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7 Best Chain Saw Mill Attachments

Want to mill your own lumber? With a chain saw mill attachment you can cut logs into boards or beams. Learn more here.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.

Man using chainsaw lumber maker, McCarthy, Alaska.Aurora Open/Getty Images

Buying a Chain Saw Mill

Chain saw mills, AKA Alaskan sawmills, are portable devices that allow one or two operators to rip-cut felled logs into boards or beams. Chain saws are great for felling trees, but unless you plan to chop every log into firewood, a chain saw mill is a great addition to your tool collection.

Owning a chain saw mill means you avoid transporting heavy logs to the sawmill or paying inflated prices at the lumber yard. If you’re an experienced chain saw user and like the idea of milling your lumber quickly and cheaply, consider these factors when shopping for a chain saw mill:

  • Log size. Take your best guess at the length and diameter of the logs you need to mill. This will determine the size of chain saw, bar and mill you’ll need.
  • Power. Check your chain saw’s engine size, measured in cubic centimeters (cc) of fuel that pass through the cylinder. The long, continuous cuts take a lot of horsepower, so it’s important your saw is up to the job. Get a saw that’s at least 50 cc for milling logs up to 12 inches in diameter. For larger logs larger, you’ll need more power — at least 60 cc. For logs 20 inches in diameter or more, you’ll need 70 cc or more.
  • Bar length. Make sure your chain saw bar is at least four inches longer than the diameter of the largest logs you anticipate milling. You can’t use the full length of the bar when you attach the mill to your saw, so longer bars are usually a safer bet as long as your saw has the power to match.
  • Mill size. Choose a mill large enough to accommodate your chain saw bar. If you’re milling logs large enough to need a bar 42 inches or longer, be sure to choose a mill large and heavy-duty enough to handle the load. The same advice applies if you’re using two chain saws in tandem with a double-ended bar. For extra-large logs, it’s possible to join two chain saw motors together with a single chain on a double-ended bar. This technique drastically increases cutting speed.
  • Mill weight. If you’re working solo, choose a chain saw mill you can easily lift and use by yourself. Big milling jobs require a work partner; be sure the two of you can handle the weight of a large mill.
  • The right chain. Don’t use a regular chain saw chain for milling logs. They’re mainly for crosscutting. You’ll get much better, smoother boards and beams if you invest in a proper ripping chain. These cut parallel to the wood grain, with the teeth ground at a sharper angle than crosscutting chain teeth.
  • Guide rails. Nearly all chain saw mills need guide rails to work properly. These keep the mill moving horizontally so your boards or beams come out square and true. Most chain saw mills don’t come with guide rails, so you’ll likely need to buy a set separately

With these points in mind, read on for our seven favorite chain saw mills and why they made the list.

Granberg Chain Saw Mill Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Chain Saw Mill Overall

The steel and aluminum Granberg Small Log Mill is remarkably easy to set up and use compared to other chain saw mills. Smart design and minimal tool requirements make it user-friendly.

Despite its small size, it lets you cut boards from 1/2-in. to 13 inches thick and up to 17 inches wide. That’s more than enough for most casual DIY lumber millers, at considerably lower cost than many others.

“This little chain saw mill is easy to use,” writes an Amazon reviewer. “It attached easily to the bar and the depth adjustment has a ruler to gauge the thickness of the slab accurately. With a rip chain on a 20-inch Stihl [chain saw] and some 2x4s as a rail guide to make my first cut, I was able to mill 10 six-foot slabs, 2-1/4-inches thick from a cedar tree on our property.”

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Carmyra Portable Chainsaw Mill Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Large Chain Saw Mill

The Carmyra Portable Chain Saw Mill stands out for its massive cutting width range (14 to 48 inches), heavy-duty steel and aluminum construction and surprisingly light weight. It lets you cut boards or beams with thickness between 1/2-in. and 13 inches for hours, or until your arms fall off from fatigue. (Milling big logs is pretty tiring work.)

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Chainsaw Mill Portable 36 Inch Milling Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Medium-Size Chain Saw Mill

Rugged design, a respectable cutting width range of 10 to 36 inches and excellent customer service are the star features of the medium-sized Imony Portable Chain Saw Mill. Built with steel and aluminum, it only weighs 15 lbs. so it’s not too difficult to carry it through the bush.

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Timber Tuff Tmw Lumber Cutting Guide Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Value Chain Saw Mill for 2x6s

At just $30, the Timber Tuff Lumber Cutting Guide miniature chain saw is the perfect lightweight option for cutting 2x6s or smaller. Made of heavy-duty powder-coated steel, the compact 3-1/2-lb. unit can serve you well for many years. And because it’s compact, this mill is also fast and easy to assemble.

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Alaskan Mark 4 Chainsaw Mill Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Small Chain Saw Mill

The American-made Granberg Alaska Mark-IV Chain Saw Mill is a well-designed, reliable choice if you don’t plan on milling anything wider than 20 inches.

Made with strong aircraft-grade aluminum and steel, this mill comes with a lifetime warranty and a promise from the manufacturer to help the environment. Granberg has pledged that for every mill sold, they’ll plant a tree in a deforested area.

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Granberg G555b Edging Mill Ecomm Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Chain Saw Edging Mill

Rugged build, ease of use, guide rails and a lifetime warranty make the Granberg G555B Edging Mill stand out.

Edging mills are smaller, simpler versions of standard chain saw mills. Rather than milling boards, they’re good for squaring up logs and turning them into beams. Instead of locking to the chain saw bar at both ends and positioning it horizontally to rip cut-boards or beams, edging mills only secure to the bar at the bottom end and hold the saw vertically.

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Hi Hydro Portable Chainsaw Mill Planking Mill Ecom Via AmazonVia Merchant

Best Value Large Chain Saw Mill

The well-built HiHydro Portable Chain Saw Mill lets you cut timbers up to 13 inches thick and anywhere between 14 and 36 inches wide. Other brands offer chain saw mills with similar specs, but they’re almost always more expensive.

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Robert Maxwell
Robert Maxwell is a writer, videographer, photographer and online strength coach based in Northern Ontario, Canada. He grew up on a rural self-sufficient homestead property where he learned the skills to build his own home from the ground up, do all his own vehicle repairs, and work with wood, stone and metal to find practical DIY solutions to many everyday problems.