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Author Topic: Chainsaw Milling  (Read 592 times)

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Offline pneese

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Chainsaw Milling
« on: October 24, 2019, 11:15:06 PM »
So I have been reading the forum here and there for a bit now and I am finally taking the big leap to make my first post xD

I wasn't sure where to put this as it contains questions both about chainsaw issues and milling, so I am parking it here!

So I know next to nothing about milling and have zero experience with it, but I have been wanting to get into. Long story short I went out with my Stihl MS391 and a regular chiseled chain and tried to mill through a vertical log of black walnut, it did not even make it a half an inch before the wood itself started smoking from the friction. Very little cutting was getting done and oil was leaking pretty heavily, the engine itself was not smoking. Has anyone experienced this before and have any advice?

I have read on multiple websites that you need a ripping chain to do actual milling but at the same time, other people have said that a regular chain is alright, the cut just isn't as fine as if you were to use a ripping chain. What's your opinion?

Thanks for your patient and help!

-Phil

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 03:13:32 AM »
Sounds like your chain wasn’t sharp. Do you know otherwise?

Also if what you were sawing was a seasoned firewood length that would make things more difficult.
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Offline charles mann

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 04:12:03 AM »
Iv used a crosscut chain to mill before and didnt have any issues. Iv smoked chains before, last time was bucking some railroad ties. Im sure i hit a rock or 10. The chain was extremely dull after i got done. Even with my 661, after the chain went dull, i could have used a hand saw and cut faster than the stihl did. 

More power and sharp chains and keep them sharp.
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Offline pneese

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2019, 09:06:43 AM »
I definitely sharpened my chain before I attempted the cut. I typically do four to seven passes with the file before going on the cutters before I go use my chainsaw, this time I did four. I can sharpen it up some more before I try again.

The wood is definitely seasoned, its been sitting out on the property for a couple of years now.

Offline Pepe_Silvia

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2019, 09:32:21 AM »
When I first started chainsaw milling I found that using a brand new chain was a good way of providing a baseline for how the saw should cut.  Not knocking your sharpening abilities, but it turns out mine were terrible and I was able to improve them by knowing how a sharp chain would mill.

Offline btulloh

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2019, 09:54:22 AM »
Sharpening has to include filing the depth gauges.  If you're neglecting those, the chain won't cut well.

Like Pepe_silvia said, we're not knocking your sharpening abilities, just covering all the bases.
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Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2019, 05:26:16 PM »
On that note, I recently bought a chainsaw grinder and modified it to spin the stone in both directions by running the starting winding through a double pole/throw switch. It is the ducks nuts  8)

Doesn't seem to matter how much dirt or steel you saw through, in 10 minutes it brings it back to off the shelf quality, particularly if teeth are nicked - seriously makes a file look like you're taking the pith. Absolute worthwhile investment if you're doing a lot of this I think it cost me about a hundred bucks.

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2019, 05:55:26 PM »
I stopped changing the wheel direction in my chain grinding. Didnt like the wheel spitting crud on me. I dont think it made a difference for either slabber chain or saw chain grinding. 
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Online Brad_bb

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2019, 07:47:09 PM »
First, there's no reason your chain should cut as well as new every time you sharpen.  I typical crosscut chain should chew into the wood like like butter off a fresh sharpening.  A rip cut with the same chain is a little slower, but it still should chew pretty darn well.

I typically cut as you describe - rip cut to cut the butt swell off of big logs.  I'm running a 661 Stihl, but that just means it will will chew faster.  Your chains should not smoke if they are sharp.  They only smoke why they are not sharp and therefore creating more friction and heat than slicing and removing wood.  The reason your chain is not sharp is that it a)was not sharpened correctly, or B) you've hit dirt or sand or stones either in the bark or the ground, or c)it's dull after cutting a bunch.

It's good practice to remove bark, especially dirty bark, with an axe or other tool before chainsawing.  Helps preserve your chain sharpness.

I've gone through a couple methods of sharpening before being able to do it right easily.  Fastest, easiest way I've found is this Stihl 2in1 file guide:


 
It file both the tooth and raker at the same time.  There is a different file guide for each size of chain. So make sure you have the one for the chain you are using.  The replacement file are not expensive and they last quite a few sharpenings.  




I clamp a "C-clamp" in a Triton Superjaws to hold the saw and bar.  Then I use the file guide.  3 swipes per tooth, you can feel when the file is cutting correctly.  You can sharpen your chain in about 5 minutes.  I love this method.  You keep the chain on the saw.  The one thing you have to watch for is your bar groove wearing.  Once is wears enough that your chain teeth will wobble side to side, you need a new bar.  At that point, your sharpening will be ineffective.

You'll do a lot of cutting before that happens.

This file guide is not designed for rip chain.
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Offline ethanbrush

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2019, 08:49:28 AM »
Sharpening takes some practice.  I had very poor results at first.  One little trick is to paint the tooth with machinists layout fluid, or a sharpie would work, so then you. Can see what you are and are not filing. 

For years I used the granberg rotary electric grinder with jig.  One day I forgot it so went at it with a file.  It cut so much better.  Can't believe how long I used that stupid grinder for.  IMO use a file.  A grinder should only be used if you really need to remove some material after hitting a bad rock or nail. Or to bring everything back to matching after a bunch of file sharpenings.
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Offline TKehl

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2019, 11:40:46 AM »
I hate to ask, but they only thing worse than a stupid question is not asking a stupid question when it is appropriate...

Is the chain on the saw the right direction?  

We've probably all done it at some point...  Some will even admit to it!   :)  :D

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Offline pneese

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2019, 01:18:23 PM »
Thank you everyone for your feedback! Y'all have been awesome and please don't worry about "knocking" my sharpening skills, I am very new at all of this and I realize I can improve on everything, I want to learn as much as possible. As little as I've done I love chainsawing and working with wood to the extent that I have. Please bring on the the critiquing and mentioning things I may not even be thinking about, its simply awesome!

@Pepe_Silvia, that is a good idea. When I grab a new chain I will try that!

@btulloh, yup yup! I have a Stihl 2in1 chain guide that goes after both whenever I am sharpening.

@terrific, sadly my wife will not let me buy one haha

@Brad_BB, I do not have a C-Clamp. I am mostly holding the saw in place with one of my hands while sharpening so that is something I definitely need to look into.

@Tkehl, I hope not not but I will definitely check when I get home XD. It wouldn't be the first time I did that if it ends up being the case.

Online Brad_bb

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Re: Chainsaw Milling
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2019, 05:55:10 PM »
You need to clamp a C-Clamp in the Triton Superjaws.  It works great to hold your saw.  The Superjaws (get the xxl version) is really handy for all kinds of stuff around the shop too.  Besides sharpening, we use it most often to hold live edge brace stock or round stock while we debark/draw knife and polish the live edge.  
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!


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