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CS Milling 101, Hints tips and tricks

WolfMann

WolfMann

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Thought this graphic on making dimensional lumber with a chainsaw mill was neat. Found it, and some other good info on the Granberg website.
 

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Trdoldtreecutter

Trdoldtreecutter

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New to this, read some good stuff, thought I’d share something I learned today. I was a timber faller in western Washington for 20 years and I used full skip chisel chain. For me and many that I worked with, a chain started to come to life after 3-6 grinds (sharpenings) and if it was never rocked , seemed best when about about 2/3 down. I never changed anything and was buzzing right through Doug fir logs 20-40”, then , steady decline. I didn’t want to mess with my angles since I still need good chains for side jobs at times so I tried playing with the corners, etc. finally grabbed a once ran chain that the corners got banged up pretty good so it got hung up for a rainy day. Bang! Cutting awesome again! No idea why the newer chain cuts sooo much better ripping. I know the 2/3 chain I pulled would be waaay faster in a normal cross cut, I didn’t even clean the corners up completely on the newer chain. Hope this helps somebody
 

BobL

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No idea why the newer chain cuts sooo much better ripping.

If you want to see new chain really sparkle try dropping the rakers before you cut anything. Stock rakers settings on new chains tend to be on the wussy side to cater for the average Joe (less kickback, poor B&C maintenance) but a careful CS miller with good power head can easily work with much lower rakers especially in your softer woods. Check out "Progressive raker setting" and you will have better than new chain performance for almost the whole life of the chain. https://www.arboristsite.com/commun...ly-progressive-depth-raker-generators.114624/
 
George Hurchalla

George Hurchalla

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After having replaced or sharpened nearly every cutting edge in my wood shop in the past week, I'm reminded more than ever how much more I need to keep on top of my sharpening. Everything is fairly effortless with sharp edges. Everything is a struggle without them. BobL, I know you've stressed how easy it is to dull edges in a heartbeat in dirty wood and steps to avoid it, but it really sunk in during my last round of mesquite milling. With all my types of wood cutting/planing, I've had a bad habit of going by "amount of use" to gauge when it's time to sharpen an edge, rather than admit that the edge needs sharpening if the machine is struggling to make a good cut, even if I just sharpened it yesterday. Mesquite has such dirty thick bark that you're guaranteed to dull chains quickly unless you debark it, as much of a pain in the ass as it can be to do so. Also, mesquite tends to contain a lot of dead spots of rotten wood that will dull the chain quickly and you never know where you'll find them. I checked out all the opinions on winches out of curiosity, which would certainly come in handy when I'm pushing hard with a dull chain, but even in a really hard wood like mesquite, I've found with freshly sharpened chain on my 880, it just wants to eat it up and I only lightly guide it, I don't have to push it. That's kind of a standard I think I've learned for when to sharpen. If I'm having to push, sharpen the chain.
I was also reading this whole thread and others for thoughts on rails/ladders on every cut or just the first cut. I've gone back and forth, but have much preferred the results using them on every cut. When I don't use rails, I struggle solo with my 880 at keeping the mill level as I first initiate the cut and end up with unevenness in the first six inches, and tend to get the same at the other end finishing the cut.
I had some terrible washboarding issues when my son helped me one day who has no familiarity with milling, and he tried to attribute it to the chain loosening up. I've almost never had washboarding issues on my own. I was thinking it mostly had to do with him pushing too hard on his side - every time I've ever had a novice help me I've had to tell them to stop pushing so much - and also him cantilevering his push by holding the vertical post up high and pushing. But even more so, I think it was him knocking in wedges behind the cut way too far and lifting the wood too much so that it was tilting the mill from the back end and always pushing it to dig in. I had not even been putting wedges in behind me with mesquite most of the time because it didn't really sag and close up at all. When I went back to milling on my own, I had smooth results again. I haven't really seen it warned about or mentioned that in milling you only put in wedges to keep the cut open to the width of the cut. Some people treat wedges like they do when felling and drive them in and open the cut way too much and tilt the angle of attack of the mill.
What should be a bit of a game changer for keeping myself working more steadily is that I got my two old 87cc Stihls back from my place in Mexico, only one of which I ever expected to work. But I did the ignition fix on the 045 successfully and now I have three big saws to choose from, and can start milling with 3/8" chain some on smaller hardwoods. I remember you saying, BobL, that you didn't see much of a difference between a 660 with 3/8 and 880 w/ .404 in narrower hardwoods, but you also mentioned my 045 and 056 Supers were considerably lower revs than the 660, if only marginally less powerful, so I won't get the higher chain speed benefit so much from them that I would from the 660. Even still, it will be interesting to do some direct comparisons of the two setups.
 
