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Author Topic: Advice on sawmill  (Read 1379 times)

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Offline aspo

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Advice on sawmill
« on: June 13, 2021, 01:25:59 AM »
Hey, I'm looking for some input on a sawmill. I have looked at bandmills, swingblades and the logosol F2+. I looked at the d&l swinger but it's out of my budget at around $17000. I was thinking of running a Stihl 881 on the logosol F2+. The band saw mills I could get for around $10000 don't seem like they would be better than a chainsaw mill or much quicker. I could be completely wrong since I have never owned a mill before. I will be milling mostly pine and spruce and some birch. Nothing massive, biggest  would be around 24". I'm not looking to make money, just build a barn, shop and do stuff around the farm. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks. 

Offline JoshNZ

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2021, 02:55:35 AM »
Based on my limited experience with both, I bet you the cheapest bandmill you could find out there would saw through a log quicker than the most expensive chainsaw mill. Assuming nothing is breaking and either machine is up to the size of log.

If you're sawing boards out of pine I think you're better off with any band mill hands down. A well tuned band mill is a pleasure to use, and fast. Spend more money and it's going to be more functional/fun to use.

Only reason I'd consider a chainsaw mill is if you're having to setup on top of giant logs you can't move, or wanting to cut really wide slabs.

Good luck. 

Offline terrifictimbersllc

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2021, 05:10:42 AM »
Agree that any bandsaw mill, if it is worth 10K, will be far better than a chainsaw mill.  Not sure how much the Logosol is but an 881 with long bar and several chains will be at least $2K.  Might feel good to buy it all but then you still have to do the work and will be wondering why you did it. 
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Offline Patrick NC

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2021, 05:32:35 AM »
The only CSM I have experience with is a granberg mini mill that my dad gave me several years ago. I used it a few times with my 372xp and I can say I'd much rather use a small bandmill than that any day. 
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Offline olcowhand

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2021, 06:01:52 AM »
I use a Granberg and my 661 to cut slabs, but saved up and ordered a Band Mill. I could not imagine using the CSM for "Dimensional" lumber, as the work involved just doesn't justify the output. The other consideration is the waste one gets from the Kerf; A 3/8" Chain is ~7 times thicker than a Band Mill blade- which means you loose ~ 1- 4/4 Piece for every 4 cuts with the CSM. The yield factor alone would be enough to convince me to go with the Band Mill (which it has....).
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2021, 06:27:35 AM »
Agreed that any bandmill will outsaw any bar type mill.  Stack bandsaw blades until you arive at the thickness of the bar saw kerf and count how many bandsaw blades to equal up.  thats about how many times faster id guess. just in the cutting.  


Now multiply that times how many unclamp, canthook roll, reclamp cycles the bandmill can do on a perfectly flat, level, square and plumb saw bed in the time it takes the CSMer to roll, prop, measure, square and reset his saw guide.  Whatever number that is multiply it by 3 for edged planks.  Youll be laddering up 3x per log x2 ends each to walk back and forth and back and forth.  Continually rechecking squareness and remeasuring.  


I will guess the worst bandmill has a 20:1 output advantage per unit time if it is actually sawing half decent.  



The only time an alaskan wins the race is if there is no log handling equipment and the wood has to be made right at the stump, then carried off as lumber. 

If youre eager to be sawing at home any way you can, then Its a fine entry point IF you already have a big pro saw or need one anyways.  Otherwise It is a big chunk of money spent in the wrong direction that could go toward a bandmill from the get go.  


This excludes people who use alaskans for monster live edge slabbing or breaking big logs down to cants that fit their bandmill etc etc. Theyre the most economical device to break down jumbo logs in place. 

 A beginner will realize just how expensive that free lumber is when he is looking for the advil and heating pad to lay on after his first hard day at it.
Proverbs 19:11

Offline tacks Y

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2021, 08:38:14 AM »
Welcome aboard aspo. Look at the for sale section here guy had a Logmaster for sale maybe to far not sure where you are at. Saw a WM 70 for 19.5k a couple weeks ago sure it is gone now. Buy a hyd band mill a lot more fun.

Offline TroyC

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2021, 08:44:37 AM »
You can make a lot of boards in a day with a 10K bandsaw mill (or much less), and you can get a decent piece of equipment that will last a long time. Agree with the comments above, chainsaw mill only for extremely remote or specialty sawing.

