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How to Mill with a Chainsaw: Expert Tips and Tricks

Want to unlock the full potential of your chainsaw? Our expert tips and tricks will show you how to use your chainsaw for milling. We’re here to guide you through every step of the process, helping you to achieve the best possible results.

Is it possible to mill with a chainsaw?

To mill lumber with a chainsaw, you’ll need a powerful saw (ideally 50cc or larger with a 20″ + bar), a chainsaw mill attachment, files for sharpening, wedges, measuring tools, and log handling equipment. Choose a saw size that matches your log diameter.

Do you want to learn more about how to mill using a chainsaw? This article will guide you through the basics of milling, like the kind and size of chainsaw you might need for milling and other essential factors.

What do I need to mill my Lump?

Many might wonder why I need to use a chainsaw to mill since only a few people have lumber yards in their backyards. Well, once set up, it will save you the future cost of having to mill your wood logs or buy them from someone else.

The first and foremost thing you might want to consider before milling your wood is the best logging chainsaw that suits you; this is very important. This does not necessarily imply that you get the largest saw you find.

No, it simply implies that you should know your preferences and whatever fits the size of the logs you plan to work. Transportation of heavy lumber often means additional costs, especially if you’re trying to minimize costs. The same goes for hiring a lumber mill to cut them down to size for you.

As a chainsaw milling expert with two decades of experience, I cannot stress enough the importance of safety. Always wear protective gear and keep your work area clear. Remember, a firm grip on the chainsaw with both hands is crucial.

• The Importance of a Good Chainsaw

However, if you have an excellent chainsaw with adequate power, length, and milling attachment, you can easily do this in the comfort of your backyard. This excludes the initial amount you spent on purchasing equipment. Also, you won’t need to hire anyone to help transport or cut the lumber.

For the most part, getting a saw with at least a 50cc displacement and running a 20-inch chain is ideal. Although this is not compulsory, you can use a smaller chainsaw to cut smaller logs or mill smaller boards. This also applies to more extensive, customized widths and lengths.

As long as you have a chainsaw that you’re comfortable with, all you need to do is get a suitable milling attachment or even create one yourself. Just get a measuring attachment that will help you guide your saw to make the size cuts you prefer.

Why Use a Chainsaw for Milling Lumber?

It is safe to assume you don’t have a lumber mill in your backyard. This would only mean that after you cut trees down, you would have to transport them to a lumber mill or a hired lumber truck.

This also means that you’ll have to pay someone to transport the lumber to the mill, get it cut down, and then transport it back home for you. So, the logical reason anyone would want to mill their lumber with a chainsaw will be to reduce costs.

• Cost-effective approach to Milling Lumber

One of the main reasons why people prefer to mill their lumber is to save costs. If you have access to raw lumber on your property or have been granted access to forests, all you need to get started is your chainsaw, enough gas, and oil.

You might be lucky enough to get cords of logs delivered to your house at a minimal cost, and many firewood cutters can also supply uncut logs to you. The bottom line is that with fundamental research, you can find a way to get the logs you need to mill to your lumber, saving a lot of money in the long run.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Chainsaw for Milling – Power and Size

The first thing you need to look out for is the chainsaw itself. You must invest in a high-quality chainsaw that will last you long. It is also wise to get a chainsaw that you find convenient and comfortable to use.

Another factor to remember is that you don’t need a large chainsaw just because it’s available. Get an ideal chainsaw with the size of logs you plan on milling. When it comes to the size of the chainsaw you choose, the size of the log you plan to mill is everything.

In my 20 years of milling, I’ve learned that keeping the chainsaw blade sharp is not just about efficiency; it’s about safety, too. A dull blade can cause the chainsaw to kick back, which is dangerous. It’s a simple trick, but one that many overlook.

• The Role of Power in Chainsaw Milling

You might want to go for smaller chainsaws to see down whole trees. However, cutting down a tree with a small chainsaw might take more time and energy.

