I couldn’t decide if this is a project or a review. So, review it is.
I have been wanting an Alaskan Chainsaw Mill after being able to look at one that my friend had. It is the standard aluminum mill (brand not important). It was nice, adjustable, strong, well made, and I would have loved to try it. Unfortunately the saw stopped working before I had the chance. So as someone that had to have one I went straight to Amazon and looked it up. My first impression was, “$ $ $ Holy Crap$ $ $ ” Another case of I had to have one but the wife would have laughed and we all know how that goes. So to the drawing board (Sketchup).
I knew I could just buy the 18” mill for $ 180ish on Amazon. So, that is the starting point.
My goal was to build one for MUCH MUCH MUCH less. My material were about an hour on Google Sketchup, one 2”X10”X8’ from the BORG, nuts, bolts, and washers. I also used a pin nailer for the lamination, clamps, a couple extra screws and of course glue. For the Alaskan Chainsaw Mill parts less the nails, screws, and glue I spent a grand total of $ 14.04. This turned out to be a 93% savings. That works for my budget.
For adjustability, I made it to rough cut logs slightly larger than ½”, ¾”, 1”, 1 ½”, 2”, and 3”. It still has about 4 to 6 inches left for larger adjustments and could have been made with more. Those are just the most frequently used sizes in my shop.
The max cut is only 10” which is about 2” to 3” smaller than the manufactured versions. I’ll make that trade about 11 more times to save the money. It’s better than my tablesaw mill I was previously using that maxed out at 6ish” logs and a whole lot more work. For that mill check out Izzy Swans tablesaw mill.
I noted that aluminum is about 8X stronger than pine/doug fir. I compensated with much more wood and laminated some of the parts to make a foe mortise and tenon. This might have decreased the max cut but again. REMEMBER THE SAVINGS.
Quality of cut, much rougher than the tablesaw mill. Definitely falls into rough sawn realm as expected. All of my adjustable settings are about 1/8” larger than the dimensional size to allow it to be dried and run through the bench top planer in the future. We’ll have to see if that is enough in the future.
I still need to rub on some mineral oil to help protect it and ease the movement of the adjustable arms. All in all I would recommend building one.
I have the Sketchup design for the dimensions. If you are interested in looking at more pictures of the build and first cuts check out my Facebook page and look under timeline photos.. Link below. If you are interested in my thoughts and/or the Sketchup design PM me here. You can also get them if you like my Facebook page and send me a Facebook message.
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