finding the right mill,bar,chain combo

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stevegriffin

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I have a Husqvarna 550XP Mark II 50cc. Sprocket is a .325 pitch. Std bar length is 16 and 18. Max is 20.

I am new to milling. I have ordered a Granberg 36" Mark IV and their edging mill. The Mark IV will use up 6" of bar length. Granberg tech has said that there would be no problem with a 24" bar thus 18" of usable cutting area.

My preference on ripping chains is from granberg due to various reviews where the half cutter alternating with a full 10 degree cutter produces good clearing and cuts longer without dulling. I can get a custom chain in .325 pitch in .063 or 0.05 gauge from Granberg.

My challenge is that I have been unable to find a 24" bar that is a .325 pitch in any gauge.

So, my options seem to be, in no particular order:
1. drop down to a 20" bar and thus have 14" of useable cutting area, or
2. change the drive sproket on the chainsaw to a 3/8 so that I have more options in 24" bars.
3. Return the mark IV mill and get Granberg's small mill, which uses up only 2 inches of the bar but requires a solid bar (versus laminate) and is limited to to bars up to 20", ie effective cutting length of 18". My preference is the mark IV for safety given the end of the bar is enclosed, but I could deal with the open end, given I will be dealing with that on the edging mill.

My goal is to cut up trees on my property which tend to be cedar, poplar and some oak to use for various outdoor building projects. Most of the trees are of size that either mill would work. If its too big then I would cut it off and burn that for firewood to get down to a diameter that I can cut with the mill.

I'd appreciate any pros/cons from those with more experience milling.

Thanks!
 

Parkerpusher

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I haven’t found too much benefit from ripping chain over regular chain. I would either switch to 3/8 and run the 24” bar or keep what you have and run the 20. With the edging mill, by the time you break the log down to the point where you can run boards that should cut wide enough boards for any project.

The 36” mill is much too large to make use of with a 550, but you might have plans to get a bigger powerhead down the road.
 

stevegriffin

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Re: Sprocket wear - it's not a wear issue for replacement, just a need to have an option for 24" bars.

re: the 36" - yes, I wanted to have an option to buy a bigger powerhead. Given the small $ difference between the granberg mills, I opted to go bigger and just adjust it down to my current saw. If there's some real nuisance issue in operations with a smaller saw and the 36" mill, it would be good to know as I can return the 36" at this point.

When you say about cutting down and that the 20" would be fine are you taking into account the 6" loss with the mark IV? i.e. I'd end up with a 14" cutting length.
 

George Hurchalla

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I have a Husqvarna 550XP Mark II 50cc. Sprocket is a .325 pitch. Std bar length is 16 and 18. Max is 20.

I am new to milling. I have ordered a Granberg 36" Mark IV and their edging mill. The Mark IV will use up 6" of bar length. Granberg tech has said that there would be no problem with a 24" bar thus 18" of usable cutting area.
I'm going to beat this drum a lot on AS, but I'd recommend something unfamiliar and unavailable in the US, a 3/8" lo pro setup. Any saws under 70cc, particularly in the 50cc range, it's really the only way to go to have enough power to do anything. Chainsawbars.co.uk, the largest milling retailer in the UK and Europe, has everything lo pro. They ship super fast (last order only took 4 days) and free shipping over $120 order. I know the lo pro sprocket to get for 60+cc saws, but not sure which one fits your 50cc Husky. Their website has a ton of info once you figure out how to navigate it well, and they'd be able to tell you exactly what you need. I got a Granberg small log mill from Northern Tool to run a 20" GB lo pro bar w Stihl 63PMX chain. (Since then have opted for the less expensive Panther lo pro chain from Chainsawbars). Works great on the small log mill for up to 17" cuts or so. Mainly bought it to resaw a lot of my 2"+ milled stock to 3/4-1". Nice super light mill for lumber making. Have a 36" Alaskan mill for the 36" lo pro bar I got, and it also works surprisingly well in extreme hardwoods like mesquite (twice the hardness of walnut) with my 64cc Makita, though plan to put the bar on an 87cc Stihl saw I have when it's tuned right. The Makita 6421 I picked up for $180 second hand is pretty neat because you can straight swap the jug and piston for a 79cc one with minimal other mods so one day I'll upgrade the power on it and likely use that with the 36", as it then is one of the lightest 79cc saws there is.
 

sean donato

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Honestly the 3/8" set up will do you fine and keep you out of that custom category. Take your dogs off the saw it gains about an inch or so. The 36" is just as awkward to handle sucked down to 24" as it is full length with a 394xp on it. Not really an issue imo. You'll get used to it.
Your biggest limiting factor is going to be the saw, you'll be working the dog out of it. At least you seem aware of that.

The swapping the tip of a bar to .325 is because the bar groove is the same for both 3/8 and .325 and 3/8 is available up to 24" (I believe) in the small mount.
Best of luck.
 
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