Chainsaw milling... two easy questions

bfitz3

Feeling the Heat
Jan 6, 2015
409
Northern Michigan
I’m going to try salvaging some beech to boards instead of firewood. This summer may be my last chance before the big ones are all too far gone.

Questions:
1) how should I spec out a good ripper chain? I have a local Stihl dealer and want to be sure I get a good, efficient chain, not whatever they have in stock.
2) Best way to seal the end grain to help prevent cracking during drying?

Thanks!
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
640
SE North Carolina
Others with more experience may have different thoughts but from someone who’s has milled 1/4 of a good sized tree here are my thoughts. Chain is chain it all gets dull and needs sharpened. Some seems to be harder than others. I have two Carlton loops (36” and 52”). First cut was amazing with both. This was 11’ long and 28” minimum width. Next cuts were less impressive. My freehand sharpening skills were not up to the task for the first few times. and I have since got a file’n’joint. Has gotten me smoother cuts. I made a loop with regular (not ripping) semi chisel Archer full skip chain. It worked fine but left the finish rougher. I have since changed the top plate angle to 10 degrees so it’s now a full skip ripping chain but have not got to use it yet. I am going make up another loop for my 28” bar. Good sharpening is more important than brand of chain.

to seal endgrain I have used two coats of leftover latex and anchor seal. Anchor seal seems to be better but I may have just gotten into some better wood when I switched to it. Sun is the enemy. Really any thing that speeds up the drying can lead to more warping in my experience.
Not sure what your plans for the wood are but I have been using green for various projects as I just need to get stuff done and out of the way and have gotten away with it with anchor seal on the ends and a paste wax or clear poly.
Evan
 

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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,173
Northern NH
I use Anchor seal. I usually cut my logs long and end up having to trim them to get a clean cut. If there is any tearout on the face, the Anchor Seal is not going to do much, its a crack waiting to happen. I have heard folks using up old enamel paint but the general opinion its better than nothing. Fresh cut wood is damp so paint really does not want to stick. Anchor seal is wax in an emulsion. it goes on like thick milk but soaks in and leaves a layer of wax.

I have a couple of beech logs with anchor seal waiting at my lot to get over to my friends bandsaw mill. Make sure you store your boards flat and weigh down the tops, beech is notorious for warping when drying.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,744
Downeast Maine
What kind of mill are you using? Either way, most people prefer semi chisel for ripping as it dulls the cutters very quickly. Ripping also means lots of cutting in the bark, so again, the semi chisel profile is better here. All of the ripping chain you can buy from Oregon, Stihl, Carlton, and Archer are ground to 10-15 degrees on the top plate, I prefer 10 degrees myself. I've tried Carlton and Oregon ripping chain, which is to say full compliment semi chisel chain ground to ripping profiles, and prefer the Carlton. I really want to get some of the Sihl 63PMX chain since it has the smallest kerf. Granberg sells its own ripping chain with altered geometry, but most folks I speak to don't really care for it over Carlton or Stihl.
 

Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,529
Northern Maine
Anchor seal user here.
 

bfitz3

Feeling the Heat
Jan 6, 2015
409
Northern Michigan
Thanks, all!

I’m hearing a 10deg ripping chain with frequent sharpening. Anchor seal.

I’m looking at a small volume of wood, so this will likely be done freehand! Wish my luck! The wood will be stacked, flat, weighted in a polebarn for ‘long enough‘ to dry. I’m thinking I should cut thick enough with the chainsaw to get boards from re-sawing on a bandsaw... thick enough to get the most boards, but thin enough to be able to move the boards to a basement and resale. Fortunately, with the projects I‘m picturing, I’ll be able to cut to 5’ lengths, keeping things more manageable.

I have one project that I absolutely want to do... I need to replace carpet going up stairs to the bedrooms. Replacing it with beech would be beautiful! The stairs are 4’ wide, so cutting 5’ boards will give me enough extra to easily trim any checks that form. I’ll hope for enough other wood for smaller projects. I have a bunch of chisels that need handles, want to build some planes, and an assortment of other hand tool builds. ...projects to keep me from getting arrested in the winter! Hahaha
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
640
SE North Carolina
I just unboxed one of these. Cant say how it will work yet but I can say it’s gotta be more consistent than my freehand skills. I think it is worth the cost.
Timber Tuff TMW-57 Beam Cutter Amazon product
 

Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,152
Ottawa, ON
Man, I cut a bunch of boards for flooring and ended up just installing vinyl. Just too much time involved
Trying to mill floor boards would be tough.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
640
SE North Carolina
I thought about milling some up for a ship lap ceiling. Way to much work. I am making a cut list for some bunk beds and decided that I will shoot for 3x6s. Why that size I can rip 3-1/4 on my table saw.
 
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SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,744
Downeast Maine
If you want floor boards you need a planer and/or moulder. Rough cut floor boards would be very "rustic".
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,744
Downeast Maine
I thought about milling some up for a ship lap ceiling. Way to much work. I am making a cut list for some bunk beds and decided that I will shoot for 3x6s. Why that size I can rip 3-1/4 on my table saw.
Nice table saw! Does it take dado? That's one way to make flooring without a planer or moulder.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
640
SE North Carolina
Nice table saw! Does it take dado? That's one way to make flooring without a planer or moulder.
It’s a shopsmith. So you can put a dado on it. Never have used one. It came with a wobble adjustable dado head. Kinda scares me. Usually we just use a router or several passes through the blade as most projects only need short cuts or just one or two dado cuts.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
5,744
Downeast Maine
It’s a shopsmith. So you can put a dado on it. Never have used one. It came with a wobble adjustable dado head. Kinda scares me. Usually we just use a router or several passes through the blade as most projects only need short cuts or just one or two dado cuts.
Is a router table practical for producing T&G or other types flooring? Seems that wood products aren't going down in cost any time soon. I am looking into different ways of making a value added niche product.
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
640
SE North Carolina
Is a router table practical for producing T&G or other types flooring? Seems that wood products aren't going down in cost any time soon. I am looking into different ways of making a value added niche product.
I guess it depends on the quantity. Flooring just strikes me as tough custom market. Volume for a typical project is quite high for a single person operation. Now if you go to custom counter tops I see that as a possible way to utilize wood and add value. But you probably need to sell a finished product unless you can find a someone in the business that wants to buy your blanks/slabs. This video got me thinking about counter tops. Had a class mate who’s father makes custom wood bathtubs on Swans’ Island. Talk about adding value to wood. They were crazy expensive.
 
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Nealm66

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2020
907
Western Washington
I made a bathroom vanity live edge top that looks really cool. Had a knarly chunk of fir that wasn’t going to make a decent board. Had some pics but lost in the cloud