I wanted to write a little something about my first impressions since I have received so much help/information from Forestry Forum.
I received my M6 back in late January, took a while for me to put together due to other things interfering. I have only cut 2 logs with it so far at my house just to get use to it, but I have another log waiting for me at a co-workers house. I also bought the cradle assembly to hold my Alaskan mill, so I can still slab if I wanted.
First Impressions Review:
Overall I am very pleased with the mill for what I want it to do and what I need. I think knowing what you actually need and what you are going to do with the wood goes a long way in helping a person decide which type of mill is right for them.
• M6: I went with the M6 version because it can double cut a 12" wide board, and for my woodworking I have hardly needed anything over 9" wide and talking to other woodworker friends they have to cut wide boards down to fit on their joiners so I don't see 6" as a limitation.
• Portability: I like the fact that I can take the mill to the log and setup over it and just mill it and then haul away boards, this one of main reasons I went with a swing mill, I just don't have the equipment to move/handle logs on a regular basis. I need the ability to get the mill to someone's back yard and mill the log right there, especially as in my co-workers house where there is limited room between houses. I can do this by myself but having a second person would just make it that much easier.
• Quality: The machine seems very well made and very sturdy. Can't really imagine what major piece would break/wear out first on this, guess maybe the steel cable that you use to raise and lower the machine. I'm sure it will have it's normal wear and tear of smaller items.
• Cutting: The cutting is pretty easy and I like the consistency of the saw marks vs the Alaskan which seems to always have gouges in it when I did it, thus more machining to smooth it out. Sharpening the blade only takes a minute or two for me which is nice, just sharpen on the mill and back to cutting.
• Issues: So far I have two small complaints with the mill (again only used it twice)
(1) the ruler guide, wish it was something more than just eyeballing the rubber that slides up and down the cable, it doesn't go over to the ruler so you just have to eyeball it which could leave you with different dimensions at each end. I did put a zip tie around the rubber and the zip tie sticks over the ruler but still not the best.
(2) They did away with the remote throttle on the saw carriage (still have it on the slabber cradle) and while this isn't a big issue most of the time it does show up when double cutting so you have to deal with it for a couple of cuts. It's hard to reach the throttle when double cutting since you have to stand on the opposite side of the saw head, makes it hard to reach, may just end up using a piece of Velcro or something to hold the throttle down when doing this particular cut.
I have posted some videos, couple showing milling, couple on modifications made, and one on showing how to setup the mill around the log.https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2m3S9RyJxkCJ6CrS8QJbhA
I will be posting more reviews of it once I get to use it more and get more comfortable with it, just want to work out kinks that I know are my issue and not the mills. I will also be posting more videos when I can. Now that the weather is getting warmer I am not sure if I will mill this summer, have to do some research to see if the chainsaw head could handle it.
Any questions about the mill let me know, I will try to answer with what little experience I have at this point.
You will notice in the picture below I have both the saw carriage and the slabbing carriage on the beam. This way I could either cut boards or slab if I wanted without a lot of changeover.