Offline kantuckid

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2021, 09:03:56 AM »
For a few projects the better choice might be not to buy a sawmill? Have your logs sawed on site or hauled depending on what's available and where. Save your billfold, back & body for the buildings. 
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Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2021, 09:27:41 AM »
I tried hiring guys with mills locally, and did not find anyone I would have back.  Bought my own mill and my boards turn out well, and is not difficult to run.  Neighbors bring logs and we cut, they help me with mill and milling. Cooks makes a sturdy mill, mine is a MP32. 
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Offline Nebraska

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2021, 09:50:42 AM »
I remember the first  cut I made with my entry level mill. Wife was watching me cut a 14" Honeylocust firewood log. (Just in case...) I was standing straight up and It felt like it was flying through the log.  Not eating 2 cycle exhaust, not filling my boots up with chips and 20x faster at least.  CSM has a place and everyone has a different  circumstance. If I was out  in the bush with no roads building on the spot as mentioned  before or super wide slabbing you bet. 
With my little mill  I can't begin to match the production of a hydraulic mill. 200 or  so bf in a session is enough for me by the time I do all the steps.  Obtaining logs, cleaning up then staging the logs, Stacking and stickering and storing,  dealing with waste (slab wood and dust) all account for way more time than actual milling.  My mill has been idle for two months ish waiting for life's pace to slow a bit,  but I don't feel guilty  that it sits. I didn't  have any plan for revenue generation with it ...(it has a little  ;))  I stayed within what I could afford buying it no borrowed $$.
 My next plan with it  is to build up the platform getting the bed closer to knee high. This will  make handling boards easier on the body. This is just my experience so far yours will vary.  Buy a Logrite can't hook. Good luck with your journey.

Offline kantuckid

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2021, 10:20:12 AM »
My FEL adjust to my mills bed height... No need to raise it higher. :D 
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Offline aspo

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2021, 01:59:44 PM »
Thanks for the advice everyone. I appreciate it. I assumed the bsm would be faster but was watching one of logosols live demos. They said they had done a head to head competition breaking down a whole log. They used the F2+ chainsaw mill with a 661, the F2+ with an electric saw and there B751 band mill. Apparently the electric saw was the fastest but not in cut speed, just overall process. I found that somewhat surprising and intriguing. Just to be clear they only referenced there in house competition and it was not filmed so I didn't see it. I'll keep my eye open for a used bandmill but I'm in Northern BC so it's slim pickings locally. No one seems to be selling. Thanks again

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2021, 02:19:21 PM »
A resourceful person could build a simple bandmill for under $2k if they had the skills.  


I made an alaskan rig and one piece of dunnage later said no flippin way am i doing this very often.  

So i went to the junkpile and welded up a very simple bed with backstops and clamps.. and a 3 legged carriage to hold the saw height and walk the stop sign rails. Its atleast 5x faster and makes square lumber with each cant hook roll.  

Never compete with a bandmill but itll smoke an alaskan at making planks.  
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2021, 06:28:32 PM »
So what they dont show in the CSM videos is the time it takes to setup the first cut, turn the log and make the second cut.  THEN they dont show having to either sharpen the chain or replace the chain THEN turn the log for the next cut.  Fiddle with the ladder, leveling, sharpen again, cut a board, sharpen and so on.  

A manual band sawmill will be faster, less fiddling with ladders, sharpening AND you get to stand up to cut.  

I started with a Granberg CSM.  It cut lumber but not like the videos. As others have said, a CSM has a purpose and a niche.  You have to decide what kind of lumber you want.  If its specialty slabs, bar tops, bench tops etc in small quantities the CSM might be ok.  If you want some lumber AND some slabs then a band sawmill will be the watch to go.

Wish I had saved my money and gone with the band sawmill instead of spending north of $2,000 to get the CSM setup.  The bandsaw cuts smoother and finer lumber and slabs.  
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Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2021, 06:40:07 PM »
Check out Woodmizer's LT10 or LT15.  Much faster than a CSM, better product amd more per log in lumber.  
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Offline Ohioian

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2021, 09:06:46 PM »
Gotta agree with the rest of the group, get the sawmill. A CSM will age you fast as I now have 2 of them hanging in the back garage.
  Only advice I will give is once you get you bandsaw make the platform area twice as big as you think you will need.

Offline RAYAR

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2021, 12:57:21 AM »
A fully manual and properly set up bandsaw mill and a few tools to accompany it will be much more pleasurable to use than a CSM. A whole lot less noise and a much greater output of lumber in a given time.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2021, 05:43:05 AM »
  The band saw mills I could get for around $10000 don't seem like they would be better than a chainsaw mill or much quicker.    l  
The quicker word is what I am wondering about.  ???
I really never even looked at a CSM when I was looking for a sawmill, I have "split" a few white pine logs because they was too big for pulp size, nothing no bigger than 27 inches. I did not do that many times. Took way too long!!!
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Offline OlJarhead

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Re: Advice on sawmill
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2021, 08:06:08 AM »
When I had the 7hp LT10 on the ground it was faster and easier than the CSM though my CSM with light on power.

Once I moved to the 10hp motor, it was nearly twice as fast as the 7!  

Find someone with one and watch them run it for a bit. 
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