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Author Topic: Jumping in the deep end  (Read 2381 times)

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Offline Dutch42

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Jumping in the deep end
« on: March 24, 2023, 12:19:03 PM »
Long time reader first time posting. I have been wanting to get into milling for a while now and now I have a good excuse. 

I have 5 big western hemlocks down, ranging from 36"-52"diameter and two big Ponderosa's down 36"-40" in diameter at the trunk (including bark). The Ponderosa's were blown down last winter and have been on the ground for a year. The Hemlocks were standing dead for about a year and have been on the ground for about 4 months. I would've took the Hemlocks down in an orderly fashion, milling each before bringing the next down, but the power company said they were a risk to the powerlines, and cut them all down for me... I'm a little irritated that they left such a mess, but thankful I don't have to pay to cut them down or risk cutting down compromised trees myself (especially since the neighbors house was in range of a few).

I have a Husqvarna 385, 372 x-torq, and 336 (and a non-running 345.. I kinda like chainsaws). I've got a 32" bar with 2-ripping chains and 2-crosscut chains, 28" bar with 2-crosscut chains, and a 24" bar with a 5-6 chains (I burn a lot of firewood and hate sharpening chains). 

The Game Plan: 

The power company fellas did a good job of laying the hemlocks all in a row down my steep hill. There isn't a good way to haul the logs out in sections without doing a lot of tree clearing (not wife approved). I intend to use the 385 and CSM I recently purchased to slab the logs and hand carry them out in pieces. It's about 50 yards on fairly steep, but manageable, side-hill terrain to get out of the woods into the clearing around my house. My 32" bar isn't big enough to mill the logs so I'm going to slab what I can and then rip the logs in half (lengthwise), and then slab the halves.


I think my biggest dilemma is what to do with the slabs. I don't have a flat piece of land on my property other than my front yard (storing slabs in front yard, also not wife approved). I've got a buddy about 15 minutes up the road who has a tractor and blade that might work for leveling a spot to put the slabs, but that seems like a lot of extra work. Is there a problem with stickering slabs on a slope if I build a frame for them to go on? Also, anyone have clever ideas where I can find cheap and or plentiful supply of stickers? I've got some leftover hickory flooring that I might be able to make some stickers out of, but probably not enough.

Ultimately, I'm looking to build a shed with the lumber. I've been watching youtube videos of people building cabins with freshly milled lumber, if I go that route I won't need to store the slabs for long. I've got a big cabinet table saw that I intend to use to cut the slabs down into lumber dimensions. 

This weekend I'll be focused on cleaning up and burning limbs, but I'll see if I can grab a couple photos of the Hemlocks and maybe cut the logs into 12'3" sections. I'm aware, from reading on this forum, that standing dead trees means I need to be concerned with shake? But I don't really know what I'm looking for because I've never really looked for it or cared about it. I'm usually just cutting up logs for firewood. Is it pretty obvious when you see it?

Any major holes in my game plan? Any pointers for a guy brand new to CSM/Milling in general?


Offline TroyC

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2023, 12:39:38 PM »
Welcome to the Forum!
I've seen people with uneven ground sink uprights, level and cut them off, then frame in with bracing to make drying racks. There are some pics on the forum, probably google 'drying racks'. Depending on how unlevel and the direction you have to load/unload from, this may or may not work.

I reread you post, said you are using a chainsaw to try this. I assume you have no loader or equipment. You might consider having a portable sawyer come to your place and mill the slabs. The cost will be justified by the better finish on the slabs. Also, the sawyer would cut stickers while there. I can't imagine cutting stickers with a chainsaw :).

What is your intended use of the slabs?

Online doc henderson

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2023, 05:36:55 PM »
How old a fella are you?  sounds like a big job.  is the wood still good or has it began to rot.  those are my concerns.  
Timber king 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor powered by a 12 volt tarp motor

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2023, 05:41:38 PM »
Welcome to the forum.
I have burned hemlock in a wood stove. Burns good!!! Even coals down some.
Now those pine......
When the wood is gone so is your fire. But could mix it in with something good. 
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Online SawyerTed

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2023, 06:11:53 PM »
Have plenty of sharp chains on hand.

