A Job on my Birthday

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Forum topic by Dallas posted 02-08-2014 11:36 PM 1477 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2484 days

02-08-2014 11:36 PM

Today was a nice warm day, compared to the last few here in our small chunk of heaven.

The thermometer was hovering around 50° and the wind before I started was pretty calm, that is, less than the gale force breezes we’ve been getting since Thanksgiving.

I decided to get out and slab up at least one of my walnut logs.

I started about 06:30 by going to the shop and attaching the biggest saw I own to my chainsaw mill.

I measured the logs and after taking off the bark didn’t need more than the 20” bar so I had to remove the saw from the mill, remove the 28” bar and chain from the saw and reinstall the 20” bar with chain in place of the 28”.
Then I found out I needed to adjust the mill frame to the smaller size of the bar.
That prompted me to find that I had the slide bars on bass-ackward and had to take that piece off and swap the ends.
That meant removing the saw from the mill. Again.

Got the saw out of the mill, didn’t hurt my self at all this time. Not even one little spot of blood anywhere!

I started loosening the bolts that hold the slide bars and found that a person I loaned the mill to had rounded off the head of one of the bolts.
I got out the angle grinder and cut the head of the bolt off.

See how simple that sounds? Haa!
”I got out the angle grinder and cut the head of the bolt off.”
That doesn’t say a word about the half hour search for the stupid wrench for my angle grinder.
Or another half hour search for the pile of spanking new DeWalt cutoff blades hiding from me for some nefarious reason.
Or the 15 minute session in the bathroom cleaning the leaking blood blister I got from trying to use a pair of Vice-Grips to remove the nut. With all the blood thinning drugs they make me take, I almost leakt ta deafs!

Finally got that done.
Got the Bolt cut off, replaced with a new one, bandaged up like something from an Egyptian Boris Karloff movie.
Saw attached. Ready to run…. Fill gas tank, fill oil reservoir.

Attach first cut steady rest to the log…. attachment block in wrong place.
Find silly weird driver bit I used for the attaching screws for the block.
All fixed, only another 20 minutes.

Fire up the saw. It must be mentioned I just put a new aftermarket clutch, spring and clutch drum on the saw. Kind of like putting a stall converter on a turbo 400…. when that clutch decides to grip, SOMETHING is gonna move.
Good thing I wasn’t up against a knot or something.
(I caught a snag later and the little 3.4HP Poulan nearly tossed me on my noggin!)

Whudda thunk I didn’t sharpen the saw when I was done down in the swamp with all those old elm and oak trees to get out of the creek.
I always resharpen as soon as I’m done for the day….... except that was the day I went to the ER and got put in the hospital for Congestive Heart Failure. I guess I didn’t resharpen. It took 15 minutes to make the first smoothing cut and when I went for the second cut on a 2 inch slab, 15” wide…. 30 minutes and a lot of bucking.

Walnut has a strange green color I haven’t seen before, It is pretty dry, showing 24%
Here are some pictures. I had to give up after the first 2” slab as the chain was just too dull. I will sharpen it in the morning and continue on.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

11 replies so far

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1764 days

#1 posted 02-08-2014 11:50 PM

You need a bigger chain saw blade. maybe 42”. By the time these slabs are milled, the end results will be 4” lumber. I suppose you are making live edge products which I really love. Keep going and share some pictures of your work.


View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2294 days

#2 posted 02-09-2014 12:04 AM

I milled up a black walnut at a friends band saw mill in exchange for some labor. Very purple when first cut and a rich brown when dry. At first I was bothered that I didn’t have mostly heartwood but the contrast is actually really nice. Enjoy it. And take care of your heart.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2484 days

#3 posted 02-09-2014 12:07 AM

Chainsaws don’t have blades…. LOL. They have bars and chains.

The end result of the lumber on this log should be about 7-9” wide, 7/8” thick in two slices, which will be done on the little band saw.
No live edge for me, I do not like bug holes and the possibility of live critters.

No way would I put a 42” bar on any saw that is less than a Stihl 880 or larger. I don’t live where the Redwoods and Douglas firs grow anymore so I don’t need a bar that long.
Besides, my little saw is just about maxed out at the 28” bar I already have. That gives me 25” clear cut on the mill. Anything around here that grows larger than that is gonna get sliced into smaller bites.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18269 posts in 3673 days

#4 posted 02-09-2014 01:14 AM

An interesting day in the life of a LJ ;-))

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

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2687 days

#5 posted 02-09-2014 02:42 AM

Dallas, Sorry about your day but that was pretty typical of my experiences with the chainsaw mill I had. Plus I burned a tank of fuel per cut!


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

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2484 days

#6 posted 02-09-2014 03:15 AM

Andy, that was my point completely.

I sharpen by hand and it takes 10-20 minutes tops.

Using a motorized or having someone sharpen with a motorized sharpener is futile.

I have always sharpened using a Granberg or Oregon or McCholloch or Stihl sharpener. (They are all the same thing).

Granted, I don’t cut nearly as fast as a Band Mill, but I cut a lot faster than those places that charge $5-$10 for a sharpening job and my chains last a lot longer.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29224 posts in 2335 days

#7 posted 02-09-2014 04:23 AM

Happy birthday. After a year and a half with the chainsaw mill, I couldn’t be happier to have my bandsaw mill. Hope you get it all cut up. Enjoy your day.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View CFrye's profile


10189 posts in 1837 days

#8 posted 02-09-2014 12:42 PM

Happy birthday Dallas! Sounds like a typical day in the life of a LumberJock! Take care of yourself.

-- God bless, Candy

View Nomad62's profile


726 posts in 2955 days

#9 posted 02-09-2014 09:17 PM

Well written story, a great read. I completely understand the trials and tribulations of chainsaw milling. That green color is common in sapwood, and swirls around nicely in the crotch wood as well; seems to turn brown as it dries tho. Best of luck with it.

-- Power tools put us ahead of the monkeys

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2484 days

#10 posted 02-09-2014 11:57 PM

Thanks all!

What I have learned from this little foray into the world of physical labor after a 3 month stint of NOT doing much labor…..


When I woke up this morning I had to assess which muscles and which limbs were going to work to get me out of bed.
It took me 10 minutes to do the morning P that all guys have to do.
Another 40 minutes to get the eggs and the oil for the Sunday Omelets.
I was going to finish up the logs today but the wife talked me into waiting until noon and going with her to get groceries.

Damn! I still hurt, LOL. I ain’t as young as I was last year.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View mahdee's profile


3883 posts in 1764 days

#11 posted 02-10-2014 12:13 AM

Your signature says it all; Improvise… Adapt…. Overcome! and keep the wife…
May have to add more to it. I used to have a self-propelled 48” sawmill. It serves me very well for what had to do-Build my house. The hours I spend sharpening the dang thing was all I remember. I did take it to a “professional” to sharpen it for me and he totally screwed it up with his fancy machine. Here is a site to what I used to build my house with that beast:


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