I use a Wood-Mizer LT-15
It's impractical to build a band mill from scratch. You're going to
buy in the engine, and you need to source wheels from somewhere.
They're big enough that turning them is going to need a really large
lathe. So if you're buying wheels, where from ? Can you get something
like Wood-Mizer wheels as spares ? I know that things like the roller
guides are available.
With the Wood-Mizer, I can saw veneers to a thickness that's limited
by the tooth raggedness, not the blade stability. Now I'm not going to
achieve that on car tyres. For some uses, the simpler home-build
designs might do, but a S/H LT-15 isn't that much more expensive then
building your own. I'd certainly look at that route.
One thing I would think about is making some bed rails. Wood-Mizer
rails are expensive, relative to their manufacturing cost to someone
with a metal bandsaw and a stick welder. If this machine was going
nto a permanent timberyard location, then I'd certainly make my own
There are plans on ebay and several outfits sell parts.
Woodmizer is overrated, in my opinion. It's a nice machine but not as
stable as a four post head type.
There's no reason you can't build a good mill. I haven't seen one with car
tires, but it would be great if it worked. I think with proper guides it
should be fine, but try to find one running if you can. A couple of the
commercial ones look very much like what I would build.
I have built several based around a booklet which I purchased from Bill
Rake 7 years ago. Using brand new steel and components, you can build
the saw for about $1500 or less, powered by a brand new 13 hp engine.It
sounds like you have someone to help that has the skills to build it. A
skilled fabricator can build the saw in two full days, three at
most.Tires and wheels are balanced, and you offset the center-line of
blade guides (bearing bottoms) 3/16" to 1/4" off center-line of bottom
of tires. In doing it this way the blade under tension is kept true
between guides, even if your tires are slightly out of round. The mill
when built right will cut lumber as good as any manufactured band
sawmill. Regardless of what some have said in this thread, you can cut
veneer with this saw. If you can build the saw accurately, it will cut
accurately. Below is a link to the first I built, and the second link
are some pictures others have shared with me recently of their own
success. I am not affiliated with Bill Rake in any way, just given
credit where credit is do.
http://www.smnet.net/pmwinston/Mill/thumbnails.html -my first mill
http://www.smnet.net/pmwinston/Kruppt/thumbnails.htm -recent others
http://www.homemadebandsawmill.com/ -Bill Rake
Pretty cool. Did you have fun building that? </rhetoric>
What kind of mileage do you get from those tires?
That Gravely "riding" log splitter is a hoot.
2 questions on the
picture: Is that a blade engaging lever on top, and didn't
you get thickness fluctuations by having the flat track
getting sawdust under the carriage wheels? I noticed that
most of the others had vertical tracks. (Or was it there
but I couldn't see it?)
Judging by this statement, some of the questions he fielded
must have been doozies. "Must be able to Cut, Weld and THINK."
- Clinton never - * Wondrous Website Design
- EXhaled.- * http://www.diversify.com
LOL! Mileage? The tires will out live me I'm sure. Yes, I did enjoy
building the mill/s. Yeah, the Gravely splitter makes my wood splitting
chores around here a little easier.
The saw in the picture here is being built by a well known boat
designer/builder from Vermont, it is not a mill I built. He is going to
saw lumber for a house he has started building. In these pictures the
mill has not been fully completed. I helped him via email in the process
of building it. The lever on top of the saw carriage is a idea I came up
with, he liked it, so he built one for his, it is not part of Bill's
original plans. When you complete a cut, you push down on this lever and
it raises the sawhead 1" or so up from the cant, so the blade does not
rub or catch on the cant when running the sawhead back for the next cut.
When you release the lever the sawhead sets exactly at the same place
you were on your last cut/setworks, so you can do quick calcs for your
As far as sawdust under the carriage wheels. It does not show up well in
the pictures, but the v-caster wheels on the carraige ride on top of a
1" by 1" by 1/4" angle iron. The legs of the 1" angle rest on top of the
3" leg of the 3" by 5" by 1/4" angle in this position ^ . That said,
the v-caster carraige wheels ride on top of this smaller angle where no
sawdust collects.(falls off the 45 degree incline) You can saw all you
want and the dust does not settle on the angle, and cause accuracy
problems. Most of the sawdust is shot away from the mill up 10-15 ft. to
the side of the mill, very little dust ends up around the track section,
to the point of the track being buried in dust.
LOL!, yeah I'm sure he has. When I purchased the "plans" a while back,
(he was not on the web at the time, saw one of his mills in a sawmill mag)
all he had were some pictures of various mills he had made, and the
components in a 21 page booklet.(very sparse on measurements) It was not
a "plan" in the normal sense most people think of, when you think of
plans/blueprints where every detail is spelled out for you.
All measurements were not there, you had to figure these out for
yourself. Since that time he has added much more to his plans.
There are more drawings, measures, and helps I have heard. I have
heard from others, that a person can email him during the building process,
and he will assist you, if you can not figure something out for yourself,
(if a person is of the type that needs to know the "measures and abouts"
for everything) That said, I think that is what he means by being able to
John, We are still working on our band mill. We started out by buying
bearings, axles, and band wheels from www.linnlumber.com The gent
there sent a video tape of assembly instructions for his series of
kits which we have been reverse engineering in places to use as a
His price for pillow block bearings was as good as I could find at the
time. The band wheels he sells are a browning pulley with a v belt on
them. Browning pulleys can be had at your local bearing supply.
Suffolk machinery sells a poly belt to use in place of the v belt
according to the brochure that I recieved with a recent purchase.
We are also doing a lot of scrounging. We have a 9.9 hp Onan opposed
engine plus a spare that we got for free. Maybe a bit under powered
but we are not looking to be a commercial interest. The engine was
set up to use a gear reduction box so output shaft didn't have a oil
seal since it was enclosed in a gear box. There was a bore that we
could drive an oil seal so we measured it and put one in.
The rails we are using is 3" angle, 3/8 wall that my brother in law
had left from a job which he gave to us. He also gave us an axle and
tire assembly that fits nicely. We plan to remove axle assy when on
site to get frame low to ground and use leveling jack screws to true
The screws to raise carrage are nothing more than 1" 8 pitch threaded
rod bought at a steel supply. We have an old variable speed
gearbox/motor/controller we have attached to help speed raising and
lowering. The thing runs on 110 ac but we plan to attach an inverter
to truck for power.
Guide wheels for track and guide wheels for band are home made. I
have access to a lathe at work and another brother in law that was
able to supply stubs of 4140 stock for round parts.
We are well under a grand at this time. We made one test cut on red
pine but need to make some changes and get blade guarding in place.
The only thing that gives me pause is that we are using a tensioner
idler system to engage the engine with band wheels. Basically, we
move the idler away from belt when we want the engine to be
de-clutched and spring load the idler to engage. It doesn't work so
well. Not enough resistance from band wheels so they start spinning
right after starting he engine. I'd like to find a resonably priced
source for a 1" bore centrifical clutch that can handle 10-15 hp.
Linn lumber has one but I don't care for his price.
Steel for guarding, I get from work from the scrap bin. We use a lot
of sheet goods for custom products we make. Sometimes the scrap is
decent sized material.
As far as is this worth it. If your desire is to do commercial work,
then get commercial equipment. If your desire is to handle some work
for family and friends and have fun building something useful using
your ability to create something useful from others junk then go for
it. There is no way we would have spent 4-6 grand on a mill. Less
than a grand using what we can scrounge makes it 500 bucks each for
uncle and me.
Whiskey Echo Sierra Sierra AT Gee Tee EYE EYE dot COM
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