Resawing logs with a bandsaw

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Forum topic by butch777 posted 04-18-2012 08:05 PM 6747 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2224 days

04-18-2012 08:05 PM

I live in a forest area in south central Colorado, with aspen and pine logs available just outside my doorway. I build log style furniture and harvest all my own logs. I have a Delta X5 bandsaw with a 6” riser block. I’ve done very little resawing, but want and need to resaw logs of lengths from 4’ to 10’, and diameters from 5” to 12”. Cutting logs of these lengths of course provides greater challenges than cutting logs of 2’ – 3’ in length.

I’m looking for guidance from anyone who might have experience with this challenge, and suggestions for a design for a simple, stable jig which can handle logs of lengths from 4’ to 10’ and diameters of 5” to 12”. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks to all, and remember, safety first!

9 replies so far

View MoshupTrail's profile


304 posts in 2475 days

#1 posted 04-18-2012 09:00 PM

First, you will NOT be resawing. You will be milling. What’s the diff?
Resawing is done to dry wood. (MC approx 10% or less) Milling is done to green or wet wood. Pine or aspen logs will probably be 20-25% MC.
While it MIGHT be possible to rig up a large jig I would not recommend it. Your bandsaw is basically for resawing and other small, hobbyist activities. Milling requires a LOT more power and a bigger blade.
You could try some small stuff – say less than 6-8” diameter and less than 5 feet long. But to go larger you could damage your saw.

-- Some problems are best solved with an optimistic approach. Optimism shines a light on alternatives that are otherwise not visible.

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3747 days

#2 posted 04-18-2012 10:12 PM

Yes you can. I used to do it as a kid all the time. The size of your bandsaw will dictate how thick/long can can mill.

We had a 18” 3 HP. My grandfather showed me how to make a sled, and I was on my way. I could cut 12” x 5’ lengths with no problem. A 3 TPI blade was pretty much all I used. If you have a little 14” BS, I recommend no thicker than 7-8” because you are cutting wet wood and it binds alot. Its not about capacity of the saw that matters…........ wet wood will dictate how thick you can go.

Here is a great YouTube video that brings back alot of memories.

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2830 days

#3 posted 04-18-2012 10:19 PM

Get a lot of roller supports The biggest issue will be how to get a log up to the bandsaw and hold it there. Rollers screwed to the floor so they don’t tip and set up level with the saw will let you hold the log up. You’ll find plenty of jigs for logs here that work nicely, just make them longer to deal with the logs. The bigger issue really is how to get the log up to the saw and manipulate it, especially at the large size of what you are suggesting. A 10” log 8’ in length is not for the weak and will need at least 2 people to move through the first couple cuts. For the beer money it will cost to get such help and the amount of time involved you may just want to buy the lumber.
Now if you built a jig to hold the bandsaw on its side, created runners that a sled could move through and built a sled to set the log on that might be feasible to cut with safely. Just have to make riser blocks to move the log up as you run it under the saw to create your depth of cuts. In either case get a really good resaw blade.
Best bet, collect several larger logs at once and have someone come out an mill them for you. Less back breaking labor and way faster then you could go.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2917 days

#4 posted 04-19-2012 12:19 AM

What are you cutting for?? Planks(boards)?? If that is what you are looking at, find yourself a chainsaw mill. If you are looking at something different ,use the mill to square up the log and get it more manageable. Then use rollers like derosa pointed out.

-- Life is good.

View Phred50's profile


4 posts in 2225 days

#5 posted 04-19-2012 10:07 AM

I work with Mesquite logs on a regular basis. I made a fence/jig for my chainsaw to do the bulk cuts and save my nice bandsaw. It wastes a little more wood but its very simple and requires no helper. At home in the yard I use a lightweight electric throwaway chainsaw, easy to handle and cuts great. Just my thoughts…. Steve

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2259 days

#6 posted 04-19-2012 04:48 PM

Like Howie and Phred50, I’d get a chainsaw mill to process the wood into a manageable size first. Yes, it will waste a lot of wood compared to a bandsaw, but, having milled huge logs into slabs and boards on a regular basis, I can tell you the wood is pretty unwieldy to feed into lighter weight machinery.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I needed to plane red oak into a 1.75” thick x 12” wide x 8’ long plank starting with a 2.25” x 33” x 8’ long slab. I’m a fairly strong guy (benchpress around 300 lbs) and it was a chore just for me to move it into my truck and onto work tables to size it down. I’m imagining a 12’ long 10-12” wide log isn’t going to be fun to deal with either.

So, here are some ideas:

1. Get a metal detector. You will eventually find a log with either rocks, nails, or bullets grown/hammered/shot into it. They are not friendly to bandsaw blades.
2. A chainsaw mill will make the logs more manageable. They are relatively cheap especially if you have a chainsaw already.
3. If you insist on using just your bandsaw, add as much weight to it as possible (and bolt to floor also). Big logs weigh a lot and can easily topple a machine with even seemingly small impacts (Force = mass x acceleration). That’s usually an issue b/c you’re at one end of the log pushing/feeding and the machine falls over while running.
4. Have a really big feed (in/out) table. Build the saw into the table and have an easy to move sled mounted to the table.

There is a reason why most smaller sawmills move the cutters rather than the log… because logs are heavy. If you can build a rig to rail mount your bandsaw, do it. Otherwise, use it for cutting pieces that are either small or have been sized down.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2292 days

#7 posted 04-19-2012 04:54 PM

yep it will be tippy better have it bolted to the floor and better have a big infeed outfeed table and be able to move fast and a big sled toggle clamps will work take out the bolt and put a long bolt in and sharpen the bolt like a saw mill could be a little unsafe one misque on the bandsaw and your arm is gone

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View butch777's profile


2 posts in 2224 days

#8 posted 04-19-2012 05:08 PM

Wow! I didn’t expect so many very helpful comments, and so soon. Thanks to everyone for your suggestions and guidance. Because of the information, comments, and suggestions received I’ve decided not to take chances of damaging my band saw. I harvest my own “standing dead” aspen and pine logs, so most of them are quite dry. I’ll consider using one of my chainsaws with some type of milling attachment or framework, or take my logs to someone who has a mill. It’s so enjoyable to harvest logs, then to work with them, discovering God’s creation of the beauty inside, even if only just beneath the dead bark!

I will appreciate hearing from anyone who mills their own logs, and about what type of equipment is used. Again, thanks to everyone for responding to my inquiries.
“Butch 777”

View Bertha's profile


13525 posts in 2687 days

#9 posted 04-19-2012 05:12 PM

I’ve got a little mini version somewhere around here. I’ve got a 20 inch saw but the logs are so unwieldy in my small shop that I’ve never milled something longer than a few feet. I think the chainsaw mill is the way to go. They’re a lot cheaper now than when I first started looking at them years ago. Figure $400-600 for a 18-20” saw and another $300 for the rig. That’s still less than $1000 for a nice setup and you’ll have the saw for other tasks. That’s how I’m selling it to my better half, at least:)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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