The basic difference between log and lumber is, the log has a round shape with an uneven surface and the lumber is rectangular thick with a flat surface piece of wood.
Log to lumber is the basic woodworking task. After making lumber, you can make boards and then various kinds of wooden furniture.
So, let’s jump into the article to make lumber from a log-
There are two different ways to make lumber with a chainsaw-
- With a chainsaw mill and
- By free-hand
Cut logs into lumber with a chainsaw
A chainsaw mill is an attachment tool for the chainsaw. You have to buy it separately. With this attachment, you can make your chainsaw as a milling machine to cut logs into lumber. This is a portable tool, cheap, and doesn’t require large space.
After finishing the milling job, you just need to detach the chainsaw from the tool. Your chainsaw is now ready to use for other jobs.
So, this is an inexpensive way that can convert your chainsaw into a milling machine.
As it is a popular tool, so, there are lots of chainsaw mill designs that can be found. For example rail mills, carriage mills, frame mills, etc. Though, there are very simple differences in design but can do the job perfectly.
Let’s see how can we cut the log into lumber-
The initial cut/cutting upper part of the log
You should set up the chainsaw mill before the first cut.
Initially, the log’s surface will uneven and round. Slabbing rails can help you in this regard.
The rails should be longer than the log. If not, then cut the log vertically to make it shorter. Now set the log onto the stand horizontally.
Begin with making a flat surface on the upper side of the log. Select the thickness of cutting according to uneven surface.
The cut will make a flat surface and left some wedges.
You can now remove the slabbing rail.
2nd cut/ cutting lower part of the log
You need to make the 2nd flat surface of the log. To do that, the 2nd cut will start at the bottom.
The selection of thickness is like the selection of the initial cut. Basically, this is a repeating process of initial cut but it starts from the bottom side of the log.
After finishing the second cut, you will have partially thick lumber.
Third cut/repeating the previous steps
Now you have to turn the log at an angle of 90°. Then repeat the initial cut and 2nd cut. So, there are four flat surfaces now. It looks like a rectangular box.
That is the lumber.
You have got the thick lumber. All you need to do is cutting the thick lumber to your desired thickness.
Before doing this, take a pencil and a scale. Mark on the vertical side according to your desired thickness. Then start to piece the thick lumber.
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Pros of using a chainsaw mill
- An inexpensive way to convert a chainsaw into a milling machine.
- Portable, so, you can take it to your site where you need to make lumber.
- You can make boards from the lumber with this tool.
- You can most of the milling woodwork with this tool.
Cons of using a chainsaw mill
- Chainsaws are usually a little bit thick. That’s why it makes lots of sawdust than a proper mill.
Making lumber by free-hand.
There are no extra tools required because you are going to make lumber free-hand. All you need is just a powerful long chainsaw. No extra tools mean no extra cost.
How to do it? Follow the steps given below.
- You have to slightly raise the log from the ground. You can do it by placing a small piece of wood under the log.
- Now start cutting the uneven surface vertically. Measure the depth of cutting according to the uneven surface.
- Always use the front part of the chainsaw to cut.
- You should have now one flat surface.
- Rotate the log by placing the flat surface on the ground.
- Now take off the left and right sides of the log.
- Rotate again and take off the last side of the log.
Now you have a log with four flat surfaces. This is not a log anymore. This is your desired lumber.
The benefit of making lumber by hand is, you don’t have to waste your money on chainsaw mill or milling machine. But you should have enough skills to do that.
As I have told you earlier in this article that making lumber is the primary woodworking task for making any kind of wooden furniture.
So, if you need only a small amount of lumber then you can do it by freehand. Otherwise, use a chainsaw mill or milling machine.