Are you looking to make your lumber? Well, not to worry, a chainsaw can do the job quite effectively. For instance, if you have an ongoing construction far away from the fixed lumber mill, it can be tiresome moving from one place to the other. In such a scenario, you can start your chainsaw and let the work begin.
Apart from portability, price is also another factor that could lead you to buy such chainsaws rather than a traditional lumber miller. Chainsaws can also be used for other lumber-related tasks, making them more versatile. However, most of them are not powerful enough for some of the toughest woods. In this article, WootenConst will look at the best chainsaws for ripping logs.
What to Consider While Choosing
What should you consider when buying a chainsaw for this particular task? Only the toughest and most durable chainsaws can survive the process of ripping wood. This task involves cutting through nodes which could damage your chainsaw if you are not careful.
Perhaps this is the most crucial factor to keep in mind during selection. As opposed to cross-cutting, which is basically what happens when felling trees, ripping a log requires you to cut lengths of wood. As such, it will need more power for a better output.
A milling rig has power parameters with which it works best. So, if you have one, you should pair it with a chainsaw that can generate enough power. Otherwise, you can pick one that has at least 50cc – this a common choice among lumberjacks.
Yes, power is one of the main determinants, but you must first confirm if the saw is designed to handle such tasks. Also, if you have a mill attachment, make sure the designs are compatible with each other. You don’t have a mill yet? You can buy one for less than $200.
This could limit the length of lumber you can rip at a go. Therefore, make sure the parameters you pick are ideal for your desired task.
There are two common power sources used in the chainsaw world; gas and electricity. In case you need more information on this, you can check out our other articles covering the same.
Generally, gas-powered chainsaws are more powerful than their electric counterparts. That, however, is not to say that all-electric chainsaws are underpowered. Some have proven to be up to the task, especially the corded ones. For this task, though, gas-powered chainsaws seem to fit in perfectly.
The Best Chainsaws for Ripping Logs
Here are our top picks:
What a way to start this list with one of the best chainsaws recommended by most lumberjacks for Alaskan mills. Echo CS-590-20 is one product that has made an impression in the world chainsaws, yet it comes from one of the small players in the industry. That said, the chainsaw is powerful, easy to use, and most importantly, affordable for any casual or professional user.
With the motor’s power standing at 81cc, it has one of the highest cutting powers – higher than Husqvarna models that we will talk about later in the article. The variable bar guide length is another thing that sets this chainsaw apart from the rest.
Husqvarna 460 Rancher
One of the best Husqvarna products is this Husqvarna 460 Rancher from the Rancher line. It is fitted with a small motor, which might be a disadvantage, but it completes the tasks quite perfectly. Also, it weighs around 12 pounds, which is an ideal size really given the fact that you need to lift it and at the same time you need enough pressure to drive it through the wood.
It might please you to know that Husqvarna 460 Rancher has an easy-start feature. This is crucial, especially as a commercial user since you will always be looking to save time. Although it might not be a big issue, it is worth noting that the chain break of this Husqvarna can sometimes malfunction.
Husqvarna 576Xp Gas Chainsaw
Husqvarna never disappoints when it comes to gardenline machines, and Husqvarna 576Xp is another proof of that. One of the key features is the variable length of the guide bar; therefore, you can adjust to the ideal size depending on the log. It might not seem like a big deal, but this is a great addition in terms of efficiency and safety.
Remember where we said 50cc is the most commonly picked motor power? Well, Husqvarna 576Xp is even better as it comes with a 74cc motor. Actually, this is almost the same power as that of a small dirt bike.
It, however, has one disadvantage that we hope Husqvarna will look to resolve. The crank bearings of the X-torq motor are not strong enough. It is not a normal occurrence in most Husqvarna brands, and it makes the motor more prone to breakdowns. Before the issue is permanently resolved, some customer reviews show that proper maintenance will definitely increase the lifespan.
Poulan Pro PR5020
Looking for a chainsaw that will be in operation regularly? Poulan Pro PR5020 is your best pick. In addition to its durability, it comes with a powerful motor and a long bar that will be able to cut through just about any size of wood. Among all the chainsaws in this list, Poulan Pro PR5020 is the most affordable.
It is no surprise that all the chainsaws listed above are gas-powered. As earlier stated, gasoline-powered saws are the most powerful in the world of logging. You can push them to the limits, and they will still deliver quality work without wearing out quickly. Husqvarna brands are the real deal in this industry, but the others (Poulan Pro PR5020 and Echo CS-590-20) are also great picks.