Run the CSM downhill.  

Consider a bar tip oiler.

If possible make a square/rectangular cant so you dont have to manually haul waste material out of the woods up the hill.

Do you have a tractor of ATV to attach a cable or rope to the slabs so you can skid them out?

It will be some of the hardest work fun you will ever have.
LT 35 (Sold) Future Owner Woodmizer LT50, WM BMS 250, WM BMT 250, Kubota MX5100, IH McCormick Farmall 140, Husqvarna 372XP, Husqvarna 455 Rancher

Offline RetiredTech

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2023, 06:59:31 PM »
  Welcome to the forum. I tried using a chainsaw mill several years ago. I don't know where you live, but for me it was too hot, to loud, and generally too much work for this old body. I'm in the process of building a bandsaw mill now. I expect it to be much more enjoyable. But hey, if the chainsaw fits your needs go for it. Keep us posted. I love reading other peoples experiences. Good luck and don't forget to post some photos of what you're cutting.
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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2023, 07:15:52 PM »
I traded my CSM attachment for 400 square feet of standing seam roofing.    :o
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Offline Guido Salvage

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Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2023, 10:05:17 PM »
Chain saw milling is tough work. At 123 long those slabs will be hard to manhandle up a slope. My stickers come from when I edge boards, I cant imagine doing that with a chain saw.

Offline KcMatt

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2023, 10:20:11 PM »
I started out a year or three ago exactly the same as you; logs I couldn't stand turning into firewood and wanted to cut into slabs.  I already had 2 90cc Husky saws so I got a slabber attachment for the unported saw.  

It's been an education.

First, the chainsaw mill is a TON of work.  It produces a lot of noise, a lot of exhaust fumes, and a LOT of chips.  Not much in the way of usable lumber.  You'll find yourself cutting thick slabs because that's about all you can do with one.  

After I got sick of that mess, I decided to buy a band mill.  Unfortunately I was on a budget and got a cheap unit (lx25).  Sad to say the chinese mills at the same price point are much better.  It's kind of a(admin language edit) to be honest.

My advise is to think long and hard how deep you want to get in.  You'll need a kiln, jointer, planer etc to do anything with the wood.  You'll be in 20k for a barely functional setup in no time.  Just like me.

Just burn it.

Edit:  Sorry this isn't the answer you are looking for and I'm not answering your question.  This is just my advice for anybody considering a chainsaw mill.  If you are ever near KC you can come try mine out but you have to take the chips with you. :D  FYI compared to the job you are signing up for, my logs were dropped right in front of my house for free on level ground.  You're in for an education if you go forward with this idea.

Offline Dutch42

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2023, 01:09:13 AM »
Welcome to the Forum!
I've seen people with uneven ground sink uprights, level and cut them off, then frame in with bracing to make drying racks. There are some pics on the forum, probably google 'drying racks'. Depending on how unlevel and the direction you have to load/unload from, this may or may not work.

I reread you post, said you are using a chainsaw to try this. I assume you have no loader or equipment. You might consider having a portable sawyer come to your place and mill the slabs. The cost will be justified by the better finish on the slabs. Also, the sawyer would cut stickers while there. I can't imagine cutting stickers with a chainsaw :).

What is your intended use of the slabs?
If I had any equipment other than a truck with a winch and a quad it wouldn't matter. The hill is too steep and the trees too thick to get the logs where they could be milled. But the thought did cross my mind.

Offline Dutch42

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2023, 01:11:38 AM »
Have plenty of sharp chains on hand.

Run the CSM downhill.  

Consider a bar tip oiler.

If possible make a square/rectangular cant so you dont have to manually haul waste material out of the woods up the hill.

Do you have a tractor of ATV to attach a cable or rope to the slabs so you can skid them out?

It will be some of the hardest work fun you will ever have.
It's a pretty steep hill and the logs are laying up/down the hill so I'll definitely mill them going down.

Offline Dutch42

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2023, 01:12:57 AM »
Chain saw milling is tough work. At 123 long those slabs will be hard to manhandle up a slope. My stickers come from when I edge boards, I cant imagine doing that with a chain saw.
I have a nice big table saw I'll use to rip the slabs and that's a good idea for making som stickers.

