Are you wasting the old tree stumps and branches existing in your backyards? Well, it’s time to avoid doing that. You can mill the woods and make use of it. Getting them into workable slabs with a commercial or homemade chainsaw mill is no big deal. Just use these to make a beautiful tabletop and many other DIY stuff yourself.
Let’s learn about how to cut wood slabs with a chainsaw. You would only need some patience, mindset to do it right and a simple chainsaw mill. Let’s get it on!
Cutting Wood Slabs with Free Hand Chainsaw Milling
Choosing the Right Trees for Milling
If you are using homemade chainsaw mill or a weak one, perhaps dealing with any tree might not be possible. So, to match your process you need to choose a preferable tree that suits chainsaw milling.
For example, consider a chainsaw that comes with a 36 inches bar. This means the bar, as well as saw, is huge. This size sounds right for homemade chainsaw milling.
The commercial ones might come in various other dimensions. You need to set up the 36 inches bar to cut 28 inches wide cants. So, since the bar is quite large you would have to pick a tree carefully.
Now it’s time to measure the preferred tree to find out if it is possible to cut. You need to find dimensions of the butt and waist. It needs to fit the DIY or commercial chainsaw you own.
You should be picking a land that has trees with perfect sizes that do not go over requirements. So that while going through different trees you won’t face problems of getting stuck in between. Measuring one tree and comparing it with others visually can be helpful. I don’t think anybody needs to actually measure every single tree in a space.
Don’t get overexcited by large trees. You may want to get a ton of boards under your feet. But don’t do that if you really want to avoid cases where chainsaw can’t proceed because of its limitations. Also, consider the fact that you’ll be wasting a lot of good logs this way.
If you have a mill that can cut down large trees without any rotation for slicing sides then the case is different. You can probably produce more wood slabs with the tool even when a tree is quite large.
Trees Falling in Right Place
For the next concern, understand that a tree falling in a place that does not allows you to use your chainsaw mill or winch properly will waste it all. You may get really happy seeing a healthy progression of milling. But be sure the tree does not lean and fall somewhere hard to work.
However, if somehow you have no choice about the tree falling in a wrong place, calm down. Let it lean where it naturally wants to. You will probably have a difficult time using a chainsaw. But still, for safety concerns don’t panic and do something even more horrible.
Winching & Fixing Problems
Now use a winch if available. Pull and place the lumbers to a place where you can work on them easily. You will have a really hard time if there is no support for transferring logs. However, if the tree fell in a right place, you can mill there without any hassle.
If you have to mill the log in a hillside, be sure to give attention. Sometimes the log can’t handle applied force. So, it starts to move or roll. Get some good precautions for the likelihood. If you go slow and steady with some careful milling, it should give clean slabs without causing injuries.
However, there might be some break in the racking system. Sometimes this happens when the single weld is holding it together with a mainframe. This weld might snap while you winch. So be sure to check for such problems meanwhile. It’s better to find such critical issues and fix them.
- You should first choose the slab shape. It might be rectangular, oval or round. Pick a preferable one that matches your project requirements. You need to set the log now. Go for lengthwise set up with ground mounts for oval or round slabs. You should set up according to the shape chosen.
- Now you need to face the tree trunk at side. Cut the end of log evenly. This will give you a circle slab. If you want to go for an oval slab, then just angle it in 45 degrees. You would be needing two cuts for oval or circle shape.
- For the first cut, slab’s top side should be set. Next set the other bottom. The width existing between to cuts will actually determine slab’s thickness. On the other hand, oval slab length would be determined with cutting angles.
- Now simply cut both sides of the trunk for a rectangular slab. It needs to be even. With the thickest end at bottom, you would have to stand trunk upright. Tall trunks are usually hard to create slabs. With more height comes difficulty and making equal width slab becomes hard.
- You need to cut four sides starting from the top. Do it downwards of trunk so that the wood looks box-shaped and tall. Now, we can call this a slab. Perhaps technically! But since it is pretty thick, a few more steps are required.
- You need to figure out how much width your first slab has to be. Use a wide marking pen and mark the width along whole log’s length. Now going through the mark, use your chainsaw to cut downwards gradually. Imagine the process as slicing sausages.
- While slicing make sure to apply steady pressure. Don’t let the saw drift to sides or else it might mess whole shape.
- Now from the remaining wood pieces, just keep on slicing slabs. The wood will start to get thinner gradually. You need to pace wood block or something heavy to prevent it from falling over.
- You can simply use the slab as it is with a rustic look. If you want a better finish however, use a wood planner and smooth it down. That’s it, you have your wood slabs ready.
To Reduce Fatigue While Milling
Cutting wood slabs is quite daunting task. It’s obvious you’ll get a bad body pain if you stand or bend in a position milling for a while. You get closer to ground to make the proper force on chainsaw. This is surely exhausting and difficult for a few folks.
One great tip to avoid this is bucking stand. This way you’ll be able to get less fatigue. Also, it helps to log section out of the dirt. It is also useful for ergonomic while milling.
So, that’s how to cut wood slabs with a chainsaw all by yourself. I know it’s quite complicating when you start for the first time. But as soon as you do it for a few times, it gets easier with every try.
Just make sure you don’t miss out any important step or note of the whole process. I have tried to provide any additional information related to the overall method, just in case you get stuck midway.
I hope now you can start reusing the woods that are almost getting wasted and make something beautiful out of it. Good Luck with Your Creativeness!
- How To Cut Logs Into Lumber With A Chainsaw Mill!
Hi, this is Sam Maxi. It’s been almost nine years I’ve been doing woodworks and my passion is still touching the sky. I love talking about woodwork tools and my reviews are mostly based on the experience I have from my work. Apart from reviewing, I am a huge fan of surfing. Also, I love watching horror genre movies.