Harvesting Boards without a Portable Sawmill

I have a 16″ chainsaw and a 10″ table saw and not enough money to buy a portable sawmill. Do you have suggestions on how to harvest boards with the available tools?

Sandor Nagyszalanczy: Unless you plan to “harvest” boards by cutting planks from a neighbor’s fence or deck, I don’t see any easy way for you to turn trees into smooth, usable lumber. Of course, a chainsaw is just the tool for felling trees and trimming limbs. You can use any number of lumber-milling accessories, such as the “Alaskan chainsaw mill” with your chainsaw to saw logs into relatively straight, flat planks. After drying the cut lumber, you can cut straight, flat edges on irregular planks by temporarily tacking a straight board to an edge of each plank. The board guides the plank straight along your table saw’s rip fence. The big problem with your setup is getting each plank smooth, flat and evenly thick. If you don’t want to buy a thickness planer, why not borrow or rent one? In lieu of that, how about calling a local cabinet shop and asking if they’d be willing to plane your boards for a small fee?

Michael Dresdner: In almost every area, there are wood butchers who own portable mills and will come to your site to process your logs for a very reasonable fee. I found two such owners in my local woodworking guild, and their prices were downright cheap compared with the labor, and potential danger, of someone who lacks the right tools doing it himself.

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