I was lucky enough to get a Logosol Timberjigg for my birthday two years ago. Last year I got two ripping chains and bars (50cm and 63cm). Here’s what I’ve learnt so far.
- It’s fun and rewarding. For a few hours of work you can get a lot of valuable timber from what might otherwise have been burnt, chipped or left to rot.
- This is hot, heavy work. It’s also dangerous and dirty. You face ends up close to the chainsaw engine which is very noisy and you get to breath a fair amount of 2 stroke smoke and saw dust. A face mask is a good idea. Helmet, earmuffs, gloves, steel capped boots and chaps are essential.
- It’s ideal for small scale jobs e.g. salvage from awkward spots
- The Timberjigg is a, fast, flexible, low cost, low storage space, low learning curve way to make timber from wood.
- If you have more than a few trees to do per year and you can get access, hire a mobile milelr. It’s faster and there’s less waste.
- You need a big chainsaw. I have a Stihl 460 Magum. Any bigger would be quite heavy. Much smaller would be overworked. Any WoodBoss with 2 nuts should have enough grunt.
- Sharpen your chain often. At least once per log/billett.
- Use a second saw for felling, bucking and trimming. It will have a cross-cut chain and dog teeth.
- You have to remove the dog teeth on the milling saw so it’s not much good for serious cross-cutting.
- A ripping or picco chain makes it easier and faster and gives a better finish. If you use a cross-cutting (regular) chain you will only end up with fencing material. Get a ripping chain.
- You need much bigger screws and more sturdy guide rails than the manual and DVD suggest. I am using treated pine 6 x 1. I bought two 5.4m lengths and made one rail 2m long and the other 3.4. You also have to reinforce these about twice as much as the video suggests.
- The log should rest on two supports. These should have a diameter at least half the bar length. More is better on your back and safer. Cut two V shapped notches very close to one end. Wedge them to stop them rolling while you are working.
- A short bar is lighter and less likely to hit the ground, the supports or your leg.
- A long bar is good for slabbing and bigger logs.
- You will use a fair amount of fuel and oil. Take plenty.
- You can do it on rough, slopping ground but it’s easier the flatter it is. A shady, level site with good access from all sides and a ute parked nearby as a workbench makes life a lot easier.
- It seems to be about as easy to saw gum as it is to do pine or Camphor Laurel. Acacia is harder and more likely to be full of dirt.
- You can’t cut logs that are too thin. It should be 25cm absolute minimum.
- There’s a lot of waste with the kerf of a chainsaw so make as few cuts as you need.
- The logs need to be fairly cylindrical. You are effectively making a 3 sided block to take boards from.
- You can’t cut logs that are too short. They tend to move as the saw moves through the log. I have found a 2m guide rail will cut up 1.8m logs nicely and is easy to build, handle and store.
- You can’t cut logs that are too long. It can only be as long as you make your guide rail. And if it’s too long you can’t move it around and lift it onto your support props. About 3.2 seems the practical maximum log length for pine and I find even 2m of hardwood hard work to lift.
- Workout where the first flat cut will run. Trim the billet so that the ends are perpendicalar to that and parallel to each other.
- It’s easier to use the rail for the first cut then screw the rail onto that face for the second. That spoils at least part of the face of at least one board but you get a nice right angle.
- I also cut only two faces and leave the boards to dry as rough edge on one side. The reason is that I can remove that edge on a table saw and get a neater, straighter cut after the board is dry and thicknessed. It also adds more weight to the block you are cutting from so it’s more stable.
- Do more than one log at a time. It takes a while to get all geared up so I make the most of it. I fell, trim and crosscut leaving the billets the right length for the frame on one day. When I am ready to mill them, I make a day of it and save time packing and unpacking. It might take an hour to get to the site and get set up, half an hour to make your billet into a block but then only a few minutes for each board. If you have a few billets all the same size, work flows much smoother on the second and subsequent ones.
- Before each cut re-check that the knobs on the Timberjigg haven’t vibrated lose.
- Stop when you are thirsty, hungry or tired. Fix it before you start up again.
- Unless it’s for rough outdoor use, the finish is not good enough with just the chain cut.
- Expect to have to use a planner / thicknesser once the timber fully dries. It will warp a little anyhow so cut a little oversize.
- Make sure you have plenty of room undercover to let your boards dry. And stack them well supported (at 300mm centres) by packers (2.5cm square) which you can use a table saw to cut out of your offcuts.