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How To - Amazing Granberg Alaskan Small Log Mill G777  RSS feed

 
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This thing is amazing. Anyone have one and wanna share something you didn't see me doing? This is the only video that really shows the whole process as I looked before I bought it.
 
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One thing I wondered about (I skipped around a bit maybe you did cover) was how to get the cuts started.  It looks like the mill has two bars with a plexiglass window between them.  I can see how you start with the leading bar sitting on the wood but how do you keep it level until the trailing bar is on the guide?  Or is the plexiglass on the bottom so it guides better and better as you engage the log more?

I'm glad you put on hearing protection for the milling cuts.  Chaps are highly recommended (maybe a Christmas present???).
 
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I was thinking the same Mike.  Seems like a leading guide bar would let you get it level right off if there isn't already a good way to do that.

The other thing I was wondering was how long it took to cut one board.
 
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Mike Jay wrote:One thing I wondered about (I skipped around a bit maybe you did cover) was how to get the cuts started.  It looks like the mill has two bars with a plexiglass window between them.  I can see how you start with the leading bar sitting on the wood but how do you keep it level until the trailing bar is on the guide?  Or is the plexiglass on the bottom so it guides better and better as you engage the log more?

I'm glad you put on hearing protection for the milling cuts.  Chaps are highly recommended (maybe a Christmas present???).


The plexi is just to direct saw dust. If you build the guide bars longer or buck the log shorter you will be on the guide bars the whole time. I found a happy medium with everything because i am after 8' long pieces of really good lumber when its all said and done and i work them after they dry. the ends wont be 100 percent because of the checking that just happens with lumber. here is a music video me and wife made about chaps (we are joking of course, there is nothing wrong with safety)
 
jakob phelpsomitch
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Greg Martin wrote:I was thinking the same Mike.  Seems like a leading guide bar would let you get it level right off if there isn't already a good way to do that.

The other thing I was wondering was how long it took to cut one board.


let me do that math because I sped that up and don't have the originals now i do recall how many times i sped them up tho (1 magical internet second)
ok the 1st cut took 3 minutes and the 2nd cut took 5 minutes (because the saw was cutting a thicker part) guys have really great questions.
 
Mike Jay
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Thanks but I'm still confused.  When you just start the cut you have one guide bar on the previously sawn surface.  Isn't the other guide bar just floating in space?  How are you able to keep the saw level to the cut until that second guide bar is resting on the previously sawn surface?  Or is it always a wiggly mess and that's part of why you cut your logs to 9'3"?
 
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I had a chainsaw sawmill but have since converted it over to a bandsaw. It was a bit different than the Alaskan Mill in that it being a mill, the log had to be moved to the mill instead of the Alaskan Mill going to the log. For me, moving logs is easy, but I can see where for many it would be problematic. After that though, the chainsaw sawmills have some serious drawbacks.

The first is cut speed. Suffering goodness they are SLOW. The rolling joke is, "they make one cut today, and finish it tomorrow." It is not far from the truth. At 5 minutes per cut, and 4 cuts to make a beam, and set-up time in between, each beam will take a half hour. It does not seem like much, but people have to realize, for a few occasional boards...they work well. To build a house...I hope there is nothing else to do. Compared to just getting out the logs, paying a portable sawmill guy $25 per thousand board feet, the latter may be something to consider.

Kerf Size is yet another. Because a chainsaw uses 3/8 chain, that means for every 8 potential boards cut, the person loses 3 to sawdust. That is a lot of sawdust and not a lot of lumber. Now if a person has big trees and tons of them, it is not a big deal and the sawdust comes in handy, but if they have a limited supply of small logs, it is a huge issue. With a bandsaw, a person loses 1 board for every 16 potential boards to sawdust.

Cost: A small chainsaw is not going to work well on these mills. Ripping wide logs takes horsepower and chainsaws are not cheap. My chainsaw was a Stihl 461 that cost $1100 and was no where near big enough. After sawing any appreciable amount of lumber, teh chainsaw will be junk. Again, factoring in the cheap cost of getting a portable sawmill to cut the wood, is pretty appealling.

...

Even with (4) sawmills of different varieties (chainsaw, bandsaw, circular saw and shingle mill), I have a hard time doing the sawing myself. The last time I sawed 3400 board feet, the custom sawmill guy charged me $850 and was done in (2) days.



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jakob phelpsomitch
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Mike Jay wrote:Thanks but I'm still confused.  When you just start the cut you have one guide bar on the previously sawn surface.  Isn't the other guide bar just floating in space?  How are you able to keep the saw level to the cut until that second guide bar is resting on the previously sawn surface?  Or is it always a wiggly mess and that's part of why you cut your logs to 9'3"?


gotcha, there are not just the horizontal to the log bars while cutting there are also vertical to the log while cutting bars(hope that makes since) for the first cut tho with the guides it just takes practice (because of the guides the vertical to the log bars have nothing to sit on) and I also go at the log at a bit of an angle if you look at how i start the cut. and yes it is also why i cut the logs long.
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:I had a chainsaw sawmill but have since converted it over to a bandsaw. It was a bit different than the Alaskan Mill in that it being a mill, the log had to be moved to the mill instead of the Alaskan Mill going to the log. For me, moving logs is easy, but I can see where for many it would be problematic. After that though, the chainsaw sawmills have some serious drawbacks.

