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If you’ve ever had a fallen tree in your yard, you might have found yourself wishing there was an easy (and inexpensive) way to cut it into lumber. Chainsaw mills, also called Alaskan sawmills, are designed for just this purpose. These handy devices allow you to use your chainsaw to cut clean, even beams or planks from logs, and because of their portable nature, you can easily bring a chainsaw mill out to a fallen tree—saving you the hassle of moving a huge, unwieldy log.
When shopping for a chainsaw mill, you’ll need to take into account the length of your chainsaw bar, as this will determine what size chainsaw mill you need. It’s also important that your chainsaw is equipped with a ripping blade, a special chain designed for cutting parallel to the wood grain.
Here, the best chainsaw mills on the market.
For value and performance, consider the Timber Tuff 24-inch Portable Saw Mill. This chainsaw mill works with 16-inch to 24-inch chainsaw bars, and it’s built from aircraft-grade aluminum and stainless steel for the perfect balance of durability and lightweight design.
The Timber Tuff Portable Saw Mill is small enough to easily transport, weighing under 14 pounds, making it easy to carry to a downed tree. It can cut planks of lumber anywhere from 0.2-inches to 11.8-inches thick, and it quickly attaches to your chainsaw with the included hardware. According to reviewers, this chainsaw mill is well-made and easy to assemble, and it will allow you to create beautiful wood planks with your existing equipment.
Most full-size chainsaw mills cost over $100, but if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Timber Tuff Lumber Cutting Guide is a highly rated alternative. This compact tool works a little differently than other Alaskan sawmills—you mount the guide on a 2 x 6-inch piece of lumber, attach your chainsaw, then place the board on top of the log you want to cut. The Timber Tuff Lumber Cutting Guide holds your chainsaw steady, allowing you to swivel the blade downward to cut even 6-inch pieces of lumber.
The tool is crafted from heavy-duty steel and finished with a powder coat to resist corrosion, and reviewers say it’s an effective and affordable alternative to a regular chainsaw mill. The only downside is that you don’t have quite as much flexibility to cut different size boards.
One of the main advantages of chainsaw mills is that you can use them in the field, saving yourself the hassle of hauling a whole log back to your workshop. If you’re looking for a portable tool, the Logosol Portable Sawmill Kit is a high-quality option, thanks to its ease of setup and precise results. With the help of a handmade guide rail, this portable sawmill will help you cut logs into beautiful lumber that can then be used for a wide range of applications.
This tool attaches to any chainsaw with a 16 to 20-inch bar and two bar bolts, but the brand recommends using a chainsaw with motor power of at least 4 HP for best results. It also features a clearly marked height setting so you can choose exactly how big you want your boards to be.
As mentioned, different chainsaw mills are designed to work with chainsaw bars of varying lengths, and the length of your bar will determine how thick a log you can cut through. For a medium-sized chainsaw mill, you may want to consider this portable model from Zchoutrade, which works with chainsaw bars between 14 and 36-inches long.
This chainsaw mill is made from steel and aluminum for durability, and it can cut beams or lumber from 0.5-inches to 13-inches thick and up to 36-inches wide. It attaches to your saw without a drilling bar, but reviewers do note that its assembly instructions aren’t the best and the product often arrives with extra bolts or nuts. However, once you get it set up, most agree the unit works well and is an unbeatable value.
Granberg is one of the top chainsaw mill brands available today, and if you’re looking for a product to cut extremely thick trees, their 72” Alaskan Chainsaw Mill is the way to go. This product attaches to chainsaws with single-ended bars up to 72-inches or double-ended bars that are 84-inches, giving it the ability to cut planks and beams up to 68-inches wide.
This high-end chainsaw mill is made from aircraft aluminum and zinc-plated steel, and it will work with all chainsaws of 120cc or more. The lightweight design clamps onto your bar with no drilling necessary, and you can adjust it to cut boards between ½-inch and 13-inches thick. It also includes the brand’s new end brackets, which are easier to adjust and create less vibration than previous models.
For a lightweight product that’s easy to transport, you can’t go wrong with the Haddon Lumbermaker, which weighs around 4 pounds. This highly-rated model attaches to any regular chainsaw, and it uses a 2x4-inch or 2x6-inch guideboard to help you cut in a straight line.
Unlike other chainsaw mills, the Lumbermaker swivels your saw downward to create plunge cuts, and its design is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for remote jobs. Reviewers rave about the quality construction of this product, but many note that you definitely need a ripping chain to use with it.
Many reviewers recommend the Granberg Alaskan Chainsaw Mill G777 as a beginner-friendly model. It works with chainsaw bars between 16 and 20-inches and machines with at least 50cc of power, and it can be adjusted to cut lumber between ½-inch and 13-inches thick. The mill is crafted in the U.S. from aircraft aluminum and zinc-plated steel, and unlike most other models, it includes a clear polycarbonate safety guard.
According to reviewers, this short log mill takes a little bit of practice to get used to, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to create clean, even cuts—even if you’ve never used a chainsaw mill before!
If you’re looking for a more heavy-duty setup, the Norwood Portamill PM14 may be a worthwhile investment. This unique chainsaw mill uses a household extension ladder as a track, and it has a sawhead that passes along the length of the log. There’s even a throttle actuator that connects to your chainsaw’s throttle, letting you activate the blade from the unit’s operator station. It’s the closest setup you’ll find to a true portable sawmill.
This unit works with chainsaw bars up to 22-inches and models of 65cc or high, and it’s recommended you use a ripping chain. It can handle logs up to 14-inches in diameter, and you can cut lumber up to 8-inches wide. Reviewers say this model is faster and easier to use than a standard Alaskan sawmill, and most agree it’s a smart purchase for anyone who plans to mill a large number of logs.