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Starting Chainsaw milling

Discussion in 'Milling & Saw Mills' started by goncalo alves, Aug 28, 2019.

  1. csmillingnoob

    csmillingnoob ArboristSite Member

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    As to bar and mill size. Get the 48" mill.

    As a general rule of thumb, you need a bar that is 6" longer than the log you are milling. This six inches is eaten up under the clutch cover and at the tip. You want to mill 32.5 inch logs. Not saying you absolutely can't to it with a 36" bar but this eliminates use of the chainbreak and gets you to close to your sprocket. Also, that 32.5" tree at the base may have swells, or you may want to cut through limb extrusions or crotches that make it much wider. Why risk it? Get the 42" bar that you know will work and not worry about it.

    With that said, you should also get a 36". Having too much bar raises other issues like bar bowing and encouraging you to seesaw your cut. The smaller the bar/chain the greater the power though that 3120 will give you sufficient power for a 42" chain.

    If you are serious about milling, you will end up with many bars. When you nail out part of a chain, you can cut it down to a lower size.

    Have fun but remember: " the spice must flow" oops. I mean " the OIL must flow."

    Skip chain? Well, it is much less cutters to sharpen and throws prettier ribbons and. Less dust too.
     
  2. goncalo alves

    goncalo alves ArboristSite Lurker

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    thanks for the replies, placing the order today. Will post pics once I get everything set-up.

    I've read a few people that said I should run a couple tanks through the saw before taking it out milling. I don't have my bar/chain yet but I could fire it up and just let it run if a "breakin" period is needed. Any thoughts?
     
  3. csmillingnoob

    csmillingnoob ArboristSite Member

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    Not enough. It needs a few tanks in wood where it has some load. Find a log and cut a bunch of cookies. That will give you some practice in sharpening too.

    It really should be run in cutting. Then check your tuneup. You might mill some softwood while breaking it in.

    Will you tear up the saw if you don't do that? Probably not but you want your saw running good when you stick it in the side of a 32 inch hardwood.
     
  4. ML12

    ML12 ArboristSite Operative

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    I would suggest buying a cannon brand 48" bar. Yes, they are pricey, but they are very well made bars and they hold up well to milling. Check cannon's website for distributers in your area. Don't bother with a "double ended" mill bar, just get one of the regular sprocket tipped "super bars".

    As far as chain goes, I personally like .404, but I know some prefer 3/8". Call around to local saw shops, see if any of them have .404 in stock, I know its getting harder to come by, but I can still get it everywhere. If no one stocks .404, then change the rim sprocket to 3/8" and run 0.063 gauge 3/8" chain.

    Chain brand again comes down to personal preference and what is available locally. I've run Oregon and stihl, and I can say that I like the stihl better. It seems to hold an edge longer and produces nice cuts. I would recommend a full comp chain (no need for skip for 4ft on a 3120). I'd recommend buying regular full chisel and then filing it back to 10 degrees gradually each sharpening. Make sure you read Bob's raker height/angle bible, it definitely makes a difference.
     
  5. goncalo alves

    goncalo alves ArboristSite Lurker

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    Just a little late. I purchased a 42" and 36" Oregon bars. I'll go Cannon next time, probably when I need to reach for something bigger than my 42". I also already purchased Oregon ripping chain .404, along with the 48" Alaskan MKIV. So begins my education, I'm a diligent notetaker with my hobbies (woodworking) so I'll be doing the same here. It usually takes a while to see some patterns/preferences emerge so I won't have much to begin to offer for a while.
     
  6. ML12

    ML12 ArboristSite Operative

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    What you purchased is more than enough to get you started! I am running the .404 Oregon ripping chain on my 60" now and its all right, but I prefer the stihl full chisel. I'd recommend picking up a loop when you want to try something different.
     
  7. buttercup

    buttercup Major General Fool

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    So you don't consider the 10* side cutters on a rip chain to help blow out the wood to be worth it? I would question that.

    30* means the chain is forced up and down in the cut all the time...

    I might be wrong, help me enlighten that.
     
  8. goncalo alves

    goncalo alves ArboristSite Lurker

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    Going back and reading this, I'm intrigued. Most people I've seen suggest ripping chain. You're saying just go for full chisel, full comp? And then slowly grind? I saw the Stihl RCX ripping chain but I couldn't find anywhere besides Ebay and I don't think that's what you're suggesting. Apologies for the follow-up questions, I'm still learning the various chain types.

    I haven't seen Bob's raker bible, I'll do some searches.
     
  9. ML12

    ML12 ArboristSite Operative

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    The 10* cutters can leave a nicer surface finish, than the 30 degree ones, but I guess what I am saying is that there are other factors that also greatly influence surface finish, so its not just cutter tooth angle. I've done quite a bit of milling (softwoods) with 30 degree chain and its turned out good, not as good as 10* or 0* chain, but pretty good.

    You are correct that the cutter will want to go up/down, but tight bar rails and properly tensioned chains tend to moderate this effect. When I do get a wavy surface finish its usually due to a chain not being tight enough, or uneven pressure applied to the mill while cutting.

    My suggestion was to get some full chisel, full comp chain, and gradually sharpen it back to 10* over the first few sharpenings, that way you get the most use out of the chain, and you get to experience various angles and see what works. I've run 30*, 15*, 10* and 0*. I like 10*, seems to give a nice finish and good chip clearance.

