Chain saw for splitting logs lengthwise?

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by kenth, May 5, 2012.

  1. kenth

    kenth

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    I have come across a large quantity of various log sections that I am cutting to length and have been splitting in half so that I can band saw into bowl blanks etc. My question is has anyone been using a chain saw to split logs lengthwise and have you found any particular type of chain to work better that others I have been using an Oregon # 72 chain and it works ok. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  2. Jake Gevorgian

    Jake Gevorgian

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  3. Lee Tourtelotte

    Lee Tourtelotte

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    Log Processing Platform for Bowl Blanks

    Hi Kent -- Here is a link to a article I submitted to our Minnesota Woodturners Association newsletter back in October 2010. It describes a log processing platform that is easily built, for cutting bowl blank logs longitudinally, using a chain saw. You really don't need a special rip chain, the standard chain saw cuts much quicker & easier cutting longitudinally, rather than down through the end grain. Most importantly, this is by far the safest, quickest way to process bowl blanks. Just be sure that your chain saw has a bar long enough to cut completely across the supported log.
    You will like this method, once you try it!

    Go to: Minnesota Woodturners Association website,
    click on "Newsletters"
    select: Oct 2010, go to page 8

    October 2010.pdf

    Happy Trails,

    Lee Tourtelotte
    email: leetourtelotte@msn.com

    PS -- If you can't locate the newsletter, send me your email and I will email the whole article, with pictures, direct to you.
     
  4. Ian Thorn

    Ian Thorn

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    Lee is right the block cuts so much easyer laying down than standing up and it is a lot safer, your saw, chain and bar will also last longer
     
  5. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Get rid of that "safety chain" (and drive sprocket) if you have one, and get a good chisel chain. It will pull shavings with a lot less strain on the saw. Rocking the bar, so that the entire length is not engaged at one time will also help. A suggestion for sawing pieces you will be using right off the saw. Undercut the endgrain to approximately the angle of the curved sides. Will give you a much more balanced blank to begin with. Not sure why the guy in the video doesn't do it on the chainsaw or bandsaw. Maybe he wanted to make that comment on the blank being unbalanced to make a point? At the very least, swing the gouge through on the largest diameter first. A reduction in irregularity out on the end of the lever is of greater benefit than starting in the middle.

    A hard hat when felling is great. Small dead things can drop on you and ruin your day without it. For bucking? more likely to cause trouble if it slips off your head when you bend. Especially if you reflexively reach.
     
  6. kenth

    kenth

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    Thanks everyone for the help and tips!
     
  7. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    A safety note on Sam's video. The drop start that he uses on the chainsaw is extremely dangerous, and should be used only by professional people. Proper start up is with the saw on the ground, the chain lock engaged, and then pull the starter rope. The risk of the running chain turning into your leg is very high.

    I do use a skip tooth chain. It cuts with less resistance, or more power to each tooth. Most of the time, I will prop the log up, mark plum lines on front and back, and cut down the center. I also mark parallel lines (using plywood strips of various widths) to cut a flat spot on the bottom. I do not rock the blade in the cut as it tends to leave a more uneven surface, but start the saw cut on the front side, and push the nose down gently through the back side, as far down as I can without it hitting the ground, and then make the rest of the cut down the front. When cutting parallel with the grain, you can get some shaving jams inside the saw, but this is only briefly. Just let the saw cut at its own pace, and don't push hard, and most of the time the shavings will clear fine.

    robo hippy
     
  8. Frank F

    Frank F

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    What size is the chain saw and how long is the bar?

    I’m getting ready to buy a new chain saw (59 cc) with a 20 inch bar and would like to noodle logs up to 26 in dia x 26 in long. I heard lots about skip chains: you need a powerful saw to pull them; they’re good for underpowered saws; they’ offer little advantage on bars 28†and under, etc.
    I realize that I should or must put a larger bar on saw and I guess that’s part of my question. Can I get away with putting a larger bar on the saw if I use a skip chain?

    Thanks,

    Frank
     
  9. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    Actually, I believe the skip chain has fewer teeth, and needs less hp to cut. I have 2 saws, on a Husky with a 24 inch bar, and the other a Sthil with a 36 inch bar. Best answer to your questions about a longer bar and such would come from your chainsaw dealer. Preferably a chainsaw/outdoor equipment store, and not the big box store. The professionals actually use the equipment they sell. I only use the 36 inch bar maybe once or twice a year. We do have big wood here, but I don't like lifting it that much any more.

    robo hippy
     
  10. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    What's the capacity of your lathe? Ideally, you'd like a bar at least a couple inches longer than the capacity of your lathe. This allows the safer practice of cutting with the nose free, rather than risking kick from burying and pinching. You cut your length to swing plus one and go for it. Ask your dealer if your saw is capable of working at the length which would allow you to do this. At 60 cc you're good for 20, maybe 24. Might not even have a longer bar available, truth to tell.

