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alaska chainsaw mill12/24
I'm thinking about buying aMK III chainsaw mill not to get into the sawing business but just for cutting up trees on our farm that are hard to get to with equipment. I have a echo 530saw which is only50cc I have a feeling my saw May not be big enough .how many cc's should I be looking for in a rip saw and any specific rip chain I should get
I used a Stihl 090 which had a 137 cc engine.
An 880 would be my second choice - that's what I use for everyday cutting. It has 121 cc displacement and revs a lot higher than the 090.
I use a Husqvarna 385XP (85 cc) with a 42" bar on my home built rolling chainsaw mill. I used the same saw with a 28" bar on an Alaskan Mill when I first started out. Bigger is always better, but IMO any pro saw of at least about 80 cc will handle cuts up to at least 20". I've sawed 32" dia. oak and walnut logs through and through with my saw. Lots of folks mill with a Stihl MS 660 or 066, which if memory serves is about the same displacement. Your current saw won't be of much use on anything more than about 12" plus it will die an early death of it's not a pro saw. Milling lumber puts a lot more stress on a saw than cutting firewood. It's running flat out for several minutes. Pro saws can handle it; consumer and landowner saws can't.
You definitely need ripping chain - for two reasons. It cuts more smoothly than regular chain and it will avoid making spaghetti that will clog up your clutch like regular chain does. I've tried several and like Oregon's ripping chain best - by far.
Have fun - and be safe. Logs are heavy and unforgiving. Chainsaws are not as heavy but just as unforgiving.
I would also add that it's not easy work. I use a Stihl 880 with a 42" bar. The most recent log I milled had a 36" width, and took about 8-10 min per cut. You also want multiple chains. If you don't hit anything (Nails, bullets, etc) in the tree, they will get dirty, loaded with lube oil and pitch, making them not cut so well.
Between the saw, the mill, the sharpener, the spinner, the breaker, and the chain, I have about $2k invested in my setup. I do about 1 tree per year, but it has paid for itself. Mostly because it's the only way I can get wide slabs milled the way I want. But a local sawyer just upgraded to a mill with a 36" cut capabilities. And you can get a lot of trees milled for $2k.
Tim .what's a spinner and a breaker. I'm pretty new to the chainsaw mill thing and not familiar with some of the terms?
A spinner and a breaker are for making your own chains. I found the price about even for bulk chain and buying the spinner and breaker, vs buying pre-made chain.
The 50cc saw is good for running the Alaskan vertical mill for edging and if you want to run the small log mill but for more that that you need more power. I run my Alaskan mill with a 36" bar at a MS 661 and the Grandberg ripping chain. You can use a standard chain but the surface are going to be more rough and it put more strain on the saw. I've cut 26" oak with my setup with no problem just be sure that your chains are sharp all the time.
I use a full skip chain, a 46RSLF 108 on my 088 and it rips through logs very rapidly. I frequently saw 6 foot long slabs, starting from each end, using a 3' bar. Piece of cake, and the slabs are suitable for furniture.