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Forum topic by Andre posted 04-01-2015 03:43 AM 1534 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1827 posts in 1800 days

04-01-2015 03:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: chainsaw mill wood birch

Spent the afternoon cutting up a Birch log with a Alaskan Chainsaw mill and my old but faithful Jonsred 535.
The cutting seemed very slow and no real wood chips more of a dust is this normal? Chain was brand new and
I did stop a few times to touch up with a file. I have read that I should use a ripping chain but even the stock chain for my saw is custom order around here, should I change the profile on my chain or just live with slow cuts?

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

12 replies so far

View bbain32's profile


29 posts in 1170 days

#1 posted 04-01-2015 03:55 AM

I’m fairly new to chainsaw milling, but have been around saws for quite a while.

A new chain does not guarantee a well sharpened chain. I would do more than touch it up, and check raker height as well. Throwing dust instead of chips, even when milling, makes me think dull chain.

From what I have read on some chainsaw milling forums, the ripping chain will give a smoother cut, but will not be a whole lot faster.

View realcowtown_eric's profile


608 posts in 1931 days

#2 posted 04-01-2015 04:52 AM

I ain’t no ‘laskan mill expert, nor any kind of chainsaw expert of any type, but if memory serves me right, and it is touch and go these days, seems to me that I read in most likely a harrowsmith magazine that there were different grinds of chainsaw teeth for hardwoods vs softwoods///ripping vs cross cut.

Leave it to you to search it out

Good luck!


-- Real_cowtown_eric

View mudflap4869's profile


1730 posts in 1453 days

#3 posted 04-01-2015 05:14 AM

Check with Lucas slabmill company, they should be able to give you good advice.

-- Still trying to master kindling making

View MrUnix's profile (online now)


6700 posts in 2193 days

#4 posted 04-01-2015 05:21 AM

A normal cross cut chain will work, but slowly like you experienced. They have ~35 degree angles on the teeth and designed for cutting across the grain. IIRC, chains designed for ripping/milling have more like a 10 degree angle. I’ve used my chainsaw to rip 6” slabs lengthwise out of some oaks I had on the property that were about 24” in diameter… they were about 4 feet long and took forever! But since it was a one-off kind of thing just to see if I could do it, I never bothered getting the correct chain.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Matt Cremona's profile

Matt Cremona

129 posts in 1284 days

#5 posted 04-01-2015 05:34 AM

The standard crosscut chain is going to cut more slowly and leave a rougher surface than a ripping chain. Dust is going to be fairly common when making these end grain cuts. I recently filed the rakers down on my rip chain so it takes bigger cuts which produces larger chips but takes more power to pull the chain through the cut. Rip chains are filed at 10 degrees. If you have a chain you can dedicate to this, I suggest chaining the file angle.

How about some pics of the boards :)

-- Matt Cremona | Minneapolis, MN |

View Andre's profile


1827 posts in 1800 days

#6 posted 04-01-2015 06:08 AM

Thanks for the response’s, sort of what I suspected so think I ‘ll play with a old chain and see if performance can be improved. Only 3 planks today one was 16/4 (one heavy sucker), will take some pics tomorrow after I get them stacked.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2684 days

#7 posted 04-02-2015 12:30 AM

rad457, My hat is off to you! Milling with that set up is definitely a sport for the young! I tried it for a while with an Alaskan mill and my old Jonsered but 1 tank of gas per cut, frequent chain sharpening, and labor required made me REALLY appreciate my WoodMizer LT15! Carry on….

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

View johnstoneb's profile


2910 posts in 2167 days

#8 posted 04-02-2015 02:08 AM

Sounds like a dull chain with the rakers to high. Most new chains come with the rakers to high for any kind of production sawing.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Andre's profile


1827 posts in 1800 days

#9 posted 04-03-2015 04:53 AM

Good old Alberta weather, went to unload the truck and a snow storm blows in. Tossed the boards beside the garage will find a better spot when the second log is cut up. Yup 14” log and 6’ 6” long, 1 tank of gas will make it about 3/4 of the cut. The 1st. pic is my Birch waiting to be made into a Real Bench!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View watermark's profile


483 posts in 1937 days

#10 posted 04-03-2015 08:32 AM

If you can, switch to milling chain it does make a big difference. Like others mentioned you might need to file down the rakers I have had the same problem with chain right out of the box too. I get my ripping chain from Baileys online the price is reasonable (1/2 the price of the only place I can get it locally) and shipping is fast. With clean wood I can usually get 2 boards cut before I need to resharpen.

Play with the angle you cut at and you will find a sweet spot where the saw pulls it’s self through with out bogging out too much.

A bigger power head would make things go a lot faster too. What size bar are you running?

-- "He who has no dog, hunts with a cat" Portuguese proverb

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2687 days

#11 posted 04-03-2015 03:55 PM

That’s a lot of gas for 1 cut! From my experience you really need to cut down the rakers that gives you a bigger bite. I remember way back like 40 years ago they talked about grinding off the rakers to make a ripping chain. Since the there has been much better research into the cutting process. Play with an old one and see what you get.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 2981 days

#12 posted 04-03-2015 05:11 PM

I had the best luck with a skip tooth chain with the rakers set lower than normal. I would also change the angle of the tooth with each sharpening. Start out with 30 degrees then at the next sharpening go to 25 and so on until I got to 10 degrees.

I was using a stihl 660 and a board 20 inches wide and 8 feet long would take between 8 and 10 minutes. With the rakers set at the right depth a light push is all that is required and a heavy push would cause the saw to bog.

Watch your air filter. I used to clean mine with every sharpening. I cut about 4000 BF with mine (2000BF was pecan) I have since upgraded to a manual bandmill.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

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