A chainsaw millor PortaMill or Alaskan mill or Alaskan sawmill is a type of sawmill incorporating a chainsaw, that is used by one or two operators to mill logs into lumber for use in furniture, construction and other uses.
The mill attachment consists of a pair of guide rails which are attached to the bar of the chainsaw. The rails ride for the first cut on a plank or on a metal ladder which is screwed to the log (but not so tightly that the guide is pulled out of plane), and then on the previously cut surface of the log, and guide the chainsaw blade through the log at a consistent depth so that planks of a chosen thickness are cut. The distance between the rails and the bar determines this thickness and it can be adjusted by moving the rails along a post at each end of the mill attachment. During use it is important that the rails extend out past the ends of the log so the cut has support the entire time.
Small mills use a single chainsaw and can be handled by a single operator. Larger mills use two chainsaw power heads, one on either side of the attachment, and these require two operators. This larger style of mill needs a special bar which allows the two chainsaw heads to be attached at either end. The length of the bar decides the width of the plank that can be cut, up to 34 inches (86 cm), so for logs with a large diameter, the longer bar is necessary. Also, to waste less wood due to the kerf width, a special chain is designed to make rip cuts rather than the usual chainsaw chain which is for cross-cutting.
For the first cut, a pair of rails or a plank are usually attached to the log to give the mill attachment a reference surface to guide it, or other commercially made jigs are available such as a timberjigs. Subsequent cuts are made using the surface of the previous cut as the guide.
The kerf of a chainsaw cut is wide, relative to the kerf of a bandsaw mill or circular saw. This is no problem when cutting a single beam or large timber from a log, but would represent significant waste if used to saw many thin boards.
Alaskan mills are relatively cheap to purchase compared to other types of portable sawmill and are the most portable type of powered sawmill. They are therefore popular with hobbyist woodworkers who have access to felled timber.
Such usage can provide a safe use for a Stihl 090 chainsaw, which may be too powerful for some men to use it loose handheld.
Lumber, also known as timber, is wood that has been processed into beams and planks, a stage in the process of wood production. Lumber is mainly used for structural purposes but has many other uses as well.
Lumberjacks are mostly North American workers in the logging industry who perform the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to loggers in the era when trees were felled using hand tools and dragged by oxen to rivers. The work was difficult, dangerous, intermittent, low-paying, and involved living in primitive conditions. However, the men built a traditional culture that celebrated strength, masculinity, confrontation with danger, and resistance to modernization.
A circular saw is a power-saw using a toothed or abrasive disc or blade to cut different materials using a rotary motion spinning around an arbor. A hole saw and ring saw also use a rotary motion but are different from a circular saw. Circular saws may also be loosely used for the blade itself. Circular saws were invented in the late 18th century and were in common use in sawmills in the United States by the middle of the 19th century.
A saw is a tool consisting of a tough blade, wire, or chain with a hard toothed edge. It is used to cut through material, very often wood though sometimes metal or stone. The cut is made by placing the toothed edge against the material and moving it forcefully forth and less forcefully back or continuously forward. This force may be applied by hand, or powered by steam, water, electricity or other power source. An abrasive saw has a powered circular blade designed to cut through metal or ceramic.
A chainsaw is a portable gasoline-, electric-, or battery-powered saw that cuts with a set of teeth attached to a rotating chain driven along a guide bar. It is used in activities such as tree felling, limbing, bucking, pruning, cutting firebreaks in wildland fire suppression, and harvesting of firewood. Chainsaws with specially designed bar-and-chain combinations have been developed as tools for use in chainsaw art and chainsaw mills. Specialized chainsaws are used for cutting concrete during construction developments. Chainsaws are sometimes used for cutting ice; for example, ice sculpture and winter swimming in Finland.
Portable sawmills are sawmills small enough to be moved easily and set up in the field. They have existed for over 100 years but grew in popularity in the United States starting in the 1970s, when the 1973 oil crisis and the back-to-the-land movement had led to renewed interest in small woodlots and in self-sufficiency. Their popularity has grown exponentially since 1982, when the portable bandsaw mill was first commercialized.
