Need advice on beginning CSM - milling black locust

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bradpj53

bradpj53

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I have a small part-time sheep farm on hilly acreage that includes an 8 acre woodlot of mostly mixed hard woods with a few poplar and pine. My biggest trees are 24" BH red oak. My first interest is being able to mill 2X, 4X and 6X black locust from stems that are usually no bigger than 12" at the large end. I can't find black locust milled to buy, and prefer it to PT because I consider it safer in uses where animals may gnaw on it, for example as rot-resistant skids for movable pasture shelters.

I currently have as a primary saw a Husky 350 with 18" bar and 3/8" pico chain. I have used it for about 8 years and carefully maintained it. I intend to give it as a housewarming gift to my SIL, as he and my daughter and kids are buying the neighboring property. He will mostly be cutting down the excess pines (mostly less than 16") that litter his couple of acres, and bucking up firewood from my woodlot. I have found the Husky dependable but underpowered for the larger stuff in general and the locust in particular.

I love the idea of running a 066 on a Logosol M7, but that is not currently in the budget. I am thinking then about upgrading to a 70cc class saw that would be my long-term felling saw and that could be paired with perhaps a mini mill for limited milling now. I have my eye on what sounds like a lightly used MS 441 on CL for $575. That or something like a Husqvarna 372 XP. I have been reading a lot of threads on this site, and really value the great info and helpfulness. Does this approach seem workable, given that I can't right now have both a 70cc and a 90cc+ saw?

Final question is about using carbide chain - I find that even when very careful with technique, I have to resharpen every time I refuel. Between the crap that gets included in locust bark, and the gritty hardness of the wood itself, I wonder if carbide might not be worth the extra expense and trouble (possibly sending out for sharpening, etc). Thanks!
 
john taliaferro

john taliaferro

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Welcome to A S , i found a floor scraper at harbor freight thats mean on loose bark,but when stuck tight and dirty i use a small saw, short chain 16" to remove it . We got a 460 on a small mill 36" thats faster than stink on stuff smaller logs . When they are 20+" and oak or locus or the like its time for horse power . Bigger is better unless you have to rasel in to where your log is . If i had to choose it would be a 660 size saw .
 
bradpj53

bradpj53

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Thanks, John. The only loose bark i find on locusts is on the dead ones, which are super hard. I am clearing a half acre of woodlot right now for a barn site - the straight locusts are going for fence posts if 8" or less, and to be milled if bigger. The curved and crooked and leaning stuff, often the biggest trees, is going for firewood though I plan to use some of the curved ones for exterior stair tread slabs. I have also seen that Baily's has a bar nose attached de-barker that looks interesting; might be worth picking up a cheap used saw to dedicate to that.

On the premise that "there are no stupid questions, only stupid people that ask questions" - is a 066 oversized as a dual use felling/bucking saw and a milling saw? My largest locusts are 24"+ at the base.
Brad
 
betterbuilt

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When I first got my 066 I used it to drop some trees. It was interesting what a 16 inch bar would do on a 90cc saw. I'm not sure I'd want to carry it all day long but it was fun. I would say milling with a under powered saw is not something I'd want to try either. When it comes to milling a over powered saw is the way to go. I've seen 2 nice 660's this year for $500.

This time of year I find the bark on locust will usually fall of with a bark spud. If it's not coming off draw knifing a line on the top of the log and getting it wet will help the bark come loose.

Best of luck.
 
BlueRider

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A saw you might consider keeping an eye out for is a stihl 038M.
It is a 72cc saw built on the same case as the 038(61cc), and I think the 041. but because it is a big bore you get a nice weight to power ratio. The reason I would give it a serious look is largely due to the fact that Bailey's carries every single part for it available as aftermarket. I have an 038M that snaped a ring and toasted the jug. A replacement from my dealer was $280. A piston & cylinder from Bailey's was $110 delivered to my door.

I have used my 038M to mill with and it will do the Job. I have a 32" bar for it which will let me mill logs up to 26". It will do it but I will say it is way over what that saw was designed to do. it is much more comfortable milling logs 18" and under.

