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Early Christmas Present

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Early Christmas Present

Postby oldclaypaws » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:24 pm

Look what some kind person left for me, as revealed by a few hours brush-cutting. Always thought they were there, just that they were under 5 feet of brambles. The dogs, shown for scale, are huge. The timber is in pretty good condition, being Oak there's no sign of decay. Each butt is pushing 30 inches wide and about 30-40 feet long. There are several others. Time to buy that big saw and crack on with some milling....

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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby oldclaypaws » Wed Dec 17, 2014 10:38 pm

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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby boxerman » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:02 pm

That'll keep you out of mischief for a while... ;)
Phil

https://twitter.com/boxermanphil for my Badger videos
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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:08 am

Really?- I'm thinking along these lines......:lol:

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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby Bearwood » Thu Dec 18, 2014 5:58 am

What saw did you settle on buying Paws? I've finally realised that some of the older specimens in my wood are just too good to burn.
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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:20 am

Re big saw; I deferred my decision while I tried milling some smaller girth branches with my diddy Stihl MS261 to see how I got on. That was quite successful, it copes with a 20" bar and ripping up to 16" quite comfortably, although I found Sweet Chestnut suffers from bad shake and is better suited to firewood than planking.

Most of the stuff on my big oaks is in the range of 24-30"inches. The idea is most of the chunky butts will be done with a hired band-saw, but I'd still like to have the option of doing a few bits such as the knotty bits and upper boughs myself. I've handled a MS 880 and its quite a bulky beast, especially with a 48" bar on it. The MS 661 is more manageable by comparison, takes a 36" bar and will suit most of my needs. I've seen one in action milling and was quite impressed. (see video below). Thats the one I'm leaning towards and having just uncovered a load of tempting big oaks under the brambles I'm likely to take the plunge soon. There a few things I need to get straight in my head first, such as what finished sizes of timber I want to cut, how I'm going to best shift it, and where I'm going to season and store it- all quite important prerequisites ! Its reassuring that big Stihl saws seem to retain about 80%+ of their value secondhand, so if I did go for a 661 and later wanted to change to an 880, its a marginal extra net outlay.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzluOS2nZno&list=UU7RUv18S4bB5K1WUmXzxmdA
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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby SimonFisher » Thu Dec 18, 2014 11:43 am

oldclaypaws wrote:... I tried milling some smaller girth branches with my diddy Stihl MS261 to see how I got on. That was quite successful, it copes with a 20" bar and ripping up to 16" quite comfortably ...

Which milling kit did you have the chainsaw mounted in?

We've some small oaks coming out as a result of ongoing thinning operations. I need some new garden compost bins but I'm not keen on anything that's been chemically treated so I was thinking of milling some of these small oaks to give me posts and planks from which I can build my own. I have a Stihl MS260 which can take a 20" bar which I was hoping would be adequate so long as I take it slowly.
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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:38 pm

I bought an Alaskan from Rob and went for the 36" bars in anticipation of upping to a bigger saw very soon. Also got a 20" Sugihara bar and Oregon ripping chain.

My initial milling (which was surprisingly easy & swift going on a 14" Chestnut) revealed that a cheap 'H' cross section ladder is no good as a top guide-they flex from side to side ! I therefore made my own 3 metre rigid wooden ladder from 4 x 2 " tanninised timber at a cost of about £20- An aluminium square cross section one would cost £120 and be very knickable in the wood, whereas I doubt anyone will get excited over a wooden one. Its well sturdy- maybe I should start manufacturing ladders ?

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I soon found an issue with the Mill/Bar not anticipated by Rob which I had to resolve with a bit of inventiveness. Obviously you want to be able to cut the widest timber possible, but lose 5" to the clamps on either end of the bar, so in effect you can cut more like 15" with a 20" bar. The problem I encountered is when tightening the mill clamps (which are flat bars) onto the chain bar, they squeeze the end sprocket on the bar and make it seize as its quite a narrow bar. The solution was to glue some small washers on each side the mill clamps with contact adhesive so that they still gripped the chain bar, but slightly further in. That worked a treat at a cost of about 10p. Rob seemed impressed by this simple but effective innovation. His suggestion of buying a rachet spanner for the nuts on the Mill is a great time saver as they need tightening and undoing several times to change the depth of cut or remove the saw, this cost about £3.50 on fleabay.

