who sells $300 out houses.  :D  The photo below was from a piece of reclaimed pine a customer brought me to fix for him as it was not flat.  He paid over $400 for it and was building an indoor table, problem was the wood had not been sanitized and you can see the result - just imagine if you sold this to someone as a kitchen table.  

http://forestryforum.com/gallery/displayimage.php?album=lastup&cat=34297&pid=257393#top_display_media
Would a bench such as this be something that could be built without requiring drying of the wood or a coating of some sort? 



Offline Don P

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #25 on: January 05, 2019, 10:36:34 PM »
If built from green slabs within a few months the ends will be pretty severely checked, there will probably be a healthy split down the middle of the seat and back and it will be twisted to where the legs don't all sit flat. I'm not sure what I'm seeing down the middle of the seat now, it may be where the builder bandsawed down the center check and spaced it making it a feature rather than a flaw. All depending on the customers expectations this might not be a good thing, or they might call it character and be fine with it. As long as they are educated and on board with what can happen then all is fine. Where you can cause ill will is letting them think that what they see in the green is what it will look like when dry. It is disreputable to sell green material to someone who doesn't understand wood and know what it does as it dries. As long as someone knows going in then all is fine.
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #26 on: January 05, 2019, 11:43:38 PM »
Just to add onto what Don is saying and clarify what I was saying, you can air dry your wood  and use it for such a project provided you end seal your logs when necessary (ie hardwood) to reduce the checking and use a proper exterior finish of some kind to protect the wood, and inform the customer of what they are buying.
 
For example a properly done cedar or white oak bench like that would last a long time. 
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Offline Weekend_Sawyer

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2019, 02:55:57 PM »
Wow, Thanks for the honorable mention!

That thread shows how much I learned from our members in a short time.
I would not recommend a chainsaw under 90cc.
beyond that I say go for it. It's wonderful exercise, you will get some great wood and it will install the sawmilling bug deep into your brain where making sawdust will become your greatest passion.

It's a great day when you have sawdust in your pockets.

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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #28 on: January 07, 2019, 03:04:27 PM »
It's wonderful exercise, you will get some great wood and it will install the sawmilling bug deep into your brain where making sawdust will become your greatest passion.
And when that bug reproduces and the little ones tunnel back out of your head, you will realize you can't keep doing it with a chainsaw, and you will then be looking for a bandsaw. :)
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT  2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker), Peterson WPF 10-30 with chain slabber. Logrite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.  2001 F350 7.3L PSD 6 spd manual ZF 4x4 Crew Cab Long Bed

Offline egmiii

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Re: Chainsaw mill startup recommendation
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2019, 05:03:31 PM »
It's good to see there is another software developer into weekend chainsaw milling. I have milled about a dozen hardwood logs in the 15-20" by 9' range over the last year with a Stihl 661 and Granberg 30" mill. I'm relatively young, fit, and enjoy hard work, but after 1 log I'm totally cooked. I'll continue to do it until my woodworking lumber demands make a bandsaw economically viable, and I hope that day comes much sooner than later.

Pushing the saw through the log really isn't the worst part, in fact I enjoy it. It's bringing all the gear to the log, rolling it into position, leveling the rails 3 times to make a cant, refueling, taking safety gear on an off, taking the mill off to sharpen the chain every other slab, making a flat spot to air dry, cutting stickers, moving the slabs to the drying area, applying three coats of latex paint to the ends, moving the gear back to the garage, cleaning the saw, and finally cleaning the sawdust out of my clothes and hair so I'm allowed back in the house. The whole process is very time consuming and if the slabs aren't perfect as the log opens up, it's very demoralizing.

All that being said, I'd repeat the experience in a heartbeat. I've learned a ton from cutting and drying just a few logs. In retrospect, if I had bought a bandsaw mill day 1, it likely would have been the wrong machine for my needs and would have cost much more to replace than my chainsaw mill. 


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