Chainsaw mills came about from the need to cut lumber in very remote regions such as the Alaskan wilderness. They can be as basic as a steel guide bracket that mounts to the chainsaw bar and follows some sort of track either a 2×4 or other straight edge. Some chainsaw mills consist of a track and frame system that the chainsaw mounts to as the power saw head, similar to portable band sawmills. A ripping chain is necessary to make a more efficient cut.
Production is limited on a chainsaw mill. It is not a machine that is designed to produce stacks upon stacks of lumber. On the other hand, if you want to make a few boards and have no way of doing it, a chainsaw mill can be the difference between wasted logs and usable lumber.
A chainsaw has a saw kerf right around 3/8 of an inch. That is a lot of sawdust! This is definitely not a mill for optimizing the amount of lumber that you can yield from a log. That large kerf will require a lot of energy to cut your lumber with a chainsaw mill. All of that resistance will slow down the cut.
You are only limited by the length of your longest chainsaw bar. As long as your bar will reach across the log then you can cut it into lumber. It is a great machine for cutting wide slabs out of large trees. If your niche is building tables that have a single slab top. This could be the saw for you.
What if you have a portable sawmill with limited cutting capacities? You could add a chainsaw mill to your arsenal, and use it to cut larger logs down to a manageable size. Then you can fit that log onto your higher production portable sawmill.
Anywhere you can go on your own two feet you can take a chainsaw mill with you. Do you need to build a log cabin deep in the wilderness? This is the sawmill for you. You can pack one of these sawmills in a bush plane or helicopter and take it with you where roads don’t go. You can cut your logs wherever they lay.
This is a sawmill for the super small budget. You can get a very basic chainsaw mill for less than $200. Or you can spend as much as $1500 for a mill that has a track and a frame that the chainsaw mounts to. Of course, you will have to buy a chainsaw to power it as well. You will need at least a mid-sized chainsaw. A large professional grade saw will work the best. Expect to pay anywhere from $300 to $1000 for the right chainsaw to power your mill.