turning a BS into a saw mill

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Forum topic by Shawn Masterson posted 06-23-2014 01:30 AM 1153 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1972 days

06-23-2014 01:30 AM

I keep coming across this on CL. I really don’t have the room for a BS of this size in the shop. I was looking for some input as to making it into a home made mill. Anyone out there ever think about doing something of this nature.

Just thinking out loud. Thanks guys

7 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5137 posts in 1744 days

#1 posted 06-23-2014 03:17 AM

I’ve got a 20” bandsaw with a 1 1/4” ripping blade installed. I also have a very tall fence and a long infeed and outfeed table attached to the saw. I’m limited right now to about a 14” log about 7’ long and thus far have done ok with it. The biggest problem is for this kind of setup, you need to be able to get the log into position, difficult due to the shear mass of green wood of this dimension. The other aspect of the labor is physically pushing the log through by hand.

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1588 days

#2 posted 06-23-2014 03:38 AM

Thinking out loud myself here. A series of in feed and out feed rollers to help mitigate the weight and force needed to punch a massive log through might help. Keeping a couple hundred pound log from rolling as your cutting would have me a little concerned.

The money for the band saw and a few hundred in material costs to getting it to operate like a half ass mill would make me look into a cheaper stationary milling solution if I had the space.


View William Shelley's profile

William Shelley

572 posts in 1493 days

#3 posted 06-23-2014 04:38 AM

Take a look at how Matthias uses his shopmade bandsaw as a sawmill by mounting it to a set of rails.

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View summerfi's profile


3953 posts in 1711 days

#4 posted 06-23-2014 04:51 AM

I have a resaw bandsaw as well as a portable band sawmill. I’ve sawed some small logs on the resaw, but it’s a chore. Sawing logs on the sawmill is easy. +1 to saving your nickles and either buying an economy portable sawmill or making your own. You’ll have a safer and more satisfactory outcome than trying to jury rig a sawmill out of a bandsaw.

-- Bob, Missoula, MT -- Rocky Mountain Saw Works

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 1972 days

#5 posted 06-23-2014 10:14 PM

William is on the track. I am considering striping everything and making an eletric mill. I’m still trying to figure if I’m nuts.

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William Shelley

572 posts in 1493 days

#6 posted 06-23-2014 10:47 PM

Take note that even the legendary Matthias Wandel had a plethora of issues with this. I think Bob is right in that building a dedicated sawmill is going to be better.

However you might be able to rig up a collapsable set of rails that could hold a log on a ‘carraige’ with a pair of dogs which could restrain the log and allow you to push it past the bandsaw blade of your saw with it standing upright as normal, to get the initial flat on the log. Once you’ve cut a flat side you can flip the log onto the table and cut it normally.

Dogs bite into the log (hammer them into the bark) like this:

Simple ones look like this:

-- Woodworking from an engineer's perspective

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2713 days

#7 posted 06-24-2014 12:57 AM

I’ve milled shorter logs (up to 6’) on my 17” bandsaw using a log carriage sled, infeed rollers, and outfeed table. I now have a WoodMizer sawmill and I will NEVER mill another log on the bandsaw!

Blades for the mill are cheaper and can be reset/resharpened. They also last much longer on the mill. I would discourage you if you are interested in milling anything over ~3’ long.

The small manual mills like mine (LT15) are so much faster and efficient.

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

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