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Nic.Watson

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Not sure if anyone on here will have any expertise in this matter but worth a shot...
I’ve got 3 big oak logs (roughly 7ft long by 3ft wide) which I want to mill down into 2-3” boards.
First question is about sealing the ends, so far I’ve used pva which seems to be a reasonable idea but there are some splits forming. Lots of places recommend arbourseal but it’s about £50 for a small tin in the uk as far as I can see. Any better ideas or is pva good enough?
The other question is around best option for milling. A mate has a 42” Alaskan mill on a Stihl ms660. We tried it last week and managed a couple of boards but then the chain jumped off because it wasn’t sufficiently tensioned. We tightened it as far as possible but it still caused problems and we ended up giving up. Are there any special techniques for tensioning that length bar or should I be looking at another way of milling it? Ideally don’t want to spend any money!
Thanks in advance for any advice.
 

AJB Temple

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It's very hard to know without seeing your rig - but in my limited experience of milling my own oak, it is essential to use the correct thin kerf chain which use a completely different cutting angle to normal chain. It needs to be sharp. These thin chains stretch like mad so you may need a new chain.

Also oak is tough on the saw and chain. Go slowly and don't force it.

Chain advice here: https://alaskanmill.co.uk/product/42-gb ... 4xp-395xp/
 

Beau

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Dont know the 660 that well but I suspect you may need and auxiliary oiler with a 42" bar on it. Very much doubt if the saws oiler can deliver enough oil for that long a chain. The chain is probably getting too hot and expanding making it then jump off. Not milled big wood myself just speculating.

Have you got a dedicated milling chain? If not might be worth getting a Grandenberg one and possibly a skip tooth to make life easier for the saw.
 

Woody2Shoes

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AJB Temple":33iyr3xh said:
It's very hard to know without seeing your rig - but in my limited experience of milling my own oak, it is essential to use the correct thin kerf chain which use a completely different cutting angle to normal chain. It needs to be sharp. These thin chains stretch like mad so you may need a new chain.

Also oak is tough on the saw and chain. Go slowly and don't force it.

Chain advice here: https://alaskanmill.co.uk/product/42-gb ... 4xp-395xp/
My 2d's-worth:

My understanding is that - for milling - a rip chain is, by conventional wisdom, better suited than the normal crosscut chain - as suggested above. I don't think that the kerf is very different between the two (the cutting bar thickness is the main driver of kerf width), it's more to do with the geometry of the tooth grind (and safety re. kickback risk).

Personally, I'm quite happy using a 'normal' chain to rip oak boards out of a log (freehand, without a mill/jig) - they keys to success for me are: a sharp chain, good chain tension, and not to force the cut (again, as per the above) - if you're cutting correctly, you get loads of dainty little 'curls' (as opposed to dust), like miniatures of what you get from a sharp handplane. If your mill setup is not allowing you to set and maintain correct chain tension, then something's not right, it seems to me.

Cheers, W2S

PS don't forget to use (wooden wedges) to keep the kerf open - "pinching" of the saw in the kerf (because of gravity or latent internal stresses in the wood, pulling the kerf shut) could cause the chain to be thrown off/damaged as you've experienced. Also, once the edge of the cutting bar is damaged in any way (e.g. by throwing a chain), you may find it hard to keep a chain on it, have you checked that the bar has nice sharp and undamaged edges all round?

PPS for sealing ends, I just use a couple of coats of cheap emulsion - the most important thing Iv'e found is not to dry too quickly initially (and to avoid the pith, of course)
 

Nic.Watson

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Thanks for all the quick responses!
The bar and chain were dedicated milling ones, brand new Stihl ripping chain and a new bar on a Grandberg mill. We found that when tensioning the chain, it was almost impossible to get it tight using the screwdriver in the normal tensioner. It felt as though there should be a better way to tension it than that. We did consider the aux oiler and that may be the answer but we had turned it right up on the saw and it didn’t seem to be struggling through the wood. We were using wedges so I don’t think pinching was an issue.
I’ll try the arbtalk forum too. Sure we must’ve been doing something wrong but not sure what it was yet!
 

Nic.Watson

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Bringing up my old topic again as I’ve now managed to get two of the larger logs cut into 7x3ft 3” slabs which look great.
I’ve tried sealing the ends already with PVA with limited success but I’ve ordered some stuff which is supposed to be better.
I’m interested to know if anyone on here has any experience and whether it’s worth nailing some steel banding across the ends now to prevent splitting or whether to only do it if it starts to spill it badly?
 

Noel

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Couple boxes of candles, old pot, melt, brush on? Works for me.
Not sure if any type of fixture will halt splitting once it starts.
 

TFrench

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I've been using wax on turning blanks recently, seems to be doing well.
 

Suffolkboy

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Noel":3r5xl0n9 said:
Couple boxes of candles, old pot, melt, brush on? Works for me.
Not sure if any type of fixture will halt splitting once it starts.
I do the same as Noel.
 

MikeG.

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Nic.Watson":56gf8xr6 said:
Bringing up my old topic again as I’ve now managed to get two of the larger logs cut into 7x3ft 3” slabs which look great.
I’ve tried sealing the ends already with PVA with limited success but I’ve ordered some stuff which is supposed to be better.
I’m interested to know if anyone on here has any experience and whether it’s worth nailing some steel banding across the ends now to prevent splitting or whether to only do it if it starts to spill it badly?
Nailing steel to oak will stain the oak, and the steel (and nails) will rust really quickly. There may not be much left of the nails after the 2 or 3 years your wood is going to need to dry. I'd bet that you end up cutting off the end of each board as a result. I've used "Black Jack" liquid damp-proof paint on the ends of drying logs, successfully. It isn't expensive, and is readily available at all builders merchants.
 

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