Mtn Woodworks

Mtn Woodworks

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Running Springs, CA
I am so glad I came across this thread! What a wealth of information. Tax returns are coming before long and I will be getting a 48” mill with either a ms660 or an 070 that I may possibly upgrade later to an 090 jug(if needed). An 880 or 3120 is just out of the question. I’ll mostly be milling white oak and eucalyptus and the occasional pine/spruce/cedar. Trees in my area rearely get over 30-36” bit we do have a few 4’ pines and I would like to mill crotch slabs for tables so I think I would rather have to set up wider rails then miss out on free logs from the local tree services! Thanks for setting this post up and contributing to it!
 

BobL

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UOTE="Mtn Woodworks, post: 6774965, member: 161087"]I am so glad I came across this thread! What a wealth of information. . . . . . Thanks for setting this post up and contributing to it![/QUOTE]

Glad to be of service. Post some pics of you milled bits and pieces in your thread once you get going and feel free to post questions as well. We're all learning one way or another.
 
George Hurchalla

George Hurchalla

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I will be getting a 48” mill with either a ms660 or an 070 that I may possibly upgrade later to an 090 jug(if needed). An 880 or 3120 is just out of the question. I’ll mostly be milling white oak and eucalyptus and the occasional pine/spruce/cedar.
Though initially a fan of bigger is better after getting an impossibly good deal on a new 880, my go to milling setup for most logs these days is my old 87cc Stihl 045 Super with a 32" bar. Saving the 880 for the big work. I think a 660 will be plenty for most everything you want to do. Much easier starting it and much lighter to handle lifting on and off the logs. Like I realized in an above post, becoming a master sharpener is about the biggest favor you can do yourself in milling, so you can constantly touch up the chain sharpness while milling. A small bit of extra work that will save you untold hours of labor in the long run.
 
csmillingnoob

csmillingnoob

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Hello everybody. First post.

I started getting into milling with the thought that i was going to mill some 20-ish inch cedar for decks, fencing etc on October 1, 2018.

Then, Hurricane Michael hit on October 10th. Now, I am up to my ears in red oak and pecan blowdowns. Needless to say, I had to add a bigger saw than the 372xp I had originally planned to get by with. This weekend, I will be milling an 8 ft x 36-43 inch Live Oak that I squared up to 34' last Saturday. That stuff makes pecan seem like balsa. Nasty, nasty bark too.

Great thread and site!
 
csmillingnoob

csmillingnoob

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"Inboard Rollers" to keep friction down when the chain pulls the saw hard up to the edge ?

Does anybody have pics of what they have used for that modification? I really want to try this!
 
George Hurchalla

George Hurchalla

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"Inboard Rollers" to keep friction down when the chain pulls the saw hard up to the edge ?

Does anybody have pics of what they have used for that modification? I really want to try this!
Heard people talk about it but had been satisfied enough with the curved lower guide on my Granberg mill that keeps me from hanging up. Still does periodically though on the irregular wood I mill, so might be worth me giving it a shot. Judging by Granberg's G988 (which I'm not sure they make anymore) all you do is drill some holes further outboard in the lower guide clamp, get some old rollerblade urethane wheels and bearings and attach them to some 2.5-3" long 8mm bolts. Would use 8mm nylon locknuts, one to tighten the bolt to the clamp, and then sandwich the wheel between that and a locknut below it. https://granberg.com/product/g988-10-roller-bracket/
 
