Anyone like their harbor freight sawmill?

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Forum topic by ykkzipper posted 06-21-2016 11:02 PM 2824 views 0 times favorited 2 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 1235 days

06-21-2016 11:02 PM

Anyone bought one of these harbor freight sawmills? Not trying to start a HF debate thread. I have some products from them that I’m happy with and vice versa.

I have a 60’ oak I’m taking down in my yard and want to mill it for various projects. A local guy said he could mill it for me for $600. He seems legit and I’m sure I could learn a lot by just watching him.

I was thinking of paying the additional $1800 for the actual mill myself and then I’d have a nice tool that I would definitely put to use. I have access to a variety of species of trees that need to be removed for family and friends. So plenty of wood to practice with.

I don’t have the time/skills to build my own. Just seeing if anyone has an opinion on this.


2 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3850 days

#1 posted 06-22-2016 01:49 AM

Look on Forestry forums.

I think I read that with some improvements it’s not
a bad deal in a starter mill and I am sure it
works out of the box.

View Von's profile


238 posts in 2415 days

#2 posted 06-28-2016 04:20 AM

Go for the mill, it’s worth the $. Ya, it’s a clone of another mill out there, but it’s about half the cost and is built with nearly the exact same parts. A lot of them actually interchange. (smaller engine and different throttle control and measure guide for cuts) It does have a slightly smaller engine as noted – than the name brand it’s based off, but it does fine. Just a couple of things to note: it ships in one 6 foot long crate, the power head and factory blade are assembled and lift into place once you have the legs and deck put together. It is made of pretty stout steel, it’s not a lightweight machine -despite the discount price. The factory blade is ok, but wears fast. The mill does run faster with the factory blade, but it won’t get you very far. Make plans ahead and call CooksSaw, ask them for their Box of 10 Cook’s Xcel Black 144” 1-1/4 x .042×7/8” Blades CODE: XCEL1212427B. For about $16/blade -shipped- you will have plenty of them to get ya goin. (and that factory blade WILL peter out soon after you get goin) The book says to bolt the deck together but I chose to weld the outer rails for better stability. I still bolted the bungs and misc. other hardware though. While the deck length is about 10 or 12 feet once put together, you really only have about 8.5 to 9 feet of cutting length. I’m solving that by adding extra steel to each rail sometime in the future. (I will need to be cutting 20 footers eventually)

**The book doesn’t quite cover the process of blade changes- after you crank down the tensioner to where the new blade can be fitted, you also have to adjust the pitch/camber bolt at the back of the drive hub -which you then re-tighten as you bring the tensioner back out. Once the blade spins smoothly and tracks right you lock the camber/pitch bolt down and get back to milling. It took me about a half hour to figure out the combo of tension/camber adjustment the first time. I could do it now in about 2 or 3 minutes.

I bought mine back in February of this year, with the 20% coupon and a website promo discount to begin with, it was at my door for about $1600 -without a lift gate fee as I was able to unload it form the cargo van/truck with a bobcat.
Just this afternoon I milled up a 32” by 8.5 white pine bolt -the biggest log I had on the property so far. Manhandling that bolt was a chore, but the mill had no trouble getting it done.
If the smaller engine is an issue, HF does offer bigger engines that are complete bolt-in swaps. I’m happy with mine so far. And so are my neighbors. Heck, the mill has made me some $ already and I have a few people who want stuff milled up.

Here’s a vid we made after I had it set up initially (it’s since been moved off the trailer to a patch of ground while we overhaul the trailer) I have put a few thousand board feet through mine since the video was put up.

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