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Thread: Sawmill type

  1. #1
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    Sawmill type

    After getting my new shop setup I finally think I'm actually gonna' get to that sawmill I've been dreaming of . Whatever I get it will have to be small, but portable. I cut mostly QS no matter what specie unless the log tells me it's got something really special hid inside. I can't decide between the ever popular bandsaw mill, or swing blade setup. Any experienced sawyer will tell you cutting QS is a PITA. Just takes too much log handling. Then I saw a YouTube demonstration of the SB. No log rolling no matter what you cut. Problem is they seem to be very popular in the New Zealand, Australia area but virtually unheard of in the USA. I've never even seen one except in video.

    Anyone here have any exposure to a swing blade mill operation? How about some DIY plans? It I'll be next Spring before I can actually make a move on this, but I need to do a lot of research in the meantime. All help will be appreciated.
    Last edited by art3427; 08-09-2015 at 8:50 pm.
    art

    He who works with his hands is a laborer;
    he who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman;
    he who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

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  2. #2
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    Re: Sawmill type

    Lots of swing-blade sawmills in the US but they are more popular in Australia, probably because that's where the most popular one, The Lucas Mill is built.


    A DIY swing-blade mill would be a daunting challenge. I think you would be better off looking for a used one than trying to build one yourself. Check out the Sawmill Exchange for used mills.


    If you are planning on mainly quarter sawing, you will need big logs...24" ITB is about the minimum diameter for QS. In that regard, a swing-blade mill would be good because there would be no log handling, turning, etc. You could take the mill to the log and saw it in place. If you will be setting up the mill in your shop, then a band mill makes more sense if you have a way to handle the logs.
    Cody

    "The reverence that the object maker has for the materials, for the shape, and for the miracle of his skill transcends to God, the Master Craftsman, the Creator of all things, who uses us, our hands, as His tools to make these beautiful things." Sam Maloof (1916-2009).
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  3. #3
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    Re: Sawmill type

    Swing blade sawmills are found in many parts of the world. They seem to be fairly easy to weld up at home so that shouldn't be a problem.

    However I can see one very distinct disadwantage with the type. That is it's very limited depth of cut. This is just fine if you are going to cut only 4 inch boards and 2x4 and 4x4 but it will get you into trouble when you want to make slabs and wide bords. I find slabs in various thicknesses and wide live edge boards to be very useful for a lot of things I make. Of cause this depends on what you are going to make. We all have different needs.

    Just my oppinions. Take them for what they are. Just oppinions.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Sawmill type

    To second or third what Cody and TW have said --- swing mills are around, but certainly far fewer than bandmills.


    My Dad and I recently bought a bandmill and we have been cutting lots of lumber with it. We don't have any oak here, so QSing is not particularly a big issue for us. It certainly can be done but as you have very astutely pointed out - log handling is the name of the game when it comes to bandmills.


    Speaking only for myself - before I owned a mill, I thought log handling was going to be much easier than it actually is... It takes a lot of effort and time to move and get everything adjusted a re-set. And boy, doing it by oneself with a big log is tough.


    Let us know what you get! Love sawmills of all types and breeds in action.


    john
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  5. #5
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    Re: Sawmill type

    Quote Originally Posted by mapleman View Post
    And boy, doing it by oneself with a big log is tough.
    john

    QFT!!!!!!!!!
    Cody

    "The reverence that the object maker has for the materials, for the shape, and for the miracle of his skill transcends to God, the Master Craftsman, the Creator of all things, who uses us, our hands, as His tools to make these beautiful things." Sam Maloof (1916-2009).
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  6. #6
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    Re: Sawmill type

    Log handling and the ease with which QSing can be done are the drivers for my considering a swing blade.

    Someone mentioned not having a good supply of oak on hand as a possible contra for a SB. I get lots of cypress and SYP in my area. Both are (IMO) great candidates for QSing. I actually QS most all specie. I just find that QSing any specie yields a more cooperative product.
    art

    He who works with his hands is a laborer;
    he who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman;
    he who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

    St. Francis of Assissi
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