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Author Topic: For the Chainsaw Millers...  (Read 923 times)

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Online VB-Milling

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For the Chainsaw Millers...
« on: May 02, 2021, 08:40:01 AM »
I recently posted about my small sideyard CSM'ing operation.  I've got a pretty basic setup.  Chinese knockoff alaskan mill, 14ft aluminum ladder, Husky 460 Rancher 24" bar, various ripping chains, mostly OREGON 72RD084G 84 Drive Link 3/8-Inch Ripping Saw Chain.

Something has changed drastically since the last time I milled with any regularity.  Yes, CSM'ing is slow...but lately, its REALLY slow and more physical with rocking of the saw needed.  The chips are fine dust which is indicative of a dull chain.  Sharpened the chain, dressed the rakers, no change.  Changed to a brand new chain, no change.  Changed to a cross cut chain, no change, but nice chips when crosscutting.  Same issues in various kinds of wood (pine, cedar, and I think I tried maple as well)

So if its maybe not the chain, and the saw is running great, I looked to the bar.  I always clean the bar before starting to mill.  Making sure the oil passages are clear, the groove is clear, sprocket spins freely etc.  Checking all of that again, I'm back to square one.

I seem to remember getting nice long ribbons of shavings when I first started and that has slowly faded.  Could it be time for a new bar?  I'm sort of at a loss for what the problem is.

With a waiting period of 4+ months on a BSM, I'd like to keep CSM'ing through the summer to get stuff stacked and drying for projects next year.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.  
HM126

Offline Tacotodd

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2021, 08:57:47 AM »
Since youve got more chains, try to make your depth gauges a few thousands lower and constantly experiment. Chains are ultimately a consumable product, like fuel & bar oil, but not to the same degree. If it gets to grabby, its time to start sharpening the cutters until the grabby goes away.

Always experiment. You wont know until you try. Thats how most of us got through life.
Trying harder everyday.

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2021, 09:05:18 AM »
Assuming the chains and bars are right, ribbons happen when there is some angle between the chain the axis of the log.  Perpendicular makes dust, angles make ribbons.  Parallel makes long strings.  For CSM work, somewhere in the middle is a good place.

I suspect you were feeding the Alaskan at a slight angle which would give long chips, and now you are feeding it very perpendicular which means the chain is perfectly cross cutting the grain and it will make powder dust.

I always liked a nice angle or so instead of perpendicular to the log 
YellowHammerisms:

Take steps to save steps.

If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2021, 09:12:37 AM »
YH got it right. Thats called noodling for the uninitiated. Its faster because it just seems like it goes better, but, like everything else that any man enjoys, its usually kinda dangerous to one degree or another. Bottom line, be careful in any thing that you do. 
Trying harder everyday.

Offline SpaceBus

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2021, 09:31:30 AM »
A few questions to try and diagnose what's going on. I have only had my mill since last summer and just milling when I have logs available. However, with my limited experience I have made plenty of mistakes and burned up a couple of bars, so let's see if you are having similar issues that I've had for the past year. 

Are you sure the saw is running at 100%? 
How is the finish on the boards/slabs?
Are you getting a consistent thickness for the whole slab?
Can you post some pics of the bar? 

I agree with Tacotodd that your rakers may need to come down lower than you think as you wear down the cutters. I don't go by any kind of set guide or measurement, rather I take them down until it cuts the way I want. 
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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2021, 09:45:04 AM »
Since youve got more chains, try to make your depth gauges a few thousands lower and constantly experiment. Chains are ultimately a consumable product, like fuel & bar oil, but not to the same degree. If it gets to grabby, its time to start sharpening the cutters until the grabby goes away.

Always experiment. You wont know until you try. Thats how most of us got through life.


Assuming the chains and bars are right, ribbons happen when there is some angle between the chain the axis of the log.  Perpendicular makes dust, angles make ribbons.  Parallel makes long strings.  For CSM work, somewhere in the middle is a good place.

I suspect you were feeding the Alaskan at a slight angle which would give long chips, and now you are feeding it very perpendicular which means the chain is perfectly cross cutting the grain and it will make powder dust.

I always liked a nice angle or so instead of perpendicular to the log

Because I'm new to sharpening my own chains, I've been apprehensive about experimenting, but point taken about chains being consumables like anything else.  I shouldn't be afraid to screw a few of them up while sharpening or adjusting the rakers.

Good information on the feeding angles, I had no idea.  I just assumed fine sawdust meant dull chain.  Now I know!   I will experiment with how I feed the mill and see what happens.

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2021, 09:49:18 AM »
How are you sharpening the chain? 
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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2021, 09:51:55 AM »
So in looking more into this issue, I think I screwed up.

It looks like some .050 in. Gauge chains made their way into my rotation and I have a .058 in. Gauge bar that came stock.  Am I wearing a strange groove into the .058 in. Gauge factory bar?  Should I order a new bar?  What is the .058 in. Gauge measurement?
HM126

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2021, 09:54:39 AM »
A few questions to try and diagnose what's going on. I have only had my mill since last summer and just milling when I have logs available. However, with my limited experience I have made plenty of mistakes and burned up a couple of bars, so let's see if you are having similar issues that I've had for the past year.

Are you sure the saw is running at 100%?
How is the finish on the boards/slabs?
Are you getting a consistent thickness for the whole slab?
Can you post some pics of the bar?

