Chainsaw attachments. Tips from a professional


As we all know, the primary job of a chainsaw is to cut through trees and logs. But with the help of some attachments, it can also be used for a variety of other jobs. You can use your chainsaw to chop down trees and cut logs into smaller sections without additional attachments. However, using a milling attachment on your chainsaw, you can easily mill those logs into wooden boards. There are many kinds of chainsaw attachments. In this blog post, I will look at the most common ones.

Chainsaw attachments:

  • Lumber-maker mill attachment
  • Angle iron log guide
  • Mini-mill attachment
  • Alaskan small log mill attachment
  • Alaskan Mark IV mill attachment
  • Winches
  • Chainsaw skid plates
  • Miter mill attachment
  • Log wizard/debarking attachment
  • ATOM drill attachment
  • Micro-mill attachment
  • Ripping Chains
  • Headcutter miter attachment

Let’s look at the various attachments in more detail.

Common Chainsaw Attachments

● Lumber-maker Mill Attachment:

Professional woodworkers use lumber-maker mill attachments to cut out window and door openings accurately. This mill attachment is easy to attach to any chainsaw with its 2-by-4 and 2-by-6 guides and is one of the best tools for making square timber and lumber. Furthermore, this attachment can also be used to make miter cuts by nailing the guides at the required angles.

You can buy a lumber-maker mill attachment for around $180-190 USD.

● Angle Iron Log Guide:

The angle iron log guide is specially designed to hold your chainsaw guide bar perpendicular to the log securely. This allows for accurate, square cuts for butt-to-butt log splicing. The attachment frame is held in a secure alignment with the log using the log ratchet and strap. When dealing with uneven surfaces, four gripper bolts may be used for precise holding.

The angle iron log guide can be used for logs of any profile with a diameter between 6 and 15 inches. The attachment frame will sit either on the D-shape or dovetail corner or the Swedish cope or full rounded portion of the log.

You can buy an angle iron log guide for around $370-400 USD.

● Mini-mill attachment:

Combined with your chainsaw, a mini-mill attachment can serve as the perfect edging tool. It’s one of the most popular chainsaw attachments for squaring and flattening timbers and can also make smooth lumber from logs.

With its V-shaped 2-by-6 guide rail, it can easily be clamped to your chainsaw bar. You can buy a complete mini-mill attachment with a 12 feet guide rail for around $170. The V-rail sections can be purchased separately at a price of roughly $10 for 2 feet sections.

● Alaskan Small Log Mill Attachment:

An Alaskan small log mill attachment is the perfect tool if you want to mill lumber at the felling site. This attachment is quite popular for making planks, slabs, and beams. The attachment is easy to use since it clamps to your chainsaw without any drilling bar. It can make cuts as deep as 13 inches, and the cuts can be up to 18 inches wide. It’s designed to fit chainsaws with up to 20-inch bars.

You can buy an Alaskan small log mill attachment for around $200.

● Alaskan Mark IV Mill Attachment:

The Alaskan mark IV mill attachment is an innovative attachment that can convert into the perfect portable sawmill when clamped to your chainsaw. This mill is easy and safe to use and can produce smooth dimensional lumber from neat or rough logs at any work site.

The attachment comes in various bar sizes and features an adjustable bar whose distance from your chainsaw’s bar can be varied for desired material thickness. It easily mounts on a chainsaw with a few wrenches turns and can cut slabs 1/2 to 13 inches thick and up to 27 inches wide.

As mentioned before, the attachment comes in different mill sizes that have different prices. The 24-inch mill will cost you around $300, whereas an 84-inch mill will go for around $500. The mill size you choose depends on the log’s size that you wish to mill. For instance, a 24-inch mill can only handle up to 21-inch logs, whereas an 84-inch mill can handle up to 81-inch logs.

● Winches:

A winch is a mechanical device capable of pulling in or letting out a rope or wire. It can also be used to adjust the tension in a rope or wire.

A winch can be the ideal device for pulling heavy loads on rough terrain without causing you unnecessary strain when working in the woods. Chainsaw winches are capable of being driven by the chainsaw’s motor. They also allow you to chop down trees and branches, then pull and drag them together, making your life easier.

Chainsaw winches may either be cable-drum types, such as the Lewis chainsaw winches, or rope winches, such as the Simpson winches. Cable-drum type winches are better suited for construction purposes because of their greater pulling power. In contrast, the rope-type winches are better suited to pulling loads in the woods or hunting.

The Simpson Capstan CS model rope winch is easy to mount on a chainsaw and can pull up to 2500 lb., this load depends on your chainsaw’s capacity. The winch weighs 9 lb. It comes with a low-stretch polyester rope rather than a wire cable. You can buy a CS model rope winch for around $700.

