[Homestead] Portable saw mill
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Wed Oct 3 13:25:19 EDT 2007
> Right. The chainsaw mills are modest in price and output. I
Another issue with chainsaw mills is the large kerf.
I've had a good deal of experience with sawmills this past year. Portable
bandsawmills are not a panacea. As someone mentioned, the blades tend to
wander. If the wood varies in density, moisture content, is frozen, has debris on
the bark (if you don't debark them first), or the blade is the least bit dull,
you have to move the blade extra slowly or else risk wandering. You must also
be forever diligent to keep the track dead level and plumb. Rolling a two
ton log section on the tracks can cause it to sag just a bit and as the planks
are removed and the weight of the log lesses, the cuts become off.
That is, to do a good job, you have to work at it and be patient.
Right now I am working for an old fellow up the next hollow restoring his
circular saw mill. He replaced the great timber base of the mill a few years ago
and it rotted. It has been a satisfying trip back 100 years as the base of
4x10's has to be made with double mortise/tenon joints since it has to be
assembled around the iron and steel parts (can't nail it together then add the
parts later). There are three such small circular mills (30" to 42" blades)
nearby. When I mention bandsaw mills to these old sawyers, it is greeted with the
eyebrow raise of scorn. The current old sawyer demonstrated to me that the
bandsaw kerf is 1/8" while his circular blade takes a 1/4" kerf, you gain 1/8"
with the bandsaw.
You've really got to go to where one of these bandsaw mills is in operation,
try adjusting it, sharpening the blade, leveling the track, dogging the logs
on the track, heaving and trimming the boards, etc .... before you can have an
idea of what you are getting into.
The fascination for me was that I use a lot of 3/8" stock for the things I
make and resawing 1" boards to get it is a pain. So I procured log sections of
the type of wood I wanted, sawed it to 1/2" (5/8" was more like it), and
dried those billets. Drying 1/2" wood is 20 times easier than drying 1" wood.
The results are mixed. It's a lot of close attention and work to keep the
mill cutting 1/2" consistantly even allowing for the fact that I am going to
dress the boards later. There was a lot of loss and waste due to checking and
even closely weighting or clamping the stacks did not prevent all the warping.
I was keen on getting my own mill, but now I'm not so sure. I am leaning
much more toward getting a really enormous bandsaw with a resawing jig to split
1" planks in half and trading out work and other things for the rough sawing
and wood I need for buildings.
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