Granberg Alaskan Mill - what to start with?

JMB6

Member
Location
Cary
Hi,
I have grandiose plans :), but want to be realistic and start small. However, I want to invest in good reliable tools and don’t want to buy junk.

On my lot have oak logs (10-12’) with diameter from 15 to 25”. Wanted to build some primitive benches and cut them with Alaskan sawmill.
What Granberg mill should I get for Husqvarn 550xp, 20 inch bar?
What to start with and how to progress?
My “grandiose” plans are to get a new 90cc Husqvarna (I read a new model is coming up in 2021) with 36” bar or so, start cutting bigger pine logs and build timber frame barn.
Thanks for advices and reality check.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
Hi,
I have grandiose plans :), but want to be realistic and start small. However, I want to invest in good reliable tools and don’t want to buy junk.

On my lot have oak logs (10-12’) with diameter from 15 to 25”. Wanted to build some primitive benches and cut them with Alaskan sawmill.
What Granberg mill should I get for Husqvarn 550xp, 20 inch bar?
What to start with and how to progress?
My “grandiose” plans are to get a new 90cc Husqvarna (I read a new model is coming up in 2021) with 36” bar or so, start cutting bigger pine logs and build timber frame barn.
Thanks for advices and reality check.
There's several brands out there, most are very similar in design. I will say that the 550 will be too light for much milling. I use a 661 with a 36" bar and have a max milling width of about 27-28"
 

JMB6

Member
Location
Cary
There's several brands out there, most are very similar in design. I will say that the 550 will be too light for much milling. I use a 661 with a 36" bar and have a max milling width of about 27-28"
Thanks.
Does it mean I should wait till I have a bigger chainsaw?
Is this a waste of money?

https://granberg.com/product/g777-alaskan-small-log-mill/

Or
 
Last edited:

pete3d

Member
Location
Hinchinbrooke
From firsthand experience I’d say you are going to be really underpowered with a 550.
I have a 550 and a Ganberg sawmill and have never considered pairing the up - the smallest chainsaw I’ve tried with that mill was 70cc and definitely not quick.
 
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Dan Cobb

Well-Known Member
Location
Hoover
Although current lumber prices might make me reconsider, I'll probably never get into saw milling. Anyhow, I've wondered where the break point might be for when to go with a "regular" (bandsaw type) sawmill versus an Alaskan sawmill. Seems like at some point, the cost of a regular sawmill would offset the costs of purchasing, running and maintaining a large saw and Alaskan sawmill. The wood lost as sawdust with a chainsaw seems like another factor to consider. Anyone with experience care to comment?
 

Stumpsprouts

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
Although current lumber prices might make me reconsider, I'll probably never get into saw milling. Anyhow, I've wondered where the break point might be for when to go with a "regular" (bandsaw type) sawmill versus an Alaskan sawmill. Seems like at some point, the cost of a regular sawmill would offset the costs of purchasing, running and maintaining a large saw and Alaskan sawmill. The wood lost as sawdust with a chainsaw seems like another factor to consider. Anyone with experience care to comment?
I have run an Alaskan mill a bit with a 880, milled a bit for my own projects, did a dozen or so paid gigs, and it is really inefficient. It’s only suitable use is for very large diameter logs that are impossible to access. And for those logs, it’s awesome.

A bandsaw would be much more accurate, efficient, lower emissions, and much much easier on the body.
 

27RMT0N

Well-Known Member
Location
WA
I've done a bit of chainsaw milling and my friend has a proper bandsaw mill. I agree with everyone a 550 isn't nearly enough saw for any kind of milling, and that honestly a chainsaw mill is only good for breaking down huge slabs to process elsewhere like others have said. If you try to make dimensional lumber in any kind of numbers, you are going to start hating it pretty quickly. If you are living off grid in Alaska and it's your only option sure, go for it, or just want to a make a small slab a few times a year, otherwise see it as a hobby that will be harder work than you think and have realistic expectations.

I turned a bunch of fir logs into 1" slabs for a sort of board and batten siding with a 288. Kills your back, breathing exhaust for hours and turned about 30% of the logs into wheelbarrows and wheelbarrows of sawdust. What I could do in 10 hours with the chainsaw and very hard work could have been done in under an hour and not breaking a sweat with a bandsaw.

P1110214 (Custom).JPG

Friends bandsaw mill. Old photo, it's got a dedicated mil;-shed and is on a concrete slab now.

P1880585 (Custom).JPG
 
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Stumpsprouts

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
I've done a bit of chainsaw milling and my friend has a proper bandsaw mill. I agree with everyone a 550 isn't nearly enough saw for any kind of milling, and that honestly a chainsaw mill is only good for breaking down huge slabs to process elsewhere like others have said. If you try to make dimensional lumber in any kind of numbers, you are going to start hating it pretty quickly. If you are living off grid in Alaska and it's your only option sure, go for it, or just want to a make a small slab a few times a year, otherwise see it as a hobby that will be harder work than you think and have realistic expectations.

