The portable chainsaw mill, also known as an Alaskan sawmill, is essential for anyone looking to make their own lumber without paying exorbitant prices at the lumber mill. It is important to do your research before purchasing an Alaskan mill.
Alaskan sawmills are basically a metal apparatus that turns your regular chainsaw into a functioning, portable lumber mill. They are even portable enough to allow for milling of lumber right in the same spot you just felled the tree.
The first step is to place the log into a steady position. On top of two stumps or smaller logs is usually the best option when doing this in the woods.
If you have a guide board, placing this on top of the log allows you to maintain a cut parallel with the grain of the wood as you move your chainsaw. The metal frame of the Alaskan sawmill holds your chainsaw in place while you move it across the top of the log.
Once you do this across opposite ends of the log, you end up with a nice, fresh piece of lumber that can be easily sawed into smaller segments if necessary.
This design of the chainsaw mill allows you to make perfectly straight cuts of lumber by hand, without having to go to a sawmill and pay for the work. It can be tiring working the heavy logs, but it is a very cost-effective way to turn your lumber into high quality planks.
We put together this article to help you answer the following question:
Question: What is the best chainsaw mill?
Answer: The Granberg MK-IV Chainsaw Mill
Chainsaw Mill Comparison Chart
We go over each model in our review in detail below, but for those in a hurry here is a quick comparison of the mills in our roundup:
There are many different sawmills available, and they all have varying dimensions and features. Some are better than others for certain kinds of wood, some are lighter and more portable, and others are able to handle larger loads.
Here is a look at five of the top chainsaw mills on the market and their varying specifications.
Granberg has been a trusted name in manufacturing chainsaw mills for decades.
The MK-IV is one of their most popular models, and is one of the finest and most reliable on the market.
- Can be assembled in less than an hour, and easily disassembled for portability.
- Cuts Beams and Planks as big as 26” wide and at a depth of up to 13”
- Steel parts and aircraft aluminum tubular extrusion
- Works with chainsaws up to 30” bars and at least 60cc of displacement
- Mounts easily to chain bars
- Designed with anti-vibration metal runners
- Made in America
- Fits most chainsaws
- Can cut larger planks
- Assembly is easy
- More expensive than others on the market
- Heavier than similar models
The Granberg MK-IV is perfect for larger logs and jobs that involve a lot of lumber. While this sawmill is a little bulkier than others, eighteen pounds is still portable enough to allow for carving your own lumber right where you’ve felled the tree.
The MK-IV can handle logs of a good size, but there are others that can cut larger pieces. There are also models that are significantly lighter. Overall, this sawmill is a great middle-of-the-road purchase. It has a manageable weight and assembles easy but can hold its own when dealing with big jobs.
Perhaps what makes it stand out the most is its anti-vibration design. Lessening the fatigue that comes with sawing multiple logs can make all the difference when considering which sawmill to invest in. Made of high-quality American steel, the Granberg MK-IV will last for years and more than pays for itself over time.
- Mounts to chain bar with a few turns of a wrench
- Cut slabs from ½” to 13” thick, and up to 27” wide, where the tree falls.
- Cut cedar, walnut and oak into high quality lumber
- Designed and manufactured in USA
- Quality steel and aluminum construction
The Haddon Lumbermaker has made it easier and more intuitive than ever to turn your chainsaw into a fully functioning Alaskan sawmill.
Haddon is also a trusted name in the industry, and the Lumbermaker is a practical and portable tool that makes any logger’s life easier.
- Weighs less than four pounds
- Made in America
- Can create beams, planks, and boards on the spot
- Includes 30-page owner’s manual
- Lifetime guarantee
- One of the lightest on the market
- Fits all chainsaws
- Instruction manual is helpful for newcomers
- Not many extra features for ease of use
- Works better in conjunction with other sawmills
The Lumbermaker is definitely one of the lightest Alaskan sawmills available. This makes it perfect for a logger that is making deep treks into the forest for their lumber, or anyone who already has a lot to carry on the job. Weighing only four pounds, this handy sawmill is only a quarter of the weight of most other models. The weight is mostly attributed to a simpler design with less bells and whistles. It lacks the anti-vibration features of the Granberg, and it requires a little more finesse on the part of the user to get the same reliable cut.
It actually cuts differently than other sawmills as well. Rather than going across the top of the log and making a horizontal cut with the chainsaw, the Haddon Lumbermaker instead positions your chainsaw into a vertical cut as you go across the side of the log. Because it has a slig