Portable Sawmill Options: Bandsaw and Chainsaw Mills

Reader Contribution by Kale Roberts

If you often find yourself in need of lumber for various homestead projects, consider a small, portable sawmill to cut your own lumber. Portable milling equipment makes it possible for you to create dimensioned lumber for all kinds of DIY projects. The videos below show products from four companies, and demonstrate the versatility of portable sawmills in action. You will also discover tips to assist with assembly.

There are a wide range of choices for portable sawmills, from Granberg’s ultra-portable Alaskan chainsaw milling attachments to Wood-Mizer’s more-stationary 10-horsepower LT10, which can saw up to 160 board feet per hour. No matter the portable sawmill you choose, building with homemade lumber takes a little more time, but the payoff is huge in satisfaction, savings and the power to precisely control the dimensions of your boards.

Granberg’s Alaskan Portable Chainsaw Mills

Granberg’s Small Log chainsaw mill is compact, lightweight and designed to easily bolt to your chainsaw bar with no drilling. Assembly takes about 20 minutes. The Small Log model will cut slabs from a half-inch to 12 inches thick. The fact that you can easily bring this portable chainsaw mill to the logs instead of having to pull logs out of the woods makes this an indispensable tool for many DIYers.

Granberg Alaskan Small Log Chainsaw Mill in Action

Assembling the Granberg C2 Chainsaw Mill

Cutting Cedar Boards With the Granberg Alaskan Mark III 30′ Mill

Hud-Son HFE 21 Homesteader Bandsaw Mill

While bandsaw mills may not be as portable or affordable as chainsaw milling attachments, bandsaw mills waste less wood and can generally accommodate larger logs. The Hud-Son Homesteader bandsaw mill cuts up to 21-inch diameter logs and features a 6.5-horsepower engine and can be easily stored when not in use. A bandsaw mill may be the perfect tool for your DIY projects building barns, fences and more.

Hud-Son HFE 21 Homesteader Bandsaw Mill in Action

Hud-Son HFE 21 Homsteader Demonstrated by Northern Maine Homesteading

Norwood Lumberlite ML26 Mid-Sized Portable Bandsaw Mill

The Lumberlite ML26 is North-American built and features a 9-horsepower (or optional 13-horsepower) OHV Honda GX-Series engine. The bandsaw mill is capable of handling logs up to 26 inches in diameter. An adjustable-height operators station is a nice feature to help ensure that your milling experience is as comfortable as it is productive.

Norwood Lumberlite ML26 in Action

Wood-Mizer LT10 Manual Sawmill

The Wood-Mizer LT10 is an entry level, walk-along mill that can be assembled in 2-4 hours and is capable of producing big dreams for weekend DIYers. Power options for the L10 are either a 7-horsepower standard gasoline model or an optional 10-horsepower model. This sawmill can process logs up to 11 feet long (no limit with extensions) and up to 24 inches in diameter.

Wood-Mizer LT10 in Action

Wood-Mizer LT10 Handles a Large Pine Log

Kale Roberts is an Assistant Editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS. His interests include renewable energy, real food and sustainable rural development.