1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Which chainsaw and mill ?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Rich in MA, Apr 30, 2007.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Rich in MA

    Rich in MA New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Just joined the forum tonight. Any advice you can offer a newbie would be appreciated!

    Did plenty of light homeonwer cutting several years back but no longer have a chainsaw. Had a few tall pine trees come down in a recent storm. Got a quote of $500 to remove one tree - yikes! I've got 4 to deal with. I'm also a hobbiest woodworker so was thinking of getting an Alaskan mill to make some usable lumber. Then a buddy told me he's got 3 oaks on his lot that need to be cut down. That tipped the scale - I'll buy a chainsaw and sawmill and make some lumber and dry it. Can't wait to build something from my own wood. And I won't mind not paying for rough sawn!

    Most of the work would be done by myself with an occasional helper. So I need a setup that one man can operate. And I'm an average guy - not a lumberjack :)

    How do you determine how long of a bar you need? Is there a formula based on the diameter of the tree? I think the stuff I'll be working will all be under 2', probably under 18".

    What make / model chainsaw do you recommend? I read some of the posts here, strong and fast win. But which models? I'd prefer not to buy too much but like my dad taught me - buy quality and it only hurts once.

    Sawmills - recommendations?

    Rip chains - how do you choose the angle, etc?

    Where to buy - there are a ton of sites on the web. Which do you recommend? Am I better off buying locally to get service from the dealer?

    Lastly - any book recommendations on techniques for cutting down trees and using sawmills?

    Thanks again!

    rich

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. computeruser

    computeruser Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2007
    Messages:
    343
    Loc:
    East Lansing, MI
    Welcome aboard. You've got a handful of questions, so I'll hit a couple. You may wish to look at the milling forums at arboristsite.com and forestryforum.com, too.

    1. Saws - A reasonable minimum for hardwood is a Stihl 660, Husqvarna 395, or Dolmar 9010. Milling is very hard on saws, and though you might be able to get by with less saw it will make the work tedious and very, very hard on the saw. Further, since milling requires protracted full-throttle operation, you will need to retune the saw very rich and consequently you'll be running at less than full power.

    2. Mills - Granberg or GB are your two best choices. Each has its benefits, each has its drawbacks. On balance I like the design of the GB mill, but if you're going to be using one of the big old saws - Stihl 075/076, 070/090, then the Granberg might be preferable since it does not bolt on to the powerhead by way of the bar studs (you'd have to fabricate adapters to get the GB mill work on these saws, I believe).

    3. Ripping chain - whether you buy it premade or grind it yourself, you'll want to try a few angles to get a sense of what produces the quality of finish on the wood you're looking for.

    4. Source - if you have a local dealer who knows mills and big saws, you might as well buy from them. Otherwise, the folks at Bailey's are a good source for saws, chain, mills, bars, etc.
  3. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    781
    Loc:
    OH

    Be careful taking down trees...unless you know what you're doing, it can be dangerous......the other day I used my 16" Husky 345 (it will take an 18" bar) to take down a 28" diameter tree that was a whopping 7 feet tall...LOL........even after I cut it I had to push it over because it was so short it balanced and wouldn't fall on its own......but I was always watching it to see which way it might fall.....you can get so wrapped up in cutting around the circumference that you fail to see that it's falling and while that didn't happen to me you always need to be cognizant of it. As for saws, a 16" easily cuts logs up to about 15" and, as I did, you can, if need be, cut much larger logs but anything much larger than about 90% of the bar length means that for a standing tree you have to "walk around it" as you cut it. When you do this, sometimes your cuts won't "meet" and you have to continue "walking around" the tree and performing additional cuts and that's when you can get into problems: 1) since you're not cutting from a stationary place you lose track of what the tree is doing and it may be falling your way and you don't see it and 2) when you have to "walk around" the tree you risk having the tree "lean" towards your saw and "bind" your chainsaw so that you can't move it.....i.e., it gets "stuck" in the tree.... That's why 99% of the time I only cut wood up to about the length of my saw and, for safety, I usually scrounge for wood that's already been cut down by someone else....then there's little safety concern when cutting trees larger than your bar length......

    As for saws, others can chime in here but, as said above, I'd stick to the name brand saws likeHusky, Stihl and Dolmar and your dad was right...it only hurts once.... Saws are discussed here:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/7431/
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Agreed the $500 price to have the pros drop a tree can make you cringe, certainly it did me... But at the same time, one of the wisest moves one can make is to "walk away" from a "danger tree"... Compared to what it costs if that tree falls on someones house or car, the tree guy is cheap.

    My rule is that if I have ANY doubt about which way the tree will go, and ANY of the directions I wouldn't want it to go involve falling on expensive stuff, I call the pros... My test is to look at the tree from all sides and say "if the bottom six inches of trunk were to vanish, which way would it fall? If I don't like the answer, call an expert.

    To reduce the costs, (speaking as a homeowner, the tree guy's might have some other suggestions...) I would reccomend:

    1. Get multiple quotes, but verify that all the offers are from guys with the right insurance, experience, etc.

    2. Do multiple trees at the same time! A large part of the expense is to get the equipment and guys to your yard - once they are there for the first tree, the second and third trees are nominal, so spot all the danger trees and get them all done at the same time.

    3. Save them some work - tell them you want them to just "drop the trees and go" - don't have them do any more limbing, cleanup, chipping or whatever than they need to do to get the job done.

