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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have first-hand experience with any of the portable sawmills? It can be the chainsaw type, bandsaw or circular. I've been considering one, there are many brands, models and types out there. Back in the last century, late 70s early 80s, we had a chainsaw type that had a bolt on attachment to follow 2x4s to square up timbers. I remember it being a lot of backbreaking work for a couple of beams.

I am considering a bandsaw model. My buddy had a bandsaw mill that I used some, but that was over 25 years ago. I don't know if modern mills are any different than the older models. Does anybody have any experience with these? Likes or dislikes? It will probably be more permanent than portable, I don't think I'll need the trailer attachments, but not sure?

My budget is about $4,000 for everything delivered.

I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this thread. If the moderators think it could go elsewhere, please move it. Thanks.
 

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Depends on how big you want to cut. The sub $4000.00 won't cut big. I think HF's is 20" diameter.
 
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Does anyone have first-hand experience with any of the portable sawmills? It can be the chainsaw type, bandsaw or circular. I've been considering one, there are many brands, models and types out there. Back in the last century, late 70s early 80s, we had a chainsaw type that had a bolt on attachment to follow 2x4s to square up timbers. I remember it being a lot of backbreaking work for a couple of beams.

I am considering a bandsaw model. My buddy had a bandsaw mill that I used some, but that was over 25 years ago. I don't know if modern mills are any different than the older models. Does anybody have any experience with these? Likes or dislikes? It will probably be more permanent than portable, I don't think I'll need the trailer attachments, but not sure?

My budget is about $4,000 for everything delivered.

I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this thread. If the moderators think it could go elsewhere, please move it. Thanks.
I have no experience with those portable saw mills.
Here are some web sites that might have an answer to what you're looking for...

www.granberg.com
www.alaskanmill.com
www.sawmilltrader.com

Old Creek
 

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I have been slabbing Mesquite with a chainsaw mill for about 25-30 years.
Mesquite is a very hard wood.
I started out with an Alaskan sawmill and wore it out.
Then I bought a Granberg.
The Alaskan mill was made from aluminum and the Granberg is made of steel.
I don't use it much anymore , but they both worked good.
The big expense is the chainsaw. You need a good saw to do the job and plenty of chains.
Cutting an 8 foot log that is 32 inches wide , I get 2-3 cuts from each blade before I change it.
I go through a few chains every time I cut a log.
I have a chain grinder so sharpening them isn't really a big deal , it just takes time.
It is a lot of work but I enjoyed it.
With a good rail to put the chainsaw mill on you can get some nice cuts.

I have made lots of tables , desks , picture and mirror frames , bread boards and counter tops amongst other things from the wood I cut.

I always wanted to get a bandsaw mill but never did.

Personally if you want to cut a lot of wood and you have $4000 to spend I would look for a bandsaw mill.

A good chainsaw mill with a good saw will do a good job , but as I said is a lot of work.
 

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I have been slabbing Mesquite with a chainsaw mill for about 25-30 years.
Mesquite is a very hard wood.
I started out with an Alaskan sawmill and wore it out.
Then I bought a Granberg.
The Alaskan mill was made from aluminum and the Granberg is made of steel.
I don't use it much anymore , but they both worked good.
The big expense is the chainsaw. You need a good saw to do the job and plenty of chains.
Cutting an 8 foot log that is 32 inches wide , I get 2-3 cuts from each blade before I change it.
I go through a few chains every time I cut a log.
I have a chain grinder so sharpening them isn't really a big deal , it just takes time.
It is a lot of work but I enjoyed it.
With a good rail to put the chainsaw mill on you can get some nice cuts.

I have made lots of tables , desks , picture and mirror frames , bread boards and counter tops amongst other things from the wood I cut.

I always wanted to get a bandsaw mill but never did.

Personally if you want to cut a lot of wood and you have $4000 to spend I would look for a bandsaw mill.

A good chainsaw mill with a good saw will do a good job , but as I said is a lot of work.
Thanks - that was useful intel right there.
All you ever see with the videos is them moving the stops and running the blade down, moving the slab.
I always wondered what the real world experience was like.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Depends on how big you want to cut. The sub $4000.00 won't cut big. I think HF's is 20" diameter.
Who is HF?

