A chainsaw mill is a necessary tool for any lumberjack since it helps immensely in cutting wood and it lets you avoid paying unneeded amounts of money at lumber mills. This peripheral is a bit tricky to buy, though, since you need to do some research in order to find the best product that suits your needs.
These sawmills, known as the Alaskan sawmills, are essentially an add-on that makes you plain chainsaw function just like a lumber mill. This is ideal if you want to mill the lumber at the same spot where you just cut the tree, thus reducing the need for moving around the heavy wood.
To use an Alaskan sawmill, what you need to do first is to fix the log into a stable position which is usually on top of a couple of stumps or smaller logs, especially in the woods where you need to improvise. Then if you have in your disposition a guide board, you can put it on top of the log so you can keep the cutting in a parallel fashion the wood with the chainsaw movement. Once you are finished with this process on both ends of the wooden piece, you will get a great, smooth lumber piece. As a result, that can be segmented later if needed.
Thanks to the design of the chainsaw mill, you can avoid going to a sawmill and having to spend a hefty amount of money, and still get satisfying properly positioned cuts. Although the process can be a bit cumbersome, it is a much more budget-friendly method to get nice wooden planks out of your lumber.
The Best Chainsaw Mill – Our Picks
In this article, we will guide through the best chainsaw mill models available on the market. Of course, there is a multitude of options, each with different specs, featured, and dimensions. Moreover, every one of the products is most suitable for a certain type of wood, and even the portability is also variable. Let’s take a look then at the top five picks we have chosen for you, and we are sure you’re going to pick the best chainsaw mill out of them according to your needs. Before you delve into the choices, remember to stay safe, wear your chainsaw chaps, and oil your chainsaw chain.
#1 – Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill
Although Granberg is not as well known as DeWalt or Milwaukee, it is known for its trusty products in the market of chainsaw mills, and the Granberg MK-IV one of their best-selling releases, which is famous for its reliability.
This product is suitable for any lumber job, but where this product shines is when dealing with larger logs and large quantities of wood. Although it is quite on the heavier side, its weight of 28 pounds doesn’t make it impossible to carry around right to where the tree is cut for doing work right on the spot.
The maximum size it can work with is impressive, even though there are other mills which can deal with even larger lumber pieces. Additionally, there are several lighter products that offer more portability and convenience. The MK-IV lies in the middle since it offers a bit of both since it weight is not too big and you can put it together in less than an hour which is impressive for its size, but it can also do a pretty good job dealing with larger wooden pieces.
The most unique feature about this particular sawmill is the design conceived to lessen vibrations significantly. Certainly, the Granberg MK-IV is destined to last you many years, courtesy of its high-quality American build, and thus more than pay its price during its lifetime since it is higher than average for such a component.
What we like about this chainsaw mill
All in all, this is an outstanding product for its high price since, even though it is a bit heavier than similar models, it is a lot more versatile and can handle big jobs. Its perks also include a bunch of other features, that make it really worth its price. This is why we recommend this unit as the best chainsaw mill if it suits your needs.
#2 – Haddon Lumbermaker Chainsaw Mill
The Haddon Lumbermaker is a highly convenient product that is quickly dispatched, turning your chainsaw into an Alaskan sawmill right on the spot. Moreover, this power tool brand is known for its sturdy and high-quality products that make your job easier.
This model is characterized by its lightweight as it is one of the lightest on the market. This makes for an outstanding advantage considering the high portability this feature offers so you can make long trips at a time without much fatigue, even if its coupled with a bunch of other stuff. In fact, it has only a quarter of the weight of other models, sitting at a four pounds mark, courtesy of its minimal design which eliminates much of the bells and whistles. However, it doesn’t have the anti-vibration feature and necessitates a bit easier handling to get a comparable result to other bulkier products.
It is also different from other products in that its cuts in doesn’t resemble the others’. It functions in a unique matter, so instead of being placed at the top of the log and cutting horizontally, the process goes like this: it puts the chainsaw in a vertical matter cutting from the top to the bottom of the lumber, going across its side. Due to this difference, you can use it with a ripping chain that you mount for your chainsaw as it is a recommended combination.
The manufacturer includes a handy guide along with the product so if you are new to the cutting process or you’re not familiar with this particular type of sawmills, it will show you how the process is done from start to finish.
