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Author Topic: Chainsaw Milling Help  (Read 1438 times)

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Offline alabama

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Chainsaw Milling Help
« on: January 29, 2017, 05:03:26 pm »
Hello everyone, and thanks for taking the time to read my forum post. I just finished building a 40' x 90' pole barn partially enclosed. This is our lambing barn built for lambing jugs to house ewes and their little ones. This barn cost me a cool $24,000 plus hard earned dollars. Wood is expensive!

I am now in the process of making additions to the barn such as leans and feedlots. I have a fair amount of land with tons of pine, oak, cherry, gum, and other trees. I'm tired of spending cash on wood when I have plenty of it right here on my land. I also have a John Deere with a grapple and forks to pick up trees that I cut down, making it a little easier to move to the mill.

My question is this... I plan on using the Norwood Chainsaw PortaMill
and was planning on purchasing the M880(R) or the M880 Stihl Chainsaw and start cutting my very own 1x6, 4x4, 6x6, etc...  I know that I don't need a bandsaw mill as this will be seasonal for me and to save funding and have some fun too. I just don't have the extra cash for a saw band mill but do for the chainsaw mill.

Can anyone answer a few questions?  Anyone have this setup, use this M880 and mill?

I read where a fellow said that he sharpens his chainsaw chain every time he cuts a slab? I thought this sounded a little overzealous? Or am I wrong?

How many chains do you recommend that I have on stand-by?

I know that these questions are probably donut questions, any help would be much appreciated and thanks again for taking the time to read my entire post!

Alabama
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Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2017, 05:12:07 pm »
The experience of chainsaw milling for a few years is the reason I bought a bandsaw. 

Cutting 1x with a chainsaw will get old very fast.

You might consider whether on the bar resharpening is faster than changing chains in which case you don't need to own so many chains.
DJ Hoover, Terrific Timbers LLC,  Mystic CT   2001 WM LT40SHDD (42HP Kubota, Accuset2, FAO's, Lubemizer, debarker, hydraulics everywhere), Peterson WPF 10-30 with chain slabber. LogRite fetching arch, WM BMS250 sharpener/BMT250 setter.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2017, 05:22:17 pm »
First I'll say that for cutting 2" thick or less material, it would be far more efficient to hire a portable sawyer to cut for you.  You'll pay him hourly or by the BF.  It wastes a lot less material using the thin kerf bandsaw.  It also saves a lot of time as chainsaw milling is very slow compared to band milling.  Hiring a sawyer is fairly low cost compared to buying a mill.  Plus you already have the support equipment and you can off bear for the sawyer, saving you the cost of the extra guy. 

I have an alaskan chainsaw mill, but only will use it for slabbing for table tops, or cutting logs down so they'll fit on my bandmill.  Did I mention that chainsaw mills cut slow?  They have a 1/4 inch of material to remove compared to 1/16th with a band mill. 

For my chainsaw mill, which can cut up to 56 inches wide (66" bar), I only have the one chain for now. I cut a 26" log into 3" slabs and I think I made 6 cuts 8 feet long without shapening.  I will give it a touch up before my next log. 

The key is to know how to sharpen chains and do it consistently.  I use the granberg precision grinder and it works great. I recommend it.
https://granberg.com/product/g1012xt-precision-grinder-12v/

Their instruction video for it though leaves a bit to be desired.  Wranglerstar on youtube does a better job of explaining it.
http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,92237.msg1446593.html#msg1446593
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Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2017, 05:53:09 pm »
Alabama,

   I concur with Brad on the idea of hiring a portable milling service (not just because I do such work) because i think that will be the fastest and most efficient and cost effective.

   By the way, adding your location and such to your profile will help us know more about you and may be even help answer your questions. For example it kind of threw me for a loop when you were talking about a lambing barn with a FF name of Ala. I know there are some sheep there but I never saw many in my time there.
Howard Green
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Offline Ianab

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2017, 05:54:07 pm »
When you start talking about enough wood for building stuff, I'd look serious at a small band saw mill. Don't have to jump in the deep end with an expensive hydraulic mill, the little manual band mills work fine for hobby sawing. When you say "spent $24K on wood", then spending $3-4K on an actual real sawmill doesn't sound so bad.

