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Not everyone will want to start with the living tree; felling, milling, drying and then turning it into useful items, from fences to furniture, or use the scraps to make kitchen utensils and of course firewood. The great thing is that you can if you want to.

It all takes quite a bit of time and it is best to spend some time with an experienced arborist or lumberjack before you go mad with that chain saw you borrowed.

Trees have a habit of taking off in an alarming direction if you don’t get it right. Having said that there is a great deal of satisfaction obtained when the tree lands exactly where you aimed without taking out the fence or your neighbours house.

My advice is to seek professional help when trying to take down a tree close to neighbours, always check they have insurance to pay for any mistakes they might make, the weight of a tree and the playful help of a breeze can make even the most simple job an alarming one.

A good arborist or lumberjack can do in hours what it might take you weeks to do. Always make safety your number one priority, there is no going back once that first cut is made.

Safety equipment is a must, chaps, helmet and ear muffs a minimum.

The sound quality on the video is not great, this is basically what it is about. The first thing you should notice is the safety gear, helmet, ear muffs, chaps and gloves. Also when sawing through the full round of the log I used a trailer tie down straps to hold it together once the cut had been completed. This, along with wedges prevented the half log from rolling back on me.

In this operation I was using the Granberg mini-mill with a Husqvarna chainsaw with a 24in bar and ripping chain. I prefer the ripping chain, it is easy to get and no more expensive than standard chain.

Firstly I found the centre of the log and secured the board with rail attached. Next step was to cut the entire length of the log, approx 3 metres. This cut extended beyond half way through the log. Next was to roll the log to position it for the second cut, locate the board and rail in position, secure the log with wedges and start the second cut.

Once part way through the tie down strap is attached where I had already done the second cut, then I could continue to cut through the rest of the log. On completion the wedges are removed and the tie down strap.

This left two halves on their rounded edge down, perfect. Next square the outside edges, then cut the half log down the centre into quarters. These now have three flat pretty square edges and a ready for the Alaskan mill. The Alaskan mill allows easier setting of board thickness.

One drawback of this system is it is quite time consuming and there is a lot of waste with each cut, the chainsaw taking a quarter inch with each cut. Lots of sawdust for composting or mulch so nothing truly wasted.

I found the Granberg mini-mill a great companion for the Alaskan mill. For more information on these items visit Granberg.