What we like about this chainsaw mill
In conclusion, this is an outstanding budget product that offers huge portability for its price, and the only downside is the short learning curve needed to adapt to its unique way of cutting. Even though it doesn’t offer much apart from its core function, it works even better in tandem with other sawmills to fulfill the need of working with bigger jobs. If you’re on a budget, this is the best chainsaw mill that you can get, period.
#3 – Granberg G777 Chainsaw Mill
This is yet another product made by Granberg as an answer to the vertical cutting method offered with the Haddon Lumbermaker. Being a bit heavier than its main competitor, it’s still lightweight and offers nice portability, nearly as good as a Random Orbital Sander or a Cordless Tool Set, which makes for another pick to consider against the other one.
The ease of attachment is a part of what makes this particular product an outstanding pick. Moreover, it is highly portable since it can easily fit in your toolbox courtesy of its convenient size. The mechanism it uses to guarantee stability while moving along the wood is pressure bolts.
The simplicity to assemble and dispatch this product is nearly unmatched, and it is one of its most prominent features. The Granberg brand means you are destined for years of good-quality lumber cutting job.
The drawback associated with all these perks is that there’s a limit on both the wood and the chainsaw’s size. In fact, you can use a saw with a blade length of up to 20 inches, and you can make cuts that max out at 17 inches of width and 13 inches of depth.
What we like about this chainsaw mill
All in all, this American made product is perfect for jobs that aren’t of large size or require a long trek to get to, since the main focus of this particular sawmill is its portability. It won’t be suitable for you though if you are in need of a more apt product that can handle larger jobs, due to the size limitations. So according to your needs, this might be the best chainsaw mill for you.
#4 – Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill
This international design is the most suitable portable mill for cutting large pieces of wood with ease, which is becoming quite popular worldwide as there are many overseas manufacturers that are releasing this outstanding product.
Notably, this peripheral can deal with much larger lumber pieces than the aforementioned Granberg MK-IV, while also being more convenient budget-wise. The weight which is on the heavy side is tolerable considering the price point and the features it offers, which more than makes up for the inconvenience.
The material is it made of is high-quality steel and aluminum, so the durability and strength of the frame are really remarkable, and it makes for a sturdy product overall. According to the manufacturer, this sawmill works best with certain types of wood, which include cedar, walnut, and oak. We can assure you though that it will handle other types just fine. A minor concern is that the guide bar is not included in the components listing on Amazon; thus, you might have to purchase it separately.
What we like about this chainsaw mill
Overall, even though the company is new and it doesn’t have that much of a legacy in the market, this product makes for a good investment considering the features offered for the price. Particularly, for lumber workers who frequently deal with large pieces of lumber, we recommend this sawmill as it can handle even the biggest of sizes while being convenient and easy to use.
#5 – Zchoutrade 14-36 Inch Portable Chainsaw Mill
This product is a lighter competitor of the aforementioned product since it offers pretty much the same features for a low price and a high quality that is comparable to American brands.
If you have budget constraints and wish to have a good product for the price, then look no further than the Zchoutrade chainsaw, as for the features it provides it makes for a pretty excellent bargain. Especially when looking for a sawmill that can make large enough cuts for big jobs, the lighter weight is a huge advantage since most are too heavy to carry comfortably. Thus, this allows for a larger number of users to make full use of this product.
There’s a catch, however: when used with large enough chainsaws, some customers have stated that it needs two persons to effectively do the job, which might pose a problem for those who work solo. We advise, however, to have company when operating heavy machinery since you might some help sometimes, or accidents may happen, and another person being there to help might be crucial.
We recommend that you have a certain level of proficiency in dealing with chainsaw mills before buying this product, as it is not the most intuitive one out there and might prove to be a bit difficult to grasp for users who aren’t experienced in the field.
What we like about this chainsaw mill
We can assure you that this is a perfect product for those on the look for the best chainsaw mill that can handle big jobs while being lighter than most other ones on the market, and not being too costly. Moreover, since the quality is guaranteed, you don’t have to worry about missing out on the American brands. All in all, we would gladly recommend this product as the best chainsaw mill for anyone on a budget.
Choosing the Best Chainsaw Mill – Buying Guide
Chainsaw mills are made for one purpose: heavy-duty cutting and milling of logs and wood, which is why you need a unit that can take care of the job efficiently without bailing on you halfway through the work. When looking for the best chainsaw mill, make sure the unit is well-constructed and can take a beating by checking the reviews of woodworkers who have used the same model for years.
