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Smallest cc saws anyone has used for milling

moojpg2

moojpg2

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Only time I ever chainsaw mill is to make hardwood bar top or bench top size slabs so never really thought of using a small saw. Smallest saw I've ever used for that is an 066 or MS660 Stihl, usually use my 090 or MS880 for milling though. I'm sure a my 372xp or MS460 would do the job if I didn't have any other option but I'd prefer not to run the piss out of them milling if I don't have to as they are my main saws for felling and blocking down larger trees.
 
andy at clover

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Not meaning to rain on the small saw idea.

I think most of us have plenty of small wood around and a need for firewood as well which use up less desirable logs.
My interest in milling is for wide thicker (as well as longer) pieces than I can buy or find.
Small saws might be fun to "just try it out" but the small mills they can power are not really worth getting for one or two uses.
A 36" mill seems about the minimum size that makes sense. A small cc saw is not going to pull a bar that makes that mill worth acquiring.
 
csmillingnoob

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Not meaning to rain on the small saw idea.

I think most of us have plenty of small wood around and a need for firewood as well which use up less desirable logs.
My interest in milling is for wide thicker (as well as longer) pieces than I can buy or find.
Small saws might be fun to "just try it out" but the small mills they can power are not really worth getting for one or two uses.
A 36" mill seems about the minimum size that makes sense. A small cc saw is not going to pull a bar that makes that mill worth acquiring.
I agree with everything you say except about maybe about not buying the 36' mill. Can't you cut as small as 14' with a 36' mill? The difference in price compared to the smaller saws is negligible - and someone who actually likes this physically demanding work/hobby can "grow into" the 36' mill when the urge for a bigger saw strikes (and it will).

Of course, a vertical Haddon lumbermaker or cheaper clone allows one to mill cheaply and, in my opinion, doesn't require as much power or oil feed as the horizontal mills. Just an opinion and I haven't done any comparison tests, but vertical just seems to require less work and oil better. The verticals are one-size-fits-all.
 
moojpg2

moojpg2

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I agree with everything you say except about maybe about not buying the 36' mill. Can't you cut as small as 14' with a 36' mill? The difference in price compared to the smaller saws is negligible - and someone who actually likes this physically demanding work/hobby can "grow into" the 36' mill when the urge for a bigger saw strikes (and it will).

Of course, a vertical Haddon lumbermaker or cheaper clone allows one to mill cheaply and, in my opinion, doesn't require as much power or oil feed as the horizontal mills. Just an opinion and I haven't done any comparison tests, but vertical just seems to require less work and oil better. The verticals are one-size-fits-all.
For making a beam or something those things are great but I still use a bigger saw like a 660 on mine with a shorter bar, as all of my 066/660 size saws have the high flow oiler. It's still easy to burn up a bar and chain milling with one of those and if I'm chainsaw milling a beam it's because I need a 6x8 or larger beam that can't be easily had in a dimensional size at the local yard. Anything smaller it's way more time/cost effective to just buy one at the lumber yard. it might be different if I was homesteading or lived off grid or something, but for someone like me that works a regular 9-5 and does this stuff on the side, it's not worth it to chainsaw mill lumber that can be bought at home depot.
 
grizz55chev

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Not meaning to rain on the small saw idea.

I think most of us have plenty of small wood around and a need for firewood as well which use up less desirable logs.
My interest in milling is for wide thicker (as well as longer) pieces than I can buy or find.
Small saws might be fun to "just try it out" but the small mills they can power are not really worth getting for one or two uses.
A 36" mill seems about the minimum size that makes sense. A small cc saw is not going to pull a bar that makes that mill worth acquiring.
I’ve cut some real nice 24” oak slabs with a 36” granburg mill and an ms440. The vertical beam cutters make fast work on smaller dimensional wood using a 350 husky!
 

ML12

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My younger brother has milled with an MS170. I think they're like 35cc's? It was a 10" diameter softwood ornamental type tree, a laburnum. I think he made maybe 4 cuts that were each 4ft long. It evidently did the job, and the saw is still running well.

However, as mentioned above, the oiling was inadequate and he totally roasted the poor chain. The bar was salvaged with some draw filing and deburring.

