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“No Chainsaw” Chainsaw Mill
“It runs much quieter and is more fuel efficient than conventional chainsaw sawmills, and it has electric start so I can just turn a key to start it,” says John Shultz, Bennington, Vt., who turned his Stihl 046 chainsaw equipped with a 28-in. blade into a portable sawmill. He removed the blade and mounted it on the carriage, which rides on V-groove caster wheels and is pushed down the track.
    He used parts from a Sears Craftsman riding mower to build the sawmill, including the mower’s chassis and 11 hp Briggs & Stratton electric start engine, dash, gas tank and battery. The only parts of the chainsaw he used were the blade and sprocket.
    “The key feature is how I hooked up the chain drive to the 4-cycle engine – and I’m keeping the exact details a secret,” says Shultz.
    The mower’s engine, gas tank and battery are still attached to the machine’s original chassis. The dash is mounted at eye level and contains the ignition key and throttle.The engine belt-drives a jackshaft that extends down to the chain, where it rides on 2 bearings. Both ends of the blade are fastened to a “deadman” that keeps the blade from vibrating.
    Shultz uses the throttle on the dash to control the engine’s speed. The chainsaw blade is belt-driven at twice the engine’s speed, so he runs the engine at half throttle.    “I built it about 2 years ago and have used it to cut about 6,000 board feet of lumber with no problems,” says Shultz. “The mill is mounted on short telephone poles so it’s not portable, but it could be mounted on a trailer.
    “I came up with the idea because I have a 150-acre farm with a lot of low grade white pine scattered throughout the woodlot. These trees are low grade with short, crooked trunks, knots, and a lot of limbs that would be hard to sell to a large mill. I wanted to build my own sawmill to keep the cost down and liked the idea of using a chainsaw. However, I didn’t want to listen to a screaming chainsaw all the time and watch it gobble up gas. Also, it’s hard to start a start a chainsaw when it’s mounted on its side.
    “A friend gave me the riding mower. I have a machine and welding shop so I was able to build the entire sawmill for only about $300.”
    He used 1 1/2 in. and 2-in. sq. tubing to build the saw carriage and the framework for the saw head. Angle iron and 2 by 4-in. tubing was used to build the track.
    “The saw head is raised and lowered and moved along the track with 2 hand winches and is accurate to within 1/16 of an inch,” says Shultz. “It can handle logs from 8 to 16 ft. long and up to 24 in. in dia. I can cut boards as thin as 1/2 in. or up to 7 in. with no problem.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, John Shultz, 617 Murphy Hill Road, North Bennington, Vt. 05257 (ph 802 447-7266; shu512j@gmail.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #6