As a woodworker, I’ve discovered that there’s a lot of potential in logs that many people overlook. Instead of simply chopping them up for firewood, you can mill them into lumber that can be used for all sorts of projects. One of the best and cheapest tools for milling lumber is a chainsaw. In this article, I’ll guide you through everything you need to know about choosing the best chainsaw for milling lumber.
The Benefits of Milling Lumber with a Chainsaw
Before we dive into the specifics of chainsaws, let’s take a moment to explore why milling lumber with a chainsaw is a great idea. For starters, it allows you to create lumber of any dimension you need. You’re not limited to the pre-cut sizes you find at the hardware store. Additionally, using a chainsaw to mill lumber can be more cost-effective than purchasing pre-cut lumber. Finally, milling lumber with a chainsaw can be a fun and rewarding experience that allows you to connect with the wood on a deeper level.
Factors to Consider When Choosing The Best Chainsaw for Milling Lumber.
Choosing the right chainsaw for milling lumber can be a daunting task. There are a lot of factors to consider, and it’s important to pick a chainsaw that will meet your specific needs. One of the first things to consider is the size of the chainsaw. A larger chainsaw will be able to handle bigger logs, but it will also be heavier and harder to handle. You’ll also want to consider the type of chainsaw. Gas-powered chainsaws are generally more powerful, but they require more maintenance and can be more difficult to start.
Another important factor to consider is the length of the chainsaw bar. The length of the bar will determine how wide of a cut you can make, which will impact the size of the lumber you can mill. Keep in mind that longer bars can be more difficult to handle, so it’s important to find a balance between bar length and ease of use.
What Size Chainsaw is Best for Milling Lumber?
When it comes to choosing the right size chainsaw for milling lumber, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The size of the chainsaw you need will depend on the size of the logs you’ll be milling. As a general rule, you’ll want a chainsaw with a bar length that’s at least 2 inches longer than the diameter of the logs you’ll be cutting. For example, if you’ll be milling logs with a diameter of 16 inches, you’ll want a chainsaw with a bar length of at least 18 inches.
It’s also important to keep in mind that larger chainsaws will be more powerful, but they’ll also be heavier and harder to handle. If you’re new to milling lumber with a chainsaw, you may want to start with a smaller chainsaw and work your way up to a larger one.
Chainsaw Features to Look for When Milling Logs
When choosing a chainsaw for milling lumber, there are certain features to look for that will make the process easier and more efficient. One of the most important features is a powerful engine. This will allow you to make cuts quickly and efficiently. You’ll also want to look for a chainsaw with a long bar length, as this will allow you to make wider cuts.
Another important feature to look for is an automatic oiling system. This will ensure that the chainsaw bar stays lubricated while you’re cutting, which will help prevent wear and tear on the chain and bar. A chain brake is also a good feature to have, as it can help prevent kickback and keep you safe while you’re cutting.
Safety Tips for Milling Lumber with a Chainsaw
Milling lumber with a chainsaw can be a dangerous activity if proper safety precautions aren’t taken. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Always wear protective gear, including eye and ear protection, gloves, and a helmet.
- Make sure the chainsaw is properly maintained and sharpened before use.
- Always keep both hands on the chainsaw while it’s running.
- Be aware of your surroundings and make sure there are no obstacles or people nearby.
- Take breaks frequently to avoid fatigue.
The Best Chainsaw for Milling Lumber – A Detailed Review
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what to look for in a chainsaw for milling lumber, let’s take a look at some of the best chainsaws on the market.
1. Husqvarna 460 Rancher
The Husqvarna 460 Rancher is a powerful and versatile chainsaw that’s perfect for milling lumber. It features a 60.3cc engine and a 24-inch bar length, which makes it capable of handling even the largest of logs. It also has an automatic oiling system and a chain brake for added safety. See the full review here
2. Stihl MS 661 C-M
The Stihl MS 661 C-M is another excellent chainsaw for milling lumber. It features a 91.1cc engine and a 36-inch bar length, which makes it ideal for cutting large logs. It also has an automatic oiling system and a decompression valve, which makes starting the chainsaw easier. See the review here.
3. Echo CS-800P
The Echo CS-800P is a powerful chainsaw that’s designed for heavy-duty use. It features an 80.7cc engine and a 32-inch bar length, which makes it capable of handling large logs. It also has an automatic oiling system and a vibration-reducing handle, which makes it more comfortable to use. See the full review here
4. COOCHEER 20-Inch Gas Chainsaw
This chainsaw has a 62cc engine and a 20-inch bar and chain. It is designed for heavy-duty use and can handle large logs. It also has an automatic oiling system that helps keep the chain lubricated. See My Review Here
Lumber Milling Chainsaw
This chainsaw has a 20-inch bar and chain, and a 50cc engine. It is designed for heavy-duty use and can handle large logs. It also has an automatic oiling system that helps keep the chain lubricated. Check out my review here.
Chainsaw Milling Accessories You Might Need
In addition to a chainsaw, there are a few accessories you might need when milling lumber. One of the most important is a chainsaw mill, which is a device that attaches to the chainsaw and guides it through the log to create a straight cut. You might also need a chainsaw sharpener to keep your chain sharp and a cant hook to help move and position logs.
How to Mill Slabs with a Chainsaw
Milling slabs with a chainsaw is a bit different than milling lumber. Slabs are typically wider and thicker than lumber, so you’ll need a chainsaw with a longer bar length. You’ll also need to make sure you have a flat surface to work on and that the log is securely fastened in place. Once you’ve made your cuts, you’ll need to use a planer to smooth out the surface of the slab.
Chainsaw Milling Tips from the Pros
If you’re new to chainsaw milling, it can be helpful to get tips from the pros. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Always make sure the log is securely fastened in place before you start cutting.
- Take your time and make sure your cuts are straight and even.
- Use a chainsaw mill to guide your cuts and create a straight edge.
- Keep your chainsaw sharp and well-maintained to ensure clean cuts.
Conclusion: Best Chainsaw for Milling Lumber
Milling lumber with a chainsaw can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to create custom-sized lumber for your woodworking projects. When choosing the Best Chainsaw for Milling Lumber, make sure to consider the size of the chainsaw, the length of the bar, and the features that will make the process easier and more efficient. Don’t forget to take proper safety precautions and invest in the necessary accessories. With the right chainsaw and a bit of practice, you’ll be milling lumber like a pro in no time.