The first is cut speed. Suffering goodness they are SLOW. The rolling joke is, "they make one cut today, and finish it tomorrow." It is not far from the truth. At 5 minutes per cut, and 4 cuts to make a beam, and set-up time in between, each beam will take a half hour. It does not seem like much, but people have to realize, for a few occasional boards...they work well. To build a house...I hope there is nothing else to do. Compared to just getting out the logs, paying a portable sawmill guy $25 per thousand board feet, the latter may be something to consider.

Kerf Size is yet another. Because a chainsaw uses 3/8 chain, that means for every 8 potential boards cut, the person loses 3 to sawdust. That is a lot of sawdust and not a lot of lumber. Now if a person has big trees and tons of them, it is not a big deal and the sawdust comes in handy, but if they have a limited supply of small logs, it is a huge issue. With a bandsaw, a person loses 1 board for every 16 potential boards to sawdust.

Cost: A small chainsaw is not going to work well on these mills. Ripping wide logs takes horsepower and chainsaws are not cheap. My chainsaw was a Stihl 461 that cost $1100 and was no where near big enough. After sawing any appreciable amount of lumber, teh chainsaw will be junk. Again, factoring in the cheap cost of getting a portable sawmill to cut the wood, is pretty appealling.

...

Even with (4) sawmills of different varieties (chainsaw, bandsaw, circular saw and shingle mill), I have a hard time doing the sawing myself. The last time I sawed 3400 board feet, the custom sawmill guy charged me $850 and was done in (2) days.




not that one (is like a 40k machine) but yes those are nice, gonna get one one of these years. awesome numbers thanks for sharing they look spot on
 
Travis Johnson
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Yeah that is why the custom portable guys can cut so much lumber in a day; log loaders and log turners really aid in production over the manual bandsaw mills.

I am on the fence on whether a sawmill is worth having or not versus having a custom portable sawmill come in and saw the lumber. An aspect of that is just plain physical effort. This sounds lazy, but wrestling with big logs to get them on a manual sawmill, then off-loading heavy lumber off the sawmill, is very taxing on the body. Compare that with just paying someone $850 to lug 3400 board feet off the sawmill, and flip the big logs onto the sawmill with their hydraulic sawmills.

But...at the same time...it is nice having a sawmill kicking around to saw out the occasional batch of lumber. As a farmer I always need lumber for barns or buildings, and most of my cedar is big in size, so breaking down the big logs into quarters for fence posts alone requires a sawmill. But for the person with only a few acres of land...I am not sure. A cheap bandsaw sawmill will cost $4500 or so, which means having your own, and paying a custom sawmiller means the break even point is around the 5-6 major building projects.

I think what people do not realize is the time difference in manual, low budget sawmills and more expensive hydraulic ones like the custom sawmillers use. The amount of time it takes to convert logs to lumber is so much shorter. My friend sawed up the 7000 bf for his house recentlyon a manual band sawmill, spent about a month and a half, one and off as time allowed, to do the sawing. How much time do people have? That is really the question.

The other aspect FOR ME and me alone, is that I am not a huge fan of sawing lumber. It is interesting to see how much lumber I can get out of each log, but that last about 2 logs into the day, so for for the majority of the time, I find sawing lumber very boring.
 
Travis Johnson
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Now having said all that, I full understand the benefit of having a sawmill kicking around.

It took me all day last Monday, but using my log loader, I was able to rummage through the piles of wood that had been left after a two year logging job. From the looks of the pile I would say maybe 5000 board feet, which is enough to build a smallish house, but it ended up being a sizable pile nonetheless, and just from scrounging wood destined to rot or be burned for firewood. It can be ascertained they are not the best logs obviously, as the best logs went to the sawmills already, but I managed to make this pile and will soon be converting it to lumber. It consists of White Pine, White Spruce, Eastern Hemlock, White Cedar, and some Green Ash.

I also managed to scrounge up 1250 board feet of cedar logs, cutting them from Studwood into Log Length and sending them to the local sawmill. Cedar is the highest paying wood right now, and I managed to make $500 on those cedar logs; not bad considered they were considered junk wood too.

In fact it really is sad what commercial sawmills will not take. I understand that they cannot fuss with double-crook, sweep, black heart, etc; but on a persons own sawmill, it is amazing the amount of wasted wood that can be gleaned. I'll use some to fix up one of my houses, but the majority of it will be just for the odd and end project that requires lumber.


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Travis Johnson
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Just to be clear, I have been talking about (2) types of log loaders.

For custom portable bandsaws, log loaders are hydraulic arms that go from the ground, the log is rolled onto them, and then those arms are hydraulically raised to lift the log to the sawmill. They are really nice, and with a log on them, add weight and stability to the sawmill as it cuts.

My log loader is a bit different in that it is a true log loader mounted on a trailer. Because my sawmills lack hydraulic log loaders as mentioned in the paragraph previous, I park my log loader beside the sawmill, then swing the log from pile onto the sawmill directly. It is also nice for moving logs from where they are felled to the sawmill. That keeps them out of the mud and dirt so replacing bandsaw blades does not have to be done as often.

But as nice as it is, I recognize it is an expensive piece of equipment to buy. But for me, while I am a farmer, 3/4 of my land is in forest, all of that is as a tree farm, and so forestry is something I can really invest heavily in. That is why I say moving logs is easy for me; I have tractors, log loaders, bulldozers, skidders, etc. But logs are inherently heavy, so if a person does not have that stuff, the Alaskan Mill, while slow perhaps, allows a log to be milled where it is felled, so breaking down the log into lumber that can be more easily carted off, makes sense.

My wife with my bulldozer and log loader.


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