If you have a chainsaw you have a sawmill. However, compared to any bandsaw, cutting beams with a chainsaw is not easy. It can be done.
Two basic types of chainsaw sawmill mills:
- The beam maker types pictures on the left that run along a length on dimensional lumber (2×4 most commonly) and cut beams
- The Rail types that are used to make slabs and run more closely similar to traditional sawmills. – seen on the right.
Their are pros and cons of chainsaw mills and you need to be aware of them before you make a purchase.
A chainsaw mill is much cheaper than a sawmill of any other type.
I got my beam-maker on closeout for less than my lunch that day.
They are more portable and are often used in the woods right at the site the tree fell.
However, they take a strong chainsaw. I have learned rather painfully that any chainsaw that costs less than $400 won’t do a good job.
My homeowner model of Poulon just could not do a good job.
You will need a special rip chain (or make one) to do a good job.
Also, because a chainsaw blade is much thicker than a bandsaw blade, you will not get as much wood from the same sized tree
After owning and using a beam maker and a bandsaw, I prefer the bandsaw.
However, I do see uses in the chainsaw mill. I think that if you have a good saw and are cutting beams then it is probably the way to go.