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Author Topic: Steep learning curve... anyone out there running a double-ended chainsaw mill?  (Read 1149 times)

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Offline Wal Nut

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In the past year I've gone from dabbling with a 271 and small Alaskan mill to a 441, 661 and now 880. 

It seems almost weekly I am getting referrals for more and larger/wider trees to mill, usually 1 or 2 trees on farm land where on-site milling isn't frowned upon. Moving a 35"+ hardwood isn't an appealing thought so the CSM seems to be the tool for me. 

This week I'm being asked to mill 2 trees that I didn't have the equipment to mill, one with crotch at 62" and another trunk diameter of an honest 63" (16.5' + circ). The larger of which for me seems a daunting task but isn't something I want to pass up as the tree has some fairly decent distress and I'm hoping the slabs would be incredible. If I don't mill it the trunk be wasted. 

For these reasons I'm considering a double-ended bar. 

I do have a helper on site and would have a tractor to help move the slabs on the larger tree. I'd like to hear some honest info from those who are running a double-ended bar. I talked to one vendor of Cannon bars today and he refused to sell the double-ended bar, saying "they're a lot more trouble than they're worth". 

Can anyone out there give me some honest input on these double-ended bars before I potentially dip my toe into water that might be too deep for me? Are there other options than Cannon here in the US?

Offline BLink

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There is a very active Alaskan Chainsaw Milling group on Facebook. 
You will get some good info there.
There are a lot of Old Loggers.
There are a lot of Bold Loggers.
But there ain't a lot of Old, Bold Loggers!

Stihl 034, Stihl 009, Husquvarna 3120, 540 Allis Chalmers Loader, International T1340 Crawler Drott 4in1 Loader, JCB 1400B, Cat IT14F

Offline Wal Nut

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There is a very active Alaskan Chainsaw Milling group on Facebook.
You will get some good info there.
Thank you. 

Offline offrink

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I cut that size often. Maybe 4-7 a year. Most are 4+ with the largest being 79 of burr oak. The biggest problem I see with the csms running a double power head is what if you dont make it through on a single tank of fuel. We routinely have to stop for 2-4 fill ups. 30-45 minutes a cut is normal. Small stuff (3-4) is no problem on a single cut and a single tank. 

 

Offline Wal Nut

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I cut that size often. Maybe 4-7 a year. Most are 4+ with the largest being 79 of burr oak. The biggest problem I see with the csms running a double power head is what if you dont make it through on a single tank of fuel. We routinely have to stop for 2-4 fill ups. 30-45 minutes a cut is normal. Small stuff (3-4) is no problem on a single cut and a single tank.  
(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

Thank you. I do see fueling being an issue, I'm able to get ~20 mins on a tank with the 661. Have not had the pleasure of milling with the 880 yet as I'm weighing my bar options now. Hoping to have it set up within 2 weeks. 

Would you be kind enough to give me some details on your setup?

Offline offrink

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I use an stihl 880 with either a 59 or a 72 bar. The 59, what we started with, we had a custom made mill out of 1 steel hollow square stock and the 72 has a Gran berg mill. Both run on a precision milled 1x3 solid aluminum stock guide 11 long. There is no flex in it. Has holes drilled in the rungs to use bolts to lock but it into the correct height to make it stable for the first cut. 

Offline Wal Nut

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I use an stihl 880 with either a 59 or a 72 bar. The 59, what we started with, we had a custom made mill out of 1 steel hollow square stock and the 72 has a Gran berg mill. Both run on a precision milled 1x3 solid aluminum stock guide 11 long. There is no flex in it. Has holes drilled in the rungs to use bolts to lock but it into the correct height to make it stable for the first cut.
Awesome, thanks. 
That sounds like something I'm contemplating here as I have an AL supplier who can supply rails much stronger than my current first cut setup. 
Would love to see a pic or two of your setup for ideas. I was thinking of building mine out of 1/4" angle. 

Offline esteadle

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CSM (Chain saw milling) bars are often double ended. The wider ones especially as they will melt the bar down into slag without extra lubrication provided by a second power head, or an aux-oiler on the other end of the bar. 

