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Bandsaw Log Milling Sled

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Project by swirt posted 1475 days ago 13454 views 118 times favorited 35 comments Add to Favorites Watch

(If you want to see the photos in-line with the explanation and a few more photos, it is best to read here www.timberframe-tools.com/tools/bandsaw-milling-sled)

This log milling sled will work in most bandsaws (I use mine on a 14” Craftsman). It is used for milling logs 1’-8’ long, (diameter limited by your bandsaw’s resaw capacity) into lumber. It requires no modification to your bandsaw, and simply rides in the miter slot. You may need to reinforce your roller stands (see photo) as the weight of the sled plus the log is usually enough to cause them to tip out of alignment with your bandsaw table. If your bandsaw table is flimsy, you may need to put a few wooden legs on it to make it so it does not deflect under the weight of the log and sled.

The sled is made from a 1”x8” x 8’ piece of pine with a runner screwed and glued to the side. The width of the pine should actually be just a little bit wider than the distance from the bandsaw blade to the near side of the miter slot. That way when you run the sled through the saw the first time, it will trim the edge to the exact fit. The runner must match the width of your miter slot and be less than the depth. I suggest making the runner out of something harder than pine since it will have a bit of wear. I made mine out of Doug Fir but Maple would probably be ideal.

The 3/4” pipe is attached to the sled using Jorgensen Pipe clamp saddles (I used 6 of them). The pipe clamp itself is a Jorgensen Deep Reach clamp. It is deeper than ordinary pipe clamps. The other noticeable difference is that the sliding portion of the clamp is the screw rather than the tail ordinary pipe clamps.

After running the sled through once to cut it to exact width, I use a combination square to draw in parallel lines from the cut edge. I did lines every half inch. These are used to align the log from end to end. Mark the center of the log on each end, then use the center marks and align them with one of the alignment lines on the sled. It doesn’t really matter which line, just that the same line is used for the front and end of the log.

Keep in mind that the thickness of the sled reduces your resaw capacity by just less than an inch. Also for safety sake, you have to be very aware that since the log is round, the blade will be exposed both above and below the log, so keep your hands clear. I use the tail piece on the clamp to push the sled, with the idea that if the clamp can’t hit the blade, neither can my hand. When cutting the log, keep a mallet and shim handy to drive into the end of the cut after you get a foot or so into it. That will help prevent the blade form binding.

Parts list
Pine 1”x8” x 8’ (or just a touch wider than the distance from your miter slot to your blade)
1”x2” x 8’ hardwood for the runner (this will need to be reduced in size to fit your particular miter slot)
Screws and glue to secure the runner to the sled.
6’ or 8’ length of 3/4” pipe
3/4” Pipe clamp saddles www.highlandwoodworking.com/pipeclampsaddlespackof4.aspx
3/4” deep reach pipe clamp (I use Jorgensen because they are solid and made in the USA) www.highlandwoodworking.com/reversiblepipeclamphead.aspx

If you have a much larger bandsaw, you could use the extra deep reach clamp instead. (won’t work for my 14” bandsaw because the clamp will actually hit the blade) www.woodcraft.com/Catalog/ProductPage.aspx?prodid=4090

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com





35 comments so far

View falegniam's profile

falegniam

333 posts in 1538 days


#1 posted 1475 days ago

simple, and very effective. all you need now is more logs. nice work

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

View Shopsmithtom's profile

Shopsmithtom

780 posts in 2780 days


#2 posted 1475 days ago

Thanks for this post. I’ve been thinking about putting together a sled & this looks to be just right for me. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View zlatanv's profile

zlatanv

689 posts in 1819 days


#3 posted 1475 days ago

Very cool idea, on my list.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View TZH's profile

TZH

420 posts in 1726 days


#4 posted 1475 days ago

Thanks, swirt. I’m going to give this a try. It’s a LOT less space intensive and will work just as well, if not better, than the one I built.

-- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dead-Wood-Renaissance/361417090585685

View Cozmo35's profile

Cozmo35

2198 posts in 1621 days


#5 posted 1475 days ago

Over here!,...Over here! I am WAY JEALOUS! MAN!,....What I couldn’t do with a set up like that!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

10962 posts in 1691 days


#6 posted 1475 days ago

That is really cool. You have you own sawmill in the shop. I think I could do that. I do a lot of bandsawing of logs, but this sliding sled is the way to go

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View RichardH's profile

RichardH

295 posts in 1587 days


#7 posted 1475 days ago

I like this setup a lot. I’m curious if you have a way to align your sled to the mitre slot to accommodate the drift angle of the saw?

Also, you can clamp a piece of scrap wood to the other side of your table surface (with a small cutout for the blade) and the cut piece will be supported. It won’t work on all the cuts, but is kind of nice for the big quarter sawn cut where you have lots of unsupported wood.

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View swirt's profile

swirt

1935 posts in 1557 days


#8 posted 1475 days ago

@TZH Don’t go undervaluing your sled. Yours has quite a bit more finesse to it and it can handle much heavier logs with a LOT more safety. Using mine with larger logs sometimes feels more like a wrestling match than woodworking.

The funny thing is that I didn’t realize until just now is that your sled and mine both got the original spark from Bob#2's sled. I found his long ago when (before becoming a member here) and it sparked me into thinking about using a pipeclamp. The only limitation I saw with his was it having a more limited length. I wanted to be able to do longer logs (even though I rarely end up using it for anything longer than 6’.

For me the ideal hybrid would be mine, but putting the pipeclamp saddles on t-tracks so I could leave the log locked in place, then just shift the pipe and log over to a specific amount to cut the next slab (the way Hoakie did on his sled) My problem was that I couldn’t figure out a way to do that without adding another inch to the sled’s thickness which then would further reduce my resaw capacity.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View swirt's profile

swirt

1935 posts in 1557 days


#9 posted 1475 days ago

@RichardH I don’t have a way to align it for drift. Though I have to say that drift has never been a problem with it. ... I have all kinds of drift issues when resawing by hand, but not when using the sled.

I have put a piece of 1” pine on the off-cut side of the saw table before to support the offcut.. It does help with “tilt” but at the same time it gives something for the edge of the log to get hung up on, which for a lot of the logs I am cutting, makes it difficult and sometimes unsafe because it takes too much force to push it forward. I think the best design for that would be a 1” thick board that is then tapered down heavily on the ends and the entire top surface covered with formica (or something else that is slick) so the log would be supported on the off-cut side but would be able to slide freely. I would hold this piece down with rare earth magnets embedded in the bottom, because the clamp just gets in the way. It is on my list of things to build, but has not risen to the top of the list because so far it has not been a big need.

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View Div's profile

Div

1653 posts in 1525 days


#10 posted 1474 days ago

I just love this kind of innovative thinking! Way to go.

-- Div @ the bottom end of Africa. "A woodworker's sharpest tool should be his mind."

View RichardH's profile

RichardH

295 posts in 1587 days


#11 posted 1474 days ago

I like your idea of adding rare earth magnets and coating the offcut support. I know exactly what you mean about catching up,etc. as I have a small sled for this type of resawing as well, but am only doing small logs/boards.

Maybe I’ll plane mine down a bit and cover it with some of that iron-on Melamine surface veneer. Haven’t used the stuff, but my guess is this along with the magnets would be a nice step up from what I do today.
Cheers,
Richard

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View swirt's profile

swirt

1935 posts in 1557 days


#12 posted 1474 days ago

@RichardH please let me know if you do put the melamine on it or try the magnets. I always feel better starting on one of my ideas if someone else has already made sure it will work ;)

-- Galootish log blog, http://www.timberframe-tools.com

View blackcherry's profile

blackcherry

3145 posts in 2408 days


#13 posted 1474 days ago

This such a cool idea, very creative indeed…BC

View rkevins's profile

rkevins

71 posts in 1515 days


#14 posted 1474 days ago

verry nice for small logs and a lot less time than setting up the sawmill for a few logs

View StevenAntonucci's profile

StevenAntonucci

355 posts in 2523 days


#15 posted 1474 days ago

I just want to see how you get the logs up on that thing :-)

I love the idea, and I can see how using your bandsaw as a small mill would be a great way to save a few bucks sawing your own logs. I’ll throw in one more thought- if the logs are too big to resaw, I would cut them lengthwise with a chainsaw first… that way, you could saw something much larger.

-- Steven

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