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Author Topic: Chainsaw mill advice  (Read 746 times)

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Offline Zambian Timber

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Chainsaw mill advice
« on: May 21, 2020, 04:23:05 PM »
I live in Zambia and teach woodworking to local pastors and teachers. We operate a Wood-Mizer LT-15 wide. There are a few 50+ inch Leadwood trees, which are extremely hard, that would make great tables and some of the lodge owners have expressed and interest in them. The only option I have for milling them is a chainsaw mill. I have read most of what the internet has to offer on saws, bars, chains, etc. I know what the manufacturer says about their product but I would really like to hear from people have used them and can give me experiential knowledge. I will have to order everything from the states and getting it here is a pain so I am trying to do my homework well. Sending something back isnt an easy option. 

Could you please tell me about chainsaw size (am leaning towards the MS-880 because we have a Sthil dealer in country), bar length, chain type, and mill type?

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Chainsaw mill advice
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 06:00:00 PM »
Welcome! This should be interesting, my experience with chainsaw mills is limited to selling the Alaskan for use in softwoods.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline olcowhand

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Re: Chainsaw mill advice
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 06:29:11 PM »
Welcome Zambia Timber, and bless you for the work you do....
I use a Chain Saw Mill (CSM) on my MS 661 C M, but not on wood like yours. I have a 32" Bar with a Ripping Chain (Both from Carlson, I believe) on 23"- 28" Beech, Maple, Cherry & Ash. None of these types approach the size or Janka Hardness that your wood does.
You're on the right track with an 880 (or maybe two power heads on a double rig.
I would also recommend accessorizing with an auxiliary oiler and winch rig to help pull it through the wood. There are many pointers on the Internet to help you rig these. The use of a winch will keep a young man young and render an old man functional....
Before any additional admonishments from other members, I'll remind you that we like pictures....
Good Luck with your project.
Steve
They say the mind is the first to go; I'm glad it's something I don't use!

Ezekiel 36:26-27

Offline offrink

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Re: Chainsaw mill advice
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2020, 10:51:04 AM »
Welcome! I use a chainsaw mill. My set up is a stihl ms880 and use either a stihl 59 or a custom cannon 72 bar. I use a skip tooth milling chain with a 10* angle. I have milled primarily burr oak, maple, and ash. We use a granburg mill and a custom guide that is made of 1x3 aluminum solid beams with cross bracing ever 2 feet that is 11 long. Each cross piece has holes drilled in it so that you can jam nut a bolt to the height you want to ensure your initial (the most important cut) is level. We have cut MANY logs over the last 6 years. We have not needed to run a second powerhead or a second oiler. We dont cut logs smaller than about 38 due to the log wanting to rock due to the weight being more on one side. 

Offline Zambian Timber

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Re: Chainsaw mill advice
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2020, 04:13:41 PM »
Im not quite sure how this system works yet. I just hit reply so I am not sure if I am replying to a specific person or post so I am throwing this out there for those of you who replied. The tree measures 54 inches at the base and doesnt loose much on the way up and at the crotch gets near 60. I am guessing my only option is the 72 bar? If so, could you recommend any bars? Also, while i would love to order a CSM set up like the GB, due to shipping Constraints and the current state of global affairs and travel restrictions, I am looking at building my own. Do you have any advice that is crucial? Maybe a website or YouTube video you would recommend. On the Oiler, if I cannot get one shipped in, how vital is an auxiliary Oiler to the setup? Im grateful for yalls help and advice. 

Thanks. 

P.S. this is a Leadwood tree, or Combretum Imberbe
  


 


Offline Don P

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Re: Chainsaw mill advice
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2020, 07:37:16 PM »
Wow, I just looked it up, that is dense, hard and stiff, you won't be floating this tree down the river :D;
https://www.wood-database.com/leadwood/

It sounds like the main thing is sharp and don't bog the saw, it's just going to be slow going.