    The Oregon 0* milling chain we get here isn't full chisel and I just don't think it holds an edge as well as the stihl full chisel does.
     
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  10. ML12

    ML12 ArboristSite Operative

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    I've had good results running 30* full chisel chain, I'd suggest running it for a couple slabs, see if you get the surface finish and speed you want and then sharpen back to 20*, then 10* etc. with successive sharpenings. Then you'll know how the chain angle reacts to the wood you are cutting. I cut primarily softwood, and the occasional hardwood (birch, maple, walnut).

    I also suggest full comp, as opposed to skip sequence, because your power head is more than adequate for a 42" bar and chip clearance won't be an issue. I have a skip chain on my 60" and even that probably isn't really necessary. (I have a 090, so power isn't a problem)

    The chain I'd suggest starting with is regular "RS" stihl chain in .404 x .063. The RCX is just RS chain ground to 10* instead of 30* from factory, I had a couple loops of RCX but they're old now, not sure if Stihl still makes it. Last I checked the only mill chains available to me in .404x.063 were Oregon and the weird granberg.

    Learning to file, and set rakers is very important in milling. Getting consistent top plate angles while also getting the "gullet" and maintaining consistent raker angles is key to a smooth cutting, self feeding chain.

    Bob's milling 101 sticky has a lot of information about raker angle. Because I cut softwoods, I tend to run a larger angle, usually 8*+.
     
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  11. andy at clover

    andy at clover Woods!

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    When ordering a bar....Keep in mind with the 3120xp, the outer felling Dog is integrated into the clutch cover/bars nut "pad".
    You can't just simply remove it to gain a couple more inches of mill width.
     
  12. goncalo alves

    goncalo alves ArboristSite Lurker

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    I'm really glad you said that. I was working to remove it and kept getting confused thinking I was doing something wrong. So add an extra 2-3" of lost space. Since this is a purely milling saw, wonder if I should grind them down? THat's probably a terrible idea for a number of reasons.
     
  13. andy at clover

    andy at clover Woods!

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    You could replace the dog with a plate that takes it’s place but does not protrude into bar area.
     
  14. kimosawboy

    kimosawboy ArboristSite Operative

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    I picked up a new 3120 the other day and am setting it up today.. the dogs on the outer cover come off lickedy split.. pull the plastic part off inside (screwdriver) grab on to that aluminium nut ( no idea why AL) the remove the hex on the exterior.. I replaced all screws with a lock washer as well to make up the space .
     
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  15. buttercup

    buttercup Major General Fool

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    Thanks for your reply sir, that is enlightening.
     
  16. Timberline logger

    Timberline logger New Member

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    I got into milling a couple yrs ago . I wanted to build a rustic wall for my cabin and a bunch of trees came down after a big storm so I figured now was the time . Since I am a Stihl saw addict I had plenty of saws and bought the Alaskan mill then made one of my own .

    With 2 mills I would put a saw in each then make one cut let that saw idle and cool while making a cut with the other one this seemed to make the saws live comfortably . Liked my old 084 with the auxiliary oiler Stihl took that off my 880 I guess for the environment but both worked good .

    Used a 660 and 661 in tandum and they may have been a bit faster then the big saws in softer wood . Also used my 045 super and 056 Magll as a pair . The old 045 super out cuts every thing I have seems to use double the gas of a 660 but it is leader of my pack

    I have many bars so I didnt use one any bigger than necessary kept the chains razor sharp and focused on not destroying 10 grand in saws to make some boards . I use non ethanol gas and Stihl synthetic oil at 40:1 the more you mill the better and more efficient you get .

    Bought a Dewalt Planer and it did a beautiful job on the black walnut I milled for some smaller projects .

    Bottom line in my world Milling wood is hard on a saw even when using the best products . If I was going to get into it any deeper than the hobby it is I would buy a bandsaw type mill but the saws I have are fine for my occasional projects that dont require a dump truck load of wood
     
  17. rarefish383

    rarefish383 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I use out of the box Stihl 33RS. Here's a couple pics of the finish I get, and the saws I use. The Black Walnut slab is one of the first I milled years ago with my Super 1050. It turned out pretty good. The two Oak slabs are the ones I made the two mantles out of. I have a 13" Ridgid planer. It took 3 passes through the planer and was ready for finish. The last pic of the Oak log was a month or so ago. If your chain is not too loose, you don't stop and start, and you don't see-saw the bar forward and back, you can get a darn nice finish cut, and you can use the saw for all purpose duty. I have enough saws that I usually just leave the mill on the 660, but sometimes I like to use the 660 cutting firewood with the 25" bar. Anyway, I use the same chain for everything, because I'm too lazy to switch to different chains for different use. Just me.

    This is the Super 1050 I started milling with, and a couple projects from it.
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  18. rarefish383

    rarefish383 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    This is the 660 and a couple projects.
    20190519_140140.jpg 20190519_145720.jpg 20190314_184751.jpg 20190314_184746.jpg 20180228_174743.jpg 20180201_105353.jpg
     

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  19. BobL

    BobL No longer addicted to AS

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    Great Finish RF!
     
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