There are a lot of blog posts and videos you can find online that share how to build a DIY chainsaw mill from scratch. These DIY chainsaw mills vary in complexity, price, and materials, so today we’re going to see how a couple of these stack up against the Granberg Alaskan® Small Log Mill and see which option of the three is better overall in price, value, reliability, dependability, and longevity.
DIY Vertical Chainsaw Mill
A DIY vertical chainsaw mill is a very unique chainsaw mill for its design, so let’s take a look at this one. It starts with a 4”x4”x8’ post which will range from $10-$20 depending on the quality of the lumber and your location. Next, you will want to put it in a hole in the ground and fill the hole with concrete which is around $5 for a bag. Once you add the logs, lever system, and braces, you’re looking at an overall total of between $80 and $120. This DIY vertical chainsaw mill can create a clean cut which is what the ultimate goal is for a chainsaw mill, so that is a huge plus. It is also much easier to cut a straight line because gravity is doing a lot of the work for you. The main downside for this DIY is that it is not portable, so if you ever move from your home or need to cut something that you can’t move to your DIY chainsaw mill, you will not be able to use this system or you’ll need to build another. For an at-home option, this one is not bad, but not being able to take it anywhere is a huge downside since portability is generally needed for milling at some point. Longevity is also a huge part of the cost. Since the DIY option is outdoors, it will wear faster due to being exposed to the elements unless it is built indoors.
DIY $15 Wooden Adjustable Chainsaw Mill
For the DIY $15 wooden adjustable chainsaw mill, this is a good example of price increases in the lumber industry. The average cost for a 2”x10”x8’ piece of lumber is now around $25, making this DIY no longer possible for the $15 cost. But we will keep going to see the pros and cons for this DIY. Since wood is not as strong as aluminum or steel, you will need extra lumber to brace the main post. This specific DIY allows cuts up to 10” wide which is great for small projects but not great for anything larger. If you are not in need of the wide cuts, this DIY option is not a bad one. The cuts were rough from this DIY which usually isn’t a good thing when you’re milling something, but of course, it depends on what you’re using the lumber for. Overall, your cost is going to be closer to $50 by the time you purchase all the wood, screws, glue, and laminate, and the cuts will not be neat and clean, but again, for a home project where you just need a few pieces cut for a small project in the shed, the DIY project is not a bad one and is the cheapest option of the three here.
Granberg Alaskan® Small Log Mill
The Alaskan® Small Log Mill is a great chainsaw mill that can make straight, clean cuts up to 18” wide, making this the perfect option for those wanting to create something beautiful with smooth cuts. The Granberg Alaskan® small log mill is portable, allowing you to take it anywhere to mill at home, in the woods, in the shop, or wherever your next project takes you. At $210, this is more costly, but it comes with a lifetime warranty which means this will last longer than the other two options mentioned above. because we stand behind the quality of our products. This small log mill does not require any previous experience, making this the perfect option for those wanting to invest in a product that is easy to use, made of quality materials, aassembles in less than an hour, saving you lots of time so you can start milling the day you get your Alaskan® small log mill.
There is also the factor of time that goes into these DIYs versus just purchasing the item online and receiving it in the mail later. If you need something small for a simple cut once or twice, the DIY option is a good option for “quick and dirty” work. But if you’re going to need to use the chainsaw mill more than just a couple times and care about the quality of the cuts, our Granberg Alaskan® small log mill is a much better option. Not just for the quality of the cuts it will provide but for the value as well. If the DIY option doesn’t last very long, your product cost will continue going up as well as the time it takes to make these DIYs over and over.
Ultimately, the decision of whether a DIY chainsaw mill or the Granberg Alaskan® small log mill is better is up to you, but we wanted to share a bit about each to help you decide. If you would like to know more about our chainsaw mills, you can check out our YouTube channel or browse around our Shop. No matter what you decide, we hope you find the joy that comes from creating something beautiful through milling that you can enjoy and be proud of for years to come.