Offline Dutch42

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2023, 01:14:59 AM »
Welcome to the forum.
I have burned hemlock in a wood stove. Burns good!!! Even coals down some.
Now those pine......
When the wood is gone so is your fire. But could mix it in with something good.
I mostly burn red oak these days and mix in a little cedar and pine. 

Offline Dutch42

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2023, 01:19:23 AM »
How old a fella are you?  sounds like a big job.  is the wood still good or has it began to rot.  those are my concerns.  
37 year old military man. Not in the best shape, but not afraid of some physical labor. Been hiking hills and rollin logs through the woods for a while now. Up until now it's always just been for firewood.

Offline Dutch42

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2023, 01:25:45 AM »
I started out a year or three ago exactly the same as you; logs I couldn't stand turning into firewood and wanted to cut into slabs.  I already had 2 90cc Husky saws so I got a slabber attachment for the unported saw.  

It's been an education.

First, the chainsaw mill is a TON of work.  It produces a lot of noise, a lot of exhaust fumes, and a LOT of chips.  Not much in the way of usable lumber.  You'll find yourself cutting thick slabs because that's about all you can do with one.  

After I got sick of that mess, I decided to buy a band mill.  Unfortunately I was on a budget and got a cheap unit (lx25).  Sad to say the chinese mills at the same price point are much better.  It's kind of a (admin edit) to be honest.

My advise is to think long and hard how deep you want to get in.  You'll need a kiln, jointer, planer etc to do anything with the wood.  You'll be in 20k for a barely functional setup in no time.  Just like me.

Just burn it.

Edit:  Sorry this isn't the answer you are looking for and I'm not answering your question.  This is just my advice for anybody considering a chainsaw mill.  If you are ever near KC you can come try mine out but you have to take the chips with you. :D  FYI compared to the job you are signing up for, my logs were dropped right in front of my house for free on level ground.  You're in for an education if you go forward with this idea.
Yeah, I've heard some people voice this sentiment and some people who just love CSM. I figured, like you, got the saw, got the wood, $130 for a Chinese CSM its worth a shot. If I hate it... then I just make a ton of firewood. If I love it then I make a bunch of lumber for building chicken coop, storage shed, wood shed, dog house, etc.
Already have a cabinet maker 220v table saw and 220v planer. Cause I like to make stuff.

Offline Don P

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2023, 07:41:08 AM »
 It'll flat out smoke a pitsaw. If you enjoy putting down back roads without the need to do 70, it works pretty well. We spent the other day doing some low production, dusty work on a chamber of commerce day. My partner had returned from a vacation and realized we were having more fun. You'll either catch the bug or be cured  :).
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Dutch42

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2023, 10:42:46 AM »
It'll flat out smoke a pitsaw. If you enjoy putting down back roads without the need to do 70, it works pretty well. We spent the other day doing some low production, dusty work on a chamber of commerce day. My partner had returned from a vacation and realized we were having more fun. You'll either catch the bug or be cured  :).
Had to look up what a pitsaw was... and ooof I can't even imagine having to cut wood like that!

Offline Don P

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2023, 12:54:59 PM »
I remember as a kid a pic in National Geographic of a line of men sitting side by side and across from each other as well, along a large log. Each pair of men across from each other was pulling a saw horizontally between them. The next pair was sawing on the next board down, and so on for each successive board. I guess they passed off saws and leapfrogged one another or everyone slid along as they worked. It was my first understanding of what a gang rip saw is in some places  :).
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2023, 01:42:07 PM »
Colonial Williamsburg has a pretty good demo of pit sawing at the carpenter shop.  

I talked to the pit man who said it was work but if done right he didnt get too much sawdust on him.
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Offline Don P

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Re: Jumping in the deep end
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2023, 03:48:04 PM »
The box man down below has the big hat on, the tiller man is the top dog, that is the name of the respective handles on the pit saw.

Someone tried a thinner kerfed tensioned frame saw and that worked so that was installed in a frame with water powering the "sash" up and down via a ... pitman arm, which put an end to human powered milling. Some of them had multiple saws spaced board width apart in the sash frame, another gang rip.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester


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