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Have a big tree out in the middle of nowhere that you’d like to turn into lumber?  This attachment mounts to your chainsaw and positions it correctly to make the straight cuts required to mill lumber directly from the tree — and it’s a lot cheaper than a full mill.

Called Alaskan Saw Mills, they’re available from Forestry Supplies, Inc. in four sizes: a “compact” model for 20″ and smaller saws, and “Mark III” models for 24″, 30″ and 36″ saws.  They start at around $125 and run up to $205.  It does require a ripping chain.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand exactly how they work.  Clearly this is a “moving jig” of sorts, but I’m still having difficulties.  Can anyone explain this for me, and maybe give me an idea of how well it actually works?

Alaskan Saw Mills [Forestry Supplies, Inc.]


8 Responses to Mill Lumber In The Outback With Your Chainsaw

  1. Blind says:

    Not having used one before, it looks like it just holds the blade of the saw in place and in a known parallel position to the bars on the other side.

    Chop off a flat part of the tree by hand and then slide the jig down. As long as your first cut was flat, all following cuts should be parallel to that first cut. Clean up the ends by hand and you should be good to go.

    At least it doesn’t seem like it should be that complex.

  2. markm says:

    You can see a video showing the use of the Alaskan Mark III at the manufacturer’s website:

  3. Jason says:

    At first I thought it was meant for a single person to use, which seemed really dangerous, then I noticed the guy on the left is covered by the other picture. So, I assume it’s meant for two people to handle.

  4. Don says:

    I have one of these but I quickly found that a very long bar is required to use it. My chain saw has an 18″ bar and I thought that would be fine. I tried a 12″ tree and I couldn’t even get started. Now the contraption is sitting on a shelf waiting for me to get a longer bar for my chain saw. Just thought that would help.

  5. Chris says:

    This seems fairly handy for the occasional I-have-this-huge-tree-in-the-middle-of-nowhere job, or for the weekend lumberjack, but it also seems like the kerf of most chain saw chains would make for a lot of wasted material from trees of manageable size. Of course, if the trees you’re using this on are all the size of the one in the photo, maybe you’re in the market for something a little bigger anyway 😉

  6. Alistair says:


    We have one, used it intensly a few years ago milling salvaged beams into smaller nicer beams (that is ragged hoary old 20 X 20 doug fir into 12 X 12 and smaller). Used an old Husky saw with long bar.

    Yes it does waste wood, and is noisy and tiring work. Taunton Press published a book a while back by a local BC guy all about chainsaw milling. Full of great tips, ie how to modify your rig so you stand away from saw and winch it along the cut.

    Bottom line is they do work.

  7. Ivan says:

    As mentioned before, how do you get the first clean cut to make sure all others are following a straight pattern as well.

    While it’s still nothing compared to this V8 chainsaw that I saw a clip off. Amazing power to cut the tree within milliseconds!
    Check it out at http://videos.streetfire.net/hottestvideos/14/a7b2afc2-38ca-4840-9aa3-c90090b07185.htm

  8. Alistair says:

    to get a good first cut you nail (carefully) a plank on top of the log. You can shim the plank to get it level. The mill rides on the plank, the box section struts pushing sawdust. Then after that first “filch” is removed the plank is no longer needed.

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