J-Rod

J-Rod

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Looks like Lowes has some sliding patio door rollers that could be modified with a longer bolt
Greetings from little Barbados. I have been tinkering with saws for a little while (even tried my hand at porting Shinny 488) and I love woodwork. last couple years I have been doing my own milling with a mill that I made from PV racking extrusions. I was looking at rollers too as you mentioned, they may work well but I think I may just stick to the standard skids, got to be better than what I have now (which is nothing). will Likely use 1/8" thick Aluminum bar welded to the clamp like the Granberg. Has anyone here made their own Auxiliary oiler? cheaper than buying the Granberg kit?
Currently running a 42" bar on my Shindaiwa 757 and its ok at the moment with onboard oiler set to max however I think it may be wise to add some oil at other end! Lord knows i will need one for the 60" bar when it arrives for the CS1201. Anyhow, great being here as I have learned so much from reading these forums!
 
csmillingnoob

csmillingnoob

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J-Rod

The Granber oiler is not very expensive. However, it's pretty easy to make one with pvc scrap and an ice maker line kit. Go sit down at a plumber supply store and tell the guys you want to line oil from a pvc reservoir onto your bar tip and have a cutoff valve. Any decent store will help you build it there
 
csmillingnoob

csmillingnoob

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Found the perfect (for me) FREE inboard rollers. Happy day

Front wheels with of a grocery buggy with the outer band of rubber tire removed. Fits perfectly on my ersatz Granberg (Holzfforma). Just replaced the inboard bolts with 4 1/2 inchers.

I live on the dividing line of old money neighborhood and the ghetto. Homeless people and just plain poor people without cars wander down alleys in the neighborhood frequently with grocery carts. Nearby grocery stores send trucks out frequently to pick up abandoned grocery carts. I found one that looked like it had been hit by a car. Measured the front wheels and discovered that they were perfect. Loaded it in my truck and drove to the grocery store. Asked them if they wanted it back and explained what I wanted it for. They said I could have it. I can use the basket portion to toss scraps in. If I can find another damaged cart, I can use the larger back wheels to make a slab transport cart. A good junkin' day! :happybanana:

Check with your local grocery stores. They scrap carts from time to time.
 
Ancient One

Ancient One

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Good find and a good use of the other person's "Junk"

Happiness in my shop is well stocked junk boxes! Surprising what I can make from the salvaged and saved items.

Yesterday I was rummaging around and found what I had considered buying: A new old stock rim and drum for my Stihl 090AV. The saw currently has the old spur type drum/sprocket, I like a rim and drum as there is less friction and chain wear. Saw a couple on ebay for $200!!!! Wow, talk about scalping for old rare items. There is an Australian shop that lists a 090 rim/drum for $37 plus about $40 shipping to the US and I am sure a long wait. But I was afraid this is a china copy, I avoid china stuff.

Below, the rare Oregon 12004 rim & drum:

enhance



Compared to a rim & drum for a 125 McCulloch:

enhance
 
TheStihlSlinger

TheStihlSlinger

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Fairly new to milling. Love all the good info in this site. I’m running a Stihl 880 with a 40” bar in a 36” Granberg for the smaller logs and a 60” bar in a 72” Granberg for the bigger stuff. Saving up for a bigger bar or possibly a second power head to take full advantage of the bigger mill. What are everyone’s thoughts on using an 8 pin sprocket for the 40” bar in softer woods or even smaller hardwood? Will the extra chain speed outweigh the loss in power?
 

BobL

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What are everyone’s thoughts on using an 8 pin sprocket for the 40” bar in softer woods or even smaller hardwood? Will the extra chain speed outweigh the loss in power?

In say 30" wood, if max power is utilised in both cases, then pin number and chain setup are trade offs. If the chain is optimised for 7 pin and then you switch to 8 pin the power head should bog down, If VV then more dust and less chips should be made. If the chain is optimised for each pin count you should get about the same cut speed. With a 7 pin the chain setup can be a bit more aggressive so with its slower chain speed it removes about the same about of wood as a less aggressive setting when used with the 8pin. Then if you use skip or full comp this changes things again

On my 880 (with mild muffler mod) with the 42" bar I use, 3/8 full comp chain with an 8pin and 6.5º raker angle in much harder wood than anything you guys see in NA. The only time I will swap to a 7 pin with the 42" bar would be for something like Iron bark. Thats about twice as hard green as your hickory is dry. With the 60" bar I use the 7 pin.
 
