14 Tips For A Smoother Chainsaw Milling Experience



Now that you have checked out the various chainsaw mills in the market and picked the one that is right for you, how about getting down to the business of actually milling the logs? Experienced or otherwise, it always helps to go over the finer points of chainsaw mill before you start.

First, ensure that your chain is sharp and the rakers are correctly set. A blunt chain makes the work more laborious than it already is. Sharpen the chain as often as you need to. Stripping the log clear of bark and grit keeps the chain sharp and also makes the milling process easier. Second, do not forget to carry out the routine maintenance of all your gear.

Following are a few additional things to keep in mind when you actually start milling the logs:

  1. After you have finished a cut, do not shut down the engine immediately. Letting the engine run idle for 30-40 seconds allows it to cool down.
  2. Chainsaw milling generates a lot of sawdust. It is a good idea to position the log in a way that ensures that the fumes and sawdust are blown away from the saw operator.
  3. Do not move the chainsaw back and forth while it cutting the log. It will result in a rough, gouged board surface. Try and maintain a straight and smooth action.
  4. When milling very dry hardwood, slice off a few inches from the starting point. Your chain will stay sharper for longer.
  5. When cutting through the log, do not stop in the middle. Try to cut the entire slab in one go. Employ the chainsaw throttle lock.
  6. Whenever possible, the log should be positioned off the ground. Use sawhorses or gluts. This will ensure a better working position for you. Ideally, you should not have to kneel down while milling the logs. To get a more comfortable grip while milling the logs, consider adding extra handles to the sawmill.
  7. Another way to make the process easier is to position the log on a slope and cut it downhill. This position makes gravity work for you.
  8. The chainsaw bar and the rail should always be parallel to each other.
  9. Before you start milling, check for any loose bolts, nuts and fasteners. You do not want them to come undone while you are milling the log.
  10. When processing wider logs, protect the chain and bar by using an auxiliary oiler. It can be added to the outboard end of the bar.
  11. Always ensure that the length of the log rail exceeds the logs being milled.
  12. To minimize wood warping, paint the ends of the logs. This controls the loss of moisture.
  13. Once the logs have been cut into slabs, store them under proper cover. Also, space them properly.
  14. Whenever possible, avoid cutting down live trees. Trees felled by wind, driftwood, wood discarded by large commercial lumber units and other reclaimed wood are good raw materials for small-scale chainsaw milling projects.

 Equipment to Supplement Your Chainsaw Mill

To make the lumber milling experience smooth, you might need to supplement your chainsaw mill with some additional equipment.

Here is a list of some basic tools that should be a part of your kit if you are serious about milling your own lumber:

Cant Hook

It is a logging tool comprising of a movable metal hook, also called a dog, which is attached to a lever handle. Cant hooks are used to turn logs. The hook has a blunt tip and bears teeth. Cant hook handles can be made of wood, fiberglass or aluminum.


A peavey is another hooked tool with a long handle that also has a protruding spike at the end. The spiked end is shoved into the log and then the hook is able to grab onto the log better. This tool too is used to move logs. It was designed by Joseph Peavey as a refined version of the cant hook.

Log Carrier

This is a tool to carry timber around the milling site. A log carrier needs two persons to operate it.



A hatchet is sometimes needed to remove smaller branches from the log. A hatchet can also help remove the bark from the log.

Log Splitting Wedges and Hammer

There are times when you will need to split some wood, and wedges and a hammer can make the job a lot simpler.

Hand Tools

Always keep a set of wrenches, screwdrivers, vise-grips and a good quality multi-purpose knife handy.

What To Do With Sawmilling Waste

A lot of wood crafters are wary of using chainsaw mills because it produces a lot of waste in the form of sawdust. In fact, a chainsaw mill can produce almost double the amount of sawdust when compared to a bandsaw mill. However, if you are able to put this sawdust to use, you might start considering it a useful byproduct of chainsaw milling.

Sawdust Absorbs Spilled Oil

Sawdust is very good at soaking up spilled oil from the floor and other smooth surfaces. Keep a bucket of sawdust hand in your work-shed or your garage to soak up the spilled oil.

Animal Beddings Use Sawdust

Wood shavings and sawdust are used for making bedding for animals. You can get in touch with local animal bedding manufacturers and sell them the sawdust. This way you will be able to earn additional money from your trash.

Sawdust Makes Great Compost

Left alone, over a period of time sawdust breaks down to become compost. You can be savvy about it and sell this high-quality compost to gardening shops for some extra cash. If you do not want to wait for the sawdust to turn into compost on its own, you can mix it with dry compost and sell that mix.

Sawdust As Fuel

Sawdust is used to charcoal briquettes, which is used as fuel or as kindling to start fires.

Sawdust To Make Wood Pulp

Particle boards are made using sawdust. The coarser variety of sawdust goes into making wood pulp.

Happy Sawmilling

For many, getting lumber from felled trees is a passion. It is a raw material for many of their artistic creations. Others just enjoy the highly physical activity undertaken literally in the lap of nature. Yet others, see sawmilling as a viable business option. Whatever your reason to pick up sawmilling might be, a good sawmill is crucial. When maintained well, a sawmill can last decades and become your chainsaw’s best friend. All you have to do is: know your requirements, choose wisely and be safe when handling a chainsaw mill.


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