the singing falls waterfall singing falls logo text capella, the goat shepherd's constellation

Star Capella
With kid stars
In Auriga,
You speak
To the earth



The Chain Saw Mill

Milling Wood

Mark III chainsaw mill

Why a chain saw mill

Mind set and means are such a significant part of getting tasks done in our lifestyle of choice. We've met many people on our journey through life that have accomplished various aspects of establishing their homesteads through means other than ours. Often they have simply had enough resources to have the job done for them. Some are able to purchase lumber mills of varous types and have a mechanical means of transporting heavy logs to the mill. Others borrowed money to purchase equipment or man power to meet their needs. None of the above options suited us. We had determined early on that we would avoid incurring any debt if it were at all possible. It just didn't seem feasible to us that we could accomplish our goals and feed the bankers too. Not that we are persuaded borrowing is evil, but our limited resources demanded we develop the skill sets to do things on our own and and be self supporting as possible. This system works best if you are young, have more time than money OR you are radically independent and like doing things yourself.

The sacred writings of the wise have posed these two concepts:

1.The borrower is the slave to the lender.

2.Owe no man anything except to love one another.

Both of these ideas have been guiding lights on our path to living the way we do. Mind you, we have had neither skill sets or resources to go forward. Issues of self confidence and the fortitude are too deep a subject for the scope of this presentation. Suffice it to say we accomplished our tasks. The flip side of the above wisdom is that poverty is a good teacher if you embrace her properly. She often teaches the hard way and it can be fearful at times. Especially in a consumer culture that seems to know no bounds and teaches that there are no other options. Then too, poverty is a relative term. I've seen the really poor. In the past I had chosen to own nothing and walk as a renunciate. I know what hunger is.

Back to the subject at hand

Our choice has always been to find our place to be on the earth and work our way up from there. The amenities of life will come in due season; well earned and much more appreciated at that. Flowing water, warmth, food and place to be; these are treasures we do not take for granted.

So it is and was with our efforts to build quality reliable structures to house ourselves and our livestock. After a short self taught course in architectural design and the fundamentals of construction (we are veracious readers) our efforts focused on the means to apply the principles. Log home building, pole barn building or timberframe construction were the choices best suited for our circumstances. Balloon or stick frame building just did not suit our liking if not for anything other than the fact that it takes as many cuts to make a 2X4 as it does an 8X8 building member.

But not only that. Timber frame construction embodied the integrity and longevity of time tested methods. Studs and panels just never clicked with me even though I have and do use them. At the time of this writing plywood and chipboard are just out of reach price wise and besides as an old Viet Nam veteran I've had enough of toxic chemical exposure. Did you know it was a common practice to use animal blood and formaldehyde as components in the adhesive used for making plywood?

After many years of using the milling saw jig I still feel that I have come out way ahead. Of course trees are a prerequisite for the job but after that, this device will serve you well. Our log home in Montana and our current timberframe barn are the main structures in which we have used the Alaskan chainsaw mill. The main timber members of these structures are of a high quality and reliability.

Now that we have covered the "why" of our madness I would like to encourage those who see the value of our view to use their chain saw to mill their timbers.

There are some drawbacks to the jig. To name a few right off the top I'd start with the fact that they are slow, hard on the chain saw and not very efficient with the wood. The chain saw kerf can be 3/8 inches wide. It will take a little time to set the jig up properly to make good cuts.

A big plus from my perspective is the fact that you can carry the mill anywhere. Most of the large timbers for building our barn were milled right in the woods where the trees were felled. We hauled them back by the oxen. You can visit the sites today and you can hardly notice where the work was done. A very "light touch" operation indeed. Even if I wanted to mill them elsewhere I could not have. The place the trees were felled was a very steep grade and the trees themselves were huge at around 39 inches in diameter at the butt end. Hauling them out of there would have impacted the environment heavily which is another aspect of husbandry that we avoid as much as possible.

I have created a gallery of images to illustrate the technique and possibilities of this tool. The related pages in the gallery have comments on the images and other tidbits that might help further your purposes.



Stanley & Alexandra Petrowski
34620 Tiller Trail Hwy.
Tiller, Oregon 97484