Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch Attachment

Alaskan chainsaw mill

Installing a Alaskan Chainsaw Mill Winch: Step-by-Step

Why Install a Winch on Your Alaskan Chainsaw Mill?

Controlling and moving the chainsaw mill, in a 30-40 inch diameter log, over the course of several feet, takes effort, a lot of effort.  The powerhead is an 8.31 hp Husqvarna 3120xp; the largest and most powerful powerhead that Husqvarna makes, and one of the most powerful in the world.  In operation, it wants to pull the powerhead into the log, very forcefully.  The powerhead weighs in at 22.9 lbs.  Attached to that is the Cannon Sawmiller double-ended 56 inch bar, which itself is considerably hefty, probably a good deal heavier than the powerhead.  It takes manhandling to move this assembly through the log, not accounting for the weight of the Granberg MkIII 48 Inch Milling Attachment, Helper Handle with Roller, Chain Tensioner, and Auxiliary Oiler.  All of the manhandling necessary can negatively effect the quality of the cuts, and productivity.  Hence, we are adding a winch and other necessary components to the Alaskan chainsaw mill.  The winch will provide some much-needed, and frankly, much-appreciated, mechanical advantage applied to pulling the mill through the log.  Read on for the details.

How to Install a Winch on a Alaskan Chainsaw Mill

Tools Used:

  • Chainsaw tools, 2
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Lighter and duct tape, for cutting and melting the ends of the polyester rope
  • Chain sharpening file, 7/32 inch
  • Chain raker file
  • Swiss Army knife, for cutting rope
  • Pin nose pliers with wire cutters

Step 1: Acquire Materials for the Chainsaw Mill Winch Installation

  • 600 lb trailer winch, Menards SKU 2618751, $17.09  It can probably be done with less; it’s highly unlikely that 600 lbs of force will be required.  Having said that, the spool barely contained 50 feet of 1/4″ polyester line.
  • 1/4 in. x 50 ft. braided polyester line, Menards SKU 2355229, $7.99
  • Pulley eye cable, 2 in., Menards SKU 2352976, $6.99
  • Carrabiner, aka “spring snap,” Mendards SKU 2257894, $2.79
  • 3/8 in. x 5 in. hex bolt, 2 pc (only 1 required), Menards SKU 2322186, $0.99
  • 3/8 in. insert locknut, 6 pc (only 1 required), Menards SKU 2329750, $0.89
  • 3/8 in. flat washers, 2 pc (had on-hand)

Total Cost: $36.74, before tax

Step 2: Modify 3/8 in. x 5in. winch spool hex bolt for installation in the Granberg Alaskan MkIII Chainsaw Milling Attachment

Step 2a: Modify the head of the bolt to have a thickness of less than 3/16 in. so that it will slide into, and be captured by, the chainsaw milling attachment “thickness rail.”  Joe, old school, at Landers Hardware in Bangor, Michigan, took this down for me on a lathe.  Get that at your big box!

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch installation

Cutting winch spool bolt head to 1/8″ in. thickness

Step 2b: Reduce the diameter of the 3/8 in. bolt just beneath the head, so it will slide into the thickness rail; I did this with a 7/32 in. chain sharpening round file.

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Diameter of 3/8 in. bolt just beneath the reduced easily

Step 3: Loosen the 2+ screws in the clamps securing the “handle” of the Granberg Alaskan MkIII Chainsaw Milling Attachment; slide handle out of end bracket, towards the far end of the bar

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Loosen screws securing “handle” to end brackets (and center brackets if installed)

Step 4: Handle has been moved out of the end bracket, towards the end of the bar. Remove nuts on 2 lag screws securing “thickness rails” to the end bracket nearest the powerhead.

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Thickness rails will drop once nuts have been removed; remove the bolts from the rails

Step 5: Install the winch spool shaft (modified 3/8 in. bolt) head in the thickness rail

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Winch spool shaft in vertical position, thinned bolt head captured in the thickness rail

Step 6:  Slide the winch spool and body over the shaft

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Winch positioned on shaft above aft thickness rail

Step 7: Reattach thickness rails to the end bracket

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Thickness rails reattachment in progress

Step 8: Secure the winch to the thickness rail using nylock nut and 2 x 3/8 in. flat washers; secure winch handle using nylock nut

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Winch mounted securely to aft thickness rail

Step 9: In my case, based on the carabiner I purchased, I needed to remove the “gate.”  I used a chainsaw raker file to remove the hammered end of the rivet securing the gate to the body of the carabiner.

Alaskan chainsaw mill attachment

Remove gate from carabiner

Step 10: Resecure the handle in the end brackets (and center bracket(s) if installed.

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Handle resecured in brackets

Step 11: Attach polyester line to winch spool, and wind onto spool

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Rope attached to winch spool

Step 12: Route line (aka, rope) through pulley and secure to carabiner

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Line attached to carabiner. WIre ensures the line will not slip of the carabiner.

Step 13: Done.  Celebrate the win, you’re ready to roll.  I decided to secure the pulley to the end of the log using a loop of line, and nails driven into to the log, nail heads at a downward angle.  Next up.  Test run.

Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment

Winch attachment to Alaskan chainsaw mill complete

For a video overview of the Granberg MkIII Alaskan Chainsaw Milling Attachment, and narration of the Alaskan chainsaw mill winch attachment process, see our YouTube video:

Thanks for reading, and I hope this was helpful.  For more information on milling, both with a Wood-Mizer LT40 bandsaw mill, and with a Alaskan chainsaw mill, check out our Sawyers page for great content.  And, if you are interested in contracting with a sawmill services provider, check out my blog post on the subject, How to Find and Work With a Local Sawmill Service.

Kind regards,


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