Electric Sawmill Options

Backyard sawmill operator who wants to operate quietly learns about electric chainsaw mills. September 17, 2008

I have a question to throw out here about options for electric sawmilling. I have a small chainsaw mill that I use to mill up small logs as a hobby. I use it maybe 3-4 times a year, for a couple of days at a time. This mill is in a residential area. I have spoken with most of the close neighbors and they assure me that the noise does not bother them, in fact some of them have offered to help. I do realize that this mill makes a great deal of noise. I am looking for ways to quiet it down a bit, as recently, word is getting around about what I do so I have been getting a lot of inquiries about doing some custom milling for other people.

I do not foresee this as turning into a full time thing but I may be using the mill on a more regular basis. The mill in question is a custom built chainsaw mill. The powerhead is a Stihl ms 440 with a 32 inch bar. Is there anyone who makes an aftermarket muffler that will reduce the noise from this saw? Or is there anyone who makes an electric saw that has the power that this saw affords?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor S:
An aftermarket muffler might reduce the power output or your chainsaw. Maybe you could locate a used small bandmill and put an electric motor on it. Also, I've seen plans to make your own small mill that uses automotive tires as the bandwheels. It will be a lot quieter and probably more enjoyable to run then the chainsaw mill. One more option, look on Ebay for a big, heavy duty bandsaw with at least 16" wheels, sometimes they can go pretty cheap. Use your chainsaw mill to square up the logs and then re-saw them on the bandsaw.

From contributor G:
L-M uses am electric motor on their yard saw, 10 hp or 15 hp. I have seen ads for a saw just like you are talking about but I don't recall the name.

From contributor R:
Logosol has an electric saw they sell with their mills, but I wouldn't say it is very portable. Its a 220V 3 Phase and the cost of the phase converter is over $3K. For that kind of money, you could come real close to buying a woodmizer LT10. There are other vendors as well that have mills that are in a similar price range.

From contributor G:
A 10hp 1ph would do the job. You should be able to set it up for less than $1000. The only thing I would spend more on would be a motor with a brake on it. Kill the electric, the chain stops. Also it would cost about 1/2 to run the electric motor as it does to run a gas motor.

From contributor A:
I have a MP-32 from Cooks that runs on a 7.5 hp single phase motor. I too have problems with ten houses that look in to my back yard. This mill is in a 1200 square foot shop that I do all my wood working in. I can close the 12' x12' door and you hear nothing outside. I have the same mill with a 28 hp F.I. that I use in my moblie operation. A 5 hp single phase would be more than enough for what you do, or at least to me.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
The problem with an electric motor for a sawmill is the lack of momentum. Therefore, it is desirable to have a flywheel with an electric mill to prevent stalling and allow for varying loads without having varying speeds.

From contributor G:
Good point. With a gas motor, you can overload it and run all day. It will just run slower. With electric it will burn up. By using an amp meter you can keep the electric motor at the right load. With a fly wheel you would not be able to use a brake on the motor and on a chain mill I feel this is very important.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the replies. I have been researching some of these ideas. I have looked at the Logosol electric units and it seems as if there is some sort of gear box involved as the motor looks sort of offset from the chain.

Contributor G I am assuming that you are talking about using parts for the L-m yard saw to fit my purpose, as the yard saw looks like its designed for trimming the ends of lumber stacks.

Contributor A - is the cooks mill with the electric motor a add-on from cooks or a custom job because I did not see any electric options on their site? While the electric option seems nice, I would probably have to rebuild the entire mill in order support the weight of the size motor I would need. It seems that the best option for me price wise would be an aftermarket muffler. I have been thinking about a new saw for the mill as I have been using this one for three years now.