With a history of 60 years, Alaskan or chainsaw mill is one of the safe and most reliable tools for woodworkers this whole time. This is a piece of precious equipment that deals with the very basic chainsaw needs for various projects.
When a beginner intends to start his or her journey in the world of woodwork, I’m sure most of them will think about saving money and using a homemade chainsaw mill design to make one themselves. And to be honest, there’s nothing wrong with it.
For common and regular purposes, a DIY version is not bad at all to complete and benefit their simple projects.
Making A DIY Version of Chainsaw Mill
If you have a good idea about how to use a chainsaw and cut logs using it, then a professional version bought from the market will do best. However, if you are yet to learn the ABCs of a chainsaw, it’s better to go for a DIY mill. Here’s a simple step by step making process.
I know many would want to try scrap steel for their mill making. It’s alright but I wanted to try something else that would give me better rust protection. Also, I wanted to go for an element that is lightweight and easier to handle.
So, finally, I figured out aluminum will do enough justice to my requirements. This stuff is quite simple to handle and also gives nice adjustability, which I would prefer too.
This versatile material was around forty by forty mm in profile size. The quality was pretty strong and rigid that made application comfortable.
I went for long rails that were 2×900 mm in measurement to get around 1m wideness. For the inner bracing, I used 4×400 mm and verticals were scaling around 2x500mm.
I also needed some tiny vertical straightening pieces, which were measuring exactly 2x100mm. Finally, I used a piece of 40×16 mm with 900m length for the long part.
It also came with a t-slot to make a great handle and betterment the structure. You will also need four angle bracket and ten T slot nut with spring ball for this process.
1. Time for Frame Assembling
The first step is frame assembling. You need to use some M8 threads to do some tapping for the four mid braces ends. Same is for the small verticals and end of other ones.
This process might be a bit confusing at first. But once you hang in there, things will seem easier. You can use some sort of lather to line up the whole thing accurately and machine tap them. There are other ways and methods of course.
You may want to make a jig or guide for the process. If you’re really skilled in lining up, then also it would work pretty well.
No matter what way you use, there should be taping and clearing the chips included. For this intention, simply use WD50 or maybe some other kind of preferred lube.
Make sure there are no chips remaining at the end of this process. You can use compressed air for the purpose. Also don’ forget to wear some eye protection.
2. Holes for Clearance
Now it’s time to go for ninety-degree butt joint. You can use these tapped holes and do so without any specialized fasteners.
For the Allen key simply drill tiny clearance holes. This will ensure the use of head bolts as well. You should avoid making holes for long rails to inner brace. These are not for this step and depends on the bar length mainly. So, hold that for the later steps.
3. Accurately Attaching Mill
Now simply arrange every part according to the design of chainsaw mill. Make sure all the squares are accurate and only then go for tightening. Be gentle with tightening process, it’ll affect the whole assemblage.
You should be aligning small verticals with the actual ones. This is important to make sure the guide bar and mill body are perpendicular to each other. You can simply use some exactly sized slots of hardwood for the intention.
4. Guide Bar Drilling Process
You need to attach the guide bar of chainsaw with vertical ends. Simply use the tapped holes to put guide bar into it. Now bolt it down and use some Loctite to keep it away from rattling loose.
You need to use a carbide drill bit and some oil to drill away hard stuff. However, sometimes handheld drill does the trick even with slow speed.
Bolts need to be in the right position. Simply go for the middle section and work out into in-bound hole. The bolts should be near powerhead.
Always have some additional space to keep the chain safe. Also, this extra space is going to help for de-tension and adjusting the bar.
Use a center punch to markdown holes before drilling. Using wood or mild steel beneath, you need to clamp the guide bar and drill punches into it. There should be no nasty metal bits remaining.
5. Mounting Up
It’s time to bolt final inner brace and you need to consider the bar length for this purpose. Do so with the powerhead detached from chainsaw.
You can simply add some rollerblade wheel into it. So that the mill can smoothly operate even when log’s nearside edge is rubbing. You can even try adding a skid plate instead.
If you are working with straight smooth logs, the wheels work better. But for a wonky one, you may want to try the skid type. Also, this addition is completely optional and depends on your mood.
Finally, we are done with making a chainsaw mill that will help you at your workshop. I hope the tutorial was easy and fun.
If you believe there’s some sort of confusion still peeping inside your head, don’t shy away from commenting down. I’ll love to help you out.
Till then enjoy the fun of creating with woodworking!