Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:30 am

I am going to cut down some trees, assuming they do not hit the house, I want to use the trees in someway. No need for firewood so I thought I would cut into boards. Problem is: no sawmill. I know I could buy or rent a sawmill but what would be the fun in that.

I thought about making a bandsaw mill, looks simple but I have no ready access to the large tires needed for the wheels.

So I thought I would make a reciprocating mill from a bowsaw blade, # 50 chain, sprockets, etc.. but would need approx 15 inch diameter crankshaft to move the blade. I think it would work well, slow, lots of vibration.

Last thought was for a chainsaw mill. I hate noise so I would power the chain with a 3.5 to 6.5 hp engine, mount on a frame similar to a bandsaw mill. I have read both good and bad about the chainsaw mills. I do not care if they are slow since the process would be automated for each board, I would not stand there while the board was cut but would be doing other things and come back to the mill when a board was done, reset, and cut another.

Anyone with any experience with this type of mill? Speed? Smothness of cut? For planks or beams or will it cut fine enough to make boards.

Re: sawmill

Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:36 am

There is probably someone in your area with a portable mill that would come cut your logs. My notion is those chainsaw mills are probably hard to get an accurate, uniform cut. Plus someone with a mill has enough experience sawing that he can get the most out of each log, meaning fewer slabs to throw away. My dad is having some cut now, that were blown down by the hurricane. Don't know what the guy charges but it's reasonable.


Re: sawmill

Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:18 am

I've got experience with chainsaw mills. Last summer I tried cutting my own spruce 6x6's for my timber frame project. I found that the bar on the chainsaw was just not rigid enough to provide a nice square beam. I would get something that was basically square, but when I checked it with a framing square I realized it was just not adequate. I ended up having a local sawyer cut my beams from my spruce for really a fraction of the cost of buying them.

For cutting boards you might be O.K., as squareness won't be a factor. Be sure to get the special ripping chain. The finish comes out very nice...kind of a smooth to midly rough-sawn appearance.

Some of the guys with the portable sawmills charge a delivery and set-up fee. I checked into that before I had my logs done. One guy charged $300 just to show up. For a big order involving days of milling, I guess it would make sense. But to have a dozen or so logs milled, I don't think the portable guys are cost effective.

Just to give you a ballpark....I had fifteen 12' to 14' spruce logs milled into 6x6's and 4x6' plus a huge stack of 2x4's and 2x6's and 1x material for about $100. I transported my logs to the sawyer on a flatbed trailer....made 2 trips.

Hope this helps.

Re: sawmill

Wed Jan 04, 2012 10:27 am

I had some Cherry logs sawed by a local sawyer. The guys charged me strictly by the board foot plus a $25.00 setup fee for transportation. Did a great job.

Re: sawmill

Wed Jan 04, 2012 4:11 pm

Couple of thoughts.

There is a saw mill about 2 miles from the property and they buy logs. Might be worth while to just sell the logs.

At one of the local antique power shows they set up a saw mill and cut logs during their demonstrations.

Re: sawmill

Mon Jan 16, 2012 12:59 pm

I have a nephew that can tell you what happens when you leave the mill to its self while you do "other things". Wouldn't want you to get hurt or destroy all of your hard work. Keep us posted and good luck with your project. Grump

Re: sawmill

Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:59 pm

At least in my area, but some shows have a saw mill they opperate all day during their shows. You could prolly get them to mill them for cheap?

My .02 worth.