DIY Guide for Chainsaw milling

You might have heard some avid DIYers talking about using their Alaskan chain sawmill. This is where they have their own sawmill that allows them to cut down trees on their property and turn those logs into boards or slabs for the purpose of building things. It also gives them the ability to cut down trees in other people’s properties and turn it into the same, or into mulch or firewood which is something you could charge them for and make a bit of money from. When a tree has to come down it does not have to go to waste. Here is a look at what you need in terms of gear and equipment.

What equipment do you need to do this?

  • A chainsaw – Obviously you need a chainsaw. The more powerful the better in general though if you are new to it a smaller saw is easier to manage. But it will be slower.
  • A chain and chainsaw bar – The part that sticks out and holds the chain is the bar and every saw comes with a suggested top length that varies between manufacturers. The chain and bar must be lubricated so they do not overheat and the longer the bar you have, the more it needs. The length of the log does not match the bar though as you need to take into account that the mill itself takes up some of that. With a chain, you can get a ripping chain or a regular chain, but a ripping has teeth that are at a different angle so it cuts faster with the grain.
  • Best chain sawmill – Get the best one you can budget for, there are a lot of brands out there. Look for a trusted manufacturer and then consider whether it has the features you need. Does it fit the bar, is it adjustable? You also want one that adjusts in height too so you can adjust the thickness of your slabs.
  • You need guide rails for the first cut – A chain sawmill should have guide rails that you can attach to the log for the first cut. It gives you a flat surface. You can buy them or you can make one for example using a ladder extension works well. You can also use a pair of 2x4s or 2x6s.
  • Safety equipment – It is important when you are working with any power tools to have the right safety gear and clothing so you do not hurt yourself. This is not something to do after a few beers. As well as the obvious danger with the chainsaw there are other issues such as fumes, wood chips and a lot of dust.  You should at least wear a mask, some wear a respirator for better protection. Then you should have hearing protection, a face shield or safety glasses, boots, mechanic gloves and chainsaw chaps.  Even with the best chain sawmill accidents and injuries can happen. In the above gear, you are better protected.