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17 DIY Chainsaw Mill Projects to Make Your Own Lumber

Thinking about the excessive cost of commercial saw mills to tackle the job of cutting down trees to make lumber is a daunting thought. Fortunately, there are many DIY projects that can help guide the process of creating a DIY chainsaw mill that can be portable and reusable with any standard chainsaw model. Chainsaw mills can be constructed with wood or steel parts and provide added safety features such as using a personal protective equipment for milling lumber using a chainsaw.

The ability to move a sawmill to a large timber rather than moving the timber is another great reason for constructing a portable DIY chainsaw mill. Creating straight and level cuts with beautiful wood slabs for tables or other timber projects is a great homemade project that can be done over a weekend or with a friend.

There are many simple and more complex design styles to choose from when considering a DIY chainsaw mill. Here we prepared a round up of seventeen DIY chainsaw mill projects to make lumber.

1- Portable Chainsaw Mill

Building a DIY chainsaw mill like this one by instructables reduces the significant costs of a larger, heavier sawmill with added benefits. This portable chainsaw mill can be moved to fallen trees and heavy limbs without having to bring the wood to the mill. This portable chainsaw mill tutorial features both written instructions and a video.

A metal chainsaw guide helps reduce the chances of injury by stopping the chainsaw blade and creating straight and level lumber cuts. This tutorial also provides valuable tips and tricks to get the most success from using a chainsaw mill.

DIY Chainsaw Mill
Portable Chainsaw Mill, Image via: instructables

2- Inexpensive Chainsaw Sawmill

With a budget of fifty dollars, this simple and inexpensive sawmill can be used for a variety of milling projects. This twelve-minute video tutorial explains in detail how to build and properly utilize a chainsaw as a functional sawmill. With a cutting position where any DIYer could be standing far enough away from the chainsaw’s blade, this sawmill is a fantastic all-around homemade chainsaw mill.

Complete with a gliding rail, this DIY mill project on youtube allows for a smooth and trouble-free operation while using the chainsaw mill. The budget friendly design can be completed in a weekend or in one day with a friend. The build requires the use of some simple power tools. You may also like to check out diy sawhorses plans that help to do many of your woodworking projects.

3- Turn Style Chainsaw Mill 

Using only the tip of the chainsaw and moving the chainsaw handle up and down, creates cutting depths that are ideal for milling large pieces of timber. Another track style allows this diy chainsaw mill on youtube to glide from end to end with the timber being trimmed down to the desired thickness. Shaping the timber with the end of the chainsaw blade means that there are less hazards with the chain getting caught or for potential kickback.

Essentially using a gliding saw carriage, it is far easier to use the chainsaw to cut straight and even cuts without sacrificing ease of use and the full power of the chainsaw mill. This chainsaw mill design could be used as a makeshift lathe for other woodworking projects.

4- Cost Efficient Metal Chainsaw Mill

Here we have one of the most cost-efficient diy chainsaw mill on youtube and it removes the expense of purchasing a long blade chainsaw. With a metal frame structure, the chainsaw can glide slowly across a large and long wood timber for many DIY projects. In this tutorial, they separated the chainsaw motor from the blade so that they could create as close to a traditional mill and planer as they could while keeping the costs low enough for any DIYer to give this chainsaw mill a chance.

5- Home-Built Portable Chainsaw Mill

Check out this tutorial that will explains in detail how to construct a homemade chainsaw mill by woodweb with the added bonus of high-quality step by step photos. Using a thirty-two-inch chainsaw, this diy chainsaw mill can be a great and inexpensive alternative to a saw mill that is both portable and easy to build. This chainsaw mill can be built in a few weekends and with the help of a friend.

A portable chainsaw mill that is built custom to suit the needs of the user is the best mill to build. Altering the design featured in this tutorial can be done quickly without a lot of guesswork and without spending additional money on the budget.

Home-Built Portable Chainsaw Mill
Home-Built Portable Chainsaw Mill, Image via: woodweb

6- Welded Alaskan Sawmill

Learn how to build a DIY Alaskan sawmill in this Youtube video that can be used to make live edge wood cuts as well as other wood plank cuts without creating a large, guided chainsaw apparatus. A simple metal design that is welded to insert the chainsaw in the jig, this is a fantastic way to make special timber cuts without spending a lot of time or money on professional equipment. A homemade Alaskan sawmill provides a portable way to mill lumber and large timbers without upgrading to a more commercial machine.