I'm sure that Cannon is correct when they say double ended bars are a pain, but that's because chainsaw milling is different than chainsawing. It takes patience, finesse, and some determination to set up a CSM. Having chainsaw skills already (sharpening, bar mounting, lubricating, possibly fabrication skills) make it easier, but it's still some effort to set one up.

But if you go up to Granberg's site and check their "kits" you will find that most of them sell you a double ended bar to use with either a second power head, or a "helper handle" that has a fixed bearing (instead of a sprocket) that is used on the other end with a single power head. 

Granberg will also sell you just the double ended bar if you like. They sell all their parts separately actually, so you can build up your own CSM. That said, everybody loves Cannon bars. Never used one myself so I can't really say, but they seem to have the best reputation of any bar out there. 

Best of luck! 
Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

Offline esteadle

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Oh, I forgot... 

For a double ended bar setup, it's not absolutely necessary to match the power heads. I've seen comments here on FF that the 660 and the 440 make a nicely matched setup. 

I'm an engineer and thinking about why this seems to make sense, if the 660 is pulling the front edge of the CSM (the cutting edges) through the wood, then the 440 would be pulling the chain on the backside and wouldn't need as much power. The working edge of the cutter on the front is cutting both the wood in front and on the side, where as the back cutters only have to cut through the side wood (and clean those cuts up and make a nice smooth face). 

If you are getting a double ended bar you'll need to pay attention to the drive pitch. Your 661 and 441 are going to be .375 I believe, but your 880 is going to be .404 pitch. The other head obviously has to match so if you want to use your 880 on one side, you'll need to change the sprocket on the head of the other saw to drive a .404 pitch. That or get a second 880, which is quite an expense. 
Timber Harvester 30HT26 (setworks, hydraulic) Stihl 880 (36" bar).

Offline offrink

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We have run our setup for over 5 years and have never used a helper handle or secondary oiler. The secondary person gently pushes on the mill frame. The handle on the Gran berg mill that sticks up doesnt work for us. It allows the saw to dive on the front and ride up on the back and dragging the cut and vastly increases friction as well as makes a poor cut. A bad cut for us is 1/4 on one corner over 12. 

Offline BLink

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Offrink, do you use a winch to keep from diving and climbing?
There are a lot of Old Loggers.
There are a lot of Bold Loggers.
But there ain't a lot of Old, Bold Loggers!

Stihl 034, Stihl 009, Husquvarna 3120, 540 Allis Chalmers Loader, International T1340 Crawler Drott 4in1 Loader, JCB 1400B, Cat IT14F

Offline doc henderson

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I think the 661 and 441 would be 3/8th pitch.  off the top of my head.  in case it matters.  In some cases you can move up or down a pitch size.  @sawguy21 
timberking B 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 12 volt tarp motor

Offline sawguy21

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Logosol uses the 3/8 lo pro picco chain on an MS660 with their mill but requires a matching narrow kerf bar. I have never tried it. .404 could also  be used with the 660 but it would be slow going to keep the revs up. Forget it with a 441.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline Wal Nut

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Wanted to update all those following this as I've been in learning mode this last week. 

What I'm finding out is that the double powerheads really don't offer much in the way of additional power, the second powerhead only takes up the slack. This is right from Granberg, and it really changes my thoughts on this setup as I did want to run 2 powerheads, hoping to drastically reduce my time per cut in longer/wider logs. 

What they're recommending is to stay with the single 880, put the roller handle/oiler on the far end, and obviously use the correct chain. 

If any of you have swapped from either a single 661 or 880 to a double powerhead setup I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on the difference in cut speed. 

Offline offrink

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Offrink, do you use a winch to keep from diving and climbing?
Never had any problems with there being any diving or climbing with my setup unless I do something wrong on my part like not keeping the guide level or letting it wander on the log due to the vibration. 

Offline offrink

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Wanted to update all those following this as I've been in learning mode this last week.

