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Author Topic: Which sawmill  (Read 1347 times)

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Offline Jim Chance

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Which sawmill
« on: November 29, 2021, 10:53:36 AM »
 I want to buy a sawmill to cut timber and lumber out of black locust. Maximum log would be 12” diameter, 7,6” long. I would just do this occasionally. It would need to have a gas motor. Are the ones that use a chainsaw any good?. My biggest chainsaw is MS261. What is the story about bandsaw vs circular saw? Is there a good book on this? I know nothing about sawmills.Never even seen one.

Online Southside

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2021, 11:36:49 AM »
I would recommend you find a few mills within striking distance and go see them in operation. Find a chainsaw mill, a low HP manual mill, and a hydraulic mill so you can have an understanding of what is involved with each.

The sawmill is but a tiny piece of converting logs to lumber. Material handling makes all the difference. How much the mill contributes to the workload is an important factor. 
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Offline IndiLina

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2021, 11:40:52 AM »
There are quite a few videos on YouTube for chainsaw milling and band saws. I think there are a few for circular saws. Everyone's process is a bit different, so I'd suggest spending the time browsing YouTube. 
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2021, 11:49:04 AM »
Hang around here, read and ask questions. There is a wealth of experience in many cases gained the hard way, you will quickly learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline Nebraska

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2021, 12:47:02 PM »
Welcome, where are you located? There are a bunch of good people  on here. Probably  several close enough to see whats involved or even saw some of that Locust  for you.

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2021, 12:53:58 PM »
   Sounds like you are wanting to saw/square up locust into fence posts. I'd think almost any hobby mill would do that for you. Warning - once you start you are probably going to fall into the abyss and want to saw more and bigger. 

   My lawyer is a customer who is always getting me to saw his locust into 4x4 fence posts. Green locust is not a particular problem to saw. Dry locust is very hard and I use a 4* hook angle when sawing it.

    Another option is to just take a load to a local miller or, if you have enough to justify it, have a portable miller come by your place at least a time or two to see the process and help decide if you want to invest in equipment to do it yourself.

    Good luck. Let us know what you decide.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2021, 01:23:55 PM »
Any small bandmill sawmill will work for that, but with the logs so small and short, I wouldn’t go too high on the money expenditure or size mill.  Small is good enough.  

Chainsaw mills have their place, but not really on a quantity basis.  I assume your are wanting fence posts and rails, and that would be in the sweet spot for most small manual band mills.

Buy one, try it, and if you don’t like it and you bought a name brand mill, then sell it 6 months later for what you paid for it.   



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Take steps to save steps.

If it won’t roll, its not a log; it’s still a tree.  Sawmills cut logs, trees.

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Sawing is fun for the first couple hundred boards.

Offline Jim Chance

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2021, 03:00:05 PM »
I am in Highlands North Carolina. 

I do a lot of trail maintenance work in the National Forest. I can cut what I need for trail material, so I can cut green trees, but mostly what I use is down or dead and standing. I build a lot of 12” to 24” retaining walls and also steps. These are easier to build with square stuff than round. I also build boardwalks over soft ground. This requires 2” planks. 

So if I had a band saw mill, could I only cut live edge boards or is it possible to rip off the live edges?

I have some of the other stuff: log arch, chain saws, bark spud, Canty hook. Generally we man handle the logs.

Online Southside

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2021, 03:16:11 PM »
Yes you could "edge" the boards as it's called and produce square lumber with a band mill.  
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Offline richhiway

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2021, 05:11:28 PM »
A logosol csm is very portable and you can take it to the job. You would need a bigger saw.
on a 12" tree it is only 4 cuts to make a post. I have a lot of posts on here with one. just search it.

If you are bringing the logs to you a small bandsaw is easier and faster.

You can cut live edge or square stock with both.
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Online Ianab

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2021, 07:46:25 PM »
So if I had a band saw mill, could I only cut live edge boards or is it possible to rip off the live edges?


