Milling Your Own Lumber = Satisfaction

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Project by SgtSnafu posted 11-16-2010 12:31 AM 10698 views 8 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I just wanted to say…. Milling and drying your own lumber can be quite satisfying !!

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

31 comments so far

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4580 days

#1 posted 11-16-2010 12:34 AM

Satisfhing and Cost Effective. Lucky man you are.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 3353 days

#2 posted 11-16-2010 12:35 AM

I’ll be right over… :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3347 days

#3 posted 11-16-2010 01:00 AM

Indeed, even though the chainsaw leads to lots of waste, that’s a step in the right direction :)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3371 days

#4 posted 11-16-2010 01:05 AM

Wood you like some help use that wee pile? :)


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3318 days

#5 posted 11-16-2010 01:22 AM

Is that a “home-made” attachment for your chainsaw, or is it designed for that particular saw? Looks like it was a very big tree. Do you know what kind of tree? You’ll be makin somethin awesome outtof this in a while

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View dbol's profile


136 posts in 3512 days

#6 posted 11-16-2010 01:36 AM

I have been wanting to get a chainsaw mill for a long time but only have a stihl ms290. It will be tough for my saw to make through a long piece of timber. Granberg mills are also a little pricey. I have been looking at Panther mills. They aren’t as nice but will still do the job. Maybe I can get one for Christmas, my list gets longer every time I visit Lumberjocks.

View RiverWood's profile


115 posts in 3274 days

#7 posted 11-16-2010 02:31 AM

please coat the ends, with tar, paint anything, wax will work, anything to prevent checks (splits) in the wood

-- My favorite projects were firewood bound

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4420 days

#8 posted 11-16-2010 02:36 AM

I would seal the ends of the slabs. And put stickers in the pile closer to the ends too. Within 6” of the end, max. I’d put them right at the end. Or, well, you will not be satisfied with what you have left after it dries.

View DaddyT's profile


267 posts in 4025 days

#9 posted 11-16-2010 02:41 AM

Was just wondering how you file the teeth on the chain? Ive tried doing slabs with a regular rake, 10degree, and 20degree. Each one had its ups and downs but I think I prefer the 10 degree

-- Jimi _ Measure twice, cut [email protected]#%#[email protected]!!!......measure twice, cut....

View blacknail's profile


153 posts in 3319 days

#10 posted 11-16-2010 02:56 AM

Scotty, that’s my exact setup. A lot of work, but for me, it’s either use this mill, or do without. Happy to see another hardcore woodworker out there!

About the waste, yes, there’s a lot of kerf waste, but, I’ve started cutting the slabs to a little over 2”, then finish ripping on the tablesaw…a lot of glueup’s, but a lot less waste!

On the chain, I like using a skiptooth with a 10* rake. Just seems to work best for me.

White oak? Would like to hear more of your experiences with this mill. What size saw are you using?

Have you tried quartersawing yet? I have, and probably won’t again.

-- Darrell B.

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 4301 days

#11 posted 11-16-2010 03:01 AM

Scotty, I agree. Good load. I am going to guess its maple, but that is a guess. You may want to seal the ends to slow any further splitting. Hope you had help. Thats a pretty good stack for one guy (which is usually how I have to work it.) Now the long wait while it dries!!

dbol: I was lucky enough to pick up a 36” Granberg mill, second hand in like-new condition, for a substantial savings. I use it on a Stihl 310 (only 0.2 hp more than the 290). I did upgrade my bar to a 24”, as the 20” bar I had limited me to about a 13” cut (You lose about 6” of the bar length if you have a nose sprocket because you have to clamp behind it so it will spin.) If you are not planning on a saw upgrade, the 24” mill will be all you need. If you do upgrade, all you need to buy is the two rails. The 36” will just add weight and bulk you will not need.