7- Wooden Rail Chainsaw Mill

Constructing wooden rails from easily accessible wood lumber and plywood makes this chainsaw mill tutorial by instructables accessible to anyone at any level of DIY building projects. The idea behind this tutorial was created by having to cut up and remove trees and large, heavy limbs from a hurricane without spending a lot of money on hurricane damage cleanup. The chainsaw glides along the two wooden rails while it is attached to a wooden sled. You may also like to check out diy table saws and fences that ease the constructoin process.

Wooden Rail Chainsaw Mill
Wooden Rail Chainsaw Mill, Image via: instructables

8- Twenty-Five Dollar Chainsaw Mill

A DIY Alaskan sawmill by instructables using a chainsaw is a wonderful way to mill large pieces of timber into lumber of various other DIY building projects. Built using a metal frame, simple tack welding can achieve this ingenious homemade chainsaw mill attachment. Made from steel bars and steel tube, this DIY Alaskan sawmill can be built in one day and with a budget of twenty-five dollars.

Cutting the metal steel rod and metal tubing pieces can be done using a portable bandsaw or a battery powered Sawzall. Welding is a simple technique that a lot of DIYers can learn on their own with either a rented, borrowed or bought welding machine. The inexpensive design and sturdy construction make this a great option for creating a chainsaw sawmill.

Twenty-Five Dollar Chainsaw Mill
Twenty-Five Dollar Chainsaw Mill, Image via: instructables

9- Homemade Alaskan Chain Sawmill

With a video tutorial that provides a lot of education and tips, the presenter has a lot of knowledge when it comes to turning a redwood tree into wood slabs using an Alaskan chainsaw mill on youtube. Milling fallen or found trees in the landscape, this tutorial provides valuable information for anyone trying to construct an Alaskan mill and milling timber for wooden slabs. This video tutorial is a step-by-step guide that goes through educating and informing fellow DIYers in an interview type process.

10- Gliding Versatile Chainsaw Mill

Fabricating a jig for the clamp that gets attached to the chainsaw mill this mill on Youtube is constructed using metal tubing with tac and finish welding. Clamping the chainsaw to the mill jig is important for maintaining safety with any potential kickback or saw blade issues. This gliding versatile chainsaw mill allows for wood slabs for table tops or other lumber uses.

The savings of using a regular length chainsaw saves money over a longer blade chainsaw. This youtube video tutorial is over ten minutes which means it provides plenty of descriptions and details so any DIYer can build this jig on their own without lingering questions.

11- Homestead Chainsaw Mill

Comparable to a commercial unit at a fraction of the cost this DIY chainsaw mill by thehomesteadingboards is a fantastic idea. This homestead chainsaw mill uses a DIY Alaskan sawmill design for an inexpensive way to keep costs down and create a mill that can be built by any DIYer who wants to rely on themselves and the land. Simple welding techniques and steel tubing can be used to create this homemade chainsaw mill.

With any chainsaw mill, it is important to have a good supply of gasoline and oil for the saw especially if cutting into harder wood types such as maple. Having enough oil ensures that the lubrication is consistent, and the chainsaw does not overheat with use. You may also like to check out diy miter saw stands that makes your cuts easier and more accurate.

Homestead Chainsaw Mill
Homestead Chainsaw Mill, Image via: thehomesteadingboards

12- Vertical Carriage Chainsaw Mill

With more traditional types of chainsaw mills like this one by ibuildit there is a gliding motion across the horizontal plane to cut timbers into slabs of lumber. With this tutorial, the chainsaw mill is on a vertical plane, attached to a wooden post in the ground. The chainsaw moves up and down the post, letting gravity do much of the work.

This vertical design not only saves space, it also can be used to cut down firewood as well as other vertical cutting projects. With both written and video instructions, this is a great tutorial with a lot of information and knowledge.

Vertical Carriage Chainsaw Mill
Vertical Carriage Chainsaw Mill, Image via: ibuildit

13- One Hundred Dollar Portable Sawmill

Improving on a previously built DIY chainsaw mill this video tutorial on youtube goes through the improvements that can be made from an older design without spending extra time and money. The wooden sawmill apparatus sits and glides on a metal carriage that helps keep cuts straight and level without dragging timbers. The carriage helps prevent potentially catching the chainsaw during the cutting process.