I agree with Tacotodd that your rakers may need to come down lower than you think as you wear down the cutters. I don't go by any kind of set guide or measurement, rather I take them down until it cuts the way I want.
100% sure the saw is operating in tip top shape
The finish is pretty good, minimal chain marks or ridges.  I can try and get some pics today
I haven't measured with anything more than a tape measure, but they are pretty darn consistent down to the 1/8" I would say
I can try and get some pics today.

How are you sharpening the chain?
By hand on the saw locked in a vise.

HM126

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2021, 12:08:18 PM »
Think seriously about getting a electric chain sharpener, that way you can do a better job of keeping the tooth angle the same , even a Harbor Freight sharpener about $30.00 will keep the teeth uniform.

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2021, 12:26:17 PM »
So in looking more into this issue, I think I screwed up.

It looks like some .050 in. Gauge chains made their way into my rotation and I have a .058 in. Gauge bar that came stock.  Am I wearing a strange groove into the .058 in. Gauge factory bar?  Should I order a new bar?  What is the .058 in. Gauge measurement?


There's your trouble, the chain is laying over.
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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2021, 12:59:09 PM »
Exactly, even if it wasnt worn out it probably is now if you were using 050 chain.  The chain can cock to one side and then the drive link wears out the bottom of the groove wider than the top.  So now all chain will lay over (cock to one side).  This will happen anyway with the proper gauge chain.  It helps to run the chain pretty tight and to keep the bar dressed at 90 degrees, and to close the rails at the top once in a while tapping with a hammer on your vise flat both sides. 

.050 is .050 inches, fifty thousanths of an inch. 

Get a new bar and see how that works.  If you dont need a new bar yet then hang it up on the wall, you'll need it soon anyway.
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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2021, 03:37:39 PM »
Exactly, even if it wasnt worn out it probably is now if you were using 050 chain.  The chain can cock to one side and then the drive link wears out the bottom of the groove wider than the top.  So now all chain will lay over (cock to one side).  This will happen anyway with the proper gauge chain.  It helps to run the chain pretty tight and to keep the bar dressed at 90 degrees, and to close the rails at the top once in a while tapping with a hammer on your vise flat both sides.

.050 is .050 inches, fifty thousanths of an inch.

Get a new bar and see how that works.  If you dont need a new bar yet then hang it up on the wall, you'll need it soon anyway.


There's your trouble, the chain is laying over.

Thanks for the explanation.  Makes sense now.  I ordered a few new chains from Bailey's a week or so ago.  I'll get a new 0.058in bar to match that chain and see how it goes.
HM126

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2021, 03:49:54 PM »
 

 

 

 

Not as obvious in the maple and pine, but its clear in the cedar how I've been walking the mill down the log rather than consistently feeding it.
HM126

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2021, 04:22:25 PM »
Remember, the harder, drier the wood the harder it will be and the harder to csm. Pine should be nice and easy with possible curls. Maple, not as much. Also are you using milking chain and set to the correct angles? They are not the same for cross cut.

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2021, 04:23:05 PM »
That .050 in an .058 guage bar was likely your whole problem. If you didn't run it with the .050 a bunch, I'd guess your bar is fine. Put an .058 chain on and try it. I bought a firewood processor through an online auction last fall. It only had about 35 hours on it, but the original owner had managed to screw up several things on it that caused me hours of head scratching and troubleshooting. One of those items was the saw chain. It would feed and cut great, but then randomly stop 3/4 of the way through the cut. After a bunch of troubleshooting, I finally figured out that the meathead had put a .063 404 pitch chainsaw chain on the .080 guage 404 harvester bar. I put the correct chain on it and all is well.
  Hand filing teeth consistently can be tricky. Rakers even more so. You can just count your strokes, there are also filing plates available that guide the file to the correct depth. 
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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2021, 06:30:28 PM »
The Granberg bar mounted grinder jig works well and I have had better luck with it on the mill than the file jig. The file jigs seem to do best with crosscutting profiles. I think the files leave a more coarse edge, like scissors or shears would have, compared to the very smooth cutter I get after using the grinder. Having equal length cutters and rakers seem to be more important when milling compared to cross cutting. 
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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2021, 10:16:01 PM »
One thing we'll do is make the initial cut from the ladder running with the bar perpendicular to the log. The next cut we'll run diagonal to try to hit the high spots and improve the surface level. The next cut is either perp or diagonal the other direction. Basically trying to avoid riding in and duplicating any surface irregularities from the previous cut.

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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2021, 10:39:17 PM »
I am one who acquires what others discard.  This bar wouldnt buck a piece of firewood with a new chain.  Itd cut a crescent and stall in the cut until it smoked and sparked.. Weve all been there.  


I made a bar rail closer and got pretty good at fitting rails to drivers and dressing/squaring them up.


This is the lumber finish that junk bar produces when the chain cant keel over in the saddle.  



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Re: For the Chainsaw Millers...
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2021, 12:40:41 AM »
Yeah, weve ALL made some, uh, silly mistakes concerning a chainsaw, but youll learn, thats how we progress (in general). But the trick IS TO LEARN. None of US are perfect, but we can only try harder for the next day and the next time. Like OGHs sign-off on his staying out of trouble thread, tomorrow is another day, and so it always will be, for us at least. 

Just be careful when youre using the powered grinders, it is too easy to get to aggressive with them and ruin a chain. Heat damage AND never being able to hand sharpen again. But (thank you heaven) its a consumable. Less expensive than a new saw & easier to buy & replace than piston rings.
Trying harder everyday.


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