Generally, you can still get the job done. However, when you must mill the logs into boards or planks, you will need something large and powerful enough to mill the wood efficiently. Here is a list of equipment you will need:

  • A chainsaw larger than 50cc. Ideally, the larger, the better.
  • Chainsaw mill
  • Wedges, measuring tapes, and chalk
  • A range of chainsaw sharpening files
  • A straight edge to create the first cut; this depends on the type of mill used
  • Fuel and oil
  • A forklift or similar machine, or at least a log bar to move and turn logs
  • Timber” sticker,” banding, and strapping equipment
  • PVA/emulsion paint for the end grain

● Engine Power – the CCs

Another essential factor to consider is engine power. When milling wood, the engine power of the chainsaw will determine the amount of energy you will use during the process, the amount of time it will take, and how smooth the job will be upon completion.

A 50cc chainsaw is usually ideal for most milling, except for large jobs. However, if your chainsaw is heavy and powerful, you’ll be able to get jobs done faster and cut smoother logs of wood. The chainsaw will also be a lot easier to control.  

So, to get the best results, it is advisable to get a chainsaw with a lot of engine power. If you’re considering milling your lumber regularly and have extensive and knotted logs, you might want to invest in a 100cc. Chainsaw. It will be able to handle larger jobs effectively.

● Chain Length

The chain length is another critical factor when choosing a chainsaw for milling, especially the arm and the chain. For general purposes, an average 20-inch chain will do just fine. That being said, remember that 20 inches is not very long.

So, if you are dealing with large logs, you may need to find a longer chain. You will need a chainsaw that is about 30 inches or longer for larger logs. Always remember that the chain length would depend on the diameter or size of the logs to be milled.

If the saw is long enough to make its way through the diameter of the log, you’re pretty much good to go. Just know that a general rule of thumb applies here: the size of the chainsaw you need, in terms of chain length, depends solely on the log size.

Over the years, I’ve seen many beginners make the same mistake – not taking the time to properly set up their milling guide. This leads to uneven cuts and wasted wood. Patience and careful setup are key to successful milling.

● Cutting Performance

If your chainsaw bar can reach across the log, then you should be able to cut it into lumber. Your chainsaw is also great for cutting wide slabs from large trees. So, a chainsaw mill is the perfect tool for building tables with a single slab top.


We hope this article has helped you realize that you don’t need a lot of equipment to mill a lumber. All you need is an appropriate chainsaw and a high-quality milling attachment for your chainsaw. You really can’t mill lumber without the appropriate chainsaw attachment.

This is where chainsaw milling and the right chainsaw come into play. Be sure to get a chainsaw that is at least 20 inches long and has 50cc of engine power to achieve good results. When choosing the bars, it’s essential to consider the product you’re using.

• Choosing the Right Chainsaw Mill

One popular choice is the Granberg Alaskan chainsaw mill. It is a quality chainsaw product designed to improve your lumber milling experience. Finally, ensure you figure out the size of the chainsaw you need. Regular maintenance is necessary for your chainsaw and its products.

Remember, chainsaw milling is an experience that requires a new chainsaw and a suitable mill for your needs. Milling is a process that involves making all the cuts you need with a specific mill style. Understanding your chainsaw and the types of cuts it can cause is essential.

Avoid mistakes when using your chainsaw. People make common mistakes when milling lumber. Look out for specific signs of these mistakes and learn how to correct them. We hope that this article answers your questions and guides you. Good luck!

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  1. Eleanor Larson says:

    I never knew you could use a chainsaw for milling lumber, this is so informative!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Eleanor! I’m glad you found the information on chainsaw milling informative. It’s a great way to save costs and get lumber cut to your specifications at home. Best of luck with your lumber milling journey!

  2. Kristen Lowe says:

    Are there any maintenance tips for keeping a chainsaw in good condition for milling purposes?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your question, Kristen! Make sure to invest in a high-quality chainsaw with a milling attachment for efficient lumber milling. Good luck!

  3. Ellen Cruz says:

    I had no idea about the process of milling lumber with a chainsaw, this article explains it well!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Ellen! I’m glad you found the information on milling lumber with a chainsaw helpful. Let me know if you have any more questions or need further clarification.

