entry level bandsaw mill

marineguyAugust 23, 2007

Hello all,

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with bandsaw mills. I was thinking of buying a small one, such as the Hud-Son Oscar 18. The Hud-Son saws seem a little more affordable than comparable Woodmizers. I've been milling logs with my chainsaw for a few years, but that's a lot of work. I could really get some use out of a real sawmill, and since there doesn't seem to be anyone in my area who does this (at least no one who wants to make themselves known), it seems like an enjoyable way to make a few extra bucks on a Saturday morning from time to time. I have an enclosed 5x8 trailer which I'd store/transport it in, should I get one. I think most of them come with the rails in 6' sections.


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Pooh Bear

Can you provide a link for the Hud-Son Saw?
I have used a Woodmizer bandmill before.

I could really get some use out of a real sawmill.

I have a hard time considering a bandmill a 'real' sawmill.
They are wonderful for custom work. But not production milling.

it seems like an enjoyable way to make a few extra bucks....

"Enjoyable" and "operating a bandmill" are not two thoughts
I would associate together. Of course if you are already
using a chainsaw mill, a bandmill would be a massive leap
forward for you in productivity and ease of operation.
It is still hard and dirty work.

If I was looking into getting a bandmill (like the one I used),
I would have to consider the following things:
The basic mill could handle 16ft long logs.
With extensions I think you could get up to 32 feet long.
Power feed is a must. And power height adjustment.
You need a way to get heavy logs onto the machine.
I used a forklift. You can use loading ramps and a winch.
Some of the newer (more expensive) units use hydraulic loaders.
And, can you justify the cost of one of these things.

I used to want a bandmill. Then I got a job at a place that
had a bandmill. I quit when I got stuck running that thing
on one too many days by myself. I hated it.
But like I said, if you are already using a chainsaw mill....

Make sure you can keep the blades sharp and with the correct set.
Otherwise the blade wanders all over when cutting.
You don't want to have lumber come out of the mill this way.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   August 26, 2007 at 3:10PM
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Pooh Bear,
Thanks for the response. The biggest thing I was wondering about is how you're supposed to get the logs on the mill. This would be used pretty much exclusively for custom work. The best thing to do is probably go to a dealer and see a demo. Too bad there aren't any around me.

Here is a link that might be useful: hud-son forestry

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 8:35AM
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Pooh Bear

Considering the fact that us bears are lazy, I probably make
it sound like a more miserable experience than it really is. :0)

The one I used was basically a trailer and could be towed anywhere.
For setup, you extended several supports to take the load off the axle springs.
This leveled the mill and steadied it for use.

For use away from the shop where we didn't have the forklift,
we setup the mill on site, and used the ramps to load logs.
Just set the ramps up, and use a winch on the tow vehicle
to drag the logs up the ramps onto the mill. There was an
optional winch available for the mill but we already had the truck winch.

At the shop we had supports setup at the same height as the mill bed.
We could use the forklift to load several logs onto the supports
and then just use a cant hook to roll them onto the mill.

To operate the mill effiecently you need at least two people.
One to operate the mill and one to stack lumber and other chores.
But it's still hard work, and like I said, us bears are lazy.

If you're up to the hard work you won't have any problem.
Bandmilling prices around here range from $125 to $200 per 1000bf.

Hudson Hydraulic Mill in use

All Hudson videos on YouTube

Woodmizer Mill in action

You can find more videos on YouTube for bandmills.
I just did a search for 'bandmill' and another search for 'Woodmizer'.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 3:33PM
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Try and find a used one.
There seem to be a lot of them around.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 8:57PM
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Cruise over to the Forestry Forum. They have a forum devoted to sawmills, and a VERY knowledgeable and helpful group of people.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 8:54AM
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Pooh Bear

Can you post a link to the Forestry Forum.
I have searched and searched and can't find it.
Sounds like an interesting forum to visit.


Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 12:19AM
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So I can roll logs with a cant hook - but what if the logs are sixteen feet long and 44" diameter?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 2:56AM
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Pooh Bear

If you got logs that big then I believe you have
moved out of the realm of home hobbyist with a bandmill.
You will need some serious equipment to deal with that size timber.
Not saying it can't be done, but is it worth it?

Still hoping to get a link to the Forestry Forums.

Pooh Bear

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 4:51AM
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"...44" diameter..."

You are past bandsaw land and even smaller head saws.
That is full up industrial lumber cutting land.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 6:51PM
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thanks for the feedback friends - I think I'll leave the big ones standing and stick to the 30" and below realm. My saw will handle 36"

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 12:31AM
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Even a 36 inch log often requires some other equipment (bucket loader) to move around.
Wet wood is heavy stuff since it is often more than 50% water.
The way wood is measured for water content is sort of funny.
The wet weight is divided by the 'oven dry' weight, resulting in more than 100% in some cases.
What this really means is that more than 50% of the total weight was water.
I have two red oak rounds 42 inches in diameter (bark to bark) and 4 inches thick getting ready for the PEG bath.
They easily weigh over 300 pounds each.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 10:48AM
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Sorry I've been away- just had hernia surgery! My friend in CT runs an Oscar 18 and loves it! In fact, he insisted I cut some wood just to see how much fun it is. Like anything else, fun is in the eye of the beholder, and I'm sure it gets old after a while. I'm considering building or buying a small unit to use some of the oak on my property. I doubt it will be truly cost effective- but I have a lot of similar hobbies that fall under that description. The Forestry Forum is simply www.forestryforum.com

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 7:38AM
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