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Alaskan Chain Saw Milling of Eastern Red Cedar

EastTexas

EastTexas

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Need some advice. I'm looking at making some relatively large table tops (possibly 12'-14'). I have two 15' logs of Red Cedar 1st is 36" Dia. and 34" Dia. 2nd is 34" & 30" on small end. Nobody in this area can mill this for me so I'm going solo. I have a new Husqvarna 572 XP and just purchased a 36", 58 gauge bar with a 115 drive length.
1). I'm Purchasing a Portable Alaskan Chain Saw Mill. Need recommendations please. Ease-of-use, safety, quality are top concerns.
2). Need recommendations on the best milling chain for this project.
3). This red cedar is nothing like the oaks, maple, walnut, etc. that I'm used to working with up in Michigan for the last 30+ years. It's super light wood and also staggeringly beautiful. Any preparation ideas for this project are greatly appreciated. I see no areas where there were any metal.
4). What's the best way to cure this wood after cutting it? This tree was alive when I cut it last week. Very little center rot at the base. It's rained substantially since.
5). Anything I need to be cautious about? Any foreseeable problems with this project???
Charles
 
Husky Man

Husky Man

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You are going to need a 48” mill for that.
The “Listed Size” of a CSM, is the length of the mill frame rails, NOT it’s CAPACITY, or size of bar needed

My 36” Granberg measures 33.5”, between the bar clamp inside faces, you will want a couple inches more for irregularities in the log.

Whatever size your mill is, you will want about 6” more in bar length. You can get a bit more utilization of bar length, by drilling and bolting, rather than clamping the nose end, and by removing the Dawgs, but without doing either of those, adding 6” is a pretty basic need

For Cedar, you might be alright with a 572, I don’t know if a 572, is up to Oiling a 42” bar, I don’t have a 572, so I haven’t tried, my 3120XP, oiled my 44” bar very nicely, and chewed through my Cedar, like a Pissed Off, Rabid Beaver, on Steroids

B835180A-5ADE-4520-A34A-D06603807E4E.jpeg D33B1148-3B50-4CED-9D27-390585212809.jpeg
BTW, that Is a 44” bar, in a 48” Granberg mill, to give you an idea of why you need more bar than mill

78375644-06AB-4ACB-95E0-014DF49FF17D.jpeg
This is a Virgin 60” B&C, that I planned to mill some table tops with

6959B7F7-CE8A-4380-8B1C-3464FA61F355.jpeg C07D0ACF-CC01-40F2-BF60-E205A8AFF5FE.jpeg

these are some Maple from a neighbors yard waiting to be milled and made into BTU’s

8AC56749-C98B-4043-8FE0-691118424A31.jpeg 3AD778DA-4A92-4953-9A22-577E011712DC.jpeg C998169B-5EA1-4B7D-9EFA-B60C1EAD4741.jpeg AB7AFC67-1C77-4F5F-B9F3-30750F71A6C6.jpeg ED472A4F-D941-406D-B4B1-DE0C39D8D90E.jpeg
This is the MONSTER Maple that those logs came from, the lower trunk is still in the neighbors driveway, he was Hoping to find someone interested in the Burls, but he hasn’t had any luck with that yet. I also have a 72” Bar and Chains that haven’t even been mounted yet, as well as a 72” mill to assemble, when he is ready to mill the lower trunk, it will be an Interesting and Fun challenge, IF I ever get the TIME to do it.

That Wasn’t going to happen though during that recent 108* weather we just had, 3 days of ALL TIME HIGH TEMP Records

Doug
 
Husky Man

Husky Man

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For the logs that you are planning on milling, I would suggest a 48” mill, a 42” bar should work, but I would recommend trying to find a 44” bar like the Husqvarna Branded bar in one of my pics above, they are built by GB, (NOT Granberg) in Australia, the extra 2”, may come in handy in your case.

I have had Excellent Luck with Stihl .404/.063 Full Skip chain. Full Skip not only lessens the load on the powerhead, but also allows more room for chip clearance than Full Comp, or semi-skip, both will be an asset for you, but if you do run the 572XP, you may want to use 3/8 pitch chain. .063 gauge will have a bit wider bar groove, that will carry more oil, if your saw puts out enough oil. Consider adding an Auxiliary Oiler.

