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Forum topic by Bill Swartzwelder posted 471 days ago 1491 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bill Swartzwelder

174 posts in 516 days


471 days ago

Anyone have experience owning a bandsaw mill? I have been toying with the idea.

I could buy a lot of lumber for what a mill costs…. I like tools..I am self employed, and need to buy some to help me with next years taxes, but I also don’t have money to throw away either. A small sawmill would be a big investment for me. I am sure there is a lot to learn about drying/storing and maybe even selling lumber that I don’t know. I could end up spending a bunch of money and due to lack of knowledge end up with twisted split lumber. But on the other hand I could end up having a lot of fun cutting lumber. I have 80 acres of hardwoods in AR. that has never been logged.Oak, Hickory, plum, persimmon. Any tips/been there done that…. comments?

Thanks so much, Bill

-- What if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?


20 replies so far

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

389 posts in 789 days


#1 posted 471 days ago

might save some cash: http://www.harborfreight.com/saw-mill-with-7-hp-gas-engine-67138.html

Harbor freight engines are surprisingly good. (i own 3)

View Bill Swartzwelder's profile

Bill Swartzwelder

174 posts in 516 days


#2 posted 471 days ago

I looked at those but was unsure of the quality. You own 3 of those mills? or 3 harbor freight engines.

-- What if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?

View woodnewbee's profile

woodnewbee

76 posts in 1710 days


#3 posted 471 days ago

Get a good mill. A four poster with actual hydraulic system will cut far more wood than the others. They will lift heavy logs with ease as well. Lots of physical work but worth it in the end.
I used to run a Woodmizer then moved up to a large circular mill. My dad has a a Timber King that is a joy to operate.
Drying wood is important enough to do some real research. For me getting the logs is most difficult as I work fulltime away from the woods now. There is just something about building with wood you milled that is satisfying and you get a chance to find some real cool wood.

View lab7654's profile

lab7654

250 posts in 851 days


#4 posted 471 days ago

If you’re just playing with the idea or want to experiment, I would consider building your own smaller version, either with wood or metal if you can weld or know someone. If time is more valuable, then that harbor freight mill looks pretty solid for what it is.

-- Tristin King -- When in doubt, sand it.

View MoshupTrail's profile

MoshupTrail

287 posts in 1085 days


#5 posted 471 days ago

There’s a lot to learn just to be a good sawyer. See my 7 part blog of milling a large quantity of logs.

Blog. Part 1

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

View Bill Swartzwelder's profile

Bill Swartzwelder

174 posts in 516 days


#6 posted 471 days ago

I have thought of building one. I am mechanic by trade, have all the fabricating tools and skills (Have built street rods) but don’t think I could beat the price of the Harbor freight unit previously posted.and as I age time is more valuable. it has lots of good reviews I just read.

Moshuptrail. Thanks for the link I am headed there now.

-- What if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13365 posts in 942 days


#7 posted 471 days ago

It’s not a get rich quick scheme. Hard work, sweat, sawdust and dirt. It can be great and I absolutely love doing it. But you have to be committed from the start.

I have been threatened with being committed several times. :-)

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

View Bill Swartzwelder's profile

Bill Swartzwelder

174 posts in 516 days


#8 posted 471 days ago

Not sure I want to get into it at that level. I worked at an old fashioned Sawmill when I was 19-20years old stacking Oak railroad ties as they came off the blade rollers. I may saw 20-25 logs a year. Unless i fall in love with it. Thanks for all the tips so far.

As far as hydraulic lifts, I inherited a fork lift from my dad that I can use for moving logs around.

where is a good place to get info on log care/ lumber drying. I currently have 8 26” pine logs and 3 24” oak logs and a cedar in my back yard waiting to be cut into lumber. I have them off the ground but haven’t done anything else to them yet.

-- What if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1098 posts in 559 days


#9 posted 471 days ago

Bill, I’m a fellow Arkansan and would love to have the space and ability to own a mill. I’ve thought about a slightly more elaborate chainsaw mill rig that would allow me to saw somewhat larger logs. If you go for it I’d be happy to trade labor and help for lumber.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Bill Swartzwelder's profile

Bill Swartzwelder

174 posts in 516 days


#10 posted 471 days ago

where are you located richard? I am in Conway

I thought of going chainsaw mill route and buying a big bandsaw to do resawing and sizing… but figured a chainsaw mill would be slower than molasses

-- What if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?

View richardwootton's profile

richardwootton

1098 posts in 559 days


#11 posted 471 days ago

I’m in Hot Springs but in Little Rock every Sunday and Monday. As a matter of fact I was in Conway today and scored a nice 605 Bedrock, Stanley #7, and a pretty nice #4. I know some have had good success with chainsaw mills, but I think the saw has something to do with that. It seems like it could provide a good opportunity to learn things about being a sawyer, at least until your willing to really invest in a band saw mill. A small solar kiln could also be a nice addition to a chainsaw mill so that you could get a return on your investment through kiln dried wood selling it at a fraction of the price our current hardwood providers sell their products for.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View Bill Swartzwelder's profile

Bill Swartzwelder

174 posts in 516 days


#12 posted 471 days ago

I have space in my backyard for a solar kiln. Next time you are in Conway look me up. I would like to know what the attraction is people seem to have with hand planes. :)

-- What if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

489 posts in 1503 days


#13 posted 471 days ago

Ya that would be sweet the mill well pay for its self and a solar kiln well cut your drying time in half.

View sprucegum's profile

sprucegum

323 posts in 602 days


#14 posted 471 days ago

I am pretty happy with my Hudson 236 with a 23 hp vangaurd engine. It has power up and down and I added a 12 volt winch to assist with loading and turning logs. It is a ground mill so moving and setting it up is some what time consuming. It is sold as a 36” mill but sawing a 36” log is a little over the top for it , I have done it but it ain’t easy. 30” logs go pretty good and 24” is a snap. If you are working alone as I often do power feed would not speed you up much. There are quite a few manual mills available in the same price range as the hudson, I went with Hudson because it had most of the features I wanted and there is a local dealer so I paid no shipping. Working alone sawing decent clean soft wood logs I can only saw about 100 bd ft/hr this includes the time spent taking care of the slabs and sticking the lumber I can do 2-3 hundred with a helper. I have sawed some huge rock maple, they are heavy and must be turned often in order to get the best grade: it is dam slow work alone but the results are spectacular. Building a mill was something I looked into there is no shortage of plans and kits but you will have a good bit of money in it when you are done and you will have a home made mill with little resale value. Resale was important to me because if I am able to sell enough hardwood lumber harvested from my own land to justify it I may want to up grade. I hope this helps and be sure to look at as many mills as possible before laying down your hard earned money.

-- A tube of calk and a gallon of paint will make a carpenter what he ain't

View Bill Swartzwelder's profile

Bill Swartzwelder

174 posts in 516 days


#15 posted 471 days ago

Found a guy close by with a wood mizer, going cut logs at his place in a couple weeks, and see how I like it.

-- What if the Hokey Pokey really is what its all about?

showing 1 through 15 of 20 replies

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