Are you looking to build a sawmill using your electric chainsaw? A homemade electric sawmill can be quite helpful, especially when you are looking come up with timber for casual use. From my experience in this industry, I would say one of the hardest things is milling. It is one job that requires you to cut through the toughest woods and still come out with a product that can be useful. As such, before you even think of building your own sawmill, you will need to think of the chainsaw first.
This job will push your machine to the limits, so any low-end electric chainsaw is not suitable for this kind of work. Unfortunately, if you are working on a budget, you might need to stretch it more for you to secure one of the most powerful chainsaws in the market. In this article, WootenConst will look at some of the best chainsaws you can buy for your project.
This is the process of cutting logs into the desired lengths, then creating measured boards from them. In commercial lumber mills, you will find huge machines designed specifically for that job. But hey! You do not need such machinery to make your own lumber. First, they are too expensive for casual users and secondly, you probably wouldn’t know how to operate them. So, let us work with what we have – an electric chainsaw.
Reasons for homemade milling
The reason why you would need a homemade electric chainsaw mill is to cut on the costs. For instance, if you are planning to erect a structure and you have your own wood, then a commercial lumberjack will be an additional cost. You might not realise this at first, but after your project is done, you will see how first the expenses add up. However, with your own lumber mill, all you will need to worry about is time and fuel.
What you need
As stated earlier, the first thing you will require is a good chainsaw. Note that when we say a powerful chainsaw, we don’t mean the biggest in the market. There are several powerful electric chainsaws, but of course, they will come at a higher price than the average ones. A chainsaw with 50cc displacement will do the job.
Another thing you will need to invest in is a good milling attachment that fits your needs. The work this attachment is to guide the chainsaw as you make your measured cuts. The good thing about this is that you can actually make one for yourself, just be sure to follow the right procedure.
Factors to consider when choosing a chainsaw for milling
Different models of chainsaws are designed with certain users in mind. Therefore, not any chainsaw out there will be ideal for milling. Several factors need to be considered when selecting the best machine for this operation.
- The power output
When picking a chainsaw for any project, the power output should always be the main factor. This is what will determine whether you will successfully mill all the timber or your chainsaw will break down along the way. An ideal choice would be one with a motor rating of at least 50cc. Remember that not many electric chainsaws qualify for this particular task. Therefore, at the end of your analysis, you will remain with a few options which should make your work easier.
- The size of wood to be worked on
As stated, the 50cc rating should be the least, but that will also depend on the size of wood waiting to be milled. The tougher the lumber, the more powerful your chainsaw should be. Also, the length of the bar should be considered since this determines how much length you will comfortably cut.
- Your experience in the lumber industry
How long have you been using a chainsaw and which size are you comfortable using at the moment? These are the two questions that you should keep in mind during the selection process. If you are experienced enough, you can pick any size that works for you. However, if you are still a beginner, choosing the smallest in the list below is recommended.
The Top Picks
These are the best electric chainsaws that will perfectly fit your project, whether as a beginner or a professional.
- Remington RM1425 Electric Chainsaw
It might look small once you unpack it but run it, and you will experience its true power. With a 14-inch bar, it can cut through some of the toughest woods around. Also, it is quite easy to use; so, as a beginner, this might just be your best pick.
- Sun Joe SWJ701E Electric Chainsaw
With a 14-amp motor, this is one of the most powerful electric chainsaws available. The Sun Joe model is still new in the industry, and so far it has proven to be the real deal when it comes to splitting hardwood. It has a kickback safety technique which is a safety precaution.
- GreenWorks 20222 Electric Chainsaw
Looking for a quieter chainsaw? GreenWorks 20222 barely makes a sound, but its actions can be seen. It might not be suited for the hardest wood, but it is perfect for moderate millers. It is also easy to operate, which makes it ideal for beginners.
You do not need to hire a professional lumberjack to complete your work. If you have an electric chainsaw with you, you can easily make your own milling machine that works just as good. You will, however, need to invest in a strong chainsaw to enhance your task.
Once you’ve cut down a tree, you’ll want to turn that tree into timber. Doing this freehand can be incredibly difficult, and the cuts are rarely as smooth as you would like them to be.
So, the best thing to use is a chainsaw mill. A contraption designed to turn a fallen tree into timber with the smoothest results.
Here are the top six…
Chainsaw mill “Solo”
The first one on the list is by a company that you probably haven’t heard of before called ‘Freelancer’. Their sawmill known as ‘solo’ is perfect for those who are on a tight budget but still want a great cut.
It measures 11×7.1×4.7 inches and weights just 7.72 pounds.
