Ripsaw or Alaskan Chainsaw or Sawyer or ???

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Forum topic by Mary Anne posted 05-04-2010 06:05 PM 5337 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mary Anne

1058 posts in 2631 days

05-04-2010 06:05 PM

I had to take down two oak trees on my property just before winter set in. Both trunks are about 18” diameter, and one of them would yield straight boards about 14’ long. I guess the first real question is if these trees would be worth milling into boards, or should I just cut them up for turning blocks and firewood?

If the trees should/could be milled into boards, finding a sawyer with a portable mill near Boone, NC would be my first choice – I think. The trouble is, I’ve tried all the online resources that everyone mentions and I’ve come up dry. The closest I came was a guy who had just sold his mill and I never got a call back from the guy he sold it to.

So, if I decide to go for it myself, which is the better choice for a person like me who would only be doing this on occasion? I am sort of leaning toward the Ripsaw bandsaw type mill because of the smaller kerf and a smaller HP chainsaw motor will run it than any of the chainsaw mills I’ve looked into.

I would appreciate any information or recommendations from LJs who know anything about “hobbiest” mills.


11 replies so far

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1262 posts in 2589 days

#1 posted 05-04-2010 06:38 PM

Good luck! Keep us posted on how you go about getting it done.

I have a cherry tree that needs to come down. Might be able to get a log out of it.

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3641 days

#2 posted 05-04-2010 07:06 PM

If I were you, I’d go with a hacksaw and a pipe wrench. :-)

Seriously, though… I’d think about it this way: Are you going to have access to more logs in the future? Because this sounds like a lot of time, effort, and money to invest just to saw up a couple of trees. But then I’m basically lazy. The thought of wrestling with a log and a chainsaw mill just doesn’t push my “fun” button. Your mileage may vary, of course.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 3328 days

#3 posted 05-04-2010 07:09 PM

I will take a shot at giving you some leads…are any of these guys near you ? This is on a quick 5 minute search on my website “nationwide sawmill finder” page. If that didn’t help there are other resourses on that link…there are a bunch of sawmills in NC, I mean a bunch. And most don’t advertise, but maybe one of these guys “knows a guy” even closer. It’s a place to start calling anyway.

Elliott Sawmill
Custom Sawing Sanford, NC

Asheville Mantle and Slab
Custom Sawing | Other Asheville, NC

Roy Biggs
Custom Sawing Cartage, NC

C and C Lumber
Custom Sawing Mayodan, NC

Jack’s Custom Sawing
Custom Sawing Walnut Cove, NC

Elliott’s Custom Sawmill
Custom Sawing Winston Salem, NC

Custom Sawing Climax, NC

Peterson’s Portable Custom Sawing
Custom Sawing Yanceyville, NC

Griffin and Sons Custom Saw Milling
Custom Sawing Chapel Hill, NC

Whispering Pines Farm
Other | Custom Sawing | Kiln Drying | Moulding | Planing | Straight-line Sawing New Hill, NC

Murdock Building Co. & Portable Sawmill
Custom Sawing Rolesville, NC

Chris Williams
Custom Sawing Candor, NC

LynchCo, LLC Custom Portable Sawmill
Custom Sawing Raleigh, NC

Weeksville Wood Worx
Custom Sawing Elizabeth City, NC

Tony’s Custom Sawing
Custom Sawing Hobbsville, NC

Currituck Millworks
Custom Sawing Moyock, NC

Moores Wood
Custom Sawing bostic, NC

The Sawmill
Kiln Drying | Custom Sawing | Logging Iron Station, NC

H&W Custom Cut Lumber
Custom Sawing Waxhaw, NC

Feltz’s Sawmill
Kiln Drying | Custom Sawing Raeford, NC

Old Growth Riverwood
Other | Custom Sawing | Kiln Drying | Logging | Planing | Moulding | Straight-line Sawing Wilmington, NC

Beaver Branch Saw Mill
Custom Sawing Burgaw, NC

Cape Fear River Wood Products LLC
Custom Sawing Navassa, NC

Charlie’s sawmill
Custom Sawing Havelock, NC

Austin Hunt Lumber Co., Inc.
Custom Sawing Statesville, NC

Statesville SawMill & Lumber
Kiln Drying | Custom Sawing Statesville, NC

M&K Timber Works
Custom Sawing Fleetwood, NC

Custom Sawing Laurel Springs, NC

Mtn HomeCrafters, Ltd.
Custom Sawing Cashiers, NC

Mountain Sawyers, LLC
Custom Sawing Fairview, NC

Woodsmith Portable Mil Service
Custom Sawing Leicester, NC

Innovative Wood Products
Custom Sawing Leicester, NC

McConnell Millworks
Straight-line Sawing | Planing | Moulding | Logging | Kiln Drying | Custom Sawing Otto, NC

C&M Sawmill
Custom Sawing Weaverville, NC

Sunrise Sawmill, Inc.
Custom Sawing Asheville, NC

Woodsmith Portable Mill Service
Custom Sawing Woodfin, NC

Edens Custom Milling
Custom Sawing Asheville, NC

Kiln Drying | Grading | Custom Sawing Andrews, NC

Shooting Creek Lumber Co.
Custom Sawing Hayesville, NC

Hager Custom Sawing
Greg Hager
Email address:
Phone: 704-263-1433
Mailing Address: 609 Mt. Zion Church Road Alexis, NC 28006

