Forum > Sawmills and Milling

Concrete base for sawmill

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I'm tired of screwing around and having my homemade sawmill sitting on railroad ties and having them move, sink, heave, etc.   I took 2 days off next week and want to form up and pour an oversized concrete sidewalk for the sawmill to sit on.  I was thinking of bolting 6"x6" green treated timbers to the concrete and bolting the sawmill bed to the timbers.

How thick should I make the concrete?  I'm wondering if the standard sidewalk thickness of 4" is a bit too thin.  Should I use a 2x6 for forms (5.5") or can I get by with 4" or so?  I'm just a hobbyist so it won't be used daily....if that makes any difference.


I can only think that you will want to account for frost heaving below that slab. Beiing in SD, seems that will be the major problem. Are you going to make it a floating slab? such that it moves in one piece on the movement of frozen ground beneath? 

I'd think piers (concrete or treated wood) with ends down below frost line, with timbers on the piers would be a better choice. What is the choice of other construction in your area?

Floating slab was what I was thinking.  A few pieces of rebar tied together were in the plans....probably would have helped had I told you that piece of info!   ::)

I was thinking piers too at one time.  I could use the railroad ties I have and put the nice timbers on top.  Also have a tractor with a post-hole digger to make digging MUCH easier.  However, I kinda want the concrete slab to keep things lower to the ground and more stable than if on piers.  Either way would work fine though.

Around here a floating slab is no big deal as long as you use mesh or rebar and it's backfilled propperly. 

 I put in a real nice pad for my mill. It is 32 x 24. about 11 yards of concrete. I really liked it. I poured it 4" thick and had it floating with no problems. I prepared the ground underneath with my skid steer and it was very well compacted.  It was nice to have enough area to turn the skid steer around on, stack boards or park a truck to off load onto. The mill was along the high side so slabs could be pushed off and allowed to pile up on the slope.

 I traded that pice of property to my brother who now has his garadge on that pad and I have my mill set up in my back yard in the dirt. It is compacted fill but I still have to level the mill alot more. I am going to pour another slab someday and will make it the same size and put a roof over it.



In consideration of the cost of concrete and all the labor involved, and the possibility that you may at some time have the same issue as Jon, I would consider stiffening the frame on your mill.  Angle iron, while strong, can allow a lot of twist. How about adding a frame of 2x6 rectangular tubeing under the angle iron. Box the ends and add a couple cross members with the same tubeing. This would make it very stiff and may solve the original problem.
It looks like you are set up in an urban setting. (looked in your gallery) An electric power source would sure be quieter.  ;)


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