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Sawmills and milling lumber

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  • Sawmills and milling lumber

    I was wondering if anyone had experience with either chainsaw or portable bandsaw mills to turn logs into lumber?? I'm in the AZ desert and relative to many other states, there aren't many forests/trees, or even a very broad selection of trees. However, there are some trees worth utilizing in the urban areas that et cut down and tossed into landfills. I already have two mesquite logs (one about 6 foot and 14in diam, and other about 5 foot and 10 in diam), and a bunch of smaller mesquite logs. I can probably get more logs, and maybe species like Ash and Pecan.

    I've read up alot on chainsaw mills and portable bandsaw mills. I was just curious if anyone ownes and uses either and if you have any coments or recomendations?

    I was told by a guy who owns a portable lumber mill in Phx that the mesquite log I have would probably yield about $1000 in lumber retail value. I have no plans to do anything commercial, but I do like the idea of making my own lumber, especially when you can book match larger slabs etc., and keeping such beautiful wood out of landfills.

    Also, what kind of bandsaw am I looking at to resaw larger peices? I have a 14inch gizzly and a riser block. The later I've not used however. Would some of the $1200 models from grizzly work to resaw?? The 14inch I have works kinda-sorta OK for smaller peices. I was wondering if I could use a chainsaw mill to square a log or cut it into a thickness that a vertical bandsaw could handle?


  • #2
    Re: Sawmills and milling lumber

    I made my band saw mill and have cut up basically "urban" trees as I am in a plains area. and there are no forest trees, the majority I have sawed are elm,

    first saw them as wet as possible and get them stacked and stickered, as soon as possible,
    when a log dries, there are many rings and the sells shrink and in the shrinking process the log will split as the out side rings will shrink more than the inter thus radial splits.
    when you cut it into lumber the basic amount of wood is divided up into smaller units and the way the moisture leaves is different than on a log and the wood is in smaller sections so splitting is not as great.

    there are a number of good guides one can find on the net and down load,

    as far as to what to buy I can not tell you, could give you some things I would do differently if I was to rebuilt my mill,

    this forum may be a better place to ask your questions, (I have read there but never joined),

    there are also plans one can buy to build there own mill, I have not used mine for a few years,

    I used a gas motor and pushed my frame by hand on a track made of heavy angle irons, that the log sat on (also made a dog system to lock the log or trimmed log on to the track), the bands ran on two large V pulleys and used the woodmizer method of tires which is a lose belt on the pulley as close to the pulley size as possible, it just hangs on the pulley, one of there machines used the drive belt on one side as the tire for the blade, made some blade guides, and a winch system to raise and lower the frame, for bearings I used trailer hubs in reverse used the hub bolted to the frame head, and put the pulley on the shaft that would normally be welded to the trailer axle, by using a 4 hole easy to shim to square it up, there are also plans that used the donut tires and a hub and I believe you use tire pressure to tension the saw blade band,

    on mine I made a slide, to tighten the saw band, and I use Wood Miser blades,

    my mill looks a lot like the Kasco mill, The SAW II-B

    I believe some band saw mills can be set up to re saw (or I think I have seen product to that effect), but I would suggest that you cut to basic size, as if things are not evenly dried they will warp when re-sawed,
    Last edited by BHD; 07-03-2008, 12:32 AM.
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    • #3
      Re: Sawmills and milling lumber

      Try to find someone else in your area to cut for you. I've found a local woodmizer owner who will come to me and cut for .35 BF. For the amount of wood I will really use this will work out way cheaper. If you are looking to build a timber framed home or need tons of wood things are different. Have to say its tempting though.


      • #4
        Re: Sawmills and milling lumber

        I made an attachment for my chainsaw that works well enough. My saw is too small (47cc) but it will get the job done for my woodworking purposes.

        Check out and will have all the info you'll ever need.


        • #5
          Re: Sawmills and milling lumber

          You'll find a bunch of links about sawing and drying here on my web site.

          I too hired a local owner of Woodmizer to cut my logs(see below), worked out great I would do it again. Just make sure you get someone who already knows a thing or two about cutting up a log, you don't want some newbie learning on your time and material.

          Click image for larger version

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          Last edited by Bob D.; 08-23-2008, 09:24 PM.
          "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006


          Time, cost, or quality; pick any two but you can't have all three.


          • #6
            Re: Sawmills and milling lumber

            Bob, nice to see a properly stacked and weighted pile.

            Peter, make sure you use a rip blade on your chainsaw, makes a world of difference.