When it comes to the build materials, there is a handful to choose from, but the most commonly used are steel and aluminum, and while the first is the most durable out of the two, the latter is lighter, more flexible, and easier to move around. If you decide to go with aluminum, make sure the best chainsaw mill uses aircraft-grade aluminum in its construction.
Weight is an essential factor to consider when looking for the best chainsaw mill, as it affects the portability and performance of the unit. Typically, heavy chainsaw mills will allow you to cut through logs in a steadier manner as they give you more inertia as you slide your chainsaw along the piece of wood; however, they are harder to move around, and you may find it difficult even to get the chainsaw mill to where the log is.
In short, there is no best option here, as it boils down to your needs and preferences. If you need to cut logs deep within the woods frequently, then you ought to get a light chainsaw mill that’s easy to transport. On the other hand, if you mainly cut logs near roads that you can reach using your vehicle, then the weight wouldn’t really matter.
Although most chainsaw mills are designed to work with any chainsaw you already have, some chainsaws may not be compatible with some mill designs. Also, certain mills may require specific requirements, such as a drilling hole or a full-wrap handle, which is why you need to make sure that your existing chainsaw will work with whichever chainsaw mill you want to get.
The bar capacity, which is the length of the longest mill bar, determines the maximum log width that you can cut through with your chainsaw. That’s why you need to pay great attention to the bar capacity. To make sure that the best chainsaw will accommodate your needs, you might want to measure the diameter of any log that you’re planning to cut and factor the width of any wood that you MAY cut in the future. Chainsaw mill bars cannot be extended, which is why you need to make sure that your best chainsaw offers enough bar capacity to accommodate all of your present as well as future needs.
The cutting depth is yet another critical factor to consider as it determines the maximum board thickness that you can cut with your chainsaw mill. Although the cutting depth is usually adjustable to allow you to cut boards of various thicknesses, there are limits that you cannot exceed. Most chainsaw mills have a cutting depth that ranges from a half inch to 12 inches in thickness, but many models can reach 13 inches.
Picking the Best Chainsaw Mill – Frequently Asked Questions
If you know what a sawmill is, you can easily grasp the concept of a chainsaw mill. Basically, a chainsaw mill is a mini sawmill – one that can be operated by one or two people. The mill is simply a frame that’s made of metal, which you can clamp to your chainsaw and place on the piece of lumber that you need to cut. To use the chainsaw mill, you simply slide your chainsaw, and the metal frame will help you make a straight cut by holding the power tool level.
Using a chainsaw mill, you can adjust the board height of the piece of wood between a minimum and a maximum thickness as the mill allows you to adjust the height of the chainsaw relative to the top of the log.
Traditional, heavy-duty bandsaw mills are superior, of course, as they’re more efficient while being less time-consuming and back-breaking; however, they cost tens of thousands of dollars, whereas chainsaw mills cost hundreds of bucks, making them the better choice if you’re only planning to cut a small number of logs from around your property. Furthermore, chainsaw mills are easier to move around, which means that you can use them to cut logs where they are rather than having to drag them all the way to a bandsaw mill.
It’s worth noting that the chainsaw mill doesn’t include the chainsaw itself, just the metal frame we mentioned above. To use this tool, you need your own chainsaw – one that’s compatible with the mill. That doesn’t mean that you need a new machine, of course, as there are many mill models, and many of them would work even with a chainsaw under 200 dollars.
To conclude this review, we assure you that each one of the aforementioned products is exceptional in its own right, and will its job with guaranteed reliability since the quality is ensured. The differences that exist between them is in the varying price points and the different features that they have.
So, for every particular need, there are a specific one or two sawmills that do it best, and thanks to this article you can narrow down your choice to them for an easier time picking the best chainsaw mill to purchase.
What are you waiting for? Get the best chainsaw mill and add it to your saw collection, just alongside your Sliding Compound Miter Saw, Cordless Circular Saw, Tile Saw, Table Saw, and Circular Saw Blade set.
- Lopez, Barry. “Mill Lumber With Your Chainsaw.” Popular Science Vol. 212, No. 6 Jun 1978, Page 89
- Our own experience