For bucking with a 16" bar it rips! Its a bit on the heavy side compared to something in the mid 50cc class which is really a class of saw much better suited for bucking firewood. That said my 038m will cut circles around my dads husky 359 as long as I can keep up with it.

Its been a while since I've milled any black locust but when I did I used my 051 and I ended up with a couple of 20" slabs. it is some hard stuff but the 051 didn't have any trouble with it. Thats another saw you might consider, its 89cc and is a torque monster.
 
bradpj53

bradpj53

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Thanks Bluerider; I am new to Stihl and ignorant about their line. Model specific advice truly helpful. Local CL has a 044 powerhead, compression is 70lbs. Guy says it ran great previously but needs piston/rings and insists on a firm $200. Good bet?
 
betterbuilt

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Thanks Bluerider; I am new to Stihl and ignorant about their line. Model specific advice truly helpful. Local CL has a 044 powerhead, compression is 70lbs. Guy says it ran great previously but needs piston/rings and insists on a firm $200. Good bet?

I saw that saw. It sounds like a good deal but the question is why did it seize in the first place. Baileys has a P&C kit for that saw for $119. I do remember there being a weak crank in some of the 044's. I'd figure out how to tell the cranks apart and go look at it. The piston swap is pretty easy but you should pressure test and vaccum test it to look for leaks. I can help you with that if you need any help.

Theres a 441 in a shop over here thats probably $350. I didn't ask but he had a 460 last week for $400.
 
bradpj53

bradpj53

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Thanks Betterbuilt, I'll check out the crank issue on the Chainsaw forum and see what I come up with. I sent the CL guy my phone # (which was what he asked for in the ad) so when I hear from him I'll try to get a better history. I've done plenty of basic chainsaw maintenance before, but if I get into this big a project your help would be invaluable!
 
BlueRider

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The 044 is a good saw and $200 is not a bad price if all it needs is rings. The problem is that until you tear it down there is no way of knowing what else it needs. The 044 is a couple of cc's smaller than the 038M but you can put a big bore kit on the 044 and end up with a great saw. the biggest difference is that with the 038 is that every single part is available as aftermarket. Not sure if you realize the impact that statement has. Say your 044 has a split in the gas tank, not that uncommon of a problem if a log rolls over on it. You are stuck going to the dealer for a replacement and in case you don't know Stihl is VERY proud of their parts. If you had an 038 with a split in the tank you can order a replacement from Bailey's.

In stock configuration you have to go up to an 046 to find a saw with more displacement than the 038M. I am guessing there was a good reason why Bailiers chose to have every part from that saw remade and available as aftermaket. the other saw they did that with is the 070(105cc) which interchanges everything but the P&C and clutch with the 090 (134cc).


There are some ohter really good saws besides stihls. I got hooked on stihls early on and one of the reasons I stick with them is the parts availability for the older saws. with the internet and ebay, parts for something like and old partner, a big mac or a wards with a powerbee motor is not as big of a problem. Plenty of guys here mill with huskies and it is hard to argue with the resuts they get.
 
gemniii

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.. My biggest trees are 24" BH red oak. My first interest is being able to mill 2X, 4X and 6X black locust from stems that are usually no bigger than 12" at the large end....

I love the idea of running a 066 on a Logosol M7, but that is not currently in the budget. I am thinking then about upgrading to a 70cc class saw that would be my long-term felling saw and that could be paired with perhaps a mini mill for limited milling now. I have my eye on what sounds like a lightly used MS 441 on CL for $575....
There's no substitute for a 3 saw plan with 24" and up trees. One medium saw to get the tree to lay down, one small saw to trim the limbs and one saw with the horsepower to make lumber.
For milling 12" wood a 60cc saw should do, my 60cc JD was fine on 14" red maple, but bogged on 18".
Whatever you get look for something that has a side chain tensioner and inboard clutch for when you get an Alaskan.
And after you've milled a few small trees you might get addicted and start planning for the 066/660.
As far as prices for a 660 class machine, you can generally get something good, inexpensive, and quick. Just not all at the same time. I don't look for 60 or 70cc saws, but I routinely find 066/660's for around $550 on CL, and ebay, just not for long. There was an 066 for sale last month for $550 down in Md near me.
I got my first 660 off ebay last year for about $515. And it just purrs thru 24" wood. There's no replacement for displacement.
 
