Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ripping Chain?

Ripping chain has been modified from standard, or cross-cutting chain. A pair of scoring cutters take the outside of the cut, while a pair of clearing cutters follow behind and remove the central ridge left behind by the scoring cutters. The result is a faster, smoother cut that requires less effort and less fuel for the chain saw, prolonged bar life and less wood wasted as sawdust. It should be noted that these modifications make ripping chain less suitable for cross-cutting. Doing so will dull the chain, and the increased likelihood of a "buck" from the saw can result in serious injury.

What do I need to know when ordering Ripping Chain?

The variety of chain available can be quite intimidating, but don't panic! There are three keys to getting the right chain for your saw, and while we do need to know all three variables in order to provide the right chain, figuring them out is really not that difficult. The three variables are Pitch, Gauge and Drive Link Count. Pitch is the distance between three chain rivets. If you do not have the proper pitch chain for your saw, the drive sprocket will not be able to catch the chain properly and your saw will not work. Gauge is the width of the groove in the saw bar in which the chain sits. If you do not have the proper size, either the chain will not fit in the bar or will have too much play as it moves around the bar, resulting in an uneven cut. Finally, drive link count is the number of shark-tooth shaped links that fit into the bar groove. If you do not have the right count, either your chain loop will be too short and not fit the bar, or too long, and hang loose on the bar.

How do I determine Pitch, Gauge and Link Count?

These are usually stamped on the bar itself. Look for the standard Pitch lengths of .325", .365", 3/8", .375", and .404. If you see the word Picco, that means you need Low-Profile chain. Standard Gauge widths are .050", .058" and .063. Link counts are also sometimes stamped on the bar, but if not, remove the chain per your owner's manual and manually count the shark toothed-shaped links that fit into the bar groove. It usually helps to mark the link where you start so as not to lose your place. If your bar is not stamped with this information, contact us (make sure to have your saw handy) and we can usually help you out. See our ripping chain page for an illustrated guide to pitch, gauge and link count.

What size lumber mill attachment do I need?

How big are your trees? How wide of a board do you want to cut? These are questions only you can answer. Granberg's Alaskan Mark III Chainsaw Mill comes in eight normally stocked sizes; 24, 30, 36, 48, 56, 60, 72  and 84 inches long, and all of them will clamp on any size chain saw bar (except one shorter than 5 inches and some narrow bars). When attaching the Mark III chainsaw mill to your chain saw, you will lose 2 to 6 inches of width of cut depending on which is shorter, your bar or the mill. Clamping a 30 inch Mark III chainsaw mill to a 28 inch bar, will give you an approximate 24 inch width of cut. The optimum configuration would be to have a chainsaw mill the same length as your chain saw bar.

What kind of chain saw do I need?

We recommend large displacement saws for more effective ripping. However smaller saws will work but are less efficient and some of the bars on the smaller saws are too narrow to mount the chainsaw mill's clamping brackets without pinching your chainsaw bar's rails.

How much power must my chain saw have?

The general rule is, the more power your saw engine has, the faster the cutting speed. Almost any engine that runs will cut, it just depends on how much time you want to spend milling your lumber.

General Guide for Chainsaw Power


Log Size

Engine Size

up to 18"

55cc to 67cc

18" to 36"

68cc to 85cc

36" & larger

86cc to 120cc

How do I make first my first cut?

With the Alaskan Mark III Chainsaw Mill Attachment, you need to have a flat surface for the mill to ride on to get a flat even cut. You can nail a pair of  2x10s to the top of the log, or you can buy either the Slabbing Rail Bracket Set (see next FAQ below), or EZ rails (both available in our online store).

How long are your Slabbing Rail Brackets?

Our Slabbing Rail Brackets are about 16 inches long and there are two of them in the set. They attach to two 2x4's that you purchase locally. Attached with the hardware provided, the two rails provide a flat surface to guide your first cut with the Alaskan Mark III Chainsaw Mill.

Can I use my regular chain for ripping?

Your regular stock chain on your saw works okay when it is sharpened correctly. All top angles must be the same uniform angle (25, 30, 35 degrees) and your depth gauges must be at the same height, no more than thirty five thousandths below the cutting edge of the tooth. For better ripping results, re-sharpen your stock chain to zero (0) degree top plate angle from the 25, 30 or 35 degree angle mentioned before. The zero degree top plate angle reduces the power needed to rip and produces smoother lumber than your regular stock chain. However neither of the above works as well as Granberg Ripping Chain.

Do I need an Auxiliary Oiler Kit?

Chain saws deliver oil to the drive links via an oil hole in the top of the bar at the power head end of the bar. Oil has to travel to the bottom of the bar where most of the cutting is done. For smaller bars and small cuts, this system works fine. For larger bars, 36" plus, we recommend our Auxiliary Oiler Kit since it delivers the oil to the cutting surface of the bar. As chain saws become more sophisticated, so do their oiling systems. if you are in doubt, contact us and we can help you determine your needs. In order to mount the kit, two holes must be drilled through the end of the bar. This allows you to mount the kit on either side so that you can turn the bar on a regular basis for even bar wear.

How thick can the Mark III cut?

The standard Alaskan Mark III Chainsaw Mill Attachment can cut boards as thin as 1/2 inch and as thick as 13 inches. Also available are 36" replacement riser posts, which can yield a depth of approximately 34 inches, Set up and make your first cut, remove this first slab, then use the Mini-Mill II to edge the log. This will give you a three sided cant from which dimensional lumber can be cut. Alternatively, the Alaskan Chainsaw Mill can be used for all of the cuts in various ways; Lower the mill and make a second parallel cut, then roll the log 90 degrees and make a third cut, thus giving you a three sided cant. If your mill is not wide enough to make the second cut as described, the log can be progressively rolled and the sides removed to reduce the diameter, so that the mill can fit across the log.

How fast can I rip lumber?

This depends on the type of wood, the length, the width of cut and the horsepower of the saw. Another critical factor is the type and sharpness of the chain. We recommend Granberg Ripping Chain. It is also very important that your wood is clean, has no nails or other metal imbedded in it and has not picked up dirt or rocks during handling. Remove the bark if necessary. Cutting speeds can vary from 8 feet a minute in narrow softwoods, to 1-1/2 feet a minute in wide hardwoods. We recently cut eight foot lengths of hard, dry black walnut 34 inches wide, with a 93cc Chain saw at a rate of about 1-1/2 to 2 feet a minute.

Why is there a 2-3 week turnaround on orders for C2 and C3 MKIII kits?

Being a small company, we do not always have the resources on hand to carry large amounts of stock that we cannot be reasonably sure of selling. Since the double-ended bars sent out with the C2 and C3 kits cost several hundred dollars each, we typically special order bars as demand warrants. Call or email for bar availability.