Whether you have to deal with fallen trees after a storm or you have an excess of timber from felling trees on your property, a good chainsaw mill will allow you to produce usable boards and planks without needing to pay the expensive fees of a professional miller.
You can buy a chainsaw mill – there are plenty to pick from for just about every budget – but if you are confident in your DIY skills, you may decide to build your own instead. For anyone who is thinking about trying but who doesn’t know where to start, we bring you 9 homemade chainsaw mill plans you can DIY easily.
1. Comprehensive guide to chainsaw mills
Here’s a great page we found written by a woodworking enthusiast in the UK that gives you a lot of information about chainsaw mills, why to use one, the pros and cons, safety tips, alternatives and a whole lot more.
He also includes details of how to make your own from some inexpensive materials you can easily get your hands on. If you want an in-depth introduction to chainsaw mills and a guide to how to make your own, this is a great place to start.
2. Detailed build instructions
Here’s another great page we found that explains how to go about building your own DIY chainsaw mill at home. There are plenty of photos included so you can see how it’s supposed to look, and the end result seems pretty impressive.
What we love most about this page is how much detail it goes into for every step. The poster is obviously very methodical, and as long as you are not a total DIY novice, these are plans you should be able to follow with ease.
Another thing we like is the fact there is a message board at the bottom of the page – so you can read some of the problems other DIYers have encountered trying to build one, along with the solutions.
3. Homemade vertical chainsaw mill
Here’s a more original idea – rather than the typical “Alaskan” chainsaw mill that is available to buy and that many people try to make at home, this DIYer came up with a plan for a simple chainsaw mill that cuts vertically.
As the poster explains, the idea came about when he started to consider how to reduce the inefficiency associated with more common chainsaw mill designs. His solution was to create a mill that uses gravity to do the work.
As he admits, it’s “quick and dirty” – but there are plenty of photos and clear instructions, so everything you need is there if you decide you want to have a go at making one too.
4. High-quality large chainsaw mill
If you are feeling ambitious and want something that is capable of producing high-quality planks and boards, this very well-made chainsaw mill created by a talented woodworker and artist could be of interest.
This is the polar opposite of “quick and dirty” – this is a mill that required many hours of research and then many more hours to actually construct. However, as is clear from the poster’s comments, it is something to be proud of once it is finished.
If you have the time, skills and materials to build something like this, it will potentially give you a tool that is at least as good – if not better – than a commercial chainsaw mill you can buy.
5. Cheap homemade chainsaw mill
Here we’ve found an excellent YouTube video that shows you how to make a DIY chainsaw mill that will cost you under $50.
The poster’s primary concerns – apart from saving as much money as possible – were to make it comfortable to use and safe to operate.
His video is very well-made with good instructions and explanations of what he did.
This guy is talented DIYer – in the video, you can see some of the other amazing stuff he’s made before. He obviously takes great pride in his work and he’s also good at explaining the reasons for what he’s doing at each step. This is someone we can all learn a thing or two from.
And we also love his choice of music!
6. Simplest homemade chainsaw mill
If you are looking for the simplest plan available, here is another YouTube video that should appeal to you.
The video itself is simple, short and to the point, but it tells you everything you need to know about how to make a DIY chainsaw mill. You can easily try to copy this design at home yourself – and this is one of the most inexpensive plans we found.
When he finishes up and gives you a demo, you can see how his creation works. The only downside we can see is that it looks like he had to drill a hole in his chainsaw bar – not something everyone will enjoy doing.
Anyway, top marks for creating an uncomplicated and inexpensive chainsaw mill that does exactly the job it was designed for.
7. Chainsaw mill video with good commentary
This is another YouTube video that demonstrates a homemade chainsaw mill in action before going on to explain how it was made.
There are a couple of things we like about this video. It starts off by giving you a bit of background about why this mill was originally created before going on to explain the details of how to use it.
There are some informative passages showing how to put it all together, and we also like the tips and commentary he gives about how to successfully make and operate a chainsaw mill.
For example, in one section he talks about how he has learned to put the mill on an incline so that gravity helps with the work, making it less strenuous to use.
Whether you copy his design or not, this video has plenty of useful information about making DIY chainsaw mills and is well worth checking out.
8. Large homemade chainsaw mill
This YouTube video we found is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it gives you an idea of what can be achieved if you put your mind to it.
This chainsaw mill is a little more complicated than some of the others we’ve seen and involves more than just strapping a chainsaw to a rigged-up frame. However, we are impressed by the quality of cut this contraption seems to be able to achieve.
Unfortunately, there are few instructions on how to build one yourself at home, so unless you are extremely handy, this is going to be beyond most people.
There is another reason we wanted to include this video, though – we thought it was worth putting in as a safety warning. If you decide to build your own mill at home, make sure you pay attention to safety features as well as just cutting ability.
If you want to know what we’re talking about, just check out the video at 2:25 and see how close his knee comes to the blade. Without chainsaw chaps, the guy in the video came so close to a serious injury – and he was completely unaware how lucky he was!
9. Homemade chainsaw mill with no welding required
Here’s one last video we found on YouTube that shows how a guy created his own chainsaw mill attachment, all without the need for any welding.
There are no words, you just need to watch the video and follow what he is doing. However, the video is well made, and the steps are easy to understand and copy.
The materials he uses are inexpensive and easily available, and he takes care to show exactly what he is doing as he works.
When everything is done and he starts cutting the tree, we can see exactly how effective his chainsaw mill really is.
Something else we like about this post is the comments below. The DIYer has done a good job with what he has made, but some of the commenters let him know how he could improve things further – for example, using a chainsaw sharpener or buying a better chainsaw!
This is one of the great things about the internet – the pooling of ideas and experience – and this video along with the comments below should help give you a few pointers on how to build a chainsaw mill of your own.
Have fun DIYing – but be careful
With any DIY project, you should always think about safety first. However, chainsaws are just about the most dangerous tools you can own, so when building a DIY chainsaw mill, make sure you take extra precautions – we saw in #8 how danger is never far away.
Assuming you know how to handle a chainsaw and take the necessary steps to ensure your safety, building your own chainsaw mill at home can be a highly rewarding enterprise. If you do a good job, it will also give you an inexpensive and effective way to deal with any fallen or felled trees you have on your property.
Mark Kirk is an avid woodworker who resides on and manages a woodworking Studio north Texas. He holds an AWI’s Quality Certification Program, and He loves to read, write, and woodworking. If Mark is not in learning the new woodworking projects, you can find him in his studio. He believes that woodworking is one of kind of art!