In Cedar, your 572 may handle it, but wouldn’t be my first choice, will you be milling logs that size very often, or is this a One and Done project?

For a one project use, let the saw set the pace, don’t force it, but expect that it will take some life out of the saw, milling is about the most Abusive use for a saw, while still using it “Properly “, the length of your cuts also add a bit of reason to consider a larger saw, a 6-8’ cut of 36” diameter is asking a lot of a 70cc saw, a 15’ cut on a 36” diameter log is asking much more than double from it, that is a Loooooooong time for a 70cc saw to be operating at WOT, with 36” of bar actually engaged in the cut, that saw is going to build a lot of heat.

If it is something that you expect to do more of in the future, seriously consider a larger saw, my recommendation would be the 395XP, spend the extra $100 over the 390XP( I have Both) Both are excellent saws, but for milling, the 395XP is worth the extra money, not just for the extra 6-7cc’s, but it also has heavier bearings that will stand up to milling better. The 395XP is Very Well Respected for milling.

Your Money,
Your Choices,
My Suggestions


Doug
 
Oldtoolsnewproblems

Oldtoolsnewproblems

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this might sound dumb, but how can you tell if your saw is oiling the mill enough? like I know how you can see the bar damage from overheating after the fact, but how do you know prior to damaging things?
 
sean donato

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I mostly agree with what Doug said previously, other then the 572xp is not up to that task. I wouldn't even want to attempt to mill with a 36" bar for more then a few passes. It will need an add on oiler to help out. Don't bother with the 404. The 3/8 skip tooth is going to be your best bet. Best of luck......
 
Husky Man

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I mostly agree with what Doug said previously, other then the 572xp is not up to that task. I wouldn't even want to attempt to mill with a 36" bar for more then a few passes. It will need an add on oiler to help out. Don't bother with the 404. The 3/8 skip tooth is going to be your best bet. Best of luck......

Hi Sean, I think that you misunderstood my post, I have had Good results with.404/.063 Full Skip, but I mainly mill with a 3120XP, I recommend that he use 3/8 .063 with the 572XP

I also asked if that was a One and Done project, if so, the 572 MAY be up to it, it is Cedar, Not Oak, but if it is something he plans on doing more of, then a 395XP, would be my minimum choice. Part of my concern with his project, is the length of his cuts, 15’ of 36” diameter log, is a LOOOOOOONG milling cut for a 70cc saw, again it wouldn’t be my choice, but I have other saws, better suited to the task, I haven’t run a 572, so I don’t know, it will probably do the job if not forced, and let the saw set the pace, but expect that it will shorten the saw’s service life

Doug
 
sean donato

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Hi Sean, I think that you misunderstood my post, I have had Good results with.404/.063 Full Skip, but I mainly mill with a 3120XP, I recommend that he use 3/8 .063 with the 572XP

I also asked if that was a One and Done project, if so, the 572 MAY be up to it, it is Cedar, Not Oak, but if it is something he plans on doing more of, then a 395XP, would be my minimum choice. Part of my concern with his project, is the length of his cuts, 15’ of 36” diameter log, is a LOOOOOOONG milling cut for a 70cc saw, again it wouldn’t be my choice, but I have other saws, better suited to the task, I haven’t run a 572, so I don’t know, it will probably do the job if not forced, and let the saw set the pace, but expect that it will shorten the saw’s service life

Doug
Ah yes I mistook your 404 to be used with the 572xp. They are plenty powerful for what they are. Not to terribly long ago I got to use one for a few hours bucking logs to load. But yes 100% agree I don't think it would be good for it on long passes in a mill. A one time event shouldn't kill it though. So yes, I'm in agreement.
 

tfp

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Run more oil in your fuel (at least 40:1) and re-tune the saw to run slightly rich - long milling runs are hard on saws, especially smaller ones. Keep an eye on your air filter after each cut, although green wood shouldn’t be as much of an issue. Make sure the cooling system on it doesn’t get caked with chips as well.
 
sean donato

sean donato

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Run more oil in your fuel (at least 40:1) and re-tune the saw to run slightly rich - long milling runs are hard on saws, especially smaller ones. Keep an eye on your air filter after each cut, although green wood shouldn’t be as much of an issue. Make sure the cooling system on it doesn’t get caked with chips as well.
His saw is an auto tune.
 
