Easier way to do this?

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Forum topic by bigblockyeti posted 04-07-2014 04:06 PM 1144 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5140 posts in 1746 days

04-07-2014 04:06 PM

I’ve gotten pretty good at using my 20” bandsaw as a sawmill for processing logs, but I’m trying to figure out how to best do the same with longer logs. The last picture is of a 9’ red oak log turned into a 10” x 8” cant with a “beam machine” and a saw with a cross cut chain reground into a ripping chain. This has proven far more labor intensive and slower than I originally imagined. I’d love to be able to rip down a log like this on my bandsaw, but my limiting factors are first, the weight of such a green log, second the extremely long in feed and out feed tables that would be required for such a task. The other two pictures are of ash, red oak, black walnut and cedar logs that I’d like to get cut up before too long, but the only mill close to me wants $0.75/bdft, even if he’s slabbing the wood 4” thick requiring very few cuts. At this time, that just seems like too much to me, given the minimal work required. Any idea on how to do this faster, easier, or cheaper would be greatly appreciated as I’m just not yet ready to buy a bandmill and apparently no one rents them, for reasons I can certainly understand.

11 replies so far

View John's profile


244 posts in 1607 days

#1 posted 04-07-2014 04:23 PM

You might try looking at Alaskan sawmills. A buddy and I are planning to mill some lumber this spring, and that seems like the most cost effective manner to do it. Haven’t tried it yet, but it looks effective based on various youtube videos.

-- I measured once, cut twice, and its still too short...

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5140 posts in 1746 days

#2 posted 04-07-2014 04:48 PM

That’s certainly on my list of things to look at, my bigger saw is only 64cc and I see many guys using these with saws that are 85cc+ and you still end up with a pretty big kerf, just made quicker. The converted ripping chain does seem to perform better in ripping cuts, but another concern of my is how much better one of the Alaskan mills will be in terms of precision in the cut vs. the beam machine, which after using, I do not regard very highly.

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3673 days

#3 posted 04-07-2014 04:56 PM

I’ve seen pictures of band saws rigged up with long infeed
and outfeed tables. In terms of lifting, a block and tackle
mounted on some sort of gantry will help.

It’s also possible to dig a pit and put the band saw in
it so the table is closer to ground level.

You could also embrace the old-school approach and
split the logs as Roy Underhill is known to do.

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5140 posts in 1746 days

#4 posted 04-07-2014 05:08 PM

I thought about the Roy Underhill way, and I have been looking for an adze to try hand hewing a few logs, if nothing else at least I could end up with a more manageable cant to man handle onto my saw as it currently sits.

View Bluepine38's profile


3379 posts in 3111 days

#5 posted 04-07-2014 05:13 PM

I have used raised roller stands and muscle to cut logs into lumber on my 14” Shop Fox and it is not an easy
process. Most 20” machines would not be easy to shorten, so you are left with Loren’s suggestion of digging
a pit, or you could split the logs into the cants you can manage with your beam saw, then bite the bullet
and build those infeed and outfeed tables. That is what I am contemplating if I need more pine. Please
post your solution.

-- As ever, Gus-the 79 yr young apprentice carpenter

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 2098 days

#6 posted 04-07-2014 09:27 PM

+1 loren and Bluepine38 On the in and out feed. What I have done is “table” the log in a ply wood cradle and then use in and out feed rollers. If the site were video friendly I have a video of the process. However there are a lot of other videos of the process on you tube. My apologies if this is how you do it now, and don’t find it helpful for longer logs. I have routinely done 10 and 12’ logs with this approach.

-- Who is John Galt?

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5140 posts in 1746 days

#7 posted 04-07-2014 09:38 PM

My long term solution is to buy a Woodmizer LT15, but I can’t justify that just for fun right now, it would have to be able to pay for itself in a year if I bought now. My short term solution is to go ahead and build the long in feed and out feed tables. The problem with that is my shop is already getting a little cozy and I was hoping to use the space for lumber storage/drying after being milled, kind of a catch 22.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2716 days

#8 posted 04-08-2014 12:49 AM

I will relate my experiences doing what you want to do:

First, I built a long outfeed table and 6’ sled for my 17” bandsaw and bought serious resaw blades @ $70 each. The results were very frustrating: logs were so heavy to maneuver across the saw, painfully slow, and ANY blade drift created big problems.

Next, I tried an Alaskan chainsaw mill: unbelievable amount of work, 2 tanks of gas per 6’ cut, and very marginal cut surfacelso constant chain sharpening.

Then I found a Woodmizer LT15 on CL! It is magical! You really can’t truly appreciate one until you have been through the bandsaw/chainsaw progression. I started selling rough cut lumber on Feb 25 and my mill has almost paid for itself already.

Just my experience. Your mileage may vary.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1746 days

#9 posted 04-08-2014 01:10 AM

gfadvm – your sentiments about the Alaskan mill are the main reasons I want to stay away from one, that and everyone I’ve seen online cutting with anything resembling speed is using a near $2000 saw! I think I’ve got the drift issue figured out, but it does make a 500lb log any lighter until it’s cut in half and I know I won’t be able to handle those forever.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2716 days

#10 posted 04-08-2014 01:17 AM

Be careful that you don’t break a trunion on the big bandsaw. They are not meant to carry that much weight.

Sorry to rain on yer parade but better to learn from other’s experience.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View peterbb's profile


37 posts in 2313 days

#11 posted 04-08-2014 02:07 AM

Have a look at – he has a few items there on (mis-)using his wooden bandsaws as sawmills – may give you some ideas…

-- Peter

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