I can limit the size of logs I'll be cutting, most likely I wouldn't be cutting much bigger than 24" even if I wanted to. I will however, need to cut up to 16' or maybe 18' long.

Mostly what I'll be doing is cutting lumber for a barn, out building, siding, fencing, framing beams and wall studs. I will cut some hardwood, but that wouldn't be the majority.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have been slabbing Mesquite with a chainsaw mill for about 25-30 years.
Mesquite is a very hard wood.
I started out with an Alaskan sawmill and wore it out.
Then I bought a Granberg.
The Alaskan mill was made from aluminum and the Granberg is made of steel.
I don't use it much anymore , but they both worked good.
The big expense is the chainsaw. You need a good saw to do the job and plenty of chains.
Cutting an 8 foot log that is 32 inches wide , I get 2-3 cuts from each blade before I change it.
I go through a few chains every time I cut a log.
I have a chain grinder so sharpening them isn't really a big deal , it just takes time.
It is a lot of work but I enjoyed it.
With a good rail to put the chainsaw mill on you can get some nice cuts.

I have made lots of tables , desks , picture and mirror frames , bread boards and counter tops amongst other things from the wood I cut.

I always wanted to get a bandsaw mill but never did.

Personally if you want to cut a lot of wood and you have $4000 to spend I would look for a bandsaw mill.

A good chainsaw mill with a good saw will do a good job , but as I said is a lot of work.
You are the Man! I know how hard it was to wrestle a saw through hemlock, mesquite is some tough stuff. I've worked with Mesquite some. I've turned bowls and made a couple of tables.

Most of what I will be cutting, for now, is ponderosa pine and possibly fir and maybe hemlock. Pine and fir pitch can gun up a blade, but I would hope to get more mileage than you do out of cutting mesquite? How much oil do go through to cool your chain? I think it's Norwood (I could be wrong on the company) makes a chainsaw mill that you push along similar to a lawnmower.

With the volume of lumber I'd be cutting, a bandsaw makes sense but it's a very big jump in price over a chainsaw mill.
 

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Who is HF?

I can limit the size of logs I'll be cutting, most likely I wouldn't be cutting much bigger than 24" even if I wanted to. I will however, need to cut up to 16' or maybe 18' long.

Mostly what I'll be doing is cutting lumber for a barn, out building, siding, fencing, framing beams and wall studs. I will cut some hardwood, but that wouldn't be the majority.
Harbor Freight. I think if I was just cutting fir,pine and hemlock framing lumber that's how I'd go. The length is only limited to how much track you have. Really big diameter ,it's hard to find a saw that can handle it. It's pretty much chainsaw mill territory. It's tedious but you do eliminate a lot of time lost to logistics.
 
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How much oil do go through to cool your chain?
I keep my chainsaw reservoir full and have an oil can that I keep squirting on it.
Depending on the size of the log.
I would say I use maybe 1/2 to 1 pint of oil per cut on a large log.
They do make oil reservoirs that mount to the mill that keep it oiled but I never bought one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Harbor Freight. I think if I was just cutting fir,pine and hemlock framing lumber that's how I'd go. The length is only limited to how much track you have. Really big diameter ,it's hard to find a saw that can handle it. It's pretty much chainsaw mill territory. It's tedious but you do eliminate a lot of time lost to logistics.
"HF", sometimes I miss the obvious...

I didn't realize HF made bandsaw mills, but I shouldn't be surprised.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
wood mizer is popular here.
a good one my be found used in your price range?
new ? hobby level no experience with that but fits LX25 Portable Sawmill
your price range and wood mizer makes a decent unit.
Thanks for the reply. A wood miser is definitely on the shortlist, they are a quality machine with great customer support. However, they don't come with a lot of standard features other mills do. With a few necessary accessories like leveling feet, extra blades and track extensions it can push several hundred dollars over my budget.

I have tried to find used saw mills but most are big industrial units, but I am also unsure of where to find advertisements for used saws?
 

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Thanks for the reply. A wood miser is definitely on the shortlist, they are a quality machine with great customer support. However, they don't come with a lot of standard features other mills do. With a few necessary accessories like leveling feet, extra blades and track extensions it can push several hundred dollars over my budget.

I have tried to find used saw mills but most are big industrial units, but I am also unsure of where to find advertisements for used saws?
I can tell you the market for used band mills is strong. Ain't no bargains out there.
 
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