After you cut the wood to shape you have to dry it too.
This is a discussion on Sawmills within the DIY forums, part of the General Discussion category; Anyone have any experience with sawmills portable or otherwise looking to buy one for my business so I dont have to buy lumber no more....
Anyone have any experience with sawmills portable or otherwise looking to buy one for my business so I dont have to buy lumber no more.
First there is the property with the wood. Dropping the trees & transporting the trees to where the mill is. The heavy equipment for feeding the logs into the mill. And after cutting to size a place to cure/dry that wood.
Having been in the lumber distribution business for over 40 years, my opinion would be to buy your lumber already processed.
As noted above, finding and cutting the trees is just the first step in a long, and possibly expensive process.
Unless to can source logs all ready to cut, or own a substantial piece of forested property, you are going to need a lot of expensive equipment. Timber farming/logging is a big industry in my area, and when I sold my trees to clear my property I got a first hand view of the operation.
OK, so let's say you have gotten logs, and sawn them to rough cut lumber. Now you have to dry them. The industry standard is a moisture content of no more than 18%. Higher than that and you will be trying to build with badly warped, twisted, and cupped lumber. Most mills kiln dry the lumber to speed things up, you will have to air dry. This can be done, if you know how to build stickered stacks and can keep them out of the rain while still having an adequate air flow. Figure an average drying time of 6 months per inch of thickness.
OK, now you've got your rough lumber dry, it's time to plane and saw to the proper dimensions.
Now you are ready to use it.
Or, just go to your local lumber yard and buy some ready to go.
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I have a timberking b 20 portable bandsaw mill. Originally owned by my dad it was part of my inheritance. When we were younger my dad, brother and myself worked the heck out of that mill. I still work it from time to time. For that particular brand you only need something to skid logs up next to the mill and it loads itself. You don't need a real expensive piece of equipment to skid the logs. You can do it all by yourself if you were inclined but if you get three or four men involved you can really pump out some lumber. As mentioned above the real key to success is how you stack and dry it. The real savings and moneymaker with having your own mill is large pieces. 6x6, 8x8 etc.
For decorative purposes go ahead, for structural maybe not. I have been involved in that once. It was basically a band saw on a trailer, I don't remember if the band saw moved or if the log had to be moved. I do remember they stacked the lumber to dry in an extra cement block room with a heater in it, I don't remember what type of heater though. That would speed up drying time, but it still took a long time. Kind of like "what's in that room? Oh yea."
Decorative and rustic type uses. That's what I'd do anyway. Have a nice day.
My friend has a portable band saw mounted on a trailer for cutting logs.
He is always working on, more down time than run time.
Still need to strap down the board to dry or the will curl.
Its a lot more work than you would think
Hell, anyone can do that. Hold my beer and I'll show you
Another thing to consider is the blades. They need to be kept sharp and the equipment to do it is expensive. Hard to find somebody skilled setup for it, at least around here. Gotta have plenty of extra blades as well in case you bust one.
I was lucky enough to grow up burning wood and learned how to fall trees and buck logs early on. For lumber the quality of the trees will greatly effect the lumber that can be produced. Leaning or twisted trees will produce a product that will tend to warp. You also need to read the tree to see where suitable sawlogs can be bucked out of the trunk. Once bucked the logs should be end coated to reduce checking. Also note some seasons (winter) of the year are better than others for dropping trees and getting them to the mill. This has to do with transport, moisture content of the the wood/trees, and wether the logs will be milled immediately or stacked for a while. For instance pine is cut in the winter when it can be milled at a later time. Once the weather warms the pine logs will stain (fungus) unless they are cut up quickly.
Sawing logs into lumber is an art. A good sawyer will get much more lumber of better quality than a novice wood butcher. Once sawn the lumber must be carefully stacked and stickered for storage and drying. I was lucky to learn this working a while at a small commercial mill.
Wood can be air dried but: it will take considerable time, will not set the pitch in softwoods, or kill any bugs residing inside. Kilns are the alternative either commercial or homebuilt. The latter can be relatively simple solar kiln. Besides removing moisture a kiln needs to operate at a high enough temperature to set any pitch and kill the bugs.
Grading is important as structural lumber must be free of defects. You may run afoul of a building inspector using ungraded lumber. Also note that the way things were sawn effects grade, quatersawn preffered over flatsawn.
I have a minimal setup that consists of: Chainsaws and felling/bucking equipment, a farm tractor to skid the logs out of the woods, and a logosol portable mill. Besides the tractor I move the logs by hand with a peavy and have constructed a ramp that allows me to roll large logs ( 30" dia X 15' L) onto the mill by myself. Currently I just stack/sticker and air dry (another skill here), keeping the stacks covered on top to keep off rain.
Knew a guy in another tribe who set up a chainsaw on a sliding rail so he essentially had a poor-man's sawmill. I don;t think he was cutting wood for furniture though. I think he was mostly cutting firewood n such. Interesting setup he had.