How to Make a Sawmill with a Chainsaw

How to Make a Sawmill with a Chainsaw

In this day and age, most people normally take any type of wooden products for granted.  However, no matter where you go, you can see how wood has influenced your life in some way shape or form.  In fact, wood is sitting just behind the walls of your home helping hold your house up and keeping the roof from caving in on you.  You walk around on wooden floors, use wooden handrails to get up and down the stairs, and love looking at expose beams and other millwork.  Artwork is even displayed using wooden frames.  Yet almost nobody takes a second to stop and wonder how all of this woodwork was produced in sawmill.

What Exactly Is A Sawmill?

When you hear the term sawmill, you may think to yourself that you have no clue what that is.  If this is the case, you have nothing to worry about, as many people have no idea what a sawmill really is.  When it comes to the word sawmill, there are actually two different definitions. 

  • The first definition is going to be defined as a place where there is lumber milling taking place.  It will include any and all parts of the lumber milling process.  This includes the log yard where the logs are sorted out, where the milling machines are housed, and even the sorting out and storage of the cut wood.
  • The second definition is an actual cutting or sawing machine that is going to take a round log and turn it into square pieces of timber.
Make Sawmill with a Chainsaw

With both of the definitions out of the way, let’s agree that the definition of a sawmill is a system of turning logs or larger pieces of wood into smaller pieces of lumber.

Now you may be wondering how a sawmill relates to a sawmill with a chainsaw and how you can build one.  Since you now know what a sawmill is, a chainsaw mill is the same exact thing, the only difference being that you are going to be using a chainsaw to cut the wood into the smaller pieces of lumber.

How To Make A Saw Mill With A Chainsaw

One of the many reasons for why you may want to build a sawmill with a chainsaw is because it is a relatively portable and cheap way to take bigger logs and other pieces of wood, and create some very beautiful planks out of them.

Here is exactly how you are going to make a sawmill with a chainsaw:

  • Step #1:  The Concept

The concept of a chainsaw mill, also referred to as an Alaskan mill, is very simple.  You are going to start by using a straight reference edge that is placed on top of the log that you wish to turn into planks (an example of a straight reference edge is going to be a ladder).  Your chainsaw mill is going to be the jig that is attached (and that you are going to build), and will hold the chainsaw in alignment with your straight reference edge.  This will allow you to cut a very straight edge.  After you have the first flat surface cut, you can then switch to using that as your straight reference edge instead of your ladder.

  • Step #2:  User Safety

There is no hiding the fact that using a chainsaw in general is going to be very dangerous.  So before you even attempt to make your own sawmill with a chainsaw, be sure that you are experienced in using a chainsaw.  And as with any time you are using a chainsaw, be sure that you are wearing the proper protective equipment to help keep you safe and protected from any accidents.  Once you have all of your safety gear, you are now ready to get stared on your sawmill.

  • Step #3:  Get Your Parts For The Sawmill Ready

If you are going to build a sawmill, it is recommended that you use aluminum as it will last much longer, won’t rust, and will be much easier to transport and adjust.  To get what you need, you are going to want to visit your local hardware store or order the aluminum online.  Once you have your aluminum, here are the lengths you will need to cut, or you can simply order these lengths initially.

  • 2 x 900 mm:  These will be the long rails (A)
  • 4 x 400 mm:  These are for the inner bracings (B)
  • 2 x 500 mm:  These are the verticals (C)
  • 2 x 100 mm:  These are the small vertical pieces (D)
  • one 900 mm long with t-slot (40 mm x 16 mm) (E)

Once you have all of your pieces cut to length, you are ready to start building your sawmill.

  • Step #4:  Tap The Threads

You are going to want to tap some M8 threads into both ends of the inner braces (B), as well as one of the ends of the verticals (C) and smaller verticals (D) too.

  • Step #5:  Drill Clearance Key Holes

Once all of your holes have been tapped, you can know make 90 degrees butt joints.  However, in order to use M8 flange bolts, you must first drill a 7 mm hole so that the allen/hex key will have clearance.

  • Step #6:  Assemble Your Sawmill

Now you can assemble your sawmill.  For this part, it is best to use a diagram that you can easily find online, as this will be the best way to get your sawmill assembled without making any major mistakes.  However, if you know what you are doing, no diagram will be required and you can get your sawmill assembled much quicker.

  • Step #7:  Drilling The Guide Bar

Once your sawmill is assembled, you are going to need someway for attaching your chainsaw’s guide bar.  For this, you are going to want to attach the guide bar to the verticals ©.

  • Step #8:  Mounting The Guide Bar

Once your have your guide bar placement perfectly mapped out, you can drill any clearance holes and bolt on the chainsaw’s guide bar.  For this, it is recommended that you use locktite to prevent the bolts from rattling loose.

Making a Sawmill By a Chainsaw

After this final step is done, you will have successfully built a sawmill with a chainsaw.  Just remember to be careful whenever you are using a chainsaw in general, and with your new sawmill until you are familiar and comfortable with it.

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