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EastTexas

EastTexas

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For the logs that you are planning on milling, I would suggest a 48” mill, a 42” bar should work, but I would recommend trying to find a 44” bar like the Husqvarna Branded bar in one of my pics above, they are built by GB, (NOT Granberg) in Australia, the extra 2”, may come in handy in your case.

I have had Excellent Luck with Stihl .404/.063 Full Skip chain. Full Skip not only lessens the load on the powerhead, but also allows more room for chip clearance than Full Comp, or semi-skip, both will be an asset for you, but if you do run the 572XP, you may want to use 3/8 pitch chain. .063 gauge will have a bit wider bar groove, that will carry more oil, if your saw puts out enough oil. Consider adding an Auxiliary Oiler.

In Cedar, your 572 may handle it, but wouldn’t be my first choice, will you be milling logs that size very often, or is this a One and Done project?

For a one project use, let the saw set the pace, don’t force it, but expect that it will take some life out of the saw, milling is about the most Abusive use for a saw, while still using it “Properly “, the length of your cuts also add a bit of reason to consider a larger saw, a 6-8’ cut of 36” diameter is asking a lot of a 70cc saw, a 15’ cut on a 36” diameter log is asking much more than double from it, that is a Loooooooong time for a 70cc saw to be operating at WOT, with 36” of bar actually engaged in the cut, that saw is going to build a lot of heat.

If it is something that you expect to do more of in the future, seriously consider a larger saw, my recommendation would be the 395XP, spend the extra $100 over the 390XP( I have Both) Both are excellent saws, but for milling, the 395XP is worth the extra money, not just for the extra 6-7cc’s, but it also has heavier bearings that will stand up to milling better. The 395XP is Very Well Respected for milling.

Your Money,
Your Choices,
My Suggestions


Doug
Thank you so much Doug. (I had to read your post Several times before soaking up all the info.)
I am certain that this will be a "one-and-done" with this size of a log. I just can't see myself getting that lucky again; however, I am extremely resourceful.
1). If I wanted to use the 36" bar, would I have to square the trunk to 32"?
2). And, if I did that, would I be purely stupid for ruining what might very well be a cut of a lifetime for that size tree?
3). If you suggest that I would be something short of stupid and that I should obviously get the larger Mill *Plus* the larger bar and aforementioned chain [(3/8 pitch chain, .404/.063 gauge) Did I say that right?] , then I'll easily pull the trigger because I believe I can still use all of that for future cuts of 20+ trees.
4). One thing is for certain, I will not be allowed to buy another saw this year. My balls are only so big... and my wife's are bigger.
5). I will definitely purchase an auxiliary oil system for the end of the bar. Seems to make perfect sense to me. Small price to pay for extending the life of my equipment and making my cuts easier.
Of all the info you mentioned, one thing shook me up a bit... you mentioned that this may very well shorten the life of my saw if I don't set this system up correctly due to heat and stress of the long cuts. Temperatures here range from 70 to 100. Should I cut this early in the morning while it's still cool and would that help the saw?

Charles
 
EastTexas

EastTexas

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Ah yes I mistook your 404 to be used with the 572xp. They are plenty powerful for what they are. Not to terribly long ago I got to use one for a few hours bucking logs to load. But yes 100% agree I don't think it would be good for it on long passes in a mill. A one time event shouldn't kill it though. So yes, I'm in agreement.
Hey guys. Sorry for the late response. Yes. This is a one-and-done project and I'm super cautious about my setup so I'm reading and rereading your posts several times just so I have a solid understanding of what I'm doing. I'm confident enough with this group to post pictures of the setup BEFORE I start cutting so I can get as much feedback as possible from the more seasoned cutters. I can't tell you how much your input helps. This is much different than my 18' band saw mill back in Michigan. Thanks,
Charles
 
Husky Man

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Hi Charles, you want 3/8” Pitch, not.404, with an.063 Gauge.

