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Chainsaw Lumber Mill? After this video, maybe/maybe not

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Forum topic by Holbs posted 03-04-2016 02:34 AM 856 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Holbs

1377 posts in 1494 days


03-04-2016 02:34 AM

Topic tags/keywords: saw mill chainsaw

I know one day, I will venture into harvesting and milling my own lumber probably years down the road. What type of mill? Chainsaw would be the most economical. WoodMizer more practical. But here is a video showing the pro’s and con’s of using a chainsaw. The good part comes in around the 6 minute mark. The con’s :)


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-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"


13 replies so far

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1185 days


#1 posted 03-04-2016 02:58 AM

I have the “beam machine” that he first used to turn logs into cants and what surprised me more than anything was how much fuel the saw burned just cutting pine. Granted, the saw I was using at the time didn’t have a very big fuel tank, but cutting one side just a little over 9’ and ~12” thick burn about 90% of the total capacity and that was with a sharp chain too.

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gfadvm

14940 posts in 2155 days


#2 posted 03-05-2016 01:20 AM

I had the Alaskan Chainsaw mill shown in the video when I first decided to mill logs to lumber. It was VERY labor intensive, slow, hard on chainsaws, and did I mention SLOW? I bought a used LT 15 Woodmizer and could not be happier with it. It took 62 days for it to pay for itself sawing in my spare time. And it is a LOT of fun!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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mahdee

3553 posts in 1232 days


#3 posted 03-05-2016 01:55 AM

Don’t do it with chainsaw. There is a guy near where I live that can make a potable bandsaw mill that cuts 43” logs for less than $6G’s. Almost $4G’s for a stationary one.

i

-- earthartandfoods.com

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MrUnix

4230 posts in 1664 days


#4 posted 03-05-2016 02:25 AM

Have you ever seen the guys who mill it up with a chainsaw freehand (sans an attachment)? Pretty darn impressive and seems much faster than using the milling attachment – I believe because the angle of attack is much greater. Here is one such example. Note to the Safety police individuals out there – please refrain from comment :)

I’ve done it in a similar fashion and it does go pretty quick.. I just have to master the getting it straight part though!

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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TopamaxSurvivor

17671 posts in 3141 days


#5 posted 03-05-2016 02:52 AM

I have done the freehand thing. It works better than I thought it would. I usually mark a guide line to follow. It is a lot rougher than the guy in the video ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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Jeepin85CJ7

40 posts in 901 days


#6 posted 03-05-2016 03:05 AM

I recently got the Alaskan Mill, it is labor intensive but well worth the work. This time next year I’ll have red oak and maple slabs free at my disposal. Search around YouTube and I think you will be convinced the outcome far outweighs the labor!

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runswithscissors

2189 posts in 1490 days


#7 posted 03-05-2016 03:50 AM

I had a beech log about 5’ long to slab. Bought a chain saw mill with a little different configuration. It had been designed for dressing logs for log home building. Mounted on 4 wheels, it would roll on the flat surface (slab) to make the first cut, then the log would be rolled 180 deg. and the opposite face would be slabbed. It made logs with perfectly flat and parallel surfaces.

In my case, I had to set up plank tracks for it to roll on. It worked okay, but making the 20” wide cuts was very slow going, even with a ripping chain. Had to sharpen frequently. I was glad I had to do that chore only once. If I had more of that kind of work to do, I would certainly look into a band mill. Also, the chain saw mill wastes a lot of wood with its huge kerf.

Actually, I did square off (more or less) the sides before starting to rip planks, and the free hand ripping was easier and quicker, as mentioned in posts 4 and 5 above.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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bigblockyeti

3668 posts in 1185 days


#8 posted 03-05-2016 11:37 AM



Have you ever seen the guys who mill it up with a chainsaw freehand (sans an attachment)? Pretty darn impressive and seems much faster than using the milling attachment – I believe because the angle of attack is much greater. Here is one such example. Note to the Safety police individuals out there – please refrain from comment :)

I ve done it in a similar fashion and it does go pretty quick.. I just have to master the getting it straight part though!

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix


I think the angle of attack does make a significant difference. In my experience, the closer you can get to being parallel with the grain instead of perpendicular, the quicker the cut. A tree service guy I used to do a little side work for has a decent sized diesel powered portable band mill and though I can’t remember who makes it, the entire head carriage is skewed about 15 degrees from perpendicular and it apparently does quite well, of course I doubt anything with an 80hp turbo diesel is going to be too slow.

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Jeff2016

72 posts in 329 days


#9 posted 03-05-2016 01:16 PM

I built my own chainsaw mill last fall, and have used the heck out it. I use a stihl magnum 460 with a 25” bar. Just sliced up some elm a couple weeks ago, and one cut on a 18” log took about 6 minutes.
What I’ve learned:
1) It is very labor intensive
2) Fuel is consumed at an alarming rate
3) Sharpen or change chains often

I am currently working on a bandsaw mill design and plan to use both. I don’t have room for a huge mill so I’ll use the chainsaw to bring larger logs down to a manageable size then run them through the bandsaw mill as it is far less labor intensive, and the blade kerf means more usable lumber from one tree.

Using either type of mill does open up a whole new world of wood. You can source logs everywhere, and I have yet to have to pay for one.
In my neck of the woods, cherry goes for about $4/4.50 a board foot. After stopping and talking to the road commision I slabbed 3 logs along side the road (the trees were dropped to widen the road) with my mill. Used about $20 in gas and oil, and came away with 16 slabs of flitch sawn cherry 4/4 to 6/4 8 to 10’ in length.
Just one of those boards would have cost me $32! I don’t count my labor since woodworking is a hobby and I am doing something I enjoy. It keeps me out of trouble anyway….

-- Proud owner of an electronics free workshop. Please check your cell phone at the door!

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Holbs

1377 posts in 1494 days


#10 posted 03-05-2016 03:45 PM

I hope you all watched that video, if not for the humor and awesome music :)

Jeff… this is what I want to get into one day, as a hobby, so I have to balance return of investment. Knowing me, I would probably spring for a Wood Mizer than a new car :)

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

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WDHLT15

1572 posts in 1941 days


#11 posted 03-05-2016 04:18 PM

If you are doing much sawing, the chainsaw mill is like a horse and buggy versus the bandsaw mill, which is the model-T Ford. Nothing wrong with a chainsaw mill. It is just very slow, labor intensive, and not nearly as efficient as a bandsaw mill. It all depends on your objective.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln. hamsleyhardwood.com

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dhazelton

2325 posts in 1761 days


#12 posted 03-05-2016 04:27 PM

$2,199 minus 20%. Plus it has good reviews. Setup probably takes some time but all Harbor Freight stuff does.

http://www.harborfreight.com/saw-mill-with-301cc-gas-engine-62366.html

View Jeff2016's profile

Jeff2016

72 posts in 329 days


#13 posted 03-06-2016 01:58 PM


Jeff… this is what I want to get into one day, as a hobby, so I have to balance return of investment. Knowing me, I would probably spring for a Wood Mizer than a new car :)

- Holbs

I here ya. If I had the money I would make the exact same choice. For what it is worth, if your handy with metal, a chainsaw mill is rather a simple build, and mine is 100% scrap metal and took about 5 or 6 hours. The only cost I have in building it was time. A band saw mill is a bit different though. I will be building one, but some parts will need to be purchased. I would love to just go buy a woodmizer though.

-- Proud owner of an electronics free workshop. Please check your cell phone at the door!

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