Milling Big Logs and Root Balls

      This is a very basic discussion of investing in a chainsaw mill for cutting large butt logs, but it has some nice photos in it.March 13, 2014

Question
I have a 72" crotch elm log I need to saw. I want to buy a chainsaw mill, but I'm not sure where to find one. Any ideas?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From the Staff at WOODWEB:
You might find information regarding chainsaw mills at WOODWEB's Product Directory. Sawing and Drying Product Directory


From contributor D

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Might try to find someone local with a chainsaw mill. The cost, time and effort for a one-time job might be more than you'd want to put into it. The 6' bar and chain will set you back close to $500. Where are you located?


From the original questioner:
I'm in New York. I have two 56" diameter black walnut logs also. And more large logs on the way, so I would like to buy one. One guy I called was $200.00 a cut. I will also dig up the root ball in the spring. Does anybody know who buys these? It is black walnut.


From contributor R:
Just finished my DIY design chainsaw lumber mill. It runs on a 20 ft angle iron track 62" wide. I could cut about 52" wide board or wider. The track could be any width for wider boards and longer bars. This mill disassembles in a few minutes and could be hauled in the trunk of a full sized auto, minus the track. I designed it for flat carton shipping and lower cost shipping. This mill cuts a 14" wide plank 9 ft long in less than 2 minutes.

Am currently building my DIY swing blade lumber mill with 21.4" diam blade. It will cut 8.5"x8.5" max and one 8.5"x17" per layer. Have a new 22hp Robin engine going on it.

The saw and mount remove with two nuts. A trailer winch feeds the saw into the log but is overkill, will make a couple changes. Cut a 1/8" thick slab, perfectly straight!

Later will have a 18.5Hp riding lawn mower motor running the mill, have all the parts, just some machine shop things to be done. That is the best deal for a small operation. Will cut 1,000 board ft per day in soft wood, less in hard wood. Can cut in both directions.

Very satisfied with the saw performance, but they cost too much. Have a Sthil MS 650 Magnum 90cc on the mill. Also have a Husky 3120 XP and three 288 Xps and many smaller saws. Am 73 years old and always build things, need to stay busy.


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From contributor D

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Wish I lived closer! Walnut roots are a lot of work to process, but make for great woodworking, especially turning stock and table tops. Biggest problem I've had is embedded rocks. You will ruin the blade of whatever you use to cut them, but it is worth it.


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From contributor T:
Where in NY? I live just outside of Rochester. I have a chainsaw mill. To buy a mill and saw a log that size you are looking at a $2000-$3000 investment. I saw 2 or 3 trees a year that size. I have never done it for anyone else, I have only milled the lumber for myself. A job like that will probably take 2 people 2 days. 1 day if they are milled thick and you hustle!


From the original questioner:
I'm looking at a chainsaw mill from Granberg. It has a 96" double end bar. I'm going to run two Stihl ms660 on it. This will give me a 80" cut. I'm in upstate NY.

From contributor D

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Contributor R, I noticed the list of chainsaws in your post. Very impressive by anyone's standards! Good photos, too.


From contributor T:
Before you buy anything make sure all your gear will fit together. I don't believe the Granberg double end bars will mount to a 660. It states on Granberg's web page the double bars are for the larger saws. The 880 and 90 use a 3002 mount (I think you would need to confirm that). The 660 uses a 3003 mount. You can have the correct bar made. I think Woodland Pro or Cannon make custom bars, but you would be looking at $1000 for a bar that size (even an off the shelf). If I were going to make the investment I would buy a Stihl 90, a bar, and a handle. You really only need 1 power head, but it will take twice as long to cut.


From the original questioner:
Here are the logs I'm going to saw:




From contributor R:
Had a tree service for 30 years. Have lots of saws, mostly Sthil and Husky. Had a Grantburg mill, spelled different then Granburg. A better built mill, had a plate under the power head and two extended bar nuts to hold/support the powerhead, instead of having the weight hanging on the bar. Bought it on ebay about 5 years ago, don`t see them anymore, better in several ways, but they are all great mills for many situations. That is the system on my tracked mill in the pictures. That is a friend running the mill, It is easier running the camera!

To the original questioner: Them thar logs are beauties!



From the original questioner:
I just picked up a Stihl ms 880. I ordered the chainsaw mill from Granberg with a 96" bar. Thanks to all for the help.

From contributor D

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Wow! Mill those bad boys and you won't have to worry about paying for a saw and bar! Nice haul! Please post photos of the milling process. Might want to practice on a few smaller logs to get the feel for your mill. You don't want to make a mistake on that elm.


From the original questioner:
I just picked up 10 big hard maple today. 30"-46" diameter. Should be able to keep the mill busy.



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