You can certainly produce edged boards with any sawmill. Either take your live edge boards, reload them vertical on the mill, and rip off the edges. Or what most folks do, roll the log over and work it down to a square "cant". Then you can saw that into already edged boards easily. Come back later and edge the stray jacket boards that you first took off the outside. Creating a clean Cant in usually preferred because it minimises the cuts through the bark, which is usually dirty and wears out the blade faster. 
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Offline Lasershark

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2021, 11:33:20 PM »
Just wanted to remind that you can edge those some of those stray jacket boards against the cant for stability and convenience. 
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Offline Lasershark

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2021, 11:52:28 PM »
There's also quite a bit of information on sawing technique in this Wood-miser document: Wood-mizer Sawmill General Information


 
Example: Sawing for stress relief:


 


Hope that helps!
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Online Walnut Beast

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2021, 01:05:05 PM »
Good luck getting one. One of the big boys I checked in with are 20 +  months out 😳

Offline Jim Chance

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2021, 08:25:48 PM »
So first, thank you to everybody for the advice. I read one of the recommended manuals and also a book I bought on Amazon and there is so much I do not know. The first thing is that it looks like it takes a lot more than just a sawmill, but the thing that really threw me is the complexities of drying. That is a problem for me is that all my easily and cheaply available locust is dead locust, so I am guessing that would be hard to work with, both to cut and also because it dried wrong?

So my plan is to cut 5 nice live locust that a friend wants cut and bring it to a mill near my house for sawing.

At that point would it be reasonable to let it dry in my unheated garage or do I need something more  complex. I live in an area described as a "temperate rain forest".

Offline Gere Flewelling

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2021, 08:22:54 AM »
I would suggest you sticker you lumber when you get it in your garage and then use some small ratchet straps to bind it all together.  I usually have to dry outside so I cover the lumber with some black landscape fabric and metal roofing to keep the sunlight off the wood.  The straps have worked well for me.  Weight on top would also be a plus at keeping things straight.  This has worked well for me with pine, popular, maples, oak, and even with elm. 
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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2021, 08:38:12 AM »
Jim, I’m about 4 hours east of you outside of Raleigh. You’re welcome to stop by my place and check out my band milll and swing blade mill.

For the needs that you describe, I would consider a swing blade mill such as Peterson or Lucas. You’ll want one with a 10” depth of cut.

Or a smaller band mill such as an LT15. The advantage of the swing blade is that you only handle the log once and can easily sharpen your blades on the mill.

Regards,

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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2021, 08:50:48 AM »
....Warning - once you start you are probably going to fall into the abyss and want to saw more and bigger. ...
Truer words were never spoken.  This is a great place to listen to a bunch of sawmill junkies.
You need 4 sawmills to have a complete set,  I have 2.
I don't view this as a problem, I still have room for the others. 
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Offline moodnacreek

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2021, 09:53:05 AM »
If you really think those small logs are all you would cut and if you are a mechanic who welds, I have the answer: Buy an old  Bellsaw and fix it up. They are worth little and would handle that size wood easily.

Online rusticretreater

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Re: Which sawmill
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2021, 02:47:32 AM »
The first thing I would say is that with small diameter logs, you would either do posts or cuts of narrow craft wood or flooring.  All of my smaller logs of that size usually end up as landscaping timber, posts and stakes.

Another consideration is that a chainsaw mill makes a huge kerf cut in the wood, many times the kerf of a bandsaw mill.  Same with a circular saw mill, but not quite so big a kerf.  Three or four chainsaw cuts will equal another board.  If you come across a valuable log, a lot of it ends up in sawdust.

Next of course is your budget.  Even the cheapie china knockoffs are an expensive proposition.  The best thing is that all of the saws can be viewed on youtube being used or critiqued in some manner.  All the manufacturers make low end versions of their saws.  You should also check on for sale sites such as craigslist daily.  You just might get lucky and find a good deal.  But you only know what you are looking at if you take the time first to educate yourself.
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