Chainsaw mills  do work, especially when you have a good saw like a MS880, but they aren't very fast.

Sharpening probably depends what you are cutting. Clean and debarked pine is going to be a lot easier on the chain than an old walnut root ball. But chainsaw milling involves cutting wood from the end grain. This is much more demanding than regular cross-cutting, and you have to keep the chain razor sharp, so frequent light touch-ups are the way to go.
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Offline alabama

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2017, 06:04:54 pm »
@ Brad and Terrific -

I appreciate the comments, and any others that want to chime in please feel free to do so. For me I would rather not hire a sawyer to come in. I'd rather do it myself than to pay out cash to someone else since after all is said and done, I could have paid for a mill a couple of times over with the amount of lumber I'll need for each of the projects I am wanting to complete which defeats the purpose. I am retired and have all the time even if the going is slow.

Due to the cost of a bandsaw mill is the reason I opted for a chainsaw mill. For a few grand I figured I could be up and running? I'm tired of paying someone else to do something that I'm very capable of doing myself.

Are there any bandsaw mills out there that are reasonably priced for under $10k that are quality built mills?


@ WV Sawmiller -

I am located in northern Alabama and run a few hundred head sheep farm as a hobby.
John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Offline PC-Urban-Sawyer

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2017, 06:39:31 pm »
You really need to investigate small bandmills. There are several which would meet your needs for the price range you're talking. For instance, the WoodMizer LT15-GO is currently available (new) for $8,790... and of course you might find a better deal on the used market.

Good Luck!

Herb

Offline buzzegray

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2017, 07:07:57 pm »
I have to second Herb's reply. Time, energy, resale value all say, no scream, band saw mill. The chain saw mill is too hard on the body, saw, wood usage, and time. I have a Logosol and I should have gone with a WM  or other smaller band saw mill.

Bill

Offline alabama

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2017, 07:19:18 pm »
It's comical, in a certain way, that when I watched the youtube videos of the Norwood PortaMill they make it look user friendly and not difficult to operate. I liked it from the videos I've watched because it was compact, moveable and simple to setup, but not a single person has had a positive thing to say about the chainsaw mill methods. I didn't realize it was that overwhelming. I do appreciate everyones feedback and it is most appreciated!
John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2017, 07:24:52 pm »
Thomas does,but Maine is a long ways off from you.  ;D
Broadwalk???
I have no experience of a chainsaw mill. But I don't think many are sawing out many boards with a CSM. Yes,slabs,but not boards.
All I hear is how slow it is. I myself have nothing against slow.But I have a bandsawmill. I go into the woods and cut down a tree and saw it and than build with it. Sometimes I just take the logs out of the tree and go back later to clean up. I call it clean up. Takes alot of time to limb out that top and make it all look good again where I cut that tree down.Now add on slow sawing time and I would really be slowing down on the building part.
I wonder if someone is close to you to show you the time factor,with both a chainsaw and a bandsawmill.
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2017, 07:39:23 pm »
Milling your own wood, you're going to have to build green with larger timbers, or if building with dimensional lumber, wait until it's air dried enough.  If you want to be building something this summer, you need to be cutting wood NOW!  Spring will get all muddy and you won't want to go cut and haul logs.  Ticks will also become an issue.  I don't like cutting in the spring because of that.  You also don't want to if the sap is running up.  Standing dead Ash you can cut anytime if you've had the Emerald Ash beetle kill.  I still don't want to go in during the wet spring with ticks.

