|I am sure you have looked at bandsaw mills as
a sawmill of choice, probably due to the sheer quantity of
these type of sawmills on the market today, but there are several
things you should consider before making a choice.
Bandsaw mills are a very good sawmill without doubt,
but only in the higher price range. This is due
to the size of the engine driving the band. On
higher end band sawmills with 20 h.p. or over you
can install a much wider and slightly thicker band
blade therefore allowing higher tension ( tighter
) which will then cut lumber more precisely, smoother,
with less wavy lumber. The problem is who can afford
to have a high priced band sawmill just to cut
there own trees, as you could just take all that
money and go and buy the lumber you need to build
just about anything you want to.
In the lower end price of band sawmills the drive
engine is usually 12 to 15 h.p., the band wheels
are narrower (due to cost) and therefore the band
blade is narrower and thinner. It still cuts fast
lumber but the problem here is because of the tension
on the bandblade which is not as high as the wider
blades on the higher priced band sawmills, you
will get wavy lumber or washboard lumber.
As the narrower band blade with less tension encounters
a knot it will have a tendancy to ride up and over
the knot, also depending on what species of wood
you are milling, the growth rings of the log can
have hard and soft spots between each ring, and
again the band blade can ride up and down, creating
wavy lumber. This means you would have to run all
that lumber you have produced through a planer,
increasing time and cost.
It will also be necessary that you have at least
5 to 8 extra band blades for a days cutting as
you can easily go through this many as they will
get dull, depending on the species of wood you
are cutting, and especially in dirty wood. These
band blades then have to be sharpened by a shop,
or you will have to purchase a band blade sharpener
and a tooth setter for the band blade teeth. THIS
CAN EASILY COST OVER $1000.
Others may tell you that a bandsaw mill is better.
A bandsaw mill utilizes more of the log due to
the blade kerf (kerf: the amount of wood removed
out of the log by the thickness of the blade) as
the cutting band is very thin. Although this is
true, it is not the whole story. A bandsaw mill
blade needs sharpening frequently, and if it hit
a small rock or some sand in the log, then you
have to stop, back out the mill and change the
band. Logs are not clean, there is always a certain
amount of abrasive material or small stones etc.
in the log and certainly a fair amount of pitch,
which is a big problem for band mill blades. The
blade is so thin and the tooth set is very narrow
(tooth set gives clearance for the blade) when
pitch adheres to the band itself, the band blade
gets thicker and the tooth set no longer gives
the band clearance, so it then binds in the cut.
If this does not slow you down then the actual
maintenance of the mill certainly will. Just imagine
how many extra bands you would have to purchase
to finish just one day of cutting. When do these
bands get cleaned of pitch and sharpened? During
the day slowing you down, or in the evening after
a long day cutting. Do you want to cut lumber,
or maintain a mill?
Yes, I agree, you certainly do get more out of a log in lumber
with a band mill, but at what cost to you in time and frustration.
Unless you are cutting very exotic wood and need every piece
of lumber out of the log. A bandsaw mill does not justify
the very large extra expense and the large amount of maintenance
needed. If you take the lowest cost mobile band mill in North
America at $3,900.00, add on all the extra equipment you
need to match Procut you would have to spend closer to $6,000.00.
I have had people come to me locally to see my ready made
mills. THEY SEE HOW EASY IT IS TO OPERATE AND HAVE SOLD THE
BANDSAW MILL THEY PURCHASED TO BUILD MY PROCUT SAWMILL.
So enough about bandsaw mills. With 20 years experience of
using many different sawmills, I can honestly say my Procut
is the least expensive sawmill in the world today AND THE
ONLY MILL THAT CAN CONVERT INTO A 20 FOOT TRAILER. Procut
is simple and very effective, it cuts lumber hour after hour
with only a bit of chainsaw gas and oil, while sharpening
of the cutting chain takes a minimum amount of time with
a $1.00 file.
Build it yourself plans by Procut Portable Sawmills for an affordable
Our sawmill can cut any size lumber and converts to a towable trailer
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