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Ethobling

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Hey folks. Hope you are well.

I have a question, but first, a small amount of info on where I'm at...

Recently, I purchased an Alaskan Sawmill (36") and a 462 for milling my own lumber. I didn't want to shell out the cash for a bandsaw sawmill, especially seeing how many are on backorder for many months. Also, I wanted to have something dual purpose and easy to move around, so a chainsaw mill fit the bill.

I am running the 462 stock. 40:1 mix using Stihl premium oil and 89 octane ethanol-free gas. 25" bar or my 36" bar if necessary (I realize this is significantly larger than recommended, but it is working fine so far). Only milled pine, so far.

My question: I am big on planning for the future. I expect this 462 to last a few years (especially with good maintenance), but I am considering buying a new, probably bigger saw and using the 462 more as a felling saw.

Which saw should I get? Brand doesn't really matter to me. I have all 3 brands (Echo CS400, Husky 440, Stihl 194t, 029, 462) and like them all, even if the 440 is kinda meh. I'm considering the Husky 395 and the Stihl 661.

I value durability over everything else. With that, parts availability for the foreseeable future is also a big factor.

I've read rumors that Stihl is focusing more on power to weight ratios instead of durability, but it's probably just rumors.

With that said, I am seriously considering Holtzfforma's 395, 660, or 888. The price point is appealing and (since I'm fairly new to chainsaw porting, tuning, etc) could allow me to experiment and learn without worrying about blowing up a $1200+ saw. It could also give me experience taking apart a saw and replacing piston/etc. I currently only have a basic level of saw maintenance, including replacing air filters, fuel filter, spark plugs, etc.

Thanks in advance!
 

Sagebrush33

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For a ''dedicated'' milling saw, 95cc or larger is your friend. Milling is extremely hard work on saws.
 

huskyhank

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If the new saw will live on the mill, I would buy a 3120 Husqvarna. The only thing better would be a 3120 that was modded for milling. You can do that later if you choose. There is no replacement for displacement.
 

Ethobling

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I would LOVE a 3120, but I simply don't have the cash, especially not $2k+ just for the power head.

Any thoughts on the G888? Would a 395 be good enough? (I'm milling almost exclusively pine and nothing over 36" wide.)

Also, what mods would make a saw a better milling saw?
 

farminkarman

I like the red & black ones
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The problem I have seen dealing with several farmertec saws is some parts are made well and others not so much. I think they can be tolerated if you are up for messing with them, but if you just want to be able to pick up the saw and use it, I would steer clear of the Farmertec stuff. IMO for what you are currently doing, I would try to find a used 395, or order a new one from @Gentleman he is @ $1150 + $20 for shipping (PHO) You could even get a Husky to Stihl bar adapter and keep the bar you have.
 
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sledneck22

But, is the chain sharp?
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I went with the 661 earlier this year. I've done a little oak but mostly it's been in pine. 36" bar and archer ripping chain. I removed the baffle out of the muffler and for now it wears a barkbox muffler cover until probably this winter when I can fab up a second side port with screen. I also put the max flow air filter system on it to protect from fines.
Like any of these saws, it flys through pine. My local stihl dealer is a friend of mine, family ran business and no BS when it comes to them. So I always favor stihl for that reason because parts and issues I may have, I know I'll be taken care of. They also give me a good cash price on new saws.
Here's a video I make using the 661 in pine for your reference. (fwiw, i also have a 462 and love that saw for felling)
 

Ethobling

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Going to see if this is correct...

If I have a chainsaw that runs 3/8 .063, but I have a bar that is .050, I will need to change the sprocket on the saw to run the bar, correct? Or is that only applicable if it is a rim sprocket?
 

Sagebrush33

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The sprocket is only for the pitch. Ie, .325, 3/8, or .4o4.
It can also change chain speeds with different pin count. 8 pin sprocket will increase speed over 7 pin.
 

farminkarman

I like the red & black ones
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Going to see if this is correct...

If I have a chainsaw that runs 3/8 .063, but I have a bar that is .050, I will need to change the sprocket on the saw to run the bar, correct? Or is that only applicable if it is a rim sprocket?
You already got an answer on the pitch, so I will answer the gauge part of your question. If you have a 0.050” gauge bar, the rails will be the correct width to accommodate a chain with .050” thick drive links. So, a 0.063” chain won’t fit down into the rails on a 0.050” bar.
 

Sagebrush33

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You already got an answer on the pitch, so I will answer the gauge part of your question. If you have a 0.050” gauge bar, the rails will be the correct width to accommodate a chain with .050” thick drive links. So, a 0.063” chain won’t fit down into the rails on a 0.050” bar.
Thanks for adding that. I had forgot that part of his question by the time I got to the end of my post.
 

Ethobling

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I already understand both of those points. I think I should clarify my question:

Can I run a 3/8 pitch .050 chain on a sprocket designed for 3/8 .063?
 

Sagebrush33

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I already understand both of those points. I think I should clarify my question:

Can I run a 3/8 pitch .050 chain on a sprocket designed for 3/8 .063?
The chainsaw bar itself designates what gauge DL to use. The sprocket has no influence on that.
 

gurwald

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* You get to run a chainsaw
* It's more versatile
* You get to do some physical labor
* It's cheap and you can get 4-5 boards from one slab

Unless you are going to start a lumberyard I dont see why you would get a bandsaw.
 

Sagebrush33

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Unless you are going to start a lumberyard I dont see why you would get a bandsaw
Lest waste in the kerf for more boards.
A band mill is very efficient, especially compared to using a chainsaw.
Lots of benefits for the loss of portability. Granted a hobbyist would benefit from the chain mill. Any landowner or homesteader
would find the band mill more capable.
 

Ethobling

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I find a chainsaw mill gives me more liberty to do what I want. I can go where a bandsaw mill can't. It also means if I have a customer who will allow me to mill the tree I take down for them, I don't need to tow behind a big trailer. On top of that, I don't have to position the log (much) onto the sawmill. I can start working right where it's at.

Another huge benefit was already mentioned: dual purpose. I can use the same saw I used to fell a tree to start milling it 10 minutes later.

Question: what do y'all recommend to extend the life of a chainsaw used for milling? Opened up muffler? What else?
 
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