I suggest get logging NOW for anything you want to build this summer, even if it means bringing in a sawyer.  Heck hiring a mobile sawyer is still probably cheaper than buying the wood, eh?
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Offline Treehack

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2017, 07:49:19 pm »
I agree about the band mill.  I got my Timberking 1220 with full transport package for under $10k.  Sounds like you may not be interested in portability, so standard TK 1220 or Woodmizer LT15 would be around $7500.  EZ Boardwalk Jr or Woodland mills HM130 at $4k - $5k might also fit your needs.  I'm quite sure there are owners of each of these mills here on the FF that would recommend them.  If we know your approximate location, might even be someone near you to let you see and use one.
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Offline richhiway

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2017, 07:49:46 pm »
Chainsaw milling for your own projects is not a bad way to go. A few hours spent milling now and then will give you a good supply of lumber. Cutting and using your own timbers and beams allows you to build with less material.  Check out my thread http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,87277.0.html

I usually touch up the chain every log. You need a ripping chain,granberg sells a good chain modified for ripping,or you can buy a standard ripping chain with a 10 deg. angle. You do have to be accurate so a granberg grinder like mentioned above is good or a good file guide or bench grinder. I use a diamond easy lap 12v hand grinder on the mill to touch up the chain, then straighten the chain out once in a while. I rotate a half dozen chains.
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Offline richhiway

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2017, 08:07:11 pm »
Oh and a 088 would be great but unless you are cutting with a long bar a 066 is more then enough. I use a 046 magnum and 18" bars most of the time. You can but a 18" log and you most likely wont be putting anything bigger on that norwood. I run 30" bar on the 046 with o trouble when cutting wide slabs. There is a video on my thread of a 041 running the 30" bar. I have been looking for a good 066 at a fair price but have not found one yet. I would like to cut the logs into cants with the 066,then use the 046 to cut the boards. Cutting through the bark and dirt is harder on the chain,so by having two saws you could speed things up.
I stopped by Hudson the other day and they are marketing a small hobby mill in the 2000.00 dollar range.
For me the Logosol and being able to be portable and sharpen my own chains works for my needs. I do not have a lot invested and I would have the chainsaws anyway.
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Offline Brucer

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2017, 08:16:07 pm »
I bought a CSM in 1981 and used it mainly for hobby sawing. I cut 8x8's, 6x6's, 6/4x8's, 1x8's, and (wait for it) one 0.020" x 8" ;D.

I used it on and off for 24 years before I bought a bandsaw mill. A big plus from using the CSM was that I learned how to read a log and how the various species behaved as I cut them, all for a very modest expense. The most important thing I learned, however, was that I really like sawing logs into something useful :).

Those of us that have the sawdust addiction sometimes forget that not everyone feels the same way about it. The idea of sawing your own lumber may be appealing, but the process of sawing is another thing altogether.
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Offline alabama

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2017, 09:32:19 pm »
@ richhiway and Brucer - finally some enlightenment and by no means is this to be negative toward the other comments with their suggestions of going with the BSM. I really like the idea of CSM with an initial low investment. I also have more time on my hands than a Grandfather clock sitting in the corner since 1890.

@ richhiway and Brucer - you guys have given me a little hope that the little engine could and wood.  :) I don't mind hard work!
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Offline kjudd

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #16 on: January 30, 2017, 08:39:05 am »
Have you looked in to build a Procut chainsaw mill?  That's what I getting ready to build this summer.

Offline alabama

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #17 on: January 30, 2017, 11:20:23 am »
I'm still on the fences and haven't made a 100% decision just yet. I'll check out the pro cut too. Thanks for the info.
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Offline alabama

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2017, 08:28:46 pm »
@Richhiway - do you see advantages of your CSM vs the Norwood CSM? Norwoods mini sits on the ground and you push along to rip the wood. The CSM you have cost about $3,000 now with shipping. For that I would purchase a BCM. Thus the reason I was looking at the Norwood CSM.

