What Size Chainsaw For Milling? – Get The Job Done Righ

Milling with a chainsaw can be an incredibly rewarding and satisfying experience, especially if you get it right!

Knowing the proper size of a chainsaw for milling is important in order to enjoy this process safely. It’s all about finding the perfect balance between power and safety.

Whether you’re just starting out or are an experienced user, there is something special about taking raw wood logs and turning them into beautiful pieces of finished lumber through the process of chainsaw milling.

We’ll talk about what size chainsaw to use for your milling project in this blog post so you can stay safe while milling!

Understanding Milling Requirements

When it comes to chainsaw milling, the size of the saw matters quite a bit. A larger saw will not only be able to cut through larger logs, but it will also be able to do so with more efficiency.

With a larger chainsaw, you don’t have to worry about your saw stalling or overheating due to too much strain.

The right-sized chainsaw for milling needs to have enough power and torque to handle the demands of the job while still being light enough and easy to maneuver. 

Does Size Matters


A larger bar and chain allow for deeper cuts and reduces the time needed for each cut, however, it also adds weight which can impact how quickly you can maneuver the chainsaw around your log.

For this reason, it is important to choose a bar and chain size that is appropriate for your log size; generally speaking, longer bars are better suited for large logs, while shorter bars are better suited for small logs.

Consider buying a saw with bar lengths of 16 inches, 18 inches, 20 inches, or more

Finally, when considering what size chainsaw is best suited for milling it is important to take into account how comfortable you feel using it.

While bigger saws may offer better performance in terms of speed and efficiency, if they are too heavy or difficult to control then this could end up having a negative effect on your overall productivity as well as making the job more dangerous.

When choosing your saw make sure that you try out different sizes so that you find one that fits both your skill level and log size requirements comfortably.

Consider Engine Size


The most important factor when choosing a saw for milling is its engine displacement (cc). Usually, engines with 90 to 120 cc of power provide more power and torque for milling. These Chainsaws will generally cost under $2000

If you’re on a tight budget, consider a chainsaw with a 70-cc engine, which will cost around $1000. They are usually more affordable but not as powerful as the higher-end models.

You can also go for a 60-cc engine chainsaw, which can be used for cutting smaller logs, but you should not expect to get the same performance as the higher-end models.

Speed of Chainsaw Milling


The amount of time it takes to mill a log will depend on what size saw you are using and what type of wood you are cutting. Generally speaking, your saw should be able to cut a log in less than 15 minutes.

Pros and Cons Big Engine Chainsaws for Milling

Pros of Big Engine

High torque

Chainsaws with big engines provide more power and torque for milling, increasing the speed of your cuts, and you can make more precise cuts when you use a big-engine chainsaw.

larger bar sizes

The larger bar sizes of a big-engine chainsaw allow you to mill bigger and thicker pieces of lumber, increasing the job’s efficiency.

Cons of Big Engine

Higher Cost

The downside to big-engine chainsaws is their higher cost. They are usually more expensive than smaller saws, so investing in one may be cost-prohibitive if you are on a tight budget.

Increased Weight

Big-engine chainsaws can also be heavier, – usually, more than 15 pounds, which adds strain to your arms and back if you have to use the saw for long periods of time.

Why Chainsaw Milling Requires More Power?


Milling with a chainsaw requires more power than cross-cutting due to the fact that it is a more strenuous and difficult task.

The blades of the chainsaw must be able to cut through thicker and harder material for longer periods of time, making the process much more demanding.

Long Contact


Moreover, when milling, the saw is pushed against the wood with greater force than when cutting in a cross direction.

This is because milling requires the saw to enter into and cut through deeper layers of material.

As such, more power is required to break through these layers and make precise cuts. Furthermore, since milling requires the saw blade to remain in contact with the material for longer periods of time, extra power is needed in order to maintain speed and accuracy while maintaining an even depth throughout each pass.

Longer Cutting


In addition to this, while cross-cutting tends to require less power because it features shorter contact times between the saw blade and material being cut, milling requires a smooth cutting motion over longer durations which can cause increased strain on both motor and chain as well as reduce efficiency overall.

Furthermore, as opposed to cross-cuts which are made across logs in one swift motion, milling involves making several passes in different directions which adds further strain on both components of the chainsaw as they need sufficient torque output so that they don’t bog down or stall during operation.

Milling often takes more power than cross-cutting because it is more complicated and the saw stays in contact with each piece of wood for a longer time.

Furthermore, additional precautions such as proper maintenance and sharpening should be taken before undertaking any kind of milling task in order to ensure the efficient operation of your chainsaw while reducing wear on both motor and chain components.

Do You Need a Different Chain for a Chainsaw Mill?

Yes, you will need a different chain for your chainsaw mill. Milling requires a ripping chain, which is designed to cut the direction of the wood grains.

These chains have sharpened teeth at a 10-degree angle as compared to normal chain teeth, which are sharpened at a 35-degree angle.

How to choose your chainsaw for milling

The best saw for milling will depend on the type of job you need to do.

Generally speaking, larger bar sizes and more powerful engines are recommended for milling but consider what type of wood you are milling and what your budget is before buying a saw.


What Size Chainsaw for Milling FAQs

How many ccs do you need for a chainsaw mill?

For milling, consider the engine power. Generally speaking, engines with 90 to 120 cc of power provide more power and torque for milling.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider a chainsaw with a 70-cc engine.

What is a good chainsaw for milling?

When it comes to milling, you should look for a chainsaw with a large engine (90–120 cc) and a large bar size.

This will provide you with the power and torque necessary for milling. Chainsaws with milling power usually cost around $1000 to $2000.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, when figuring out what size chainsaw is best suited for milling, several key factors need to be considered, including engine displacement (cc), bar length/chain type, and user comfortability and skill level.

Look for an engine with 90 to 120 cc of power if you’re cutting large wood, and consider what type of wood you are milling and what your budget is before buying a saw.

Remember, larger bar sizes and more powerful engines provide more power and torque for milling, and while they may cost more, they can be the difference between a successful job and an unsuccessful one.

Ultimately, though, choosing the right-sized tool depends mostly on your individual needs – so make sure you carefully consider each factor before picking out your new saw!

Good luck and happy milling!

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Charlie Bass

Charlie has been a mechanic for over 25 years and has worked on everything from small engine gardening equipment to huge diesel-electric mining haul trucks, trains and even aircraft. This broad range of industry experience gives him a unique insight into almost anything mechanical especially with an engine, including gardening and landscaping equipment. He currently owns his own mobile mechanic business and lives with his family in Australia.

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