Alaska Chainsaw Mill question

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Forum topic by DaveFFMedic posted 01-09-2013 11:02 PM 3803 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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81 posts in 2372 days

01-09-2013 11:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: jig question ash chainsaw beginner

Whew! I just finished reading all of the forum topics about the Alaska Chainsaw Mills. I had thought that my Husky 450 Rancher would be a good choice for cutting lumber from logs. It appears that it may be only an entry level saw when it comes to cutting lumber from logs.

My question: I already have the saw. I only need to buy the Granberg Alaska Mill. (20” version) I have plenty of time, I only need to pay the babysitter $40 per day while I work. My friend has a few Ash trees he wants cut down. Am I crazy for thinking that I can turn these trees into a few bf of lumber to make something like a workbench?

A few details about me which may help you answer my question: I am a firefighter and feel extremely comfortable working with a chainsaw. I am in good shape and have plenty of patience. I have very little experience felling trees and moving logs.

10 replies so far

View toddbeaulieu's profile


820 posts in 3210 days

#1 posted 01-09-2013 11:46 PM

I’ve never done it, but I’m fascinated by the topic. I have some red cedars I’m eyeing.

I bought some beech from a local “kid” who cut it into 2” slabs that I used on my bench.

If you read up on safety and the process of milling, why not? I would.

You’ll have to let it dry for quite a while.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3157 days

#2 posted 01-09-2013 11:50 PM

I have the same saw, it’s a workhorse. Granted, you can spend two or three times as much to get a saw that would be better for this application, but I’m sure the Husky 450 should be fine if you take it slow. Look into a rip chain, or filing your chain for rip cuts. I haven’t used my saw for milling, so I’d be interested to hear how it goes.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View Don W's profile

Don W

19018 posts in 2773 days

#3 posted 01-09-2013 11:51 PM

I’m not sure if you read my post but I tried a 359, which I believe is just a tad better than the 450. It cut but, it was soooooooo sloooow. If it’s only a tree or 2, and if you don’t mind taking the time you’ll probably be ok.

Much more than that, you may do the 450 in.

If there is any chance you’ll buy a bigger saw, get the bigger alaskian. it’ll still work on the smaller saw. The nice thing about the alaskian mill is if you don’t like it, throw it on ebay and you’ll only loose a couple of bucks.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View coloradotrout's profile


61 posts in 2209 days

#4 posted 01-09-2013 11:53 PM

I have a Dolmar 5105 that I’m sure is way underpowered, but this idea has intrigued me as well for some time. I only have about 16” of usable bar, but still.. even a 12” wide slap would be interesting. Keep us posted.

View Whitewalls's profile


63 posts in 2179 days

#5 posted 01-10-2013 12:43 AM

I have looked into this also recently. My dad has an older McCullough chainsaw (pro mac 10-10) it is right around 57 c.c. and I also have a Pro mac 55 which is 55 c.c if I remember right. I was thinking that either of them would be good to run on one of the 20” mills. They both cut faster than any other saw I’ve been around.

-- Jared, Northern IL

View Steve's profile


188 posts in 2206 days

#6 posted 01-10-2013 01:01 AM

Dave check out this blog: ( ) Bryan does all kinds of work with his Alaska mill, you will find it very interesting.

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Monte Pittman

30071 posts in 2544 days

#7 posted 01-10-2013 04:00 AM

I use a Stihl 660. If you’re only going with 20” you’ll probably be OK. Just slow.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View DaveFFMedic's profile


81 posts in 2372 days

#8 posted 01-10-2013 02:25 PM

Thanks for the encouragement everyone! Its always good to have people support your addictions.

I understand it will take a long time to dry naturally. I am okay with that. Honestly, I probably won’t get to it for a number of years anyway. I have sooooo many projects lined up, I won’t even be tempted to do anything with the lumber until its dry.

Don: I did read your post and it concerned me. It was the first review of the saw mill which I saw that evaluated the HP requirements for the mill. Generally I am a very patient guy, though at times I can be in a rush. I’m used to using the 60cc class of chainsaws in my job, so I wonder if I’ll be disappointed with the 50cc saw.

I don’t know how many trees he has, but I will only attempt to tackle one tree at a time. That way, if I decide its not worth it there’s nothing lost.

Thanks for the tip on buying the larger mill. I don’t know if I’ll ever upgrade my saw, but I know some guys who have larger saws, maybe they’ll let me borrow them for a day.

Now I just have to wait for the weather to improve. There’s no point in felling a tree with a few inches of snow on the ground. It’ll just make for a big mess.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19018 posts in 2773 days

#9 posted 01-10-2013 02:55 PM

The other big contributing factor is how wide you’ll be cutting. If you size everything 6” or less (like 2 – 2×6 instead of 1 – 2×12) you’ll do much better.

And cutting one tree at a time will help some to, the greener it is the easier it saws.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2394 days

#10 posted 01-10-2013 08:03 PM

These mills are a relatively crude device. If you can get access to a bandsaw mill, you will get a lot better rough lumber surface wise and probably even in terms of consistent thickness etc.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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