Chainsaw milling for your own projects is not a bad way to go. A few hours spent milling now and then will give you a good supply of lumber. Cutting and using your own timbers and beams allows you to build with less material.  Check out my thread http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,87277.0.html

I usually touch up the chain every log. You need a ripping chain,granberg sells a good chain modified for ripping,or you can buy a standard ripping chain with a 10 deg. angle. You do have to be accurate so a granberg grinder like mentioned above is good or a good file guide or bench grinder. I use a diamond easy lap 12v hand grinder on the mill to touch up the chain, then straighten the chain out once in a while. I rotate a half dozen chains.
John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Offline boscojmb

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2017, 09:51:43 pm »
It's comical, in a certain way, that when I watched the youtube videos of the Norwood PortaMill they make it look user friendly and not difficult to operate. I liked it from the videos I've watched because it was compact, moveable and simple to setup, but not a single person has had a positive thing to say about the chainsaw mill methods. I didn't realize it was that overwhelming. I do appreciate everyones feedback and it is most appreciated!

I spent several years in rural Alaska Cutting log cabin kits with a chainsaw mill. They work OK for cutting long beams and 3-sided logs for cabin building with a small amount of dimensional lumber mixed in.

I was on the other side of the mountains in AK so I had a captive audience. It cost $1.00 per pound at the time (probably more like $2.00 per pound today) to fly in lumber.

I also watched the Norwood Portamill video. Pay close attention around 2:08. Watch when he sets the board on top of the stack of beams. The boards that he is making are only about 3-4 feet long.

You will spend about $2K on the MS880 and $1K on the mill. The MS880 will live a short life if used for milling lumber. There are several entry level band mills on the market in the $3-4K range that will run circles around the best chainsaw mill.

Here is a picture of my CSM.



I had (2) husky 3120XP saws that I kept in rotation along with thousands of dollars in spare parts. Cylinder kits are good for 150 Hrs, every other time you change the piston and cylinder it's time for a crankshaft.

Bottom line: A chainsaw mill is not overwhelming, it is very basic. A chainsaw mill has it's uses. A chainsaw mill is the slowest, most expensive way to make lumber.

You may be well ahead of the game to buy your lumber, or hire a local sawyer, and put the money you saved towards a bandmill or, circle mill.
John B.

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Offline richhiway

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #20 on: January 31, 2017, 01:13:52 pm »
Nice rig and a great stack of nice logs!
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Offline alabama

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2017, 12:08:58 am »
@richhiway, they no longer make the esol7 and now it is the 8 and at a cost of $2,500 plus shipping $300. I noticed that you have a DJI on your videos and I have an inspire 1 that I use to check the land and livestock without and believe it or not I can herd up the sheep with it. Works better than the dog! :)
John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Offline richhiway

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2017, 07:39:36 am »
@richhiway, they no longer make the esol7 and now it is the 8 and at a cost of $2,500 plus shipping $300. I noticed that you have a DJI on your videos and I have an inspire 1 that I use to check the land and livestock without and believe it or not I can herd up the sheep with it. Works better than the dog! :)
I bought mine used on craigslist for $1,100.00. And the 046 used on craigslist for $300.00.
Believe it or not my drone got away from me in the wind the other day and it and my go pro are among the missing!
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Offline kjudd

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2017, 10:31:59 am »
Logosol makes the m8 farmer that's $1800 but it generally can be found cheaper. I was considering that before I found the Procut plans.

Online YellowHammer

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #24 on: February 01, 2017, 05:41:28 pm »
I'm quite sure there are owners of each of these mills here on the FF that would recommend them.  If we know your approximate location, might even be someone near you to let you see and use one.

I'm in north Alabama and have both.  I might even let you have my Alaskan mill, minus the chainsaw, of course ;D

I started with one, many years ago, and ran it a decent bit, until I wore out an expensive Stihl 440 (I think it was).  I called it the "puker" as I would run it until I got stomach cramps, then call it a day. 

On second thought, if you drive here, I'll let you have the durn thing, one FF member to another. 