Some things on the build, make sure the saw and frame are dead parallel so it doesn't want to dive or rise. Any clamping on the bar must not pinch the grooves it can only clamp on the bar body. Same goes for the sprocket area, stay behind the tip.
A laborer works with his hands
A craftsman uses his brain and his hands
An artist uses his brain, his hands, and his heart

Offline Bertwood

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Re: Chainsaw mill advice
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2020, 07:21:33 PM »
Offrink:
I have a small bandsaw mill with max cutting width of 20"....

Recently I've decided to start milling bigger wood.  Im in the process of pricing a chainsaw mill as well. I just bought a Stihl MS880 powerhead - now I need to choose a bar and chain.

1.  What are your thoughts on your 59" Stihl bar?
2.  What chain manufacturer do you use for the skip milling chain on your Stihl? 


Im considering the Panther Mill that handles up to 54" bar that can cut up to 48" or 64" bar and can cut up to 56" - they come with GB Lo Pro Milling Bars with Oregon 27RX Hyperskip Ripping Skipping chain...your thoughts?

...chainsawbars.co.uk is the site Im using.....

Kindly, 
Bertwood
 


Offline mike_belben

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Re: Chainsaw mill advice
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2020, 11:51:24 PM »




I built an alaskan mill for a 36" bar and then a track from sign posts.  used it a few times but it was a backbreaking job.  Even with a winch i still had to push hard and the cut quality was poor.  The need for 4 sided dimensional lumber (which is too tedious to bother with on an alaskan for me) caused me to turn the track frame into a very simple mill bed in order to have a clamps and square backstop so i could just turn, clamp and go on the next face.  Then i just needed a saw carriage.





















The carriage sits on the street sign tracks only by its own weight and can lift right off but still produces a very competitive finish, flatness and squareness in my opinion.  It makes ties pretty quick for a chainsaw. I dont even have bearings, just grooved steel rollers that ride only one track edge.  The other leg is literally some garbage casters from a chair and it walks true. I made a winch and dont need it, this setup is quite easy to push.  

The mount is a pair of 3/8 bolts through the bar at one end. I already had a 24" bar with one hole for a firewood chopsaw pivot setup and just added one more. Drilling bars does require carbide in a drill press and was the hardest part, and it does take two bolts, one is not enough.  Aux oil from a paintbrush or ketchup bottle is fine. Dont overheat the saw or bar.  Keep the tanks full and give it breaks to idle off some heat.  Never shut off without cooldown time and always run richer mix.  Im at 24:1 if milling in summer.  32:1 in winter.


Im sure you can come up with some sort of frame to setup around the log and a basic carriage to walk down it.  A shopping carts wheels would work if they ran in some angle iron or C channel that stayed clear of chips to ride up on.   The height on mine is a single 1" square tube with another square tube file fitted to telescope over it, and a 1/4" jam nut to lock the height. Works great.














Revelation 3:20

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Chainsaw mill advice
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2020, 11:07:06 AM »
Given it some more thought, and i remembered some of the contributors for my alaskan attempts being so disappointing.  I had only cut a few short logs when the saw would completely jam in the cut as the bar would start to cut a wave then bind up and get smoking hot.  I eventually realized the bar rails had opened up and the chain would tilt on the rails when it hit a knot.  The rail groove MUST be maintained on an alaskan, and try to resist the urge to use cheap oil.  The savings will not replace a worn out bar.  I made a rail closer and that got me back on track. 


The other issue was the standards that space the bar from the guides must be very rigid.  I whipped mine up with 1/2" threaded rod drilled through the bar.  It was fine cutting two inch slabs but when extended longer they would deflect and let the bar be out of parallel with the guide so that it again would jam.  If i were only cutting a few standard thicknesses with that setup, i would just machine some 1" diameter pipe spacers or maybe even some squared wood blocks to get clamped between bar and guide and maintain squareness. 

When i built the cutter carriage i obviously went to a free floating bar only fixed up near the bar nuts.  There is no droop with a 24 but im sure a 72 would need some support at the sprocket end.  Good place to mount a gravity oil tank. You want to keep that sprocket bearing cool. 
Revelation 3:20


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