The fact is lumber is expensive, and that has never been more true with the pandemic. Buying lumber also means you have to deal with variations in quality too. If you have access to trees or logs, on your property or on friends, then a great option is to use a portable mill to mill your own. It will mean you save money and you get more control over the board and beam sizes and the quality of the wood. A chainsaw mill is an easy-to-use option that is versatile and choosing the right kind, is portable too. Here are some of the important features.
Compatibility with chainsaw
When it comes to compatibility there are two things to think about, the make or model of the chainsaw and then the power requirements. When cutting planks it takes a lot of power and drains the battery of cordless options. With corded being better you then have the issue of electrical chainsaws getting too hot, so in the end, gas tends to work better. Most portable chainsaw mill manufacturers will say most types of chainsaw fit, but there are some restrictions to keep in mind so watch out!
Another feature to consider is the cutting depth. Some, called edging mills, cut vertically with the chainsaw and some have it mounted horizontally and so are called horizontal mills. Vertically you get a lot of versatility and horizontally you get consistent repeated accuracy.
How easy to use it is
There is no point in having a portable mill you cannot use because it is too hard or overly complicated! In general, smaller mills are easier to use and tend to be ready to use straight from the box with little assembly or complication. Larger models though will need some kind of assembly and they might have more to learn in terms of operation. Usually, you do not need your own tools to handle it, but a wrench or two might come in handy. How easy the instructions are to follow varies from one manufacturer to another so that is something to check into when it comes to reviews.
How portable is it?
One of the great things about some chainsaw mills is that you can buy portable options. At their lightest, you can find them around 4 to 5 pounds in weight, but even the bigger ones rarely are heavier than 20 pounds. It means you can take the mill to the fallen tree and do the work right there. Cut lumber is a lot easier to move than a fallen tree or log!
When it comes to durability you want to look for steel often mixed with aluminum. Steel is very strong and durable. You should also look for electroplating that often uses chrome, zink or nickel to offer the portable chainsaw mill protection from rust. Because it is lighter, the aluminum is used for the guide rails. Make sure as well that the welds are consistent and the metal is a good thickness.