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Offline alabama

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2017, 01:21:37 am »
I'm in north Alabama Talladega county. If anyone has a M7-M8 for sale I'd be interested. I placed my order on a M661and should be here next week. Thanks for the offer shoot me a pm. Thanks for all the help everyone!
John 15:13
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Offline alabama

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2017, 01:25:33 am »
@richhiway-  by any chance have you found your birdie? I assume you didn't have a GPS located on board or can you check your log files like I can on the inspire 1? I know how you feel it is an empty feeling inside.
John 15:13
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2017, 04:31:06 pm »
I get a kick, if it were, out of some of this fellows milling around and harvesting, projects and yes.......weaving. I think he is quite intelligent about it, but he does ramble a lot about this and that. :D











Immigrant chest





200 year old loom




Pre-commercial thinning pays off. :)

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Offline mad murdock

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2017, 01:58:33 am »
Alabama, my start with chainsaws began when I worked in the woods full time, my brother and I  messed around with one of those little lumber makers I think it was a "beam machine". Later on we did quite a bit of milling by helping on a circle handset mill that one of our friends had and milled up some of our own logs. After several years of haiatus, I got back into milling with a Grnberg Alaskan MK III. I have milled much with it on my Hsqvqrna 372XPW. I progressed to a Logosol Timberjigg which worked ok, then I found an old bumblebee sawmill which I used quite extensively. I had toyed with the idea of a BSM, but for the effort I really wanted to go
With a circle mill. I wanted to retain the extreme portability a chainsawnpowered mill offers and get much more efficiency at the same time, which is why I bought a Turbosawmill warrior M6. I am very impressed. I have it powered by a Husqvarna 395XP and it is doing awesome!  Do what you can with the CSM until a better method becomes clear to you. You can do a lot with a chainsaw,2 or 3 is better). I had one set up with the Alaskan, another with the Timberjigg and yet another with a homemade "minimum copied After the granberg style. This was the best. Because you could open up a log with the MK III then edge with the mini mill or the Timberjigg and then get to slicing boards rather quickly. Also having a saw for each task spreads the wear and tear and really speeds things up as you are not having to stop and readjust for the next cut all time or flipping logs which saves the old back.
'64 Garrett 15A, JD AMT 626, Turbosawmill M6 Warrior Ultra liteweight, Granberg Alaskan III, lots of saws-gas powered and human powered :D

Offline ToddsPoint

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2017, 05:39:59 am »
I've been milling for 5 yrs. with a Logosol M7 ($1200 used on Craig's List) and a Stihl 660.  I make gunstocks and have milled a lot of walnut into blanks.  I cut the walnut 11/4.  Milling gunstocks is about the most wasteful thing you can do with a log so the small extra waste from the chain kerf don't amount to much.  If I was wanting to make dimensional lumber I'd buy a Wood Mizer for sure.  My CSM is slow, but I'm retired and I'm slow too.  I have a 28" bar for most logs but also have a 36" for crotches.  I mounted 2 removable wheels on the Logosol and can tip one end up and roll it in and out of my barn, or onto my trailer for a mobile job.  CSM fits my needs okay for gunstock blank making.  If it didn't, I'd already have bought a bandsaw.  Gary
Walnut dust is in my blood.

Offline theonlybull

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Re: Chainsaw Milling Help
« Reply #30 on: April 25, 2017, 06:50:05 pm »
i'm pretty new to the milling scene... other then a stint in a big comercial mill in my younger days.
i've reciently built a chainsaw mill,  and electric one, with a bed, and carrige, similar to the bsm.
i'm running a 5hp 3450rpm electric motor, and a 24" bar, with a rip chain.  all i have cut sofar, is poplar (easy to get, i've cut around them for years, and left them standing).  an 8' 2x8 takes just about 65 seconds to cut.  a 14' x2"x12", is more like 3-4 minutes, depending on how sharp things are.  i do need to play with my chain a little bit, i could handle far more agressiveness with the electric motor. 
so far, i've cut about a dozon logs(pretty green myself)  but i'm happy with it.  it's been giving me a good cut(as nice, or nicer then a bsm) and everything is nice and true.
not sure if this will work,  but i'm one instagram as "theonlybull"
https://www.instagram.com/p/BTMWdCWli07/

look up snik electric sawmill on youtube, to see a really sweet electric csm
Keith Berry & Son Ltd.
machine work and welding