Home built Chainsaw mill
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  1. #1
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    Jan 2014
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    Home built Chainsaw mill

    Has anyone built an Alaskan style Chainsaw mill?

    I'm considering building one that would cut to about 30-36".

    I have not seen one in person.

    The commercial units look aluminum. Mine would be steel.

    Thinking maybe something like 1.25" x 16 gauge square tube for the rails, Vertical risers, etc.

    Thanks for any input.

  2. #2
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    I bought the hand held model that will do up to a 20" bar, will cut about 18" wide. It's aluminum, and I wouldn't want it in steel, as that would be WAY to heavy. the Aluminum one is heavy enough as it is. I'm going to guess you're referring to the more stationary type.
    There are no problems. There are only solutions. It's your duty to determine the right one.

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  3. #3
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    This thread interests me. Hope to see some pictures.
    Two turn tables and a microphone.

  4. #4
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    I built one 30 years ago. I don't think I still have it. My memory is I made it all out of 1x1 and 1x2 14 ga tube. If you do a lot, there is a special chain that is sharpened differently for ripping. I was using a Pioneer P60, 36" bar, made in Canada. It had plenty of power, even for oak.

  5. #5
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbart View Post
    I built one 30 years ago. I don't think I still have it. My memory is I made it all out of 1x1 and 1x2 14 ga tube. If you do a lot, there is a special chain that is sharpened differently for ripping. I was using a Pioneer P60, 36" bar, made in Canada. It had plenty of power, even for oak.
    The suggestion that a special chain available is something to keep in mind. I have enough experience with chainsaws and chains to know that a properly sharpened, dedicated ripping chain will not only make the cutting easier, but will save a lot of fuel as well as reduce wear and tear on the saw and bar.

  6. #6
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    I found pictures of it. My memory is i layed down a square plank and made the first cut. It was a little scary sitting on a big log, with a full speed logging saw between your legs, but it did work. I milled all the oaks I had to take down when I built my house. I fully intended to build a dining room table out of it, but never did…..
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  7. #7
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    "a full speed logging saw between your legs" That sure leaves a lot to one's imagination! Can't quite see the saw or the stance in that framework.
    Jerry
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  8. #8
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    I have a real Alaskan sawmill. We use a double ended bar with two saws. I think the bar is 60 " It saws fast, but takes a while to set up. The most important item is your slabbing rail. A section of an aluminum ladder with brackets to attach to the log might work best. I have had a less than satisfactory experience with a plank.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  9. #9
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Quote Originally Posted by storeman View Post
    "a full speed logging saw between your legs" That sure leaves a lot to one's imagination! Can't quite see the saw or the stance in that framework.
    Jerry
    It just clamps on the bar, then rides on a guide plank. If you've seen a picture of the real one you'll get the picture. I have run a double engine one on someone else's mill,it was pretty much a dedicated mill. The company that makes the real one used to sell long bars with either a helper handle on one end or another engine. Once you get to that size it's probably time for a portable bandsaw mill.

  10. #10
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Kerf is pretty wide, I'd just go bandsaw

  11. #11
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbart View Post
    It just clamps on the bar, then rides on a guide plank. If you've seen a picture of the real one you'll get the picture. I have run a double engine one on someone else's mill,it was pretty much a dedicated mill. The company that makes the real one used to sell long bars with either a helper handle on one end or another engine. Once you get to that size it's probably time for a portable bandsaw mill.
    Thanks.
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  12. #12
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    The kerf is wide. Think of it as a potato. If you took away 1/2" getting the peel off, then 1/4" each French fry, you better cook some rice. A log curves somewhat, cutting off the slabs, then taking away 1/2" each cut. Now we need to plane it, another 1/2" is lost from each board. It won't leave much.
    An optimist is usually wrong, and when the unexpected happens is unprepared. A pessimist is usually right, when wrong, is delighted, and well prepared.

  13. #13
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Yeah, I had a planer. It makes getting a board fairly labor intensive. It's good for exotic wood, or giant beams out in the forest for a bridge or something. Probably did lose 1/2", especially after planing. I haven't used it since I built the house 30 years ago. The old pioneer saw is still going strong though. It sounds like a hot rod that would suck a small guy right into the air cleaner if he didn't hold on.

  14. #14
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbart View Post
    I found pictures of it. My memory is i layed down a square plank and made the first cut. It was a little scary sitting on a big log, with a full speed logging saw between your legs, but it did work. I milled all the oaks I had to take down when I built my house. I fully intended to build a dining room table out of it, but never did…..
    Thanks! That's pretty much what I was thinking.

    I can't tell if yours has the guard that wraps around the end of the bar like the commercial units, but that's the only significant difference I noticed from what I was considering.

    Did you happen to have tubing with holes, or was that intentional to save weight?

  15. #15
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    No guard, the saw end has a radius guide to help the saw from pinching. The holes were drilled to accept different saw bars. I haven't seen a new one, I don't remember the tip being dangerous if you're paying attention. Once the saw is ripping there's really now where for it ot go except where it's supposed to. I think its good for slabbing out burls, tree crotches, and other cuts a normal mill would't do. Some wedges help hold up the cut so the slap doesn't add extra work to the saw. I have't used that one in 30 years, I'd sell it for $35 + USPS. It fit a 36" bar. You would have to get instructions from Utube or the company that builds them now.

  16. #16
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    these mills are great when you don't have the ability to get a band saw mill to the location of the wood, or means of getting the length and size of log to a mill. It's low impact on the environment as you're not dragging a big heavy log to a mill, or dragging a big mill to the log. Sure the kerf isn't small, but for big timbers, and planks, the kerf isn't enough to worry about. These mills allow one guy to slab out a large tree in any length relatively easily and to do so with minimal equipment and cost.
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  17. #17
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    If you want, after your first "guide" cut, you can rotate the log 90 degrees and put the guide board back on with a framing square. That way all the slabs coming off have 3 good sides and can go straight to a table saw with them.

  18. #18
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    Jan 2014
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Anyone familiar with the aluminum versions know about what tube size and wall thickness they usually are?

    Still debating steel or aluminum.

    Thanks!

  19. #19
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    I'm pretty sure it is 1/8". Honestly it dosen't matter because your not holding the weight, it just rides on the log except for the first couple of inches.

  20. #20
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Quote Originally Posted by blackbart View Post
    I'm pretty sure it is 1/8". Honestly it dosen't matter because your not holding the weight, it just rides on the log except for the first couple of inches.
    Thanks. Looks like a 20' stick of 1" 14g steel would weigh a little less that 20 lb. So 15 lb of steel and 10-15 lb saw. Weight adds up...

  21. #21
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    I buit one years ago like blackbart's.
    We used it to slab up a 40 inch Hickory as there was no one local to saw it. I ran an old Stihl 041 with a ripping chain. It worked OK for this one project and again when my brother made some 30 foot beams out of some 26 inch Cherry.
    The old 041 is gone now, but the Saw Rig hangs on the Shop wall in case its ever needed again!

  22. #22
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    Re: Home built Chainsaw mill

    Quote Originally Posted by AmericanWelder View Post
    Thanks. Looks like a 20' stick of 1" 14g steel would weigh a little less that 20 lb. So 15 lb of steel and 10-15 lb saw. Weight adds up...
    I think my P60 saw weighs way more than that! Or it sure feels like it. Still running strong since the 70's but I'm looking for an intake manifold for it that's developing a crack.

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