If you cringe at the price of wood at the lumber mills or, even worse, the big box stores, you might be searching for other options. I checked out some portable sawmills; most of these are large units where you put a log in a cradle and a manual or power bandsaw slices up the wood, and they start at about $3,000 and go up to the tens of thousands. I’m not looking to start a one-man sawmill operation, just trying to save a few sawbucks, so I was glad to find this mill made by the Granberg Company — it works off a regular chainsaw.
The Granberg Company has been producing portable sawmills since the 1960s. The first models that I looked at ran off 30” or larger chainsaws, and seeing how my saws are 20” and under, the investment in a 5 HP saw would’ve added too much to the cost. Then I found the G777 Small Saw Mill — this mill is designed to work with a 20” or smaller saw, and it makes a cut that’s two inches shorter than your bar. Since most home-shop jointers are six to eight inches in length this is good enough for me.
The G777 will cut boards as small as 1/2”, and it attaches to your saw without any modifications. Granberg sells a “ripping chain” that should make easier and smoother cuts.
I’m sure there’s more waste using a chainsaw to cut rather than a narrow bandsaw blade, but the machine cost is a lot lower. Where I live, common woods sell for about two to three dollars a board-foot from a local mill, and that’s not close to the prices at the big box stores for some of the larger sized lumber, like 4×6 or 6×6. The G777 sells for $130 and can cut a few hundred feet in a day — at that rate it’ll pay for itself in the first hour or two of use.