Can it be done, yes, should it? Probably not.
 
rarefish383

rarefish383

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I used my Echo 305 which is in the low 30CC range to mill 12 inch Black Locust benches, and BL is hard hard wood. What ever cooked his bar and chain was not the milling. Dull chain, too tight chain, no oil, pushing too hard. The saw doesn't know what it's cutting, as long as the chain is sharp, has oil, and is not forced, it will cut.
 
rarefish383

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I was following this thread, but went back and reread some of it just as a refresher. The OP said he thought vertical milling enabled the use of smaller CC saws because the chain didn't have to work so hard to pull the chips out? I don't see that. The chips don't fall free till they are clear of the log, the chain still has to pull them out. I think the reason mills are made to use horizontal is because that's the best way to use them.
 
rarefish383

rarefish383

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My younger brother has milled with an MS170. I think they're like 35cc's? It was a 10" diameter softwood ornamental type tree, a laburnum. I think he made maybe 4 cuts that were each 4ft long. It evidently did the job, and the saw is still running well.

However, as mentioned above, the oiling was inadequate and he totally roasted the poor chain. The bar was salvaged with some draw filing and deburring.

Can it be done, yes, should it? Probably not.
Oops, now I see you said it wasn't oiling well. My little 305 throws the oil. It usually runs out of oil before fuel, and you can hear the difference in the sound of the chain instantly.
 

BobL

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I was following this thread, but went back and reread some of it just as a refresher. The OP said he thought vertical milling enabled the use of smaller CC saws because the chain didn't have to work so hard to pull the chips out? I don't see that. The chips don't fall free till they are clear of the log, the chain still has to pull them out. I think the reason mills are made to use horizontal is because that's the best way to use them.
One way around this is on a vertical mill is to mill with the top of the bar so the sawdust falls out of the cut.
However, this requires rigging up something to prevent the saw continuing to want to jumping up out of the cut.
On my vertical/beam mill the carriage rides on a RHS steel beam and is held on all 4 sides to the beam by brass rollers.

finalwholemill.jpg

This also enables the mill to work at any angle.
However this is a plunge/blind cut so the usual side of the bar has to be used
Hcut2.jpg

Heres a setup for an angled cut.
Geometry.jpg
 
rarefish383

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One way around this is on a vertical mill is to mill with the top of the bar so the sawdust falls out of the cut.
However, this requires rigging up something to prevent the saw continuing to want to jumping up out of the cut.
On my vertical/beam mill the carriage rides on a RHS steel beam and is held on all 4 sides to the beam by brass rollers.

View attachment 792197

This also enables the mill to work at any angle.
However this is a plunge/blind cut so the usual side of the bar has to be used
View attachment 792198

Heres a setup for an angled cut.
View attachment 792199
Duh. I remember a year of two back a guy was trying to mill trees standing upright and that's what popped into my mind when he said a vertical mill. I actually have a Haddon Lumber Maker that is so old I think I paid $9.99 for it. Yes verticle mills can work, I still break out my Haddon now and then if I want to mill 6X6 beams out of pine.
 
csmillingnoob

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Duh. I remember a year of two back a guy was trying to mill trees standing upright and that's what popped into my mind when he said a vertical mill. I actually have a Haddon Lumber Maker that is so old I think I paid $9.99 for it. Yes verticle mills can work, I still break out my Haddon now and then if I want to mill 6X6 beams out of pine.
Mine gets the most use ripping the pith board(s) right up the center stressline in the field as soon as I have milled it. It sits in the air-drying stack pretty peacefully if you do this as soon as you mill it. Otherwise, it can cup, twist and mess with your whole stack.

Also, the split is not nearly as violent if you rip it when the pith is green, wet and straight. If you wait till it dries, all kinds of stresses develop and ripping it can cause some violent splits that will jack a saw around dengerously.

It's easier and less space consuming to load a Haddon and a 2x6 than my 10 inch wormdrive circular saw and the generator to power it.
 
rarefish383

rarefish383

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Mine gets the most use ripping the pith board(s) right up the center stressline in the field as soon as I have milled it. It sits in the air-drying stack pretty peacefully if you do this as soon as you mill it. Otherwise, it can cup, twist and mess with your whole stack.

