Chainsaw milling boxelder

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Forum topic by aravenel posted 06-26-2018 09:07 PM 657 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 786 days

06-26-2018 09:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: milling chainsaw chainsaw mill lumber

I’ve got a ~24” boxelder in the backyard that has reached the end of its life and is coming out. I’d love to be able to do something with the wood, but the way the backyard is laid out with my house, the neighbors, and woods behind it, there is no way to get any heavy equipment in there. Which means—no way to get a portable sawmill to the tree, and no way to get the tree out of the backyard short of cutting it into short rounds and carrying them out in a wheelbarrow, or a very large crane.

It seems to me that the only way to mill this would be with a chainsaw mill. Problem is, I don’t own one, don’t know anyone that does, and unlike “normal” sawmills, it doesn’t seem you can easily find someone with one. And given the cost of a chainsaw big enough to run one, not sure the math works out to buy one, especially for a boxelder tree.

Am I missing an option here? Or should I just move on?

6 replies so far

View BFamous's profile


333 posts in 724 days

#1 posted 06-26-2018 09:58 PM

So you’re saying there isn’t even a straight line where you could drag it out into an open area? I always find if you can get a wheelbarrow in, you should be able to get the tree out (at least in 6 -’ sections). just a matter of how hard you want to work for it…

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

View dalepage's profile


385 posts in 1444 days

#2 posted 06-26-2018 10:35 PM

I have come against the same sort of problem with large trees on my place.

One thing to watch out for is getting the logs too short for a mill to process. My guy wants them a minimum of four feet.

I would cut them in the lengths that a sawmill says they can process, then do whatever I had to do, including taking out a section of fence, to get them to a pickup or trailer and haul them to a mill. If the wood is good enough to mess with, it’s worth not turning a bunch of box elder into sawdust by use of a chainsaw.

Also, it depends on what you’re going to do with it. If you’re going to turn it, then maybe sawing it into chunks isn’t a bad idea. If you want boards, I’d try not to waste what a chainsaw would take away.

Depends on how good the wood is, how much time and effort you are willing to spend, and whether or not you can get the logs out. Maybe you could rent a skid-steer and life them over the fence?

-- Dale

View JCamp's profile


1037 posts in 1154 days

#3 posted 06-26-2018 11:09 PM

If u can get a wheelbarrow in to it then u can cut it up into lengths of 6-12ft and hook a rope or chain to it and pull it out hooked to a truck/tractor/atv or suv.
I’m also wondering how the yard is so small that you can’t get machinery to it but are able to fall the tree in the first place?
Would a neighbor allow you to come through their yard?

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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13007 posts in 2983 days

#4 posted 06-26-2018 11:26 PM

Look for a local woodworking or woodturning club, they should know someone.

-- Rick M,

View HokieKen's profile


11985 posts in 1742 days

#5 posted 06-27-2018 02:51 AM

Where are you located? Might be an LJ nearby with a chainsaw mill willing to help out.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View aravenel's profile


25 posts in 786 days

#6 posted 06-28-2018 09:15 PM

Unfortunately, it really is going to be next to impossible to get them out of there without a crane—or cutting down another tree. The only access into the backyard is over the deck, around a tight 90 degree corner, and down the deck steps. You could make access in one other spot by taking out a section of fence, but theres a big maple tree right smack in the way there, and clearly Im not going to take out a healthy tree just to get out a diseased one, lumber at stake or not! We are right up against neighbors on both sides—the perils of living in intown Atlanta.

One tree service did propose using a massive crane to take the tree out, which would have gotten me the trunk to be milled, but their quote (presumably due to needing to rent the crane!) was almost twice as much as the guys I went with.

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