How to Use a Chainsaw Mill? – 7 Steps to Follow!

If you’re a woodworker and have been working with wood and chainsaws, you’ll definitely know how important a gear chainsaw mill is.

A super handy tool for those working with large logs of wood! In terms of converting wood into lumber, chainsaw mills are among the most efficient and practical tools. The use of lumber is very wide, due to its versatility. Lumber is certainly suitable for a variety of uses, including firewood and construction. 

Chainsaw milling for beginners follows the same steps as that for professionals. No matter whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you can learn using a chainsaw mill in just a few simple steps. 

In case you’re concerned about you’ll a specific type of chain for milling, here’s what I’d suggest. The chain I use for milling is a ripping chain. It is possible to cut faster horizontally with the grain by ripping the chain because it has teeth cut at a certain angle. The cut is also smoother with it. The regular chain can be used if you prefer, but a ripping chain will save you time and effort.

We have a chainsaw mill guide ahead, which would help you with learning the steps for using a chainsaw mill. Continue reading and by the end of it, you’ll be able to cut your first log using a chainsaw mill super easily.

The Concept

What is an Alaskan Mill? Don’t get confused! It’s just another name for the Chainsaw mill or Porta Mill or Sawmill.

First of all, you need to know that the amount of time it takes to cut wood varies depending on the type of chainsaw and size. Small chainsaws, for example, take longer to cut a slab than larger ones. It usually takes a chainsaw mill between 10 and 15 minutes to cut a medium-sized log with a large, powerful machine. This ultimately means that chainsaws for milling must be very powerful.

What is an Alaskan Mill

Next, a guide bar will be held within the mill to ensure that it aligns properly with the straight reference edge, for easy parallel cutting. The process is pretty straightforward after you’ve cut the straight edge. By using the first slice mark, you’ll only have to make the subsequent cuts. Simple as that!

You will also need to understand adjustability. Chainsaw mills must have this feature. Different wood pieces cannot be cut to the same measurement. Therefore, you can simply use the adjustability of a quality chainsaw mill. It will make it easier for you to accommodate guide bars of different sizes.

Safety First, Always!

Safety should always be your first concern when working with wood and chainsaws. It can be dangerous to make cuts and slices! But without them, you won’t be able to keep up. The solution is to learn as much as you can about chainsaw practices before you start working with chainsaws practically. And never ignore personal protective equipment.

Safety Equipment to Wear

  • A helmet
  • Safety goggles
  • Hand gloves
  • Earmuffs or hearing protection
  • Face shield

Tools You’ll Need for Chainsaw Milling

  • A chainsaw
  • Fuels: oil or gas
  • Wedges
  • Sawmill
  • Measuring tape
  • Chainsaw wrench

Steps to Follow When Using a Chainsaw Mill for Cutting Wood

Here are some steps to guide you through the cutting process using a chainsaw mill.

Steps to Follow When Using a Chainsaw Mill for Cutting Wood

STEP 1 – Starting with a straight edge is a good idea. As a result, the mill can make cuts following the path. You should use a ladder that is well-balanced and rigid. It is nice if you have aluminum ladders. Start and finish at the edge.

STEP 2Next step is to ensure that the log is properly positioned. Raising it up is what you need to do now. It will also be helpful if you use some slope down the log length. The results will be consistent by doing so. 

Also, remember that gravity is your friend when it comes to having a nice cut. Seamless feed pressure can be obtained if you use gravity.

STEP 3It’s time to make your first cut once you’re sure you have a strong setup. The chainsaw should be completely fuelled before use. Now that the mill has been mounted, place it on the ground to begin cutting. Chain brakes should remain on. Just like a dry run, place it on a straight edge.

STEP 4If you use an aux oiler at a constant speed, you will get the best results. Put the chain brake off now and use the saw with the wide-open throttle to make a smooth and even cut. Get the mill into the cut and allow the mill to cut on its own.

STEP 5Keep pressure to a minimum. It just needs to be flat. It is also important to apply even pressure to mill rails. After you have almost completed one-foot cutting, use a throttle lock in order to maintain maximum power. Now that you have adjusted your grip, you should be able to control the situation better.

STEP 6The next step is to cut three to four feet. Once you have reached the spot, use a wedge to help you get further. It now needs to be carefully inserted into the kerf to avoid top slab pinching chains. Continue until you see the results you want.

STEP 7As soon as you reach the end, release the throttle lock but do not let the mill get out of your control. Using the chain brake, exit the cut. Now, when you’re all done, allow the mill to cool down.

Pro Tip Never ever stop the engine immediately when you make a hardcore cut. Be patient and calm with the process.

Things You Need to Learn When Milling Lumber with Chainsaw Mill

Here are some of the things I’ve learned from my experiences and I’m sure these are going to be very helpful to you guys too. Consider some of my tips to get your job done in a better and more professional way.

Things You Need to Learn When Milling Lumber with Chainsaw Mill

  1. Making a homemade chainsaw mill requires choosing the right trees. 
  2. Trees should not be cut where your chainsaw mill or winch can’t reach them.
  3. Use top sections of lumber, not clear butt ends, when milling lumber.
  4. Using a chainsaw mill with bucking stands increases safety and reduces fatigue.

You can find some of the best chainsaw mills here.


Best Chainsaw Chains
Chainsaw Chain Numbers
Chainsaw Chain Direction

How to Use a Chainsaw Mill – FAQs

Is a chainsaw mill worth it?
A chainsaw mill is totally worth it. In fact, it’s the most efficient tool when making lumber. Chainsaw mills make your work a lot easier and more convenient.
What chain to use for chainsaw mill?
A ripping chain is the best chain to use for a chainsaw mill. Using a ripping chain, it is possible to cut faster horizontally with the grain because the chain has teeth cut at a certain angle. The cut is also smoother with it. Regular chains also work but ripping chains work great.
How long does it take to chainsaw mill?
If you have a smaller chainsaw, more time would be required to cut a slab. On the other hand, if you have a bigger chainsaw because it would be more powerful and efficient as well, you’ll get done with milling faster.
How many ccs is a chainsaw mill?
A chainsaw with more than 90cc displacement is required for chainsaw milling as it is a high-powered operation.
How deep can a mill cut?
I’d suggest not focusing on how deep a mile can cut. Instead, focus on how deep you should be cutting. Ideally, it is not recommended to cut a depth cut deeper than one-half the diameter of the bit in one cut.
What size chainsaw do I need to mill?
Because chainsaw milling consumes a lot of power and takes a long time to complete, a large engine is required. You should choose the biggest chainsaw you can afford for milling. A 90cc to 120cc chainsaw is our recommendation if money is not an issue.



Chainsaw mills are easy to use. Patience and practice are all you need. It won’t take you long to make pro cuts if you don’t give up!

We hope we’ve been helpful to our readers who have been looking for a beginner guide for using a chainsaw mill to cut wood. Just focus, follow the steps described and you’ll have a great job done!

Join The Discussion