Also, the split is not nearly as violent if you rip it when the pith is green, wet and straight. If you wait till it dries, all kinds of stresses develop and ripping it can cause some violent splits that will jack a saw around dengerously.

It's easier and less space consuming to load a Haddon and a 2x6 than my 10 inch wormdrive circular saw and the generator to power it.
I bought a Makita 14" circular saw last year, never used it once, and I think I'm going to put it in my spring yard sale. My standard circular saw cuts a nice straigh edge on my 8/4 boards.
 
andy at clover

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I bought a Makita 14" circular saw last year, never used it once, and I think I'm going to put it in my spring yard sale. My standard circular saw cuts a nice straigh edge on my 8/4 boards.
I use a 10 1/4" "BIGFOOT" for ripping up to 3 3/4" thick planks.
It's better at 3 1/2" and less but, the tooth depth goes to 3 7/8" so it's not unrealistic to go 3 3/4". (although dust/chips clear poorly).
I'm running lots of "softwoods" for timber framing. "4x" is kind of a minimum.
It's a Mag77 motor so not any more power than the typical 7 1/4" worm drive... keepin it slow.

Thought of getting a vertical milling jig for my smaller chain saw but the circ saw is fast and easier to set up.

 
csmillingnoob

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I use a 10 1/4" "BIGFOOT" for ripping up to 3 3/4" thick planks.
It's better at 3 1/2" and less but, the tooth depth goes to 3 7/8" so it's not unrealistic to go 3 3/4". (although dust/chips clear poorly).
I'm running lots of "softwoods" for timber framing. "4x" is kind of a minimum.
It's a Mag77 motor so not any more power than the typical 7 1/4" worm drive... keepin it slow.

Thought of getting a vertical milling jig for my smaller chain saw but the circ saw is fast and easier to set up.

I'm I'm I'm using the 10-1/4" Skilsaw when I'm in my yard or shop. Love the wormdrive action in thicker hardwoods. It chugs on through 3-1/2" pecan/hicory. However, I use the vertical mill when ripping "in the field." No, the cut with the mill is not a final cut. Like I said above, it's usually just to split a pith board to release all it's stresses prior to field stacking. Also, such a rip where I have a 3-5 inch thick pith board makes it half as heavy to handle.

I always clean up those vertical mill rips with the circular saw after I have flattened the board.
 
rarefish383

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I'm putting up some live edge shelves in my garage today, so I'll be ripping some straight edges with the circular saw.
 
Everlef

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This is a bluemax 20". 150 dollars on sale at home depot. 50cc? The mill is made from unistrut and the straight edge is just the straightest 2x4 I could find at the store! Hahaha So far with this saw I've managed to slab and quarter saw a few thousand dollars worth of big leaf maple, garry oak and western cedar for free from craigslist. Bigger IS better, but you can get by just fine with a little chinese saw:)



View attachment 508455

View attachment 508456






View attachment 508457
I wonder what kind of chain did you use? Is it a ripping one or whatever it came with the chainsaw? Thanks.
 
rarefish383

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I wonder what kind of chain did you use? Is it a ripping one or whatever it came with the chainsaw? Thanks.
Welcome to the site. My advice is use standard chain till you learn all of the nuances of milling. Make sure the chain is sharp, don't sea saw in the cut, elevate one end so gravity helps. I found I could make just as smooth of a cut with good technique, and be able to walk over to the wood pile and not have to swap out chains.
 
macstrange

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I've used an Echo cs 500evl with a 30" bar. I milled a red oak that was about 20" by 10 or 12'. Pretty exhausting. I have to get my 075 running again!
 

BobL

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I found these photos of my first mill with my Mac 1010
The milling rig and log gripper was designed to hold short logs in just about any orientation from early 2007
I still have the mill but the Mac 1010 died a couple of cuts after this.
I do have all the parts needed to rebuild it under the house.
Millx.jpg

gripper1.jpg

Same mill in use last year I often use it to square cut flat cookies or stumps for anvils.
Butchers2.JPG
 
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