Use a Portable Sawmill to Make Your Own Lumber

Save big by choosing an affordable, portable sawmill to cut homemade lumber with a bandsaw mill or chainsaw mill attachment.

| June/July 2013

Are you regularly in need of lumber for homestead projects but tired of paying high prices for boards from your local home-improvement store? Consider acquiring a small, portable sawmill to cut your own lumber. Access to portable lumber-milling equipment makes creating perfectly dimensioned lumber possible for all of your DIY projects.

Bandsaw mills are faster and waste less wood than chainsaw mills do, but chainsaw mills’ light weight and smaller size translate to greatly increased portability. Building with homemade lumber will take a little more time no matter which portable sawmill you choose, but the payoff is huge in satisfaction, savings and the ability to precisely control the dimensions of your boards to fit your designs.

Here, we profile two portable sawmill options: the Granberg Alaskan Small Log chainsaw mill, which costs about $200, and Hud-Son’s HFE 21 Homesteader bandsaw mill, priced at $2,600.

Granberg Alaskan Small Log Chainsaw Mill

Chainsaw milling attachments, such as the Granberg Alaskan Small Log chainsaw mill, consist of a framework to hold the saw, plus a chain optimized for ripping that allows the chainsaw to cut down the length of a log. They are much slower than bandsaw mills, but their lighter weight means you can take a chainsaw mill with you out into the woods. The Small Log model will cut logs less than 20 inches in diameter.

The Granberg Alaskan mill includes optional slabbing bars for making your initial cut, a 20-inch chainsaw bar and special ripping chains to fit your chainsaw. The mill is designed to bolt to your chainsaw bar without drilling. Assembly takes about 20 minutes. To view a series of videos that demonstrate the assembly of Granberg's Alaskan mill and its milling capabilities, go to Portable Sawmill Options: Bandsaw and Chainsaw Mills.

When I tested this mill, I had a large accumulation of hard pine timbers and boards after an hour’s worth of cutting. Making the widest (8-foot-long) cuts took four to six minutes. The Granberg Alaskan mill Small Log model will make cuts from a half-inch up to 13 inches thick.

2/24/2016 1:26:41 PM

I have an Alaskan Saw mill and I am able to cut up to 30 inches. I cut some amazing 4" slabs of pine for a table and I cut unique shaped walnut and oak that you would never find for sale anywhere else. I love it for the portability.

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