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Just starting out in Milling.

Discussion in 'Milling & Saw Mills' started by Quietfly, Feb 8, 2016.

  1. Quietfly

    Quietfly ArboristSite Operative

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    Hey Guys,
    I'm just starting out in chainsaw milling, and i'm overwhelmed by the amount of info out there. I've read the milling 101 thread on this site several times over and have attempted to soak up every piece of info i can find on various other reputable, or in-famous boards.
    My main purpose would be to mill small logs no larger than 24 inches, and make boards that are 13 to 15 by how ever long the log would be, to provide me with an abundant "free/cheap" supply of wood for projects.

    Based on this would a panther mill II 30 inch be suitable for short boarding work? I've also looked at the
    Granberg 777 & the Granberg MK-III. Panther looks bare bones but solid. I'm looking at picking up a used stihl 044 or a husky 281, or 390 as a mill saw.

    I'm not sure what bar and chain i'll use, as again the amount of information is just staggering. i was leaning towards a ripping milling chain like the Oregon 72RD, but the low pro 3/8's chain supposedly being up to 30% faster also has some appeal.
    I'll mostly be milling Maple as that's whats available to me here with some beech and Sassafras thrown in on occasion.

    I figure i'd like to do it right, however i'd also not want this to be the start of a Divorce due to spending. :)
    I appreciated any and all advice.
    thanks!
    -Chris
     
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  2. BIG JAKE

    BIG JAKE Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I dropped 500 bones for a used 066 about 10 years aago. A couple milling chains woodland pro for whatever pitch and gauge bar your saw comes with but the bar rails must be in good shape and bar not worn out. An 044 should work ok for smaller logs. For the difference in cost though i'd go a little bigger saw. If your good at maintaining machines milling is not going to cost alot once your set up. Cost of lumber means every board is paying you back. I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire milling experience. My wife has no complaints either.
     
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  3. Quietfly

    Quietfly ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks for the advice, what mill are you running? I was thinking about the 281 or 390 as a milling saw, it just seemed that parts and repair for some of the older saws could get costly. Im pretty mechanically inclined, so im not afraid of the maintenance, but i am afraid of my wife see the cost for said maintenance.
    Given the choice would you just choose the largest saw possible and work from there?

    Thanks,
    -Chris
     
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  4. BigOakAdot

    BigOakAdot ArboristSite newb

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    Welcome to AS. Make sure you do some projects for the wife and you should be good to start buying 090's like there's no tomorrow!!

    I have an Mk3 and it's great. Have nothing but good things to say about it but if the panther version is cheaper I would maybe go with that. I've heard good things about them and am waiting for a big one I recently ordered.

    One thing I would recommend for a beginner is getting an aluminum extension ladder for your initial cut. I built make shift guides out of 2x10's and it wasted a lot of time. Just make sure the ladder is straight with no rivets where the mill will ride. A guy from work had a junky one he gave me for free.

    Good luck

    BOA
     
  5. BIG JAKE

    BIG JAKE Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I'm running a 48" MKIII. Parts for any saw is costly. Hang out in the chainsaw section and you will come up to speed real quick on how to prevent problems. If you do that then you should have few issues with the wife and lots of lumber for projects.
     
  6. Quietfly

    Quietfly ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks Guys!
    would you be able to post pictures of your setups? i'm curious to see what they look like.
     
  7. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    Welcome. Here is my 084 in a 32" white oak. I second the big saw theory. I used an 064 and found bigger was better with the 084. Now starting smaller and working up is not bad either, but my 064 bars did not fit on my 084 etc.[​IMG]

    Here is my 064. That log is probably a 24" ash.[​IMG]

    I never used a ladder, but in the background of this picture you can see some 2 X 4's. You can barely make out an aluminum extrusion attached to the 2 X's. I can not even remember where I bought them, but they were less then $20. The aluminum extrusion has holes in it to screw to the log and then the mill rides on the smooth 2 X 4's. Look around used, I have even seen a few. This is a 36" mill and it would work fine for the logs you are talking about. Think about the total spend for everything and work within that. What do you think your total budget is?
     
  8. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    Here is a better picture of the simple Aluminum extrusions. In this case my 10' 2 X 4's were a little short. But is gives you an idea of how it works.[​IMG]
     
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  9. Quietfly

    Quietfly ArboristSite Operative

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    I have 1000.00 total right now for mill, chainsaw bar and chain.
    So that's my budget.
    i'm not sure its enough, but its what i have.
     
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  10. BigOakAdot

    BigOakAdot ArboristSite newb

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    My set up is the same as hautions. I would recommended getting a mill around the 36" size. That would allow to mill a little over 30".

    As for the saw I would recommend an older 056, 075, or 076. All have a lot of torque. Should be able to get a pretty solid runner for between 300-600 bucks. There's an 075 for sale with a bar and chain in marylands Craigslist for around 400. Needs some minor work but guy claims it's a solid saw.

    -Andrew
     
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  11. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    Some people looked at me sweating over the mill saving some poor tree from firewood like I was nuts. They never looked in my wood shop or saw any finished products. Just knowing where the wood came from makes it more fun.[​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  12. Quietfly

    Quietfly ArboristSite Operative

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    Is that s Sub Woofer Cabinet?
    Looks nice!!!
     
  13. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    Yes Christmas present for the middle son. That was a few years ago, but he still has it. One of the few cool wood things you can make for a teenager. Made a pair of matching bookshelf speakers to go with it.
     
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  14. DonnerParty

    DonnerParty ArboristSite Operative

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    Bigger is definitely better when you're milling, but torque is the most important factor. Older saws make great torque and can often be had at a reasonable price, but can get expensive and time consuming quick if they have issues. On your budget, BigOakAdot's recommendations of an 056 or bigger are good. I have 30" and 48" rails for my Granberg mill. They are easy to swap out. I milled when I was younger with big saws. On my own, I started milling with a MS440, which was fine in Fir, Pine and Cedar up to 24". Looked for a long time for a reasonably-priced bigger saw, but finally went with a new MS661 instead, as I couldn't find anything older that was priced reasonably around here.

    Long bars and chains are expensive, so don't forget to include that. 36" and under is much more reasonable on bar prices and should get you started for what you're talking about.
     
  15. Quietfly

    Quietfly ArboristSite Operative

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    I live right next to a Forestry Service, we have mostly maple and beech groves. Theres a good amount of oak and white birch ss well. My end game is to be able to go from log to finished projects. My real issue is moving larger logs. I can take anything I can fit into my Subaru. So Iend up taking smaller stuff and making alot of bowls, trays and candleholders . As well as the occasional jewelry box. Oh and mushrooms. That's how this all started. I carve mushrooms from the logs.
     

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  16. DonnerParty

    DonnerParty ArboristSite Operative

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    Cool! You can tow a small trailer behind your Subaru. Find an old, small utility trailer frame. You can load slabs right onto the frame and strap them down. I did this behind a small old Toyota pickup when I was younger, but Subarus actually have a decent towing capacity, as well.
     
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  17. Quietfly

    Quietfly ArboristSite Operative

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    Oh my forester tows great, i tow my 17 ft bass boat with it. The issue is no trailer, and more specifically the wifes mandate of no new toys until after the baby arrives in August.
     
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  18. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    I borrowed this from a neighbor for years. Yes minivan!!!!!!!![​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  19. hautions11

    hautions11 ArboristSite Operative

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    But look at my haul.[​IMG]
     
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  20. Shawn Curry

    Shawn Curry ArboristSite Operative

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    And good luck finding boards that wide anywhere! Is that a Norm Abrams router station I spy? I made one of those myself. I liked the laminate top so much, now I build all my workbench tops and shop jigs with it.

    To the OP, I don't have much to add in terms of recommendations, aside from getting something to sharpen your own chains if you don't already. A properly sharpened chain cuts faster, leaves a better finish, and can help reduce the intense load on the saw. They go dull real fast when you're milling, and it's so critical to success that you must learn to do this yourself.
     
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