    When felling or crosscutting, you can go round and round, which means bar length is not as critical. Skip chain doesn't make much difference in felling or crossing large. It's a negative when limbing, because it's rougher and grabby in operation. I used mine for ripping only, because I had a choice. When he got too small in the tooth I didn't bother replacing him. A full skip will allow you to keep the rpm up, so I suppose it would make a lower power saw feel like a higher. Walking the saw will do the same, since only about half of the teeth are engaged at any point.
     
  11. Mike Peace

    Mike Peace

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    MM, I am not familiar with the term "walking the saw".
     
  12. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Tilt bar back, tilt bar forward, sort of like your foot goes when walking. That way you don't have all teeth engaged and resisting limited displacement.
     
  13. Steven Antonucci

    Steven Antonucci

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    FWIW- I always engage the chain brake when starting my Stihl, just to avoid the chain spinning at full throttle. I release it before the cut, and reset it whenever I stop.

    Agree on cutting with the length of the log.

    Agree on rocking the saw.

    Not mentioned yet is to use the anti-kickback pawls on all modern saws. If you do, you can bury the bar to the tip with no kickback. Getting your cuts to line up is another story, but the pawls are there for a reason.

    Steve
     
  14. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    I found that if I rock the saw when cutting I get a much more uneven surface. If I just start it level, then dig in the dogs/teeth, and push the nose down, plug up is minimal, When it is down through, then the handle end follows that line down. Most of the time, this is a flat enough surface for cutting circles out of.

    robo hippy
     
  15. Frank Kobilsek

    Frank Kobilsek

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    I have 18" and a 25" Stihls saws. The primary adjustment I have made for ripping is to cut some clearence in the back of the sprocket guard. This allows some of the shaving to exit there and reduce plugging up of the guard and sprocket.

    I am lucky to have a small loader tractor so I can lift and postion even large logs onto a heavy stand I built. This keeps me and the chain up off the ground. I think I can cut something closer to two parrellel planes when I can stand up and see what I am doing.
     
  16. Dave Roller

    Dave Roller

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    Kenth, when I bought my Stihl 310, the factory representative happened to be in the store. I told him what I wanted to do (split, at most 24"), and he recommended this saw and suggested that if I could afford it and not mind the inconvenience of changing chains whenever I plan to split my blanks, that I get an Oregon chain ground at 10*. I gently suggested that after my spending that much $ on a saw I shouldn't have to spend more $ for another chain, and the store threw in the second chain at "cost." I think portable log mills use chains ground at 10*. Maybe someone could state for sure.

    Recently, a logger who was at my house to estimate taking down a large hickory suggested that skip tooth chain would work as well or better for splitting, but that I would be sharpening the chain more often. What he said makes sense. I use a skip tooth blade on my band saw whenever I'm cutting wet blanks round.

    A late reply, but it may help others as well.
     
  17. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Dave,
    I use a ripping chain occasionally. Mine is ground 20, 20, 0. The 0 is like a raker cleans out.
    Generally I just use the regular chain for ripping as I am cross cutting to length then ripping.

    Be aware the ripping chains are more prone to kickback. They are used in Oregon mills where the saw is held in a device to cut lumber from logs.

    I find the ripping chain leaves a cleaner surfaces and is smoother to operate.
    It is probably best for those with experience.
    I got my first ripping chain from a neighbor who was ordering chains for a sawmill where he worked.

    If you ever have to rip 30 platter blanks for a class, it will come in handy.

    Again beware it can be more prone to kickback.

    Have fun ,
    Al
     
  18. Leslie Walper

    Leslie Walper

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    Log Ripping

    Ripping is completely different than crosscutting and benefits from a different cutter grind. Most chainsaw mills use standard chain ground to an angle of less than 10° - preferably 0° - with a full skip chain.

    For the occasional rip cut I wouldn't worry about keeping a dedicated chain. The "normal" 30° cutter grind will pull a nice shaving if used along the lengthwise section. However, those long shavings do tend to clog the saw. You'll be pulling shavings the length of the distance between cutters instead of the normal chips seen when crosscutting. If you're ripping the endgrain the 0-5° grind holds a definite advantage - similar to what you have on your table saw.

    If you're going to be doing much ripping you'll also appreciate a bigger saw - 80cc recommended. I've got a couple of Huskys - 52cc and 65cc - and the 65 definitely has the clear advantage.
     
  19. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Didn't all professionals start as amateurs?
     
  20. Jim Gafney

    Jim Gafney

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    Log splitting.

    I have three steel wedges and a three pound hammer. Once the log is cut to approximate length for lathe plus a little end loss, I can then easily split them in about a minute of easy work. Of course this doesn't explain why I needed a new chain saw to my wife. Smile.

    Do not use the chainsaw near the steel wedges.
     

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