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Another consideration is the screws you use to screw the ladder to the butt for the initial top cut to get a flat reference surface to run along when planking. Although I made do with long philips head wood screws and a pokey Makita cordless drill, you can soon strip the screw heads and muck them up, due to the torque required to get them into hardwood. A better screw to use is a hex headed sturdy timber screw such as a Jewson's Timberdrive, which comes with a free drive socket. Impact driver obviously has more torque than a drill, and it might be a bonus to pre-drill holes to avoid split wood or sheared screws. Its all a learning curve, but I know a lot more about all this stuff than I did a few months ago !

http://www.jewson.co.uk/tools-fixings-ironmongery/fixings-fasteners/timber-decking-screws/timber-drive-screws/products/TDSJ7100/jewson-timberdrive-woodscrews-7-x-100mm-pk-of-50/
Last edited by oldclaypaws on Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby oldclaypaws » Thu Dec 18, 2014 3:32 pm

A further thought to the above for Simon, is as you don't necessarily want to progress to big stuff as I do (which needs the stability the double-bar-clamps either end of the chainbar that the Alaskan offers), you be might be OK looking at the Logosol Timberjig for £154.

http://www.logosol.co.uk/sawmills/big-mill-system/big-mill-timberjig.html

The benefit of it is its cheaper than an Alaskan, you can use the full 20" length of the bar too. The downside is having seen the timber it produces edge-on, its not as rigid as an Alaskan, the chainsaw bar can wander more easily as its only guided on one end and the other is free, and the result is I noticed a bit of a taper on the cross sections of the timber- looking at them end-on, some were slightly wedge-shaped. If you wanted to produce something precise and start with flatter planks, the Alaskan wins. (or you might want to put the planks through a thicknesser/planer to take off any unevenness.)

If doing squared off timber such as posts or straight edged planks, you need either an Alaskan Mini Mill which does vertical cuts and can take off the sides from a log, or to consider the Logosol 'Big Mill Basic', which is a Timberjig but with a metal guiderail held in place by rotating clamps that are screwed into the ends of the log, so that you cut off the top and two sides before planking squared timber. The Timberjig can also do squared off edges, but it needs a bit of faffing with homemade wooden guide-rails, unscrewing and rotating them. Theres also obviously the option of starting with waney edges and then later on using a circular saw to take off the edge.

I trust with wanting to do compost bins you're not too fussed about seasoning- just make sure you take off the sapwood. The best advice I've seen on seasoning is Rob's 'wood drying' section on the Alaskan Mill site. It needs a bit of care & the right space and kit, but its not the mystical dark art that some make out, with a bit of common sense and patience, its doable.
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Re: Early Christmas Present

Postby SimonFisher » Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:39 am

Thanks for your posts Paws - very useful.

oldclaypaws wrote:Another consideration is the screws you use to screw the ladder to the butt for the initial top cut to get a flat reference surface to run along when planking. Although I made do with long philips head wood screws and a pokey Makita cordless drill, you can soon strip the screw heads and muck them up, due to the torque required to get them into hardwood. A better screw to use is a hex headed sturdy timber screw such as a Jewson's Timberdrive, which comes with a free drive socket. Impact driver obviously has more torque than a drill, and it might be a bonus to pre-drill holes to avoid split wood or sheared screws.


I gave up using Pozidriv (pozidrive) wood screws a few years back in favour of Torx ones which resist cam-out or slipping better than Pozidriv.

Timber screws might be better in this situation but you might be making harder work for yourself if you're using 100mm ones - I have some 65mm ones from Screwfix. An impact driver certainly does make it easier to put them in but trying to put a 150mm timber screw into an ash tree a year back to hang an owl nesting box even it gave up after about around 100mm penetration.
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