New to milling

Derik

Derik

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Hello folks,

I'm thinking of getting into chainsaw milling. Where I'm at, mesquite wood is in abundance and seems to be a good idea because buying lumber at a saw mill, or taking trunks to a saw mill is far too expensive.

I'm sure the biggest tree I'll work with is 30", there's not many mesquite trees around here bigger than that and it seems the local sawmill already has priority if there is a tree of that size.

I've done a bit of research, seems Granberg chainsaw mills are a good start. I did read the pinned thread on 101 milling, quite a few pointers there. I knew about cleaning the bark and other debris, to keep chains sharp, use wedges to keep the slab from pinching the saw, and to put the log about waist high. That last one is a good one, noticed quite a few fellows on youtube working off the ground or in difficult positions.

Now, I'm sure this is going to cause debate. I familiar with using chainsaws. Never one with a 36" bar, used one with a 24" bar several times, but the saw has always been Echo. It's what I grew up with and it's what I know. However, Stihl seems to be a leading competitor in milling and I wouldn't be opposed to Stihl.

My question(s), is there a different mill that would be better than the Granbergs? Also, the saw that I have in mind is an Echo CS-800p. I have not purchased a saw yet, I wanted opinions on different saws & mills from experienced people. No one around me runs a chainsaw mill, there's just a local bandsaw mill.
 
ammoaddict

ammoaddict

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Nothing wrong with the echo. Most bang for the buck. I have echo, Stihl , Husqvarna and Dolmar. Husqvarna is my personal favorite, but nothing wrong with the others.

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Mad Professor

Mad Professor

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Welcome to the site/forum.

If you can, apprentice with a local sawyer to learn how to open up a log, and handle the flitches/boards properly when they come off the mill.

I worked in a commercial mill for a while and learned a lot but didn't make a lot $$$.

Learning how to stack and sticker green wood is essential. Then there is opening up a log to get best boards/beams. And edging the flitches for best quality boards.

Never did any western wood. Eastern hardwoods and eastern white pine and hemlock I have worked with.

Would love to see what mesquite looks like. All I see around here is imported chips for BBQ grills.
 
Justsaws

Justsaws

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The only reason not to use the Echo is the size, 30” cut width is not huge however neither is 80cc. It is a solid machine, however it does not have much of diverse parts supply like Stihl and Husqvarna, even bar availiblity is limited.

Personally I use a Stihl 660 because of the huge amount of new and used parts and they are generally inexpensive. The is basically zero aftermarket parts for Echo compared to Stihl or Husqvarna.

If you are buying a new saw, the Husqvarna 395, it is a milling machine compared to the Echo.
 
Derik

Derik

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Welcome to the site/forum.

If you can, apprentice with a local sawyer to learn how to open up a log, and handle the flitches/boards properly when they come off the mill.

I worked in a commercial mill for a while and learned a lot but didn't make a lot $$$.

Learning how to stack and sticker green wood is essential. Then there is opening up a log to get best boards/beams. And edging the flitches for best quality boards.

Never did any western wood. Eastern hardwoods and eastern white pine and hemlock I have worked with.

Would love to see what mesquite looks like. All I see around here is imported chips for BBQ grills.

Mesquite wood is a deep red color, great grain orientation. I'll see if I can get a photo or two uploaded for you
 
Derik

Derik

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The only reason not to use the Echo is the size, 30” cut width is not huge however neither is 80cc. It is a solid machine, however it does not have much of diverse parts supply like Stihl and Husqvarna, even bar availiblity is limited.

Personally I use a Stihl 660 because of the huge amount of new and used parts and they are generally inexpensive. The is basically zero aftermarket parts for Echo compared to Stihl or Husqvarna.

If you are buying a new saw, the Husqvarna 395, it is a milling machine compared to the Echo.

Diverse parts, are you talking aftermarket/performance parts? I noticed a few people port the engine, I'm aware Echo doesn't have much parts, other than just replacement parts.

I looked at the stihl 661, I believe that's the model, it'll only pull a 32" bar. At least that's what's recommended.

Haven't really look ino Husqvarna, kinda glanced though the models
 
Justsaws

Justsaws

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The is not much of a used or aftermarket supply of parts for Echo saws, the is not a lot of online suppliers for Echo saw parts. Parts availiblity may not be a concern, you may never need any or you might.

The only new saw I would mill with at the moment is the Husq 395, parts galore and way more power.

The Stihl 661 replaced the 660 in Stihls line up, hardly any parts availible for the 661 beyond going back to the dealer. The 661 is still to new for me to consider it a solid machine to speed that kind of money on for milling.
 
Justsaws

Justsaws

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I am basically referring to any part on a saw, air filter to crankcase. It may never be an issue. The basics things like air/fuel filters, lines/boots, sprockets, oil pump parts, av mounts, and bars are what seem to be common milling saw parts. Sometimes a piston and cylinder, crank, and crankcase, if you are using an Echo these are coming from the dealer only and are fairly spendy.

Used saws are all over, but I would caution against purchasing one from an unknown source.
 
Derik

Derik

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I am basically referring to any part on a saw, air filter to crankcase. It may never be an issue. The basics things like air/fuel filters, lines/boots, sprockets, oil pump parts, av mounts, and bars are what seem to be common milling saw parts. Sometimes a piston and cylinder, crank, and crankcase, if you are using an Echo these are coming from the dealer only and are fairly spendy.

Used saws are all over, but I would caution against purchasing one from an unknown source.

Awesome thanks for clearing that up. Is there anything you dislike about Husqvarna or Stihl?
 
Mad Professor

Mad Professor

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Can a person get an older saw? If so, where at?

Also, what kind of parts are we talking, power wise?


Beware buying used. Don't go too old as parts will be hard to find. Bigger is better for milling, > 90cc.

Stihls: 066, 660, 661, 088. Huskys: 385, 390, 395, the bigger one I forgot # 3120?
 
Derik

Derik

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I have a close friend that has an Echo that can pull a 36 inch bar, if I'm not mistaken it's a similar model to the 800p. He offered to let me try out his saw on the mill to see how it pulls and all that.
 
Justsaws

Justsaws

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Awesome thanks for clearing that up. Is there anything you dislike about Husqvarna or Stihl?

Nothing in particular that is not just a personal choice. I use a 660 because at the time I could get them inexpensively used and parts were availible all over the place inexpensively. The Stihl 660 will put a lot more power to the chain than any of the 80cc Echos and the Husqvarna 395 will slap the Stihl around when it comes to power. All that being said, all of them will mill 30” cut in any hardwood availible to me. More power just makes it easier and a faster if things are going well.

There is not much Echo support locally to me anymore, Stihl and Husqvarna dominate my local market.
 
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