The improvements made from the previous design include a metal cable track with a boat winch that would normally be used to load and unload boats from trailers. The winch cable design allows for operating the sawmill smoothly while also staying away from the chainsaw blade.

14- Improvised Alaskan Chainsaw Mill

Made with wood lumber and an improvised metal table leg, this is a simple and fantastic method for creating a simplified version of a homemade Alaskan sawmill design on Youtube. With a five-step process and a clear list of materials, it is simple and easy to figure out how to build and use this homemade Alaskan sawmill. There is even a video demonstration of the use of this effective sawmill.

The sawmill is powerful enough to cut through long pieces of timber while also allowing the sawmill to detach easily for full use of the chainsaw. One of the nice safety features is that the top of the chainsaw blade is covered by a piece of lumber for added safety. The improvised metal table leg can be used to change the depth of the cut for different thicknesses of wood slabs.

15- Portable Welded Chainsaw Mill

This tutorial features a steel tube design for easy and portable chainsaw milling on youtube. This tutorial also goes through how important it is to have a ripping chain rather than a cross cutting chain for cutting long and dense wood timbers. This tutorial shows how to attach a metal carriage onto a large tree timber in order to glide the chainsaw mill across.

With additional steps, the practice of attaching the metal carriage to the timber allows for cutting any length of timber without being challenged by a pre-made wooden track. Drilling the metal pieces into the ends of the timber can help level out a tree that is too thick for other sawmill designs.

16- Lawnmower Powered Chainsaw Mill

Starting from a different direction, this youtube video tutorial begins with using a sixty-two-inch chainsaw blade and working on creating a motor powerful enough to run the blade without purchasing a heavy-duty chainsaw. The lawnmower motor is powerful enough to run the long chainsaw blade to cut the lumber slabs. This is a five-part video series tutorial for constructing the metal frame that holds the long chainsaw blade and the lawnmower motor.

When fully constructed, this lawnmower chainsaw mill on youtube is large enough to handle the biggest and thickest pieces of timber. The chainsaw blade mill is a two-person build that can easily glide across a metal ladder. This design is unique and more time-consuming to build but with the extra time and effort comes a heavier duty machine.

17- Refined Counterbalance Chainsaw Mill

Refining a previously constructed DIY chainsaw mill this tutorial on Youtube improves upon a popular video tutorial of a counterbalanced design that glides across timbers on a two by four-inch piece of lumber with clamps. Using clamps prevents screw holes in the finished wood slabs. The counterbalance apparatus works better with a small chainsaw so it can be created with a smaller investment into a chainsaw.

The attached box style jig has room for metal weightlifting plates to sit on the jig to offset the weight of the chainsaw, making an even and straight cut. The counterbalance jig allows for a three-cut method that cuts more efficiently and prevents all the powdery saw dust left behind from other homemade chainsaw mills.

Final Thoughts

Finding solutions that help decrease the inflated costs of commercial woodworking machinery and increase the usability of existing power tools, is a fantastic way to DIY a chainsaw mill. We have gathered several chainsaw mills from the internet that are uniquely designed by fellow DIYers out there that fit any budget or any level of construction skills. Whether choosing to cut large timbers horizontally or vertically, our list has several unique designs to achieve a chainsaw mill that is powerful, portable, and versatile.


yumpu, european tropical research network, Issue No. 52, december 2010, “Chainsaw milling: supplier to local markets”, https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/8032404/chainsaw-milling-european-tropical-forest-research-network

SCRIBD, by alderstreet, “The potential of chainsaw milling outside forests”, https://www.scribd.com/document/37454314/Chainsaw-Milling

Aviation Pros, by Joe Escobar, July 1, 2004, Vacuum Pumps: Basic operation and maintenance tips, https://www.aviationpros.com/home/article/10386532/vacuum-pumps-basic-operation-and-maintenance-tips

About Farhan Ahsan

My name is Farhan Ahsan,I am web enthusiast, writer and blogger. I always strive to be passionate about my work. I started my work at the beginning of 2007 by engaging myself with detail reading and exchanging information with others. Since then things and times have changed, but one thing remains the same and that is my passion for helping and educating people, building a successful blog and delivering quality content to the readers. I always love to write about gardening, sustainable life, off grid living and homestead farming.

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