Choosing the Right Portable Sawmill

Portable sawmills fall into three general categories: chainsaw mills, circular sawmills and band sawmills. Here are the pros and cons when choosing the right portable sawmill.

| December 2002/January 2003

Learn what you need to know when choosing the right portable sawmill for your homestead.

Own a Portable Sawmill

Portable Hybrid Sawmills
Tips on Buying a Portable Sawmill

Portable sawmills fall into three general categories: chainsaw mills, circular sawmills and band sawmills. They are available in a diversity of styles and operating systems, and are priced to fit any budget. "Which to pick," says Will Johnson, president of TimberKing, a portable sawmill manufacturing company, "depends on what you are going to do with it."

The variables, he says, are how much lumber you plan to saw and how quickly you need to cut it. A third variable is hour finely finished you need the boards to he. Here are the pros and cons of each type of mill when choosing the right portable sawmill for your homestead:

Chainsaw Mills

From a cost standpoint, chainsaw mills are inexpensive, and thus very appealing for homestead and farm use. Prices start under $100. But these mills are relatively slow, which means you can use them for major projects only if you have lots of time. Even with the special chains used for lumbering, they still make rough cuts; further milling is required for finished surfaces.

And they waste a lot of wood. "Generally," say's Erin Domagalski of Hud-Son Forest Equipment, "a chainsaw mill has 20 percent more kerf (width of the blade cut) than a band sawmill."

3/21/2016 2:17:36 PM

there is much good information here but also some error..... 1. I get a cut with my chain mill smoother than what my local sawmill achieves. 2. i use standard bars 3. it is slow but it is doable without a four thousand plus machine sitting in the driveway trying to pay for itself. 4. you dont mention the real cost of band milling...blades that often have to be changed and sharpened and the inability of the DIY guy to accomplish sharpening without a four hundred dollar sharpener. 5. if life happens to you as it often does you have four or five grand in a rig that sits where as i have five hundread in my whole set up I fear much of the negative sentiment about chain milling stems from the promotion of the band mill industry

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard