Here at Woodworker’s Journal, we know that many woodworkers have some interest, at least occasionally, in milling their own lumber from scratch. An option for doing so — and a relatively inexpensive option, at that — is Granberg International’s portable sawmills.
They start at a price of about $90 for a “Mini Mill,” or at about $185 for mills in the Alaskan MK-III Mills series. The “Mini Mill” fits 20″ chainsaws, while the Alaskan MK-III series is for chainsaws ranging from 24″ to 56″. (Prices go up along with the sizes.)
The idea among all of these portable mills is that you attach them to a chainsaw — bring your own chainsaw — then tighten the bolts to secure the mill unit to the blade. You can use the Alaskan MK-III and the Mini Mill as either/or options, or in combination with each other with the Mini Mill — about half the size of the Alaskan Mk-III — used as an edger. Switching between the two for your setup takes about five minutes.
Once you have whichever mill you’re using set up, setting the depth of cut for the wood you’re working with takes about another two minutes. “The truly unique thing about the Alaskan Mill is the fact that it can be used to cut wide slabs of wood,” Granberg International president Erik Granberg says. “It will also cut to the curve of a log, which is very tough to do with conventional equipment. With it you can cut dimensional lumber or a natural edged slab. It will cut beams and siding as well, and specially-cut timber for boat-building.” It’ll cut your wood into boards from 1/2″ thick up to 13″ thick.
With weights ranging from seven pounds for the Mini Mill, to 22 pounds for the largest, 56″, Alaskan Mk-III Mill, the Granberg mills are also designed to be lightweight enough for you to carry along into the woods. All you carry out of the woods is your chainsaw mill and your rough-cut lumber.