Milling, in the morning when it is cooler, would help.

Milling is hard on a saw, along the lines of hauling a Large travel trailer, as opposed to a pick up that moves a washer or dryer occasionally, an F350 is going to hold up better than an F150.

Are you trying to get Double Live edge slabs? If not, then you could square it up for smaller cuts

You’re milling Cedar, that’s pretty soft, your 572 should handle it, if you don’t force it, but it isn’t the saw that I would choose for that job

Doug
 
EastTexas

EastTexas

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Hi Charles, you want 3/8” Pitch, not.404, with an.063 Gauge.

Milling, in the morning when it is cooler, would help.

Milling is hard on a saw, along the lines of hauling a Large travel trailer, as opposed to a pick up that moves a washer or dryer occasionally, an F350 is going to hold up better than an F150.

Are you trying to get Double Live edge slabs? If not, then you could square it up for smaller cuts

You’re milling Cedar, that’s pretty soft, your 572 should handle it, if you don’t force it, but it isn’t the saw that I would choose for that job

Doug
Morning Doug.
I got it. 3/8" pitch with an .063 Gauge. Done.
I'm thinking that early morning would be best with the auxiliary oil system.
I'm assuming that live edge slabs mean that I'm not squaring the wood on the edges before cutting it. I would like to do this but It may be close to impossible due to the width on the bottom end of the largest piece. Its mostly 34"-32" wide throughout the rest of the slabs. I may very well slice off the bottom 3' of the large one because the center had started to rot up to 3'. And I believe the saw and system would easily do the smaller log with ease. I should have sent these photos earlier.
Thoughts?
Charles
 

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Husky Man

Husky Man

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Take the “Dawgs” (spikes) off your saw, that will gain you an inch and a half, or two inches of bar length.

A 36” Granberg mill maxed out, will get you about 33.5” between the inside faces of the bar clamps, remember the nose sprocket on the bar, don’t clamp so close to the nose, that you damage the nose sprocket

If you can, try to orient that rot/crack in a horizontal plane, not vertical, then mill down as far as you can, then roll the log, and mill down what you can, from what had been the bottom of the log

Don’t forget to get and use some wood or plastic wedges, to keep the Kerf from closing up, and binding your bar and chain. If you have someone that can space some wedges behind you, so you don’t have to stop mid cut, it will improve your results

also the part of the log that is too wide for your mill, start at the narrow end and mill as far as you can, then using wedges to open the kerf, back the saw and mill out, and buck the slab free, it won’t be full length, but you may be able to find a better use for it than firewood

Just be WARNED, CSMAD is just as Bad as CAD, but extended and on Steroids

Make sure that you POST SOME PICTURES, when you are done

Doug
 
EastTexas

EastTexas

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Take the “Dawgs” (spikes) off your saw, that will gain you an inch and a half, or two inches of bar length.

A 36” Granberg mill maxed out, will get you about 33.5” between the inside faces of the bar clamps, remember the nose sprocket on the bar, don’t clamp so close to the nose, that you damage the nose sprocket

If you can, try to orient that rot/crack in a horizontal plane, not vertical, then mill down as far as you can, then roll the log, and mill down what you can, from what had been the bottom of the log

Don’t forget to get and use some wood or plastic wedges, to keep the Kerf from closing up, and binding your bar and chain. If you have someone that can space some wedges behind you, so you don’t have to stop mid cut, it will improve your results

also the part of the log that is too wide for your mill, start at the narrow end and mill as far as you can, then using wedges to open the kerf, back the saw and mill out, and buck the slab free, it won’t be full length, but you may be able to find a better use for it than firewood

Just be WARNED, CSMAD is just as Bad as CAD, but extended and on Steroids

Make sure that you POST SOME PICTURES, when you are done

Doug
Excellent feedback. Thanks. Ya know, I was thinking.... I could probably justify getting another, more powerful unit with this project. And if I did it very carefully, I could feasibly run a couple of powerheads at the same time. It is, after all a big tree and if one of the units ever goes down, I'll need a solid back-up... I'm heading out for trout this AM and will be pondering the hell out of this project...
 
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