I found that a rip chain improved cutting speed. I got mine from Oregon (much better quality than the Oregon chain you get at the big-box stores). It is basically a professional toothed chain (no anti-kickback links and full sized cutters) set at a 10 degree angle instead of the 30 for a regular chain. If you are good at sharpening, you can alter a regular chain to work fine. Granberg has a unique design that I will try when these wear out, as I think it will be even better and the cost is about the same. The cut quality with the Oregon chain is equivalent to resawing with a 3 TPI Timberwolf blade on my HF band saw . Stihl does not sell a rip chain.

As for max width with the 310, about 12 -13” is about all I would push it for tight-grained woods like sweet-gum, etc, altho it went through some older red oak at 15” pretty well. Pine is pretty easy at full width. Wild black cherry is about the same as sweet gum.

Realize that if you “cant out” the log first (make it square), an 18” log will become about a 13” square, so will work with the 20” bar. (I did a couple with the 20” bar before upgrading, dropping down to get as much of a cut as I could with the limited width and then rotating the log).

The Granberg Alaskan Mark III mill (like the one pictured in Scotty’s post) lives up to all the claims I saw on their website, and is very quick to put on and off the saw, easy to adjust and pretty accurate to the graduations. I don’t know if the smaller version without the nose clamp is as good. Have not used one but the design makes me think it would not be near as accurate with a wide cut.

I probably wouldn’t buy one with the intent of doing any commercial production, but it is great for a woodworker or milling out some construction lumber for a home project, as well as for use in remote locations. If I was going to build a cabin in the wilderness, tho, I would definitely get a more powerful saw.

As for the waste, you will lose about 1/4” thickness for every cut as opposed to a band saw. Not too many people can push a 3000lb 18” log through their bandsaw, and a Woodmizer will cost about $15,000 used. It’s an acceptable loss for me and my use.



-- Go

View blacknail's profile


153 posts in 3319 days

#12 posted 11-16-2010 03:03 AM

dbol, a 290 is a bit small, but if you are cutting smaller log’s, you might get away with it. I believe the smallest recommended size is around 50cc. The grandberg alaskan small log mill would work fine with it.

I’m using an MS 310, and while it’s a bit undersized, it get’s the job done. I ported and polished the head, removed the spark arrester (disclaimer:just keep a close eye out for fire; though the chips are wet and won’t readily burn), and opened up the muffler. I also adjusted it to run a bit on the rich side. Would surprise you at the power you can gain. Made my little saw into a hotrod in just a couple of hours.

-- Darrell B.

View blacknail's profile


153 posts in 3319 days

#13 posted 11-16-2010 03:07 AM

Woodmizer….the thing my dreams are filled with! One day!

-- Darrell B.

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4163 days

#14 posted 11-16-2010 03:07 AM


I’d put another set of stickers at the ends, since with the heavy loads of the bricks, you are ricking of bending those ends downwards.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 3786 days

#15 posted 11-16-2010 03:11 AM

The wood I have pictured here I should be able to use soon, as I milled it around May of 2008… I have wanted to build a band saw type of mill (and still do), but for now the chain saw method works for me..

The attachment is an “Alaskan MK III” Mill (Granberg brand) – It is made for chain saws… I lucked up on a used 36”. I believe Amazon and Northern Tool currently has them for around 185ish… If you look into this method (chain saw) be sure to note that since you are cutting with the grain and should have a special ripping chain (I got mine at Baileys)... To be sure I had adequate power, I got a Stihl MS 660, with a 36” blade. I did also add an extra blade oiler when I did this lare tree… Cheep attachment, expensive saw, wheres the logic ? My justification, really wide, and inexpensive (if not free) wood.. ;-)

DaddyT – I used the WoodlandPro Ripping Chainsaw Chain – I have kept the stock grinds – the top plate of the semi-chisel cutter is ground at a 10 degree angle, while the side plate is ground at a 75 degree angle.

Picture #2 posted above is half a log which I cut on day one (before weather got bad). Here is a picture of the whole tree – the large end was about 24” across – Oh and it is oak (at the moment do not recall is red or white oak, will need to look at the rays)... I do not recall what the tall stack pictured above is… I did coat the ends of the lumber – I used UGL waterproofer.. ;-)

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

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