– Made of steel, so you know that it’s a strong and sturdy product
– Works well with pretty much all professional chainsaws.
– It’s easy to install
– It’s small, compact, and lightweight design makes it easy to carry around with you.
– Resembles the Timberjig from Logosol
– Easy to control the chainsaw and the mill together
– Works better when cutting a log that has already been squared off.
– Getting consistent and level cuts can require practice.
– You might struggle on rounded logs.
New Portable Chain saw Mill log Planking lumber cutting chainsaw Guide Bar
The next entry onto the list is going to be the MTN Gearmsith New Portable Chainsaw Mill. It works best on logs which are between 18 and 26 inches.
– Simple rail design for improved grip on the logs
– Cutting depth can be anywhere from ½” to 12″
– It’s a strong product that will not be breaking anytime soon
– Affordable and lightweight
– It’s super easy to attach to your chainsaw
– Incredibly user friendly and easy to use
– No bar drilling necessary as it simply clamps onto the bar of your chainsaw.
– It’s recommended that use you use different chainsaw powers for different log diameters which can take up a fair amount of time
– Recommendations for what kind of chainsaw to use for what logs can be rather confusing and time consuming to understand.
– Similar priced to better sawmills
Farmertec Portable Chainsaw mill 36 Inch
Our next mill on the list is a bigger contraption that’s going to work better for larger logs. It’s from Farmertec.
It weighs 16.95 pounds and measures in at 38.2×9.8×2.4 inches.
– Made of aluminium, steel and acrylic. Making it both strong but also light weight.
– Able to cut through pretty much any log thanks to the adjustable height and width
– Comes with hardware that will ensure you be given fast and easy installation.
– Comes with a user manual so you’ll know how to use it
– Shipping no longer than 10 days (USA only)
– Some users have complained about missing parts, such as washers
– User manual has been described as ‘nothing more than a poorly photocopied expanded view and parts list’
– User manual gives unclear instructions
– A few users have trouble reading the depth gage
– Chinese made.
HiHydro Portable Chainsaw Mill Planking Milling
The next mill is the incredibly an incredibly sleeked design from HiHyrdo. It works with bars anywhere from 14″ to 36″.
– Quick US delivery (1-6 working days)
– Made from the same aluminium that’s used in aircraft, making it very strong and light weight.
– Can make cuts from 0.5″ all the way to 13″
– Aluminium rails have a nice finish and the steel parts have a chromed effect.
– Affordable, so ideal for everyone from the hobbyist to the mill lumber
– Easily assembled
– Comes with an easy to understand instruction booklet (and yes, the booklet has pictures)
– Great for homeowners and woodworkers alike
– Free shipping with Amazon Prime
– Within the box, the parts are often scattered about the place.
– Washers, nuts and bolts, which should be there are not always
– The box it comes in is sometimes not very well constructed.
SHZOND 14″-36″ Chainsaw Mill Aluminum Steel Mig Welding Sawmill
The preliminary mill on this list is from Shzond. It’s great for chainsaws with a bar length of between 14″ and 36″. It’s dimensions are 36×12.5×18 inches.
– Can give you slabs of a thickness of anywhere between ½ inch and 12 inches.
– Attaches directly to your chainsaw, so there’s no need for bar drilling
– Height and width are both adjustable.
– Made from the same aluminium and steel that’s used in aircraft, so it’s durable and can withstand heavy use and wear.
– Great for professional and casual users alike.
– Some of the parts (such as bolts and washers) which are supposed to be included are not always
– Shipping can sometimes take a few weeks
– Shzond does not have a particularly great return policy
– A new company, so it had yet to develop a good reputation.
– Only ships to America
Granberg MK-IV Alaskan Chainsaw Mill
And the final saw mill on this list is from Granberg. It weighs 8.6 pounds and measures 31×14×4 inches.
– Mounts to the chain bar with just a few turns of a wrench
– Can give you cuts ranging from ½ inch to 12 inches.
– Cut give great results even on tougher woods such as cedar, walnut, and oak
– Designed and made in the USA.
– Made of quality steel and aluminium which makes it lightweight but also strong and durable, even after hundreds of uses.
– Easy to assemble
– Easily gives you a smooth cut
– Easy to adjust
– Works well, even after several years
– Can be a bit slower than some users would like it to me.
– Not great for if you have a lot of woodwork that needs to be done, according to one Amazon reviewer.
If you want to turn a tree into planks using a chainsaw, then you’ll probably be needing a sawmill to help you out. On this list, I have picked what I personally believe to be the best 6. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t other great ones out there.