    Gooserider
  5. jjbaer

    jjbaer New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2006
    Messages:
    781
    Loc:
    OH
    Good advice Goose... if there's anything you can't stand to lose anywhere within a radius (360 degrees) of about 2 tree heights, let the pros do it. Why 2 tree heights and "any" direction? Because people tend to grossly underestimate the height of a vertical object and the direction it will fall......as Elk says "better safe than sorry"......
  6. hornett22

    hornett22 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    Glastonbury,CT
    you're paying for experience .not to mention rope and all the rigging ain't cheap.my gaffs cost $500 alone! not to mention i have saws that cost over a grand.all the little stuff like caribeaners and pulleys add up.

    experience isn't expensive ,it's priceless.

    a cheap job isn't good and
    a good job isn't cheap

    i've seen more than my share of mistakes and i give credit to a homeowner having the balls to pull of a big job but is it worth it if someone gets hurt or something of value is damaged. i'd say $500 is less than your deductable.
  7. hornett22

    hornett22 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    Glastonbury,CT
    another factor is wind,it can be quite different 40 ft up than what you feel on the ground.

    many times i have climbed a tree when there was no wind on the gorund but it felt like #) mph at the top.
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2006
    Messages:
    6,737
    Loc:
    Northeastern MA (near Lowell)
    Certainly agreed on all points, and the gear you have wouldn't make sense for the person with just a few trees to drop to even think about purchasing. (even assuming he knew what to do with it, which he probably doesn't) I realize that what I'm paying for is both the equipment and the skill to use it... You will note that I suggested a set of standards that sort of default to "call the tree guy" if there is any doubt about being able to do a safe drop.

    I'm NOT saying that a tree guy isn't worth it, but only that there are ways to minimize the bill if one has to watch the budget, and I don't think any of the items I mentioned are unreasonable. After all, what the tree guy is really needed for, with all the expensive equipment and skills is to put the tree on the ground, without smashing anything that shouldn't be smashed. To me it seems quite logical to say that I am quite willing to pay a high rate for your services of using that equipment and skill for the stuff I can't do myself, but that I don't want to keep paying that same rate for you to do the "grunt work" of cleanup and such that anyone can deal with.

    My feeling is pay what it costs for the job you want, but there is no harm in comparison shopping to make sure you aren't paying for more than you need...

    BTW, another thing that can save some money if the "danger tree" is a problem because it's threatening utility lines, try calling the utility co's and asking them about trimming it or taking it down - often they will oblige on their nickel figuring they'd rather do it on their schedule now, rather than as an emergency job after a big storm..

    Gooserider
  9. hornett22

    hornett22 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    Glastonbury,CT
    i agree.many reputable tree companies won't do drop and runs around here.they want the whole job.i don't care actually.after climbing,falling,and bucking i'm ready to go.not saying i won't but i'd love more jobs where i could leave the mess and the wood.my favorite jobs are when the customer helps or him or the neighbor wants the wood.being able to chip into the woods is a plus too.

    i'd think more people would want this service.i have done a few jobs where i just climbed and got it on the ground.i have also had to come in and clean up after a so called professional who didn't have enough saw to drop the trunk.
  10. hornett22

    hornett22 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2007
    Messages:
    67
    Loc:
    Glastonbury,CT
    for the chains and saws i'd try www.baileysonline.com

    great folks and good prices. i use husqvarna for everything but their climbing saws.stihl makes a nice product but their arrogance and rpices (especially on parts) are way out of line.husqvarna usually always has more power and their air filters stay clean alot longer.
  11. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Messages:
    804
    Loc:
    North Worc. CTY MA
    Rich...
    First off...Welcome to the forum.
    Not to discourage you...but Put a lot of thought into what you want to do...before you spend the $$$...(perhaps)only to learn there was cheaper, easier, and better way. "Alaskan Mills" are nice (but pricey)...unless you have ample time on your hands (not many people do these days) and are a "hearty sole"...the "Alaskan Mill" might not be all it is cracked up to be. It sounds good, but how much "milling" are you realistically going to do with it??? ROI is null and void...most small time sawyers have you beat, the AM was designed, and best suited for someone who is in the middle of nowhere and wants to "slab" logs and build a cabin...Great if you are in the Yukon territory...but here in MA??? You decide. Look around local...chances are you can find a "backyard sawyer" with a small bandsaw rig that will mill whatever you want for "short money". I "entertained" the idea of an AM a couple of times...when you really look at the "whole concept" there is a better way.

    Where abouts in MA are you located?

    If you want to deal with a "reputable saw shop"...I personally would recommend the "folks at Overlook Services...Rutland MA"...It's a 'favorite place for people in the area'...great people, good service, and good assortment...

    (I'm in the Central MA area and cover quite a bit of ground)I do mostly stump grinding...but cut trees also...I know a few "backyard sawmill" operators... they mill quite a few board/feet for me at very reasonable prices...If you want some details...just let me know.
  12. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Messages:
    804
    Loc:
    North Worc. CTY MA
    Hornett...
    I'm glad you pointed that out! I do "a few of those jobs" (homeowner want's to help/do the 'cleanup')...It's a 'tough call'. If I think they will "do their part" I'll take on the job...but if there is a chance they are going to leave a big mess...I try to stay away. Most people don't realize...It's not all about "landing the work"... it's more about preserving a reputation.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page