chainsaw mill LONG guide rail

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sparkey504

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as the title suggest what is the best rails for milling long timers(16'-20')? using an extension ladder requires the setup of the 2 separate sections which require tedious alignment to get both sections level and square, which would be ok if i could get my parallel and my 90⁰ cut on the same setup... which im currently trying to figure out the best way to do as well....i made the saw mill attachment with some T-slot extrusion that i already had but its pretty much the Alaskan mill.
any info, pics or links to help streamline the cut of long timbers would be greatly appreciated.

fyi- i looked online and didnt see anyone mention getting there milled lumber pressure treated so called around...i plan on using the pine timbers to build a pole barn type structure for carport and i contacted a place that does pressure treatment (actually a yellowwood facility) to see if they would treat my timers and the guy gave me what i think is a great price of $500 which i calculated comes out to 12cents per board foot, for treating 20 timbers that are 12x12 20feet long and since i have a "small order" the guy is willing to dry the timbers for me also even though he had said his kiln has a 6 month backlog.
 

BobL

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My log rails are made of 20' long sections of HD Unistrut with allthread rod between them which enables the width to be adjustable for different diameter logs.

To make milling short logs easier I cut the Unistruts in half.
This means I can use a pair for logs up to eight feet of then join the two halves together using the allthread rods like this .
16ftr3.jpg

16ftr2.jpg

The 3' overlap required to join the lengths limits the total length of the rails ro ~17' and length of cut cut to ~16' but if I was ever to come across a longer log I would just buy another single 20' length of Unistrut and cut that in half which would give ~27' length of cut.

The big problem with HS Unistrut is it's expensive and weighs a lot - much more than my Al mill setup. Adding another length of Unistrut to the rails would probably require me to use the forklift to move it.
The above joining method could also be dome with timbers.
 

sparkey504

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My log rails are made of 20' long sections of HD Unistrut with allthread rod between them which enables the width to be adjustable for different diameter logs.

To make milling short logs easier I cut the Unistruts in half.
This means I can use a pair for logs up to eight feet of then join the two halves together using the allthread rods like this .
View attachment 979450

View attachment 979451

The 3' overlap required to join the lengths limits the total length of the rails ro ~17' and length of cut cut to ~16' but if I was ever to come across a longer log I would just buy another single 20' length of Unistrut and cut that in half which would give ~27' length of cut.

The big problem with HS Unistrut is it's expensive and weighs a lot - much more than my Al mill setup. Adding another length of Unistrut to the rails would probably require me to use the forklift to move it.
The above joining method could also be dome with timbers.
i went to get some unistrut and both lowes and homedepot are out within 100 miles and the elec supply house wanted $75 each for the same shut that the bigbox stores only wanting $30.

im currently thinking of using some angle iron to mount to the 2 flat sides ive already cut and add something to the mill to ride on the angle.
 

AZWoodworker

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I have 12 ft tube steel that I place on bracket plates. I am sure you can get longer. The ladders are not fun and never get a truly flat cut. The tube steel is solid. 20210413_224049.jpg 20210413_224100.jpg 20210226_122623.jpg
 

macbobster

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I watched a Youtube where a guy set his extension ladder up on the log stretched out/extended with the upper section on the butt and lower section on the small end. When he got to the middle (ladder overlap) he retracted the ladder to the small end of the log and continued milling. I will try to find the video and post the link. This method would require a bit more setup but if you have a good ladder it may be worth a try. I may give this a shot myself, why not?

Cheers, MAC
 

Lightning Performance

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I use a fifteen foot ladder section and add on the other section when doing extra long beams over twenty seven feet. After you make the first cut sliding the ladder down is an option depending on how you anchor it. Sometimes it can be moved along on the first cut to make twenty one foot long cuts. Using screws and wedge blocks screwed to the log you can loosen them and slide the ladder down some on straight sticks. The second cut I just pinch the ladder edges with shallow screws to keep my ladder from walking off the log and then slide it down. This isn't easy unless you use a string line and one steak to anchor the starting point. Don't remove the first string line starting point and your good. A sharp eye always beats using a level on any log. One look from each side lets you see if you have any twist with your string line laid on one side down the top of your rail. I use pink mason line. Measure your "straight line" from the base of each rail then take out the twist if any by looking over the top from each side.

Hasn't failed me yet unless the ladder moves during the cut. When that happens a ground steak, three screws and a block of wood lets you finish the cut. Just steak the ladder and clamp it with your block. You can move the block back if it's in your cut path. It's always worth the extra time to get it right on the very first cut from end to end with no twist. If not your fixing it on the next cut and adding more time. I will stop using my ladder after the second cut on stable logs with no twist in them or lots of tension like old fat leaners. They move on every cut most times. The first flitch likes to curl!
 

gnef

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I just built a first cut rail using v-slot 2040 aluminum extrusion in 2 meter sections. I built it two sections long, and used internal connectors to connect the two main sections together. If you are doing the longer span, I'd probably want to go with 2060. It does get expensive, but it is very versatile, and you can take it apart easily. I bought a whole bunch of the aluminum and fittings from openbuilds.com , and I built a router sled and rails for flattening my slabs using this aluminum too.

On my first cut rail, I also added a third middle rail out of 2020 to utilize the first cut rail as a beam mill guide as well for me, so it serves two purposes.

Here are a couple pictures:
52114715002_dde0c5d0dc_b.jpg

52114717557_63ca20751a_b.jpg


I will say that even with the 2040 vertically oriented, it can still sag if bridging over the whole 4 meters, but I was pretty happy with how rigid it is. This is why if you are doing much longer, I'd probably go with 2060 vertically oriented for the added rigidity.
 

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