In woodworking, a rip-cut is a type of cut that severs or divides a piece of wood parallel to the grain. The other typical type of cut is a cross-cut, a cut perpendicular to the grain. Unlike cross-cutting, which shears the wood fibers, a rip saw works more like a series of chisels, lifting off small splinters of wood. The nature of the wood grain requires the shape of the saw teeth to be different thus the need for both rip saws and crosscut saws; however some circular saw blades are combination blades and can make both types of cuts. A rip cut is the fundamental type of cut made at a sawmill.
A sawmill or lumber mill is a facility where logs are cut into lumber. Modern sawmills use a motorized saw to cut logs lengthwise to make long pieces, and crosswise to length depending on standard or custom sizes. The "portable" sawmill is of simple operation. The log lies flat on a steel bed, and the motorized saw cuts the log horizontally along the length of the bed, by the operator manually pushing the saw. The most basic kind of sawmill consists of a chainsaw and a customized jig, with similar horizontal operation.
A saw filer is a person who maintains and repairs saws in a saw mill. A saw filer's work area in the mill is called the filing room.
A bandsaw is a power saw with a long, sharp blade consisting of a continuous band of toothed metal stretched between two or more wheels to cut material. They are used principally in woodworking, metalworking, and lumbering, but may cut a variety of materials. Advantages include uniform cutting action as a result of an evenly distributed tooth load, and the ability to cut irregular or curved shapes like a jigsaw. The minimum radius of a curve is determined by the width of the band and its kerf. Most bandsaws have two wheels rotating in the same plane, one of which is powered, although some may have three or four to distribute the load. The blade itself can come in a variety of sizes and tooth pitches, which enables the machine to be highly versatile and able to cut a wide variety of materials including wood, metal and plastic.
A crosscut saw is any saw designed for cutting wood perpendicular to (across) the wood grain. Crosscut saws may be small or large, with small teeth close together for fine work like woodworking or large for coarse work like log bucking, and can be a hand tool or power tool.
A miter saw or mitre saw is a saw used to make accurate crosscuts and miters in a workpiece by positioning a mounted blade onto a board. A miter saw in its earliest form was composed of a back saw in a miter box, but in modern implementation consists of a powered circular saw that can be positioned at a variety of angles and lowered onto a board positioned against a backstop called the fence.
A two-man saw is a saw designed for use by two sawyers. While some modern chainsaws are so large that they require two persons to control, two-man crosscut saws were primarily important when human power was used. Such a saw would typically be 1 to 4 m long, and sometimes up to 5 m, with a handle at each end. In some cases, such as when felling Giant Sequoias, sawblades could be brazed together end-to-end in order to create longer saws.
This glossary of woodworking lists a number of specialized terms and concepts used in woodworking, carpentry, and related disciplines.
A head saw, framesaw, gang saw or head rig is the saw that makes the initial cuts in a log at a sawmill, turning a log into cants, or planks of wood.
A saw pit or sawpit is a pit over which lumber is positioned to be sawed with a long two-handled saw by two people, one standing above the timber and the other below. It was used for producing sawn planks from tree trunks, which could then be cut down into boards, pales, posts, etc. Many towns, villages and country estates had their own saw pits. The greatest user of sawn timber in past centuries was the shipbuilding industry.
The saw chain, or "cutting chain", is a key component of a chainsaw. It consists of steel links held together by rivets, and superficially resembles the bicycle-style roller chain, although it is closer in design to a leaf chain. Its key differences are sharp cutting teeth on the outside of the chain loop, and flat drive links on the inside, to retain the chain on the saw's bar and allow propulsion by the engine or motor.
A planing mill is a facility that takes cut and seasoned boards from a sawmill and turns them into finished dimensional lumber. Machines used in the mill include the planer and matcher, the molding machines, and varieties of saws. In the planing mill planer operators use machines that smooth and cut the wood for many different uses.
Sawyer is an occupational term referring to someone who saws wood, particularly using a pit saw either in a saw pit or with the log on trestles above ground or operates a sawmill. One such job is the occupation of someone who cuts lumber to length for the consumer market, a task now often done by end users or at lumber and home improvement stores.
A swingblade sawmill utilizes a single circular sawblade which pivots about a 90 degree point, to saw in both vertical and horizontal planes. The single blade travels horizontally in one direction down the log, and returns in vertical position, thus removing a sawn piece of timber. The swingblade head unit is normally mounted on a moving frame that travels along a track or tracks, up and down a stationary log.