bradpj53

bradpj53

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Gemnii, I like the way you're thinking. My impression so far is that the 066/660 is King in its class size. I would be open to a 90cc+ Husky as well; that'd make my Swedish cousins smile. My search will be diligent. I figure if I can hit the sweet spot on prices for saws that may need TLC, I can spread the cost out over time. I just have to master that itchy trigger finger while I wait for my best deal!:msp_mellow:
 
Justsaws

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I milled up some black locust last year to make compost bins. No real issues beyond dirt/junk inclusions while milling. Most of the bark fell off the trees when I felled them so I did not have to deal with that. I usually do not spend the time to debark hardwoods. I did not square the sides of the boards as it was not needed for the project.

I use a 066 with a 3/8x8 20" sprocket tip bar on homemade mill most of the time these days and ended up stepping down to a 3/8x7 for the locust to make it less touchy. In terms of sharping the chain, every pass on the stuff 12"+ wide x8'+ long. Nature of the beast.

Carbide chain is slooooooooooooow going and any time saved by not sharpening is wasted by the production rate of the chain itself on small projects. Get some extra chains and swap them out.

Air filters, air filters, air filters, the Black Locust dust is abrasive. I would want a saw with a big air filter and spare filters.

I would recommend going to a 90cc saw.
 
bradpj53

bradpj53

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Justsaws, your situation parallels my own; locust has a lot of applications like compost bins that interest me. Can you educated me on the difference between the 7 pin and 8 pin rim sprocket in terms of working locust? Also, when you say the bark tends to fall of upon felling, that sounds like dead trees, IMHO. If so, I assume they are that much harder to mill? I see what you're saying about the carbide; that much more grunting and pushing to get the saw through the cut is not what I need.
 
betterbuilt

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Justsaws, your situation parallels my own; locust has a lot of applications like compost bins that interest me. Can you educated me on the difference between the 7 pin and 8 pin rim sprocket in terms of working locust? Also, when you say the bark tends to fall of upon felling, that sounds like dead trees, IMHO. If so, I assume they are that much harder to mill? I see what you're saying about the carbide; that much more grunting and pushing to get the saw through the cut is not what I need.

The bigger the rim the faster it will cut.

The Smaller the rim the more torque.

Start small and if you seem to have left over power you can move to a larger rim, til it's just right.


I find that there is a time of year when the bark does just drop off and it is in late April/ May when the tree are getting their spring drink on. If its not coming off, I like to wait for a rainy day and take a drawknife and peel the top bark off and the rain some how runs through the cambium and lubricates the log up and the bark will pop right off. It doesn't work everytime but it does help get the bark off . A good drawknife is a need to have tool. You could also make yourself a bark spud from a baseball bat and a chunk of Axle spring.
 
Justsaws

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Using bad math-
7 pin will have 14% decrease in chain speed with a cooresponding increase in power to pull the cutters through the wood than an 8 pin.

Using the setup that I have, in the size of logs(less than 20" dia.) that I mill I usually can run a 3/8(chain pitch) x 8(size of drive rim) setup.

When milling the locust that setup was very touchy in terms of stalling the chain in the cut. It took very little change in cutting conditions(width/knots/operator error) to stall the chain in the cut.
By stepping down to the 7 pin rim on the clutch drum it was much easier to keep the chain from stalling in the cut.

In terms of standing dead being harder to mill, yes, however still very millable. Standing dead trees should be judged on a tree to tree basis as I did not notice a huge amount of extra effort between the standing dead Black Locust logs and the barely alive ones for that project.

The trees were felled in the spring before leaf set.

Black Locust is a great outdoor lumber. Milling it is the easy part, getting the fastners into it is the hard part.
 
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