OK some of you know me because of the chainsaw mills I make, and others well i hope you get to know me or we can share insight and experiences, in this awesome addiction whether it be as your source of income or a hobby. as a mill maker I don't actually get to mill as much as you would think, i spend more time making them, but i got a great deal on a husky 3120 a couple months ago, and thought i would get to mill alot sooner than last week, so finally had some free time and a nieghbor had a 32" cedar fall across thier drive, and me finally having some time seized the moment, the night before i pulled out a couple saws, including mounting the 3120 into one of my panthermill 2 chainsaw mills, checked the chains and fluids, safety gear, etc. loaded up the trailer i've been considering turning into a milling trailer and the next morning away I went. I loaded the log onto the trailer with one of the winchs to get to a comfortable working height, also i did lower the tongue of the trailer to ground level which will let gravity do the work and save me any effort of having to push the mill through the wood (please also note that if you do have to push too hard to mill through a log something is wrong, usually incorrect sharpening or worn/bent bar or chain), which I do recommend when when using a slabbing mill of this type. mounted the slabbing rail/starter rail and away i went, my first cut I used a standard chain sharpened at 30 degrees, rakers filed just a bit and used an auxillary oiler filled with pinesol and water, as well as the standard oiler, through the whole session. going downhill it did cut well, but for my next pass i filed the rakers down more and the cutters to about 20 degrees, the cut was better and i noticed it cut faster, my next pass i took it to 10 degrees and filed the rakers down even more, oh yeah this babies runnin now....
as far as the chainsaw mill this thing is so accurate it's not even funny, it is stable and stoic, weight isn't even an issue as your milling in fact one of the reason's it is made of steel is for durability, and in my experience the steel construction actually helps the milling process, it is a pleasure everytime i do get the chance to use this mill. The husky 3120 is a monster it's 120cc of pure torque, it pulled that full chain through that cedar like nothing, and as filed the rakers down more and more i started to get the curly q's, it usually takes me a few sharpenings to get those from my chains, but basically for those of you who don't know, you do not need to buy ripping chain, you can use a stock chain either full or skip, and sharpen to your preferrance usually 10-18 degrees depending on what your cutting and the power of the saw your using, also i did notice that with some of the ripping chain I havepurchased may be too aggressive through the species of wood or power of certain saws, i preferred skip but after using this full I may change my mind, my last cuts were so smooth i almost wouldn't need a planer, I plan on getting some more full, skip and carbide and try them out and let you all know what I find. ok to mill the entire log took me less than 2 enjoyable hours it was about 3-5 minutes per pass, which through a 32" by 8' log is good, it really felt more like 30 seconds, I used about 3/4 gallons of gas, and for under $450 including the mill and the saw, like i said I got an awesome deal on the saw. i really can"t complain, some i'll use for a sofa table some more of it i'll do some light fixtures with, there is a big burl on the back of one piece i haven't decided what to do with yet. here's a few pics don't want to overload as i now relized this is almost a book.
thanks the erc was nice to mill, there's a whole other half still standing I'll go get when it cools off, and yes the set-up worked really well, slabbing on on incline made a huge differance, and my start/stop marks went away towards the final cuts
ohh and here is what a close up of my sawdust/shavings looked like after sharpening to 10degrees and grinding the rakers 1/32", i took them down again,(another 1/32") after that and it seemed much faster, but i had to hold the saw back a little it wanted to cut too fast for the width of log i was going through
normally i use a stock skip chain, that i resharpen to 10degree, this is a full chain stock available from your local saw shop you can do the same, you can either ask them to sharpen it to 10degree for you, or if you need i can post some pics of what your chain should look like from the top down, also will be posting all this on www.pantherpros.com soon,so it will always be readily available to you
Horatio missed the one post, if it seems really tough there's a few things you may want to check, first your doing mesquite right? I've never milled that but it is a hard wood correct, how old is it? how long as it been sitting? are you cutting the ends off before you mill it? 6-8" needs to be cut off of each end just before you mill it, the reason is this is what the air hits first, and dries this very quickly, making it very hard, this will dull your chain up to 70%, dirt and sand are your enemies too, the cleaner the better, how old is the bar and chain, do they seem worn? When properly adjusted your chain should seat in the groove of the bar with minimal side to side movement.
if these are all good what is your sawdust looking like? if it's fine either your chain is dull or your rakers aren't filed enough, on your older chains, if these haven't been filed occasionally when you sharpen the chain, these will hit the top of the cut and prevent your chain from cutting as it should. if your burning the wood as your cutting through it it's probably one of these things i mentioned, now mesquite may require a steeper angle especailly since your using a smaller saw try maybe 18degrees on the tooth rather than 10degrees.
ok last thing your mill is a single clamp design correct? how old and what shape is it in? the clamping system needs to be parallel with your cutting surface if it's twisted or warped out of alignment, you will also have these problems, as with any milling you should not have to force your saw into the log, all that is going to do wear things out.
Horatio, i know you probably know alot of this stuff and could probably teach me some things, so please bear with me as I am also trying to help others who may have similar questions as well. i'll post a top down pic as well in a bit.