The Lewis chainsaw winch model 400-MK2 has an extremely strong yet lightweight housing made of cast aluminum alloy. The winch can pull up to 4000 lb. in a straight line pull, depending on your chainsaw’s power and the cable used. This chainsaw winch model will be perfect for pulling loads at construction sites and will cost you somewhere between $830 and $930.

● Chainsaw Skid Plates:

Skid plates are abrasion-resistant plates fixed to the underside of chainsaws to protect them from excessive damage. Skid plates can keep your chainsaw safe, especially when working in rough environments.

● Miter Mill Attachment:

The miter mill attachment is one of the best tools for angled cuts up to 70o in one direction and 30o in the other. A miter mill attachment is an ideal tool for milling custom roof trusses, gable ends, and band milling beams. A miter mill attachment is perfect for miter angles on structurally insulated panels. This attachment is also widely used to make template cuts, “V” and pitch cuts on timber, ripping and curve cuts, and stopped cuts. 

The miter mill attachment is very precise, versatile, durable, and accurate. This attachment gives you an amazing accuracy of +/- 1/4o. Furthermore, it’s very easy to clamp this attachment to your chainsaw. It comes with a patented clamping system, making it possible for the attachment to be clamped to your chainsaw bar without drilling any holes.

The miter mill attachment is not very heavy either, as it weighs only 10 lbs. It’s compatible with bars up to 20’’ long. As mentioned before, this attachment is very durable since all of its components are made of hard-anodized aluminum.

● Log Wizard/Debarking Attachment:

The log wizard attachment is indeed a “wizard” as it converts your common chainsaw into a completely different tool. A log wizard attachment is perfect for applications such as debarking, planning, notching, post sharpening, knot removing, and routing.

A log wizard comes with a 3/8 and a 0.325 sprocket and attaches to your chainsaw bar via two drilled holes. The best part is that this attachment is relatively light (3 lbs), and will fit all chainsaws. You can buy a log wizard attachment for around $270-300 USD.

● ATOM Drill Attachment:

This drill attachment is perfect for drilling up to 1.5’’ holes in beams, logs, timbers, joists, etc. The ATOM drill attachment is straightforward to mount on a chainsaw with an auger bit and has some nice features. For example, it has an auger stop that automatically switches the gearbox to neutral when it is jammed. Additionally, it has a function that automatically lets the operator reverse the auger from the jammed position.

Other features include a self-locking collar, a protective cover for chain and bar, eleven roller and ball bearings, and a reinforced gearbox built that makes it very durable.

You can buy the ATOM drill attachment for around $550. When purchasing this attachment, you should consider the chain number and pitch because the auger bits are sold separately.

● Micro Mill Attachment:

The Micro mill attachment is easy and quick to mount on any chainsaw. It allows an almost non-existent learning curve to cut door and window openings, customized lumber and timbers with ease and precision that no other device can match. For this reason, this attachment is also known as a Hi-Precision chainsaw mill. This attachment is precision machined and features a patented clamping system that rotates 360˚ on its sealed precision bearings.

The micro mill is not only the most accurate but also the most durable machine of its kind. It uses a dressed 2-by-6 guide. But you can also opt for the “High Precision Kit” available with a 2-by-4-by-¼” aluminum channel guide for even higher accuracy. You can buy the micro mill attachment for around $400 without the high precision kit.

● Ripping Chains:

Ripping chains are high-speed and power specialty chains used for aggressive cutting. Ripping chains come in two styles; Granberg and Oregon.

– Granberg:

The Granberg-style ripping chain features one set of scoring and one set of clearing cutters. The scoring cutters (file at 20˚) cut a groove down on both sides of the kerf. The subsequent two center clearing cutters (file at 0˚) cut the center ridge missed by the scoring cutters. The depth gauges have to be lowered depending on your chainsaw’s power.

– Oregon:

An Oregon-style ripping chain is especially factory ground to make dimensional boards or planks from larger timbers.

● Headcutter Miter Attachment:

The head cutter miter attachment easily clamps to any chainsaw in seconds and transforms it into an enormous vertical cutting jigsaw. It’s adjustable to 75˚ from vertical. It features a strong, wide base plate to support the chainsaw’s weight through its angular range fully. This way, it provides stability, allowing accurate freehand cuts with a long chainsaw bar.

A nice feature of this attachment is that it uses the bar’s top cutting edge to make the chain cutters throw wood chips away from the cut area and the operator. The U-shaped chain bar clamp, located behind the chain bar’s upper cutting edge and a wide opening in the base plate, provides an unhindered view of the cutting chain as it cuts the wood. This enables the operator to easily and accurately guide the chainsaw to follow a scribed arc or a snap-line making it the ideal tool for gang cutting lumber, structural insulated roof panels, and beams placed on edge. This is well beyond the reach of most circular saws.

Other Chainsaw Attachments:

I have discussed some of the most widely used chainsaw attachments, but more helpful chainsaw attachments are:

  • Helper handles
  • Slabbing rail brackets
  • Double-ended canon milling bars
  • Oiler kits

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