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Author Topic: Contemplating A Granberg Mill  (Read 605 times)

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Offline lxskllr

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Contemplating A Granberg Mill
« on: May 26, 2019, 07:08:29 AM »
What size? I'm gonna try to make planks for a trailer, and I'll be using a MS362. That would indicate a 24" mill at the largest, but if I decide it's the coolest thing ever, well... Judging the way things have been going so far, new equipment isn't out of the question. Should I just get the 24", or get something bigger in case I get into this as a hobby? If bigger, what would be a good size that'll get stuff done, balancing cost and potential for making useful lumber?


I'm reluctant to make predictions seeing how things have gone so far regarding trees, but I doubt I'd ever get a proper sawmill, so the Granberg would be my only lumber making tool. It's more my speed, being kind of a kludgy hack, and light on iron. Just looking to make ugly, but useful lumber. IOW, this will be for construction type activities, and not furniture or things like that.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Contemplating A Granberg Mill
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2019, 09:19:33 PM »
I have a late 70's or early 80's era Granberg mill with a 56" bar.  I think you will hear uniformly that chainsaw milling (CSM'ing) is really hard work.  I'm 47 and doing it, and it's no picnic.  A youner mans game.  I have it to handle logs that are too big for my band mill.  I slab those big logs for table tops.  I did use it to cut one 25 foot long ash log down into a an smaller 18.5" cant.  It was 42" at the butt, and about 29" at the top.  

I bought my mill used as a unit with the Stihl 090 saw of the same era.  The widest I can mill is 50".  i struggled with one log at the top crotch to get the saw past.  After cutting a little nib off one side I barely made it. In hindsight, I wish I had a longer bar/mill.  At least 66".

I've CSM'd milled 8 big logs.  It's really slow going at first learning how to make your first opening flitch cut.  I'm faster at it now.  I did one 2 days a go in 45minutes.  That was just the first cut with the ladder on a 12 foot walnut log. Each slab cut with my rig takes about 10 minutes for every 8 feet. In between each slab cut you have to refill with fuel and oil, and check and tighten tension on the chain.  Sharpening my chain (56" bar) takes about 45 minutes with my Granberg electric sharpener jig.  It used to take me about 1/2 hour longer than that when I started.  If I can do one complete log in a day, I'm doing well.  You'll be tired after.   I use a forklift to lift slabs and stack them.  

If you're just making trailer boards, I'd say go buy them from a sawyer.  If you want to learn to CSM, ok, get a mill.  Better yet, find someone with one that will let you work with them and see how it is.  Also another tip, the bigger the saw, the better. My 090 is 137cc.  It has good torque but not a high rpm saw like today's saws.  Even though it's the biggest stihl made, you can still easily stall it if you push too hard while milling.  That chain is touching a lot of surface area.
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Offline Don P

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Re: Contemplating A Granberg Mill
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2019, 10:10:18 PM »
My sawing partner is the CSM guy. He has 3 and then a Lucas with slabbing bar. We use the same powerhead on all the Granbergs but use the smallest one that will go through the logs we are doing at the time. There is less chain to sharpen and drag, less flex, it is much more fun to not have too much bar. So with that in mind I think the 24" would be a fine starting place. If the bug hits and you decide to upgrade you'll need a larger powerhead and at that time step up to a larger rig. The smaller rig will not be wasted from my experience, or, if you feel it is, sell it and use that towards a larger one.

One other way to step up is to use the CSM for the initial cant and then go to a band resaw.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Simple Jack

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Re: Contemplating A Granberg Mill
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2019, 10:59:49 PM »
I purchased a Granberg 36" mill a few weeks ago. My problem is I have a bad shoulder, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to do it. I purchased the Granberg winch, I tired it out the other day with my MS390 on a 12ft white oak, I made 3 slabs. I enjoyed it and it didn't hurt me too bad. There are several reasons I got my mill. My mom ad dad has 30acres that has all the white oak trees I could ever use, and a lot of big cedar. I can cut it up and stack it right there, no need to load it and unload it on a trailer. The biggest one I can justify spending less than 2k, I can't justify spending 8k. I had fun, I enjoyed it. 

I see no reason not to get a chainsaw mill. One thing is you can get a bigger chainsaw mill, and still use your smaller chainsaw & smaller bar, depending on the height of the bar. and if you like it and want to get a bigger saw you can still use your smaller saw for edging, and use the bigger saw on the mill. Lots of choices!!!

Offline Trapper John

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Re: Contemplating A Granberg Mill
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2019, 11:40:46 PM »
I love my Granberg mills.   I have two Alaska mills and 4 mini mills.   Plus a Haddon that I use for cutting out door and window openings in log walls.  I use the modified mini mills ( 6, 8, 10, 12" ) for making cants because its a lot faster and easier than the Alaska.  But I use the Alaska because its a lot faster and easier for making boards.  I have milled hundreds of trees with these mills, a couple of 066, and a snowmachine and toboggan.  Drive up to the tree, fell it and mill it up right there.  Don't have to deal with sawdust or slabs and its easy to pull out of the woods as boards.  I never found it that much work, in fact I am running a Belsaw here in town and by the time I fell the trees, raft them to town, pull them out of the river and mill them, its almost easier with the chainsaw mill.   

Offline lxskllr

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Re: Contemplating A Granberg Mill
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2019, 05:37:20 AM »
Thanks all. I ended up ordering the 36" mill. I figured that would be the about the biggest mill that would take the biggest saw I'd want to sling in the field(~80cc), lots of useful sizing options for lumber, and under that magical $300 level.


/At this point/ I don't see myself as a sawyer. I'm just looking to have a bit fun, and make something more than firewood out of the trees I cut. My immediate project is trailer boards. That gives me focus on a definable task, but the ability to make one-off lumber will occasionally be handy, and any day spent with a saw in-hand is like a vacation day. I'll get some of the money back from the stuff I make on the farm, so it'll be like getting a paid vacation. It's only work if it isn't fun  :^)


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