The idea of the chainsaw mill is really quite simple. Basically, this is a portable sawmill. By crafting together a chainsaw mill, you are able to cut flat boards of wood from a log. This is essentially a vertical saw. The attachment is connected to your chainsaw, placed over the log, and allows you to cut perfectly straight lengths of wood the exact same size.
Chainsaw mills are great because they are extremely portable. Unlike a bandsaw mill, you can easily take the chainsaw mill with you into the forest to cut fallen trees into planks of wood at the exact location where the tree was cut down. With simple adjustments to the guide bar and the guide rails, you can cut different thicknesses of the wood, creating posts, beams, and nice flat planks.
Making one is not actually that difficult. Today will go over how to make a chainsaw mill in a few easy steps.
Materials to Build a Chainsaw Mill
The chainsaw mill we are building would be for a chainsaw with a 20” bar. This will allow you to cut a tree with a maximum diameter of 14.5”. Here is a list of all the materials you will need for creating a chainsaw mill. Keep in mind that it will be completed in three pieces.
- 4x 8” Square Stock
- 2x 12” Pipe
- 1x 3”x 8” Sheet Steel
- 4x 2”x.75”x.25” Bar Stock
- 4x 4” Bolt
- 4x 4” Nut
- 8x Washers
- 4x Lock Washers
- 2x 9” Square Stock
- 2x 14.” Square Stock
- 1x 6.6” Square Stock
- 1x 5” Pipe
- 1x 1.25” Square Stock
- 1x 2.5” Square Stock
- 2x .5” Nut & Bolt
- MIG Welder
- Vice Grips
- Chop Saw
- Drill Press & Bits
- Ruler + Wax Pencil
Keep in mind that this is a labor-intensive project, and some pretty solid knowledge of building is required. Always remember to wear your safety equipment at all times during the construction of your new chainsaw mill
Step 1: Mill Posts
The mill posts will be used to attach to the bar of your chainsaw. These are the posts that the guide bed will attach to when you need to adjust how deep your cut will be.
The first step will be drilling holes approx. 1” away from the ends of the 8” square stock while keeping them clamped together. The hole should be just barely bigger than your bolt. Then you are going to need to weld your 12” pipe onto the center of your 8” square stock. The bottom of the pipe must be flush and must stand on its end on its own. You will need to tack weld the pipe onto the square pipe in at least four places before welding around the pipe.
Take the shorter bar stock pieces, which will clamp the chainsaw bar, and make sure they are centered and welded onto every piece of the square stock. It helps if you tack weld them first and then afterward weld nicely across the bar stock while ensuring the weld remains lower than the height of the bar stock.
Step 2: Secure Post Clamps to Chainsaw
You will need to drill holes in the chainsaw bar using a quarter-inch drill bit. Make sure you locate the holes by using the post clamps and then marking where the center will be. With the chainsaw mill fixed to the bar, mark on the outside of the post clamps and then take the mill off and mark the halfway spot.
You will then need to align half the width of the chainsaw bar with the center marks from your post clamps. You can easily indent the point using a metal punch, that way the drill won’t fall off the center.
Next is to drill holes in the flat stock roughly ¼” deep at the center. You want four holes because it will hold the two post clamps, one on the top and one on the bottom. Once your bolts are lined up, simply attach the lock washers and secure them with nuts, then the mill posts are done!
Step 3: Guide Bed
The guide bed is what maintains the chainsaw blade at a perfect death when you are cutting lengthwise along the tree. You want to start construction by drilling a hole slightly larger than the nut’s hole on the 1.25” square stock and the 2.5” square stock. Just make sure that with the 2.5” piece, your hole is centered on the top half.
You can vice grip the nut so that it is over the hole and then tack weld three faces of the nut while keeping the side which will seat on the square stock clean of welds. After, weld them onto the 9” square stock. Both nuts must be facing the exact same direction, and the 1.25” one must be flush both on the bottom and on the top.
Now arrange the 9” square pieces over the 14.5” pieces and continue to tag weld 2 points of each corner. After, complete the welds across each of the joints. You must also weld the middle piece. After completion, you have finished your chainsaw mill! All that remains is to attach the chainsaw.
Step 4: Attach the Chainsaw
With your mill posts and guide bed complete, it is time to attach the chainsaw. Simply take one of your posts and secure it onto the bar as close to the body of the chainsaw as possible. The second post must attach close to the tip of the bar. With the guide bars loosely attached, slide your guide bed onto the posts, and this will firm the position of the posts for good.
Go ahead and tighten all the bolts so they are firm but not over tight, and now you have a full portable lumber mill that you can use to slice your own custom pieces of lumber. Get ready to do lots of timber framing!