How to Build a Homemade Wood Mill

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Rather than buying expensive lumber, milling wood out of the trees in your own backyard is a much wiser choice. Not only do you save money, but you are sourcing your building materials locally — a more sustainable way to build. Crafting yourself a DIY chainsaw mill is the first step to milling your own lumber. Once built, you can mill through any tree, regardless of size, to make yourself boards of any thickness or length.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 pieces of 2-inch wide 16-inches long square and channel steel stock
  • Grinder
  • Welder
  • 2 pieces of 2-inch wide 3-inch long half-round pipes
  • 2 pieces of 2-inch wide 20-inches long round pipes
  • 2 pieces of 1-inch wide 30-inches long square tubular stock
  • 3/8-inch steel plate
  • Drill
  • 6 3/8-inch bolts
  • Chainsaw bar
  • 2 muffler clamps
  • 230-volt variable-amperage AC buzz box
  • Head shield
  • Safety goggles
  • Gauntlet gloves
  • Leather jacket
  • Cap
  • Rubber-soled boots
  • Refer to the welding rod's operating manual to determine the proper rod sizes for these metal thicknesses. Hold the welding rod approximately 20 degrees from vertical. Scratch the tip of the electrode lightly across the square and channel steel stock for 1 inch, then quickly raise the tip to approximately 1/4 inch above the metal. Hold the rod at an angle of approximately 70 to 80 degrees and strike an arc to weld the rectangular frame to a size that is slightly shorter than your chainsaw bar. When striking, make sure to pull the rod back slowly and steadily and keep the distance of the arc the same as the diameter of the electrode that you are using.

  • Grind two recesses into the middle of two opposite ends of the frame. Weld two half-round pipes into these recesses using the same process as in Step 1. These pipes will serve as sleeves to adjust the round pipes.

  • Weld two square pieces of tubular stock in their middle to the ends of the round pipes using the same process as in Step 1. Weld the center of a 3/8-inch steel plate onto the bottom side of the center of the square tubular stock.

  • Measure 1 inch from the middle of the square tubular stock in both directions. Mark those two positions, then drill one 5/16-inch hole on each marking for a 3/8-inch tap and bolt size. Place the steel plate below the square tubular stock, making sure it is centered. Drill two holes through the existing holes on the square tubular stock and into the steel plate. This steel plate will become the chainsaw bar’s bolting surface.

  • Remove the bar from the chainsaw’s body. Drill two holes on each end of the bar, matching the holes on the square tubular stock. Bolt 4 3/8 inch machine bolts through the chainsaw bar, attaching to the mill. Place the rectangular frame onto the round pipe. Put the bar back on the chainsaw’s body.

  • Place a muffler clamp around the half-round and round pipes. Place another muffler clamp just above the first.

  • Measure the distance from the chainsaw’s bar to the rectangular frame part that rides up against the log. You can adjust the board’s thickness by loosening the clamps and moving the round pipe up or down.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear safety glasses when operating a chainsaw.
  • Wear a head shield, safety goggles, gauntlet gloves, leather jacket, cap, and rubber-soled boots when operating the welder.

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References

  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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Resources

  • "Woodworker's Guide to Selecting and Milling Wood"; Charles R. Self; 1994

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