I turned a bunch of fir logs into 1" slabs for a sort of board and batten siding with a 288. Kills your back, breathing exhaust for hours and turned about 30% of the logs into wheelbarrows and wheelbarrows of sawdust. What I could do in 10 hours with the chainsaw and very hard work could have been done in under an hour and not breaking a sweat with a bandsaw.

View attachment 75301

Friends bandsaw mill. Old photo, it's got a dedicated mil;-shed and is on a concrete slab now.

View attachment 75302
Yes yes yes and yes
 

colb

Well-Known Member
Location
Florida
I have run an Alaskan mill a bit with a 880, milled a bit for my own projects, did a dozen or so paid gigs, and it is really inefficient. It’s only suitable use is for very large diameter logs that are impossible to access. And for those logs, it’s awesome.

A bandsaw would be much more accurate, efficient, lower emissions, and much much easier on the body.
It's also suited to very very very large diameter logs that need slabbing that are easy to access.
 

27RMT0N

Well-Known Member
Location
WA
And just to be clear, I'm not trying to turn you off to the idea of chainsaw milling. It can be a neat hobby and has it's place. For turning logs into a few live-edge benches, big or hard to access logs it is great, just don't think you are going to be 'making lumber' with it.

Another thing is sharp chains, you will need to be pretty good with a file/grinder. Ripping is a different tooth angle than normal chains made primarily for cross-cutting, so you will have to have someone make them for you, or make them yourself by changing the angle. The more dull the chain is, the harder the saw is working and you are already putting the saw through the hardest possible task when milling. People blow saws up pushing them too hard and too long milling. Either it's not powerful enough ("but the bar was long enough11!"), the saw is too dull, or both. It works too hard, gets too hot, and parts fail. This is why you need the biggest saw possible and know how to use it, so you've got that extra headroom instead of running it so hard it's always beyond the limits it was designed for. If you want a big saw for milling down the road, just buy it from the start instead of going with half-measures, it will save money in the long run.
 

JMB6

Member
Location
Cary
Can you please share your setup? What model of the mill you have connected to what chainsaw?
The argument to use it only for very big logs makes perfect sense to me.
Let’s say I wait for a new Husqvarna 90cc model this year. What bar length should I get and what model of Granberg mill? (Btw, I live in NC)
Thanks.
 

dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
amazing this pops up now, I was just given a Granberg Alaskan Mill a couple days ago!
I run a husky 562. have a 28" bar with a skip tooth chain on hand. I feel it's probably the lowest realistic end, 60cc, if I don't go after huge width. I will likely give it a go just to run it. I left a maple log laying nearby I can get into.

I was wondering about setting up that first cut. Maybe track down a couple pieces of angle iron and some boards? I heard mention about using an aluminum ladder, maybe pinning it to the log with some blocks.

How do you all go for the first cut?
 

Stumpsprouts

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
amazing this pops up now, I was just given a Granberg Alaskan Mill a couple days ago!
I run a husky 562. have a 28" bar with a skip tooth chain on hand. I feel it's probably the lowest realistic end, 60cc, if I don't go after huge width. I will likely give it a go just to run it. I left a maple log laying nearby I can get into.

I was wondering about setting up that first cut. Maybe track down a couple pieces of angle iron and some boards? I heard mention about using an aluminum ladder, maybe pinning it to the log with some blocks.

How do you all go for the first cut?
Man, all those gypsy moth killed white oaks up there you could be busy for a while.

I used tracks and brackets that were meant for the purpose but found an aluminum ladder and pieces of wood works better.

You need the both ends of the log to be fairly straight and 90 degrees to the log itself.

Take a 2x12 or 2x10 that is long enough for your ladder to sit on- about 30” will do- and screw it to both ends of the log. You want the 2x12 to be high and in as minimal amount of the log as possible while still being secure. Use a level to make both lumber pieces level on the top. This important step is what will give you a fairly even plane on all your cuts.

The ladder sits on top of this wood. I use screws poking out the top of the lumber to keep the ladder from sliding side to side.

Your first cut will have the mill adjusted very high. This allows you to cut a minimal amount while accounting for all the knots and bark and unevenness on the log.

The picture below can help explain (that was back when I was using a 441)... it’s hard to define in words.

Couldn't help myself, also included a picture of a 15’ tuliptree log that was about 44” across that I chainsaw milled. That took a long while!!
 

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dspacio

Active Member
Location
Narragansett Bay
The picture below can help explain (that was back when I was using a 441)... it’s hard to define in words.
Thanks for sharing, and the photos too, that setup makes a lot of sense to me. I think my ladder is kind of tweaked though! Good to know this is a realistic system.
thanks for the link @JMB6 , I will likely work with a simple setup for now, if I am gonna drop a few hundred bucks it may as well be toward a legit bandsaw!
 

Stumpsprouts

Well-Known Member
Location
Asheville
Thanks for sharing, and the photos too, that setup makes a lot of sense to me. I think my ladder is kind of tweaked though! Good to know this is a realistic system.
thanks for the link @JMB6 , I will likely work with a simple setup for now, if I am gonna drop a few hundred bucks it may as well be toward a legit bandsaw!
Borrow a good square ladder, for sure!
Ps drop by grapes and gourmet in Jamestown and steal one from the back. That’s my cousins’ spot.
 

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