What I'm finding out is that the double powerheads really don't offer much in the way of additional power, the second powerhead only takes up the slack. This is right from Granberg, and it really changes my thoughts on this setup as I did want to run 2 powerheads, hoping to drastically reduce my time per cut in longer/wider logs.

What they're recommending is to stay with the single 880, put the roller handle/oiler on the far end, and obviously use the correct chain.

If any of you have swapped from either a single 661 or 880 to a double powerhead setup I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on the difference in cut speed.
That is some good information and I would be interested in hearing others experiences going from a single to double as well. One issue we have to keep an eye on is the discharge of sawdust. Some can get pulled back in between the cut slabs. If not cleared out occasionally (every 1 1-2-3) there can be a buildup of sawdust and can either keep the chain from running along the bar or, if in excessive amounts, can go into the tip of the bar and binding things up really bad. Before we throttle down for any reason we run the saw forward and back a couple of feet to ensure everything is clear. It really helps when you refuel and need to start the saw again. 

Offline T A Derrickson

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Howdy, hope all are well.  I ran a CSM for about 4 years until I upgraded to a Lucas slabber.  Here are my thought for what it's worth;

The key is the first cut.  Absolutely has to be true.  I used rails from PantherPro and was very happy with them.  Make sure they are bolstered against the log to prevent any sagging.

No difference in time/ease in running two  powerheads vs one with a helper handle on the far end.

Have an auxillary oiler on the far end of the bar and POUR the oil on the chain.  Heat is absolutely your enemy.  It will not only ruin your bar, but slow you down through the cut as your chain heats up, and becomes dull.

Run 404/.063 chain.  Even though it is a 3/8" kerf, it is much more stable in the cut.

Run a hyperskip chain when slabbing anything over 36".  It is much smoother, you will not see a difference in cut speed or quality, and its MUCH easier to sharpen.  

If your slabbing anything over 48", two cuts max, then swap chains.  Dress your bar when you change chains.  This keeps that little "flair" from developing on the bar which will really mess things up.

Feel free to hollar anytime if you have any questions.

Stihl MS880 & MS190 T  Husqvarna 339XP & 262XP  PantherPro 2 chainsaw mill    PantherProHD carriage mill

Offline Wal Nut

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After talking at length with a few companies I wound up ordering a complete 72" mill setup from Granberg.

They really seemed like they had a lot more hands-on experience, knew what they were talking about and selling, and helped me tremendously with several lengthy phone calls. 

I'm hoping the wait isn't too long, and I'll update this thread once I get to use it. I've got logs sitting on the ground waiting to be milled so as soon as it's here I'll be able to put it to good use. 

Offline shelby78

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So take this for what its worth but I believe there is ton of misinformation in this thread. I own a tree service and Chainsaw mill tons of  big logs with twin Stihl 660's and a Cannon double ended bar.

I have been too busy to reply to this thread until now. I don't know how to make this fancy with quoting the right people so I will cut and paste....

T A Derrickson said....No difference in time/ease in running two  powerheads vs one with a helper handle on the far end.

My Findings....I Believe this to be completely wrong. How can double the HP not have any effect on cut speed? The truth is it does speed up the cut. More power means faster cutting assuming all other variable are the same.....


offrink Said.The biggest problem I see with the csms running a double power head is what if you dont make it through on a single tank of fuel.

My findings..Both saw face up... There is no issue....



Wal Nut heard......What I'm finding out is that the double powerheads really don't offer much in the way of additional power, the second powerhead only takes up the slack. This is right from Granberg, and it really changes my thoughts on this setup as I did want to run 2 powerheads, hoping to drastically reduce my time per cut in longer/wider logs

My finding....Back to HP again... This statement is completely wrong and I have no idea why a big company would tell you this... Its like saying a car with half the hp will run the same quarter mile time as one with double.  The second saw isn't just taking up the slack...It is working just as hard as the other...


I video my cuts so I can check times so I know what cuts fast and what doesn't. I would only use one head if it was just as fast but it is not!

There is other things in this thread that I have not tested personally so I will not comment on.





Offline offrink

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Can you please show a photo of both power heads facing up. Im having a hard time figuring that out. 


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