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???).
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.
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"?
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.