PRACTICAL TEST: The fate of most fallen timber is to be cut up for firewood, even when a straight section of trunk just begs to be spared and used to make something. Here we outline how we saved some from the wood burner.

A few caveats from the outset. If you want to use a chainsaw to ‘mill’ fallen timber, you need several things. First, a chainsaw that is not just powerful enough to drive a long guide bar with a ripping chain but with the stamina to cope with the tough job of slicing through the timber you want to mill. We borrowed a Stihl MS500i for our job and although it absolutely ‘bossed’ the 42in guide bar through our ash trunk, an even more powerful saw is recommended to mill with such a long guide bar as Stihl recommends a maximum guide bar length of 36in for the MS500i.

Next you need to be patient. It takes time to set up a milling system, the generic Alaskan mill ‘frame’ we used taking a while to both assemble and adjust to suit our saw and bar combo. We had an added problem with the massive 42in/107cm GB Lo Pro guide bar we bought as part of a milling kit from Hampshire based Chainsawbars. Its grooves were painted on the inside. This meant the drive links of the Panther ripping chain that also came as part of the package were too tight to fit into the bar. We had to clean out all the paint before we could even fit the chain. 

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