Currituck Millworks
Craig Eason
Email address:
(252) 340-1670
328 South Mills Rd. Moyock, NC 27958
Web Site:

Blue Ridge Lumber
Thomas Perry
2854 Old Hwy 421 East Yadkinville,NC 27055

Paul Greene Lumber Co336-877-4814
11892 US Highway 221 S, Fleetwood, NC

(10.3 miles)
Mountain City Lumber Co423-727-5113
Highway 91 N, Mountain City, TN

Paddy Mountain Lumber Co Inc336-982-3667
1353 Old Highway 16, Jefferson, NC

Roan Mountain Sawmill423-772-9421
136 Miller Hollow Rd, Roan Mountain, TN

Diamond Dee Co828-754-1200
Lenoir, NC

Mointain City Lumber Co423-727-0156
350 Dry Stone Branch Rd, Mountain City, TN

Hartley Brothers Sawmill Inc336-921-2955
8507 W Nc Highway 268, Boomer, NC

L & E Lumber Inc336-982-3070
260 Huckleberry Ridge Rd, Crumpler, NC

Jerry Huffman Sawmill336-973-3606
287 Cactus Ln, Wilkesboro, NC

Summit Woodworks828-964-2903
8825 Hwy 88 E, Laurel Springs, NC

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3099 days

#4 posted 05-04-2010 07:14 PM

I’d be inclined to riff them in lenghts of lumber you anticipate using if they aren’t much over 5-6 feet.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3245 days

#5 posted 05-04-2010 07:28 PM

I hope you can find someone, Mary Anne. A few years back I had to have a couple of ash trees and a cherry taken out and tried to find a sawyer to mill them for me but could not find anyone willing to do so. The one person that I found with a portable mill would not do it because it was such a small job. Needless to say the trees went for firewood and I stayed at work rather than watch them take the trees down.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Knothead62's profile


2581 posts in 2384 days

#6 posted 05-04-2010 07:31 PM

Daren, thanks a bunch for the directory! I found a sawmill about 10 miles from home. I saved it on my Favorites for future reference for sawing and other services.

View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2764 days

#7 posted 05-04-2010 07:50 PM

wow , mary anne ,

you are getting serious with this stuff .

start a business ,
incorporate ,
move it to china ,

retire ,
and make bowls ans cutting boards !

good luck .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 2631 days

#8 posted 05-04-2010 07:53 PM

lumberdustjohn, I’ll probably do a blog on it whatever way I end up getting it done.

Charllie, I’m not completely crazy. I have a couple of good ol’ mountain boys lined up to help if I have to go that route. You would be heartsick if you saw the number of downed trees just lying there going to rot on my street alone. Especially after the ice storm we had a few months back.

Thanks for the list, Daren. There are a few on there that I don’t recall from the last time I tried to find someone. It turned out that only a few were close enough to consider, fewer still with portable mills, and like in Scott’s situation, zero interested in a small job. I will check out the ones I haven’t tried before. I was hoping for the “guy who knows a guy” thing to possibly happen here.

Lucky you, Knothead! Make sure you get in touch with them and find out if they will work with you.

View tnwood's profile


248 posts in 2509 days

#9 posted 05-05-2010 01:27 AM

I have a RipSaw (currently for sale actually) that I used for several years in NH on my own property. I milled several thousand bf of cherry and maple with it and am using some of the dried material now for a sewing machine cabinet for my wife. The RipSaw works well but it is a lot of work to move the log to the right position (preferably about waist high), install the guide beams for the first several cuts to establish the cant, and then to do the milling which is actually the easy part of the process. If you only have a log or two, if you can find a sawyer who will do it for a flat fee or a reasonable rate (maybe $0.35 a bf or so plus set up and a charge for any bands that hit a nail in the lot), I would do that. If you have a source of logs on a long term basis then a chain saw mill, RipSaw or a larger bandsaw mill are reasonable. The thing about milling yourself is that you have to have some way of moving logs to do it properly. It can be done with levers, jacks, winches, etc. but a tractor or similar is much more appropriate.

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 2631 days

#10 posted 05-05-2010 06:13 AM

Where are you in TN? Wanna come up the mountain and demonstrate that RipSaw you have for sale? LOL How much are you asking for it, anyway? If I have to buy one, used would certainly be a good idea.

I know it is probably crazy to consider doing this myself, even with my mountain boys to help. I’ve always been too stubborn for my own good. But I just can’t see letting these trees go to firewood. Maybe the smartest thing would be to use a chainsaw to get it into manageable chunks to run through my bandsaw. I have a 14” Rikon Deluxe.

Need a new chainsaw anyway. I’m thinking the Stihl MS260. (How many times will it take before I learn to never EVER loan out my tools?)

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17577 posts in 3099 days

#11 posted 05-05-2010 06:43 AM

You can’t go wring with a Stihl. My 041 Super makes more wood than I can handle ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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