About a year ago I decided to take the chainsaw mill plunge. I had a long-running interest in live edge woodworking and I wanted to give it a try and start harvesting my own lumber as the first step, as buying live edge slabs of premium hardwood from specialty lumber stores can be very expensive. There are lots of opportunities out there for getting your hands on all the free, high-quality wood you can handle (which is a subject of one of my past videos) however, to take advantage of those opportunities, you need an economical and effective way to harvest and process all that wood. And, a chainsaw mill is the perfect solution!
My first chainsaw mill was the Granberg G777 Alaskan Small Log Mill, which I absolutely love and still use on smaller projects. I did a video on that mill a while ago which you can check out here. The larger model Alaskan Mill, the G778, comes in a variety of sizes that can handle up to a gigantic 84-inch bar!
The G7778 comes nicely packaged with easy to follow assembly instructions, as well as some helpful information for proper milling techniques, and also a catalog of other Granberg products. The mill goes together very easily with minimal tools, but of course, it’s important to read the directions to make sure everything is put together correctly for optimal performance.
Once you get it all put together it’s time to head out to your milling site and get to work! As a word of caution, before you get started it’s vitally important to use the proper safety gear such as ear and eye protection, heavy-duty gloves, as well as a set of chaps. Chainsaws can obviously be very dangerous, and accidents can happen to even the most experienced users. You’ll also want to be sure that your particular chainsaw is powerful enough to handle the job.
One of the great features of the Alaskan Mill is that you can use it to cut whole slabs from trees for live edge style projects, or, you can also use it cut and process boards and beams to your specific dimensions for whatever building projects you have on deck. Instructions for both methods are included with your mill and you can also find out more at Granberg’s website. No matter what you intend to use your boards or slabs for though, the first step is to make a nice, clean, precise, level first cut of your log, as that first cut will dictate how well all the following cuts will come out. If you make a sloppy first cut, all the rest of your boards and slabs will be sloppy as well.
There are several ways you can make the first cut, from using one of Granberg’s rail system products, using a ladder, or rigging up your own first cut system with 2×4’s and such. No matter the method though, again, the key is for that first cut to be as level and straight as possible. After that first cut is done, you can get down to business and start slabbing away. You can make precise adjustments on your Granberg Alaskan Mill and cut slabs, boards, or even huge beams anywhere from ½ inch to 13 inches deep!
One of the main differences between the G777 Small Log Mill and the larger G778 mills is that the chainsaw bar is firmly secured on both ends with the larger mills, which makes for a very precise cut. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using a Granberg ripping chain on your saw instead of an ordinary crosscut chain, which will result in smooth, fast cutting. It really is amazing how nice the surface of the wood comes out when using one of these mills, along with a good, sharp ripping chain.
Now make no mistake, chainsaw milling is hard work, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun and with just a few uses it’ll pay for itself. In fact, in many cases, your Alaskan Mill will pay for itself on the very first use, especially if you’re processing more hard to find, valuable hardwood. Building beautiful, unique furniture and other items, or producing your own lumber from wood that in many cases is going to be left to rot or turned into mulch is incredibly satisfying. It’s a great feeling to be able to look at something you made yourself and know that you were involved in every step, from harvesting the tree out in the woods, all the way to the finished product. And, that’s essentially why I love chainsaw milling with Granberg products so much, as that’s what they’re designed to do.
As a side note, it’s also good to know that Granberg is a family-owned and operated business. All their products are proudly made in the USA and include a lifetime warranty. You can find out more and get yours today at granberg.com. And finally, I’m happy to announce that I’ve teamed up with Granberg in order for you to get a 10% discount by using the Wild Revelation Outdoors discount code wildrev19 when you place your order.
To watch the video version of this blog article, click here.
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