Creating your own, cheapest method?

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Forum topic by BerBer5985 posted 617 days ago 1634 views 1 time favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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420 posts in 1055 days

617 days ago

I always see a lot of people giving away felled trees after storms and what not and I think to myself that for a little work, I could have a nice stack of usable lumber. I always wondered how people were creating their own lumber using hand tools and if its worth it , and then what the cheapest way to mill my own lumber would be to where it would justify the occasional tree every once in a while. Any suggestions?

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

16 replies so far

View Dallas's profile


2874 posts in 1122 days

#1 posted 617 days ago

I have a chainsaw mill and it is anything but economical. In a 30” log I go through about 16 ounces of gas oil mix every 8’. Each tank of gas equals using about a cup and a half of bar oil. Chains are $20-25/ea for my saw. Files are $3-5 for a pair.
Every 2-4 hours of use I need to sharpen the chain, and get maybe 10 sharpenings out of each file.
If I hit a nail or bolt or any other metal FOD, all bets are off… I replace the chain. I get maybe 30 sharpenings out of each chain and it takes 20-30 minutes to sharpen each time.

I use to work as a sawyer on a 35HP Woodmizer band mill. Each blade was $30-50 depending on what we needed. (Yeah, I know you can buy them cheaper, this is what I was told by my boss).
Every night I would take one or two blades home and sharpen them in the shop, probably an hour or two of work cutting into my beer time. Since I was paid by the board foot produced, I didn’t make any extra while sharpening. BTW, it’s no quick task swapping out a bandsaw blade on any band mill.

I have an Adze, timber tools and a couple of cross cut saws along with a two man rip saw…. I ain’t never gonna use them!

It’s up to you what you want to do, but for me I love harvesting my own wood and processing it into lumber. It’s not a matter of economics, it’s just another part of the journey from tree to finished project.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Nicky's profile


636 posts in 2727 days

#2 posted 617 days ago

Dallas, very nicely said.

I’ve had from time to time brought logs to a sawyer. I’m charged $150/h with a minimum of 1 hr. Last trip was 3 walnut logs acquired around town, for free. I got about 140 bd/ft with a ~$210 bill. $30 for gas.

Clear 6/4 and 8/4 Walnut for $1.75 for a bd/ft is economical to me.

-- Nicky

View KabreCustoms's profile


5 posts in 619 days

#3 posted 617 days ago

I got myself a 6” throated steel bandsaw with half a dozen different blades from metal and wood scrolling blades up to 3/4 inch for flat resawing. Takes a little trimmimg with the chainsaw and hatchet to make sure it is close enough to 6” so it will fit through the bandsaw throat. Then it is just a matter of either a steady hand, or using a jig to get cut down to 1” thick (i usually cut em 1” so i can plane it to whatever thickness needed. sawing isn’t as difficult as figuring out how to dry the wood to a 7-10% moisture content. I’ve built a 4’x4’x8’ kiln for big logs, and a kiln out of an old dishwasher and a 100w light for smaller workable pieces.

-- You need it, I build it. no custom job too big or small. Message me with your plans for pricing and material availability!

View Don W's profile

Don W

14899 posts in 1202 days

#4 posted 617 days ago

I’ll repeat was Dallas said. I do it because I love to do it. When I hand my custom 30-06 to someone and say, “that stock came from a tree I cut down” the look is priceless.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13833 posts in 973 days

#5 posted 617 days ago

Same as Dallas. I find enormous joy in taking it from tree to finished product.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View BerBer5985's profile


420 posts in 1055 days

#6 posted 617 days ago

Anyone do the job with hand tools ever?

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

View Loren's profile


7457 posts in 2283 days

#7 posted 617 days ago

You can rive wet logs into halves and then rive those halves
into boards. That’s the way the vikings did it. It’s still
a useful technique for chairmakers and bowyers.


View Don W's profile

Don W

14899 posts in 1202 days

#8 posted 617 days ago

Anyone do the job with hand tools ever?

You’ll need to be WAY younger than me.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View BerBer5985's profile


420 posts in 1055 days

#9 posted 617 days ago

Hahaha sounds like loads of fun to me!

-- Greg, Owner, Quality Carpet One,

View knockknock's profile


197 posts in 808 days

#10 posted 617 days ago

Anyone do the job with hand tools ever?

I am working on a piece of road kill. After who-ever sawed it up and took it away, they left about a foot long crotch (unsplitable for firewood). So far I have sliced it using an Irwin carpenter’s saw, and baked the slices in the oven at 215 deg for 2 hours (to kill anything in it). Now I have it sitting on the floor of my bedroom waiting for it to dry. It won’t amount to much wood, but if I make a mallet or a box out of it, I can say I did it.

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 1872 days

#11 posted 617 days ago

I’ve got my Grandfather’s crosscut saw. When I was a kid, I saw it used to make boards. There was a log deck over a pit and one man stood on the bars holding up the log and the other worker was in the pit under the log. It seemed like it took forever to cut a board off the log. The poor guy on the bottom came out of the pit covered with sawdust. I sure wouldn’t want to be the bottom worker.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Greg..the Cajun  Box Sculptor's profile

Greg..the Cajun Box Sculptor

5020 posts in 1943 days

#12 posted 617 days ago

In the past I have worked with a friend to transport, mill and dry lumber..It was a heck of a lot of work, a great experience back then and I was about 30+ years younger…These days I find enormous joy in taking it from lumberyard to finished product

-- If retiring is having the time to be able to do what you enjoy then I have always been retired.

View Milo's profile


851 posts in 1954 days

#13 posted 617 days ago

Nicky, you are getting seriously ripped off. I had a guy in Tennessee who would do 1000 bf for $200 if I brought it to him. Look around some more for another guy, if you can.

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View Nicky's profile


636 posts in 2727 days

#14 posted 617 days ago

slim pickings milo in my area.

-- Nicky

View Tomj's profile


204 posts in 1016 days

#15 posted 617 days ago

I do what Loren said for making bows. It’s a work out though. I’ll also make a bow from a store bought board but it’s not the same as starting from a stave.

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