Two ways of doing it. Buy a portable sawmill, or have someone do it for a
Check out Woodmizer as one of the more popular brands.
They also run a referral service to find a local guy to do the work for you.
Probably a half dozen others if you search on "portable saw mill"
There are attachments for chainsaws also, but they are a little clunky and
waste more wood from what I've seen.
Rule of thumb to dry wood is one year per inch of thickness. To get a
finished 3/4" board, you cut it to 1" full, then dry and plane it to proper
On Mon 12 Sep 2005 03:20:06p, Juergen Hannappel < firstname.lastname@example.org-
bonn.de> wrote in
If I recall correctly, Mr Underhill used a froe to turn a log into a slab,
which he then turned into a shaving horse.
Seems like I remember an old Fine Woodworking article where the author went
through a chairmaking class, all material coming from one large veneer-
grade maple log, cut with a bucksaw, split with a froe and shaved on a
horse to make all the chair parts - seats, legs, spindles. Can't recall if
they bent the wood for the backs.
Yes. There's a bunch of ways.You'd need a chain saw or its equivalent,
just to fell the tree, then some type of bandsaw or big 'ol circular
saw, or even a push-pull type ripping saw to cut it into planks. I've
seen attachments for chain saws to allow cutting dimensional lumber
from the logs, too. You can do the math. Tom
Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, get someone with a
woodmizer to do it for you. Especially if this is a one time task, it
will be cheaper and faster than buying a chain saw mill.
The downsides are that you have to either pay someone to kiln dry it or
wait awhile for it to air dry. Also, keep in mind that it's somewhat of
a crapshoot in regards to quality. A lot of the wood you harvest may be
a fairly low grade. Sure, it's still usable, as you can cut around the
knots and other defects, but it adds a lot of time.
For me, it wouldn't be worth the trouble. I can buy FAS grade red oak
for about 2.60/board ft with free delivery. If I want a lower grade,
it's a lot cheaper.
The wood I buy is already kiln dried and can be used immediately. But I
have precious little time to do woodworking, it's not worth the hassle
It might be worth it for you.
The very cheapest way involves some bracing to hold the log in place
and raise it to allow a saw to be used either horizontally or
vertically to cut slabs of the appropriate thickness.
Possibly less than $100 in equipemnt but a huge degree of labor.
There are some portable mills advertised in Popular Mechanics and some
woodwork magazines starting from about $3,000.
I researched this subject extensively before investing in a sawmill.
I like two companies products, Logosol and Wood Miser each is far superior
to the other in a variety of catagories and one (Wood Miser) was out of my
price range for the capacity I wanted.
Fortunately Logosol has the best customer support I've ever come across.
Currently I'm using their standard (16+ ft.)M7 mill with a Stihl 066 gas
chainsaw. Size (diameter) of the log is never an issue with the M7 as it's
light enough to invert onto the log. The standard M7 is designed to cut logs
that are ~7ft. minimum length on up to as long as you want to extend your
mill. You can see my mill at http://users.rcn.com/raphael.nai/wood.htm
The unique design of the M7 Mill is excellent even with a chainsaw you can
figure on beating 100% of the estimated BF of the lumber on every log.
I'm dying to see what one will do with their new bandsaw head...
For general wood working I'd get the M7 Woodworkers (8 ft.) mill, it's the
perfect in shop sawmill as it's closer set log beds allow you to work with those
short fruit tree trunks. You can always add a half mills to it later if you
need for more length.
I plan on adding a WWM to my M7 for those short fat logs and it'll let me mill
25'+ timbers before I have to shift the cant.
These mills will set you back $1995 (WWM) & $2395 (M7) plus the cost of the
powerhead. When purchased with the mill you're looking at an additional
$1000 for a Husqvarna 385XP or ~$2100 for one of their electric chainsaws.
The nice cheap alternative is their Timberjig for $165. I'll produce a
planer ready boards, square up large timbers, split large cants off of huge logs
to make them more sawmill friendly or flitch cut for those quarter sawn stiles
On the other extreme is a 21 foot 52 Hp. diesel Wood Mizer with hydraulic
and turners, automatic feed and retun on the saw, integrated trailer, etc...
for around $35000. These will also give you over 100% of the estimated BF/log
to the bandsaws thin kerf but they lack the fine control of the M7. Specialty
best structural cuts can be annoying. However they don't have the lower length
complexities of the M7 mills and cut very very fast.
Whatever you buy it won't mean instant lumber unless you've got a
number of projects that can be accomplished with green wood.
You need to think about where you're going to store the lumber as it dries,
logs are coming from, noise (especially using a gas saw near neighbors) and a
other factors before you invest to heavily in milling.
The milling process is also a learning process, it'll teach you a lot about
some of it you'll need to learn before you start producing the best or most
boards in a given log and some of it will come in handy when working with the
TMI? hope it helps.
Archangel - Jack of all trades, mastering some...
You've already received numerous answers. I turn logs into lumber quite often
using my woodworking tools. First, let me say that for 90% of the projects I do,
a 4' length of lumber is sufficient. So, here is what I do.
I built a sled out of MDF and hardwood. The MDF is about 16" wide and 6' long.
I added a hardwood runner that fits into the miter slot on my 14" bandsaw (w/6"
riser), along wit an additional runner that rides along the outside edge of the
It is supported on the infeed and outfeed by roller stands.
I cut to tree into ~4' long sections. If the diameter is greater than about 12"
I cut the
log in half length wise with a chainsaw. I then set the log on the sled,
position it and
cut boards. They are then stickered and stacked to dry.
It works for me. YMMV.
$1600+- and you need to provide a chainsaw head to drive it. I use a Stihl
046 that I already had. Works, but it's damn hard work shifting logs around
to get it into action. Probably be easier to hire out a band mill owner as
others have suggested.
I did the chainsaw mill trick on a huge oak. You need special "rip" chain or
you'll be there until old age claims you. You also need a helper and TWO
large '090 or so power heads. It's a gigantic pain in the arse - but my share
was two ten foot by two inch by thirty inch planks. This was for an entire
day of very hard work. There were four of us working in shifts driving wedges
to hold the slabs up and run the two motors. I wouldn't do it again.
I can find no modern furniture that is as well designed and emotionally
satisfying as that made by the Arts and Crafts movement in the early years
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