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How to Build Your Own Sawmill

By Martin Muchira ; Updated January 09, 2018
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Building your own sawmill requires some knowledge of how sawmills work. The chain sawmill has a simpler design than the band sawmill, Sperber sawmill, pallet sawmill or circular sawmill, and therefore is easier to build. A chainsaw uses a push system, with a chainsaw firmly mounted on a frame. The frame runs on rails on which beams and logs are placed and moved during sawing. Spiral rods interconnected with sprockets and chains enable the cutting height to be adjusted. To build your own sawmill, you will need to purchase a chainsaw, which you will mount to the frame.

Cut steel rods. Cut four pieces of 6"-by-1/4" flat steel rods, which should be 6 inches long. These pieces will be used for the feet. Cut four pieces of 1”-by-1/4" flat steel rods (also 6 inches long) to be used for ground cleats. Cut 2”-by-2”-by-1/8" box 24” flat steel for the long legs.

Weld the pieces. Weld the four 1”-by-1/4" pieces to the four 6”-by-1/4” pieces on the edge across the 6”-by-6” on the center, creating four pieces. Slide the 2”-by-2”-by-1/8” steel rods into each corner stabilizer down to the ground. Weld the flat face of the four 6”-by-6” steel with ground cleats to the bottom of the 2”-by-2” 24”-long legs, with cleat facing down. The center feet should be at the bottom of the leg.

Install plates. Face the ground cleats across the mill side to side, and install the plates on top of the four legs. Alternatively, you can drill a hole in the base of the legs to let out water.

Install bolts. Raise the legs to full up position and drill holes above the leg stabilizers. Install the bolts here for the mill transport.

Install sprockets and pulleys. Weld the steel pulley to each side of the mill. Install the 18-tooth sprocket on the lower side of the mill and 36-tooth sprocket on the upper part. Mount the chains onto the sprockets. Use a fitting length to prevent the chain from sagging.

Install chainsaw. The chainsaw comes with the guide bar and chainsaw separate. Unscrew the nuts and remove the sprocket bars. Mount the bar and slide it toward the sprocket. Install the chain with cutters facing forward. Install the sprocket guard and tighten the nuts. Mount the chainsaw onto the frame and hold it in place with bolts. The mill frame should now slide over the frame. Use the pulley handles to adjust cutting height and feed the lumber to begin cutting.


Things You Will Need

  • Chainsaw
  • Two 1-inch main sprockets
  • Four 1-inch main pillow block bearings
  • Two 1-inch connecting nuts
  • One package 10-foot easy roll chain
  • Four solid steel pulley hubs
  • Two B7 1-inch main redi rods (You can use steel rods in the place of redi rods)
  • One 5/8th sprocket 36-tooth
  • One 1-inch sprocket 18-tooth
  • One 5/8th redi rod

About the Author


Martin Muchira has been writing content for online businesses since 2008. He has written content for major companies like Air Asia and Comcast. Muchira graduated at the top of his class from Moi University with a Bachelor of Science in wood science and industrial processes.