  4. Brayden Wright says:

    What are the common mistakes to avoid when milling lumber with a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your interest in milling lumber with a chainsaw! Common mistakes to avoid include using the wrong attachment and not ensuring the chainsaw has adequate power and length. Good luck!

  5. Ida Holt says:

    Can using a chainsaw to mill lumber actually save money in the long run? How do I know which chainsaw is the best option for my milling needs?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      It is possible to save money by milling lumber with a chainsaw. Consider a chainsaw with a 50cc engine and 20-inch chain. Good luck with your milling endeavors!

  6. Celina Hunt says:

    Can you use a chainsaw to create custom-sized lumber for specific projects?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, you can use a chainsaw with proper attachments to mill logs into custom-sized lumber for specific projects. Check out the full article for more details.

  7. Katie Flores says:

    This article has inspired me to try milling my own lumber with a chainsaw, thank you for the information!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Katie! We’re glad you found the information inspiring. Best of luck with milling your lumber using a chainsaw – it’s a rewarding process. Enjoy the journey!

  8. Devon Hall says:

    I’m excited to start milling my own lumber after reading this informative article, thank you!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your enthusiasm, Devon! Milling your own lumber can be a rewarding process. Best of luck with your new project!

  9. Julio Oliver says:

    Is it possible to mill different types of wood with a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, it is possible to mill different types of wood with a chainsaw by using appropriate attachments for cutting along the grain efficiently. Good luck with your milling endeavors!

  10. Jessie Fleming says:

    How long does it typically take to mill a log into usable boards with a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Typically, it takes the right chainsaw and attachments to mill a log efficiently. Start with a 50cc saw with a 20-inch chain for best results. Good luck!

  11. Keith Kuhn says:

    Great video resources shared in this article, they complement the information well.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Keith! I’m glad you found the video resources helpful. Let me know if you have any questions about milling lumber with a chainsaw.

  12. Daryl Franklin says:

    Are there any environmental considerations to keep in mind when milling lumber with a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your question, Daryl! When milling lumber with a chainsaw, it’s important to consider the environmental impact. Avoid over-milling and use sustainable practices to conserve resources.

  13. Rick Vasquez says:

    Can you recommend a specific brand of chainsaw for milling lumber?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      “You can consider a chainsaw mill attachment from Granberg or Alaskan Mill for milling lumber. They are popular and reliable choices for converting logs into boards and planks.”

  14. Jimmie Jordan says:

    The tips on choosing the right chainsaw size for milling are very useful, thank you.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for the positive feedback, Jimmie! I’m glad you found the tips on chainsaw size for milling useful. Happy milling!

  15. Gina Webb says:

    I appreciate the detailed explanation of what equipment is needed for milling lumber with a chainsaw.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Gina! I’m glad you found the information on milling lumber with a chainsaw helpful. Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions.

  16. Eugene Barnes says:

    These are great tips for milling lumber with a chainsaw!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thanks, Eugene! Using a chainsaw for milling lumber can save costs. Make sure to choose the right chainsaw size and power. Good luck on your milling journey!

  17. Michael Pena says:

    What safety precautions should I consider when milling lumber with a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Yes, consider using proper attachments and taking safety precautions when milling lumber with a chainsaw. Ensure you have a chainsaw with the right power, size, and attachments for accurate cuts. Stay safe!

  18. April Oliver says:

    Is it recommended to have prior experience with chainsaws before attempting to mill lumber?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your question, April. It is recommended to have some experience with chainsaws before attempting to mill lumber for safety and efficiency. Good luck with your milling endeavors!

  19. Lori Caldwell says:

    I love how this article emphasizes the cost-saving benefits of milling lumber with a chainsaw.

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you, Lori! Chainsaw milling is a cost-effective way to mill lumber at home. Check out our guide for more information. Happy milling!

  20. Peter Kim says:

    How difficult is it to create a milling attachment for a chainsaw?

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Milling with a chainsaw is possible with the right attachment. Make sure to choose the right chainsaw size and milling attachment for best results. Good luck with your project!

  21. Mario Fuller says:

    Thank you for breaking down the steps of milling lumber with a chainsaw, very helpful!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Mario! I’m glad you found the information on milling lumber with a chainsaw helpful. Happy to help!