TheStihlSlinger

TheStihlSlinger

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In say 30” wood, if max power is utilised in both cases, then pin number and chain setup are trade offs. If the chain is optimised for 7 pin and then you switch to 8 pin the power head should bog down, If VV then more dust and less chips should be made. If the chain is optimised for each pin count you should get about the same cut speed. With a 7 pin the chain setup can be a bit more aggressive so with its slower chain speed it removes about the same about of wood as a less aggressive setting when used with the 8pin. Then if you use skip or full comp this changes things again

On my 880 (with mild muffler mod) with the 42" bar I use, 3/8 full comp chain with an 8pin and 6.5º raker angle in much harder wood than anything you guys see in NA. The only time I will swap to a 7 pin with the 42" bar would be for something like Iron bark. Thats about twice as hard green as your hickory is dry. With the 60" bar I use the 7 pin.
Thanks BobL.
I appreciate your experience and info. I am currently running .404 full chisel semi skip crosscut chain with a 7 pin on both bars as that is what is readily available in my area.(Ripping chain is hard to get and almost triple the price) however I have an 8 pin I haven’t tried yet.
I have been slowly resharpening the chains as needed by hand towards a 10degree top plate angle and trying to keep the rakers about .020 down(just starting to practice progressive raker angles)
So far ease of cut and surface finish seem to be improving nicely.
In your opinion, does the 3/8 chain cut faster or smoother than the .404? If so, enough to warrant switching my sprocket noses over? I have two chains for each bar in .404, by the time I’ve wore through those it would be fairly cheap to switch to 3/8 full comp ( then I could buy rolls of chain and make my own loops as all my other saws run that already for firewood)
Also do you recommend full or semi chisel?


Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.
 

BobL

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In your opinion, does the 3/8 chain cut faster or smoother than the .404? If so, enough to warrant switching my sprocket noses over? I have two chains for each bar in .404, by the time I’ve wore through those it would be fairly cheap to switch to 3/8 full comp ( then I could buy rolls of chain and make my own loops as all my other saws run that already for firewood)
Once again, it's possible to optimise both a 404 and a 3/8 to get close to the same cutting speeds.
Smoothness of finish is mostly due to operator skill.
The kerf differences are minimal, but the 404 does stretch less which is an advantage on long loops.

Also do you recommend full or semi chisel?
In terms of cutting speed. in wide, long cuts, I found full chisel cuts like a demon at the beginning but then fades so that it slightly slower at the end of these cuts than semi.
Overall it comes oy about the same in terms of speed for the stuff I cut.
In this case it would be faster for softer narrower shorter cuts. out
Full versus semi is a personal thing and as I said above finish is mostly up to operator skill but I find I am consistently able to get a better finish with semi.
Sorry for reposting this but it seems appropriate at this point.
Nicefinish.jpg
Most CSMers I meet are impressed at this sort of finish.

My favourite story about CSM finishing is when I was milling some nature playground furniture logs at a local park in Perth.
A couple of young fellas from a small timber town in the country were also contracted on the same playground and were on site at the same time I was there.
The town, called Manjimup, was in the heart of tall timber country about 200 miles south in the South West of Western Australia where locals have a proud timber falling/milling heritage
Their job was to install several hundred ~1ft diameter logs from 3 to 6 ft long upright into the ground to make a sort of a wavy palisade wall around a large sand play area.

They saw me milling and came over and one of them look at a couple of the cut surfaces and he said. "We're from Manji (short for Manjimup) and we've seen a lot of chainsaw milling but we've never seen a finish like that, especially from a city fella !"
I replied, "It's all right, I'm originally from Pemby" - Pemby is short for Pemberton, an even smaller town about 20 miles from Manjimup and even deeper into the tall timber country.
Manji and Pemby folks are great rivals, football, milling, or who has the longest whatnots, I don't know what pissed him off more, the fact that I was from Pemby or the finish.
Anyway he asked a lot of questions and went away saying, " . . . well I learned something "
 
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