Facts VS. My Imagination

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Blog entry by Paul posted 03-20-2007 01:08 AM 846 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This didn’t quite fit any of the forum topics. Perhpas the coffee shop, but I decided to just blog it.

Another “I’m curious” question.

Does anybody own, or have a friend that does own, any of the various portable band saw lumber mills that are available? As you know there’s everything from an attachment for your large chainsaw to a mill that you can pull behind a pick-up truck with hydrolic log lifters etc. I’ve looked at pamplets and brochures of the variations and it seems so cool to have one!

And it’s seems like I see trees down all the time – everything from the results of storms, to tree services working, to the highway department clearing trees to widen the road. Often, if they aren’t being cut up for firewood, they’re pushed into a pile for burning. And I day dream about pulling up to a log and making it into lumber for woodworking.

Yes, I know there’s big logistical issues like owning an appropriate truck, the chansaws and log moving tools, etc and having a place to dry and store the lumber. I’m sure I have a “romantic” (I can’t think of a better term – perhaps “delusional”?) view of the process. It’s lots of hard work I’m sure (and that’s not a small issue for a 45 yr old desk jockey like me). Trees are heavy and it’s no easy task situating the tree on the band saw rig to mill it – even if you can pull up to the log. So it’s got to be a three or four person job even though the brochures only show one person cutting up lumber.

But I would love to hear about some first hand experiences. Anybody own one? Anybody helped an owner mill lumber? Anybody watched one work?

What’s it like? What are the hidden issues? Can it pay for itself? Etc. Etc.

-- Paul, Texas

3 comments so far

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4290 days

#1 posted 03-20-2007 01:23 AM

This might be a little off topic, but it may help. My father-in-law is getting close to retirement, but he still moonlights as an arborist. Pretty much does it just for the firewood. He has a few (ok several) chainsaws, and I’d love to get him an attachment to make be some boards as well. As far as moving everything around, he pretty much does it by himself with a small trailer… granted it may take a few trips.

One thing I’ve seen sketched out somewhere, was that you actually rough cut boards on the remaining 6-8 foot trunk of the tree, before it is felled, and cut them off one at a time. Certainly managable for one person that way.

I’m sure a couple good “finds” would certainly work out to be more affordable than hitting the Big Box, even with the waste factor.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4088 days

#2 posted 03-20-2007 02:34 AM

Just this morning I saw a truck down at our local general store with a portable mill on it. If you’re interested I’ll try to grab the phone number next time I see it and pass it along!

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Drew1House's profile


425 posts in 4051 days

#3 posted 03-20-2007 04:27 AM

I saw one of those bandsaw mini-mills used on eBay for about 12K… pullable on a trailer… I think really you would need a couple of guys and a backhoe with a grabber bucket just to move the logs around but what do I know… Just was curious about it as well…


-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

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