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Discussion Starter #1
I'm thinking about building or buying a mill attachment for my chainsaw, similar to the Alaskan chainsaw mill.

I seem to keep running into trees such as cedar, cypress, oak, etc. that people ask me if I want because they know that I do a lot of woodworking. My only problem is that I don't have any way to cut them into usable boards and I don't want to haul them to a sawmill.

I have a 42cc chainsaw with an 18" bar. I've seen a few homemade units and they seem reliable, but I'd like to get opinions and advice from people who do this a lot more often and on a regular basis.

Thanks in advance.:icon_smile:
 

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Chairman of the 'Board
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You're in the perfect place to have one: the middle of a national forest! I'll be interested to see what you decide.
 

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I've successfully used an Alaskan chainsaw mill for a number of years, and I can say they can be handy and portable.

A number things to consider, though: 1) I think your saw may be a little small for the job. The way the milling attachment attaches to the chain bar will cost you about 10" of the bar, giving an 18" bar about 8" of cutting width. You should consider at least 24 or 28".
2) You need enough power to run the chain. You cannot simply buy a longer bar and expect it to work. Also remember that cutting a 10 foot long log is not like cross cutting firewood. The saw will run for extended periods of time (some times as much as 1-1/2 or 2 minutes) at full throttle, and if underpowered or the engine is straining, it will overheat and damage the engine. 3) Invest in ripping chain (available from Granberg International). The cutters are specially grounf for ripping, and the chain needs 25% less power to run. It cuts faster and leaves a fairly smooth cut.

Ken
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I do understand the limitations on the saw. I have, however, cut a 12' cedar log in half with the saw. It ran well through the material with a steady, but slow feed rate. I also understand that there are "ripping" blades for chainsaws as well and I'm researching that topic as well, so if anyone has any info on that too, I'd appreciate it.:icon_smile:
 

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In a nutshell, by the time you accomplish milling a few hundred BF of lumber with a 42cc chainsaw, you will have wasted weeks of labor and spent enough money on oil, fuel, chains, misc. items, and replacement saws (42cc saw won't last long on a mill), that you could have simply just invested in an entry level band mill and sawn thousands of bf in the same amount of time.

I know it seems like getting a mill attachment for your saw seems like a cheap way to make lumber, but nothing could be more untrue. Even if you could get a 42cc saw to survive milling, it would be so slow & so fuel sucking that you'll never get anything cut. How much is your time worth? How much wood will you need to mill in order to zero out the money spent to get there? You can buy a cheap band mill & in the first day cut enough lumber to pay for the saw. The only way to do that with a CSM is if you bought a 100cc+ saw with mill & cut some very wide, figured, very expensive slabs. Aside from that, a CSM is ultimately too expensive to maintain & operate to ever get ahead of the nut. That's just my opinion. Others may disagree. Personally, I have two band mills, a Linn 1900A and a Lumbersmith, as well as an array of chainsaws ranging from 38cc-122cc. No way would I ever consider milling with a chainsaw unless it was slabbing very large, very fine logs into table tops. Spend the money on a band mill & don't look back.
 

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The cedar & cypress are pretty soft woods, and will cut a lot more easily than the oak. What maximum diameter do you plan to cut? If you are going to do much of this kind of work, you'll need a bigger chain saw anyway, so you may as well give in to your urge to get one. From your posting, it sounds like you just want to mill a little lumber for your own woodworking purposes, and a chain saw mill will be fine for that. Having worked with chain saw mills, I would much rather invest $2,500 in a chain saw and mill than put the money into a cheap band mill. Norwood has an interesting chain saw mill with a remote throttle that keeps you away from the noise and sawdust. My go-to saw for milling is a Husqvarna 2100 (99 cc), but you could get by with something 75 cc or bigger for logs up to 20" diameter.

Have you considered yarding them up and calling in a portable sawmill when you have a dozen or so logs?
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I typically only have the desire to do this a few times a year. And yes, I have thought about buying a bandsaw mill because the wood in this county is endless. However, I live in town, and it's not feasible. I have considered buying a larger chainsaw to do the work, but like I said, I currently don't do it that often, but I want to have the tools necessary for when the opportunities present themselves. If it was up to me, we'd sell the house, move outside the city, and then I'd get a bandsaw mil and have at it!
 

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In your case, I'd say go for it! Keep the logs under 10" diameter, and go easy, and you should be all right. It will be slow, but you'll love it. Just be aware that sawmilling-- even with a small chain saw mill-- is addicting, and you will get sawdust in your veins, which will lead to bigger chain saws and more time milling. Then someone will bring a log over and ask you to mill it for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
In your case, I'd say go for it! Keep the logs under 10" diameter, and go easy, and you should be all right. It will be slow, but you'll love it. Just be aware that sawmilling-- even with a small chain saw mill-- is addicting, and you will get sawdust in your veins, which will lead to bigger chain saws and more time milling. Then someone will bring a log over and ask you to mill it for him.
I know, and that's what's got me in the mood to go forward with the mill. There's never an end to the wood I can get around here like oak, hickory, sycamore, cedar, cypress, etc. Next year I might plunge into getting a larger saw with a ripping blade and attach a mill and go from there.:thumbsup:
 

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Ripping Chain

Toolman2-

I agree with Post Oakie- do what your circumstances work best for you. In my circumstance it is often more convient to bring the mill to the log than to bring the log to the mill.

If you are interested in ripping chains, I think you should get one for your 18" saw. They cut faster, cleaner and impose less strain on your saw.

Think of the chain as a long, flexilbe dado blade. There are two scoring cutters on the outside edges of the chain, with two hogging cutters after to remove the material in between. This pattern is repeated for the length of the chain. The kerf is 1/4".

The chain is is ordered by the pitch (in the case of an 18" bar, probably .325") the bar groove (.050") and the number of drive links
(for an 18" bar should be 72 links). It is not cheap- the last time I bought a chain it was $0.50 per link (in your case about $36.00 for the chain- this was a couple of years ago- it may be higher now) but I think worth the money. Get it grom Granburg International. On the WEB (sorry I don't have a link handy.)

This is my $.02 worth of advice. Take it for what you wish. I will go away now.

Ken
 

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If you're milling in an urban area, consider some of the electric chain saws. Quiet, easy to maintain. Do a search on the 'net.
 

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Chainsaw milling is rough on you and your saw.
I have the timber jig by logosol.
I've milled quite a bit of lumber with it, but it's back breaking and not that productive.

I believe it's good if you want to do a log or two, but more than that, it in my opinion is a waste. I always had a hard time with my oiler oiling the bar and chain, when on its side.

If you install a external oiler? You may be better off. Yes you can produce beautiful boards, but depends on the species your milling.
Pine would be good, but the pitch (sap) would gum up the bar and chain not allowing oiler to function properly. Then chain gets hot and dulls out faster.

Not saying to not get one, but be prepared for some problems.
Good luck!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I appreciate all of the advice, especially regarding the saw size and blade advice. I'll probably get a ripping chain and either buy or build a metal mill similar to the Alaskan mill. I only do this about 3 or 4 times a year, more if I had the room. Noise is not an issue as I do it on weekends during the day and it's a working class neighborhood where the sound of power tools are everywhere.:thumbsup:
 

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Toolman (and others), here is a link to posting photos.
http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f16/how-post-photos-1120/
Photos have to go to a gallery on-site. This is easier than it sounds, plus it gives readers access to all the photos you upload to the gallery. Just a suggestion... we like photos!
 
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