Installing a Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch: Step-by-Step
Granberg MkIII Alaskan Chainsaw Milling Attachment with Husqvarna 3120xp Powerhead
Why Install a Winch on Your Alaskan Chainsaw Mill?
Controlling and moving the chainsaw mill, in a 30-40 inch diameter log, over the course of several feet, takes effort, a lot of effort. The powerhead is an 8.31 hp Husqvarna 3120xp; the largest and most powerful powerhead that Husqvarna makes, and one of the most powerful in the world. In operation, it wants to pull the powerhead into the log, very forcefully. The powerhead weighs in at 22.9 lbs. Attached to that is the Cannon Sawmiller double-ended 56 inch bar, which itself is considerably hefty, probably a good deal heavier than the powerhead. It takes manhandling to move this assembly through the log, not accounting for the weight of the Granberg MkIII 48 Inch Milling Attachment, Helper Handle with Roller, Chain Tensioner, and Auxiliary Oiler. All of the manhandling necessary can negatively effect the quality of the cuts, and productivity. Hence, we are adding a winch and other necessary components to the Alaskan chainsaw mill. The winch will provide some much-needed, and frankly, much-appreciated, mechanical advantage applied to pulling the mill through the log. Read on for the details.
How to Install a Winch on a Alaskan Chainsaw Mill
Chainsaw tools, 2
Lighter and duct tape, for cutting and melting the ends of the polyester rope
Chain sharpening file, 7/32 inch
Chain raker file
Swiss Army knife, for cutting rope
Pin nose pliers with wire cutters
Step 1: Acquire Materials for the Chainsaw Mill Winch Installation
600 lb trailer winch, Menards SKU 2618751, $17.09 It can probably be done with less; it’s highly unlikely that 600 lbs of force will be required. Having said that, the spool barely contained 50 feet of 1/4″ polyester line.
1/4 in. x 50 ft. braided polyester line, Menards SKU 2355229, $7.99
3/8 in. x 5 in. hex bolt, 2 pc (only 1 required), Menards SKU 2322186, $0.99
3/8 in. insert locknut, 6 pc (only 1 required), Menards SKU 2329750, $0.89
3/8 in. flat washers, 2 pc (had on-hand)
Total Cost: $36.74, before tax
Step 2: Modify 3/8 in. x 5in. winch spool hex bolt for installation in the Granberg Alaskan MkIII Chainsaw Milling Attachment
Step 2a: Modify the head of the bolt to have a thickness of less than 3/16 in. so that it will slide into, and be captured by, the chainsaw milling attachment “thickness rail.” Joe, old school, at Landers Hardware in Bangor, Michigan, took this down for me on a lathe. Get that at your big box!
Cutting winch spool bolt head to 1/8″ in. thickness
Step 2b: Reduce the diameter of the 3/8 in. bolt just beneath the head, so it will slide into the thickness rail; I did this with a 7/32 in. chain sharpening round file.
Diameter of 3/8 in. bolt just beneath the reduced easily
Step 3: Loosen the 2+ screws in the clamps securing the “handle” of the Granberg Alaskan MkIII Chainsaw Milling Attachment; slide handle out of end bracket, towards the far end of the bar
Loosen screws securing “handle” to end brackets (and center brackets if installed)
Step 4: Handle has been moved out of the end bracket, towards the end of the bar. Remove nuts on 2 lag screws securing “thickness rails” to the end bracket nearest the powerhead.
Thickness rails will drop once nuts have been removed; remove the bolts from the rails
Step 5: Install the winch spool shaft (modified 3/8 in. bolt) head in the thickness rail
Winch spool shaft in vertical position, thinned bolt head captured in the thickness rail
Step 6: Slide the winch spool and body over the shaft
Winch positioned on shaft above aft thickness rail
Step 7: Reattach thickness rails to the end bracket
Thickness rails reattachment in progress
Step 8: Secure the winch to the thickness rail using nylock nut and 2 x 3/8 in. flat washers; secure winch handle using nylock nut
Winch mounted securely to aft thickness rail
Step 9: In my case, based on the carabiner I purchased, I needed to remove the “gate.” I used a chainsaw raker file to remove the hammered end of the rivet securing the gate to the body of the carabiner.
Remove gate from carabiner
Step 10: Resecure the handle in the end brackets (and center bracket(s) if installed.
Handle resecured in brackets
Step 11: Attach polyester line to winch spool, and wind onto spool
Rope attached to winch spool
Step 12: Route line (aka, rope) through pulley and secure to carabiner
Line attached to carabiner. WIre ensures the line will not slip of the carabiner.
Step 13: Done. Celebrate the win, you’re ready to roll. I decided to secure the pulley to the end of the log using a loop of line, and nails driven into to the log, nail heads at a downward angle. Next up. Test run.
Winch attachment to Alaskan chainsaw mill complete
For a video overview of the Granberg MkIII Alaskan Chainsaw Milling Attachment, and narration of the Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment process, see our YouTube video:
Thanks for reading, and I hope this was helpful. For more information on milling, both with a Wood-Mizer LT40 bandsaw mill, and with a Alaskan chainsaw mill, check out our Sawyers page for great content. And, if you are interested in contracting with a sawmill services provider, check out my blog post on the subject, How to Find and Work With a Local Sawmill Service.