Homemade sawmill tips on how to building one



hey guys Michael here today I have a little video on to put out for you guys it's mainly about building a bandsaw mill all tips and tricks and advice I've learned over the last few years of building the mill and improving the mill along the way so there's about 10 things that want to let you guys know about it kind of had to learn along the ways and I think it'll help anyone out that might be thinking about building a bandsaw mill so stick around check out the video so number one here my advice would be don't over complicate the build when you first start on it just keep it as simple as possible don't don't overthink it just make it simple you can always add improvements like power feeds and different things like that along the way once you get it up and running but right off the bat just keep it very simple just get the project done so you can start milling and then from there you can live with it and see what else you might want to add in the middle so that's tip number one okay number two would be salvage as much material as you possibly can of course you're building it by scratch you're probably trying to save some money like I was on this mill this one cost me about 350 bucks to build of course since then I've added a power feed and some other you know accessories that have brought up the price a bit but to get the basic mill is about 300 bucks one thing when you're working with Salvage material you can't be on a short timeline you can't expect to get everything you need to and build in a month it's going to take longer than that just because um well you're salvaging everything stuff is just you know fine for free or extremely cheap no matter what there's going to be some things you're gonna have to probably buy LED components like pulleys and things like that to get your proper uh don't drive gear ratios right stuff like that so pretty much plan on salvaging as much as you can and just don't be in a rush that's tip number two so okay buddy come on so tip number three let your friends know that you're building the middle let them kind of know what kind of components you're looking for whether it be wheels or a motor or metal things like that pallet racking whatever you're looking for let them know because instead of you just being out there searching you friends could be keep an eye out for certain materials – I got this motor it's a twelve force motor I got from a neighbor when I told him I think about building a mill he said he had one in his garage he got for free somewhere else and it's pretty rusty because it was either doesn't pump on a fishing boat but I cleaned it up and it runs great and it's one of those things I've mailed them a bunch of wood since then as a thank you and things that come around go around so it's like have your friends caping out for you if they can help you out maybe help them out and return with some wood later on so let your friends know what you're looking for so number four I'd have to say is work with materials that are pretty much halfway to the goal you're trying to achieve like these are repurposed some pipe clamps and a terminal logs lockdowns hold downs I took pallet racking and use it into track this is pretty much half the track was done that weld with some angle iron on there and also use pallet racking crossbars for the log bunks as material I got for free from my work they were getting rid of some stuff and so keep an eye out you can get material for cheap or free and you can repurpose things like that and make it a lot easier on you so you only have to modify something to use it for your purpose rather than building it from scratch let's say a number five would have to be when you're building this it's going kind of a lot to take on and I would say work in kind of like building components or steps along the way like you can kind of come up with idea and build your log clamps and your hold downs work of those of the step or a component work on the track as one component maybe make your blade guides another component as you're working you can focus on smaller parts of the mill along the way it makes it easier rather than being overwhelmed by a lot to take on you work on one component at a time and put it all together as finished products so that's how I approached in it really worked for me so give it a try so I think number six would be no matter what size motor you run on your mill you need to make sure to get the gear ratio right or pretty close I see a lot of videos of people building Mills online and they have the gear ratio the blades been and way too fast and as soon as they go into their cut their motor bogs now they got to stop they got to start and stop and start it would be kind of like climbing a hill steep hill and fifth here in your car it's going to bog down it's not going to do very well you'd be a lot better off climbing the hill and forth where I'll pull a lot easier so no matter big or small motor you definitely got to get the gear ratio right on that and it will definitely make your mill cut a lot better you'll be a lot happier with it you cut into the full capacity of the motor can and so that's definitely one of the things I would spent a bit of time figuring out the gear ratio on mill that's why I had to do a jack shaft I didn't really want to do that I want to do a direct drive right down here but I have 26 inch wheels and just wasn't going to work out right with the belt pulley so I had to do a Jack's you have to get the gear ratio down and I'm glad I didn't tuck that corner I did that and it where they worked well for the gear ratio there's a site I found a lot of information on cooks sawmill site and I can put a link in the description on the video I recommend checking that out because there's a lot of good information on getting your gear ratios diameter of pulleys diameter wheels blade speed stuff like that so I'd recommend checking that side out as well the number seven one would have to be be realistic about the logs you're planning to cut on them I scaled my saw for pretty much the size of logs I have on my property and between the guides are 26 inches and you can fit a pretty good-sized tree in there that's a camp it will cut up to 26 inches you can sometimes fudge it and get a bigger log in there and roll it around and you can cut a little bit bigger than that that's pretty much it it takes a lot of power to cut through 26 inches of wood I will see some people that build Mills and they'll put a really really wide capacity maybe 3 feet that's massive I mean I've never kind of have trees that are 3 feet on my proper I did I probably leave them up in the first place and then sometimes they'll pair it with a really small motor it takes a lot of horsepower to pull blades through three feet of wood so be realistic about what you're planning to do don't build it to a giant capacity because someday you may have a friend that brings over something for a table just be realistic about what you want to do and another thing is the size of logs I have on my property and what my milk and mill is about all I want to handle unless you have a really big tractor or excavator it's kind of realistic for me to move anything much bigger than that it's pretty heavy I also built a small log arch and I scaled it to what I can move to my mill there's no reason about log arch that can handle an enormous tree if I can't mill it so I kind of scaled everything to fit that with the mill so just be realistic about what you're planning to do with the mill build in those kind of means if you have trees are 24 26 inch diameter around your property build up of that so that's tip number seven okay tip number eight again kind of being realistic about things like if you have only a certain amount of track just go for it like you don't have to mill a 26 foot beam unless you really need a 26 foot beam but this one here I had some extra track I haven't extended it yet someday I might but in two and a half years I haven't needed it I can mill about a 13 foot long beam on this thing and realistically I mill some 12 foot stuff but I commonly know a lot more ten and a lot of eights so and I made these bunks walk and mill as short as a four footer so you have some range there so realistically just kind of getting kind of comes back to the beginning of this video is don't over complicate your build if you got enough material do a twelve foot bed so you can build twelve foot logs you know go for it you can always extend the track later on so keep it simple all right we're on number nine now number nine is them on that kind of question a bit and I know other people question it too and that is uh how do I know what lengths blade I'm going to need for my mill how am I going to figure that out and there's two kind of approaches that I see and the first one is the one I took and that was I got my motorcycle wheels the 26 inch diameter and I tried to get a 26 inch capacity between the bearing guides so I laid them out just outright on my shop floor and brought them out far enough so I could get the 26 inch capacity and kind of estimated did a little ballpark and figure out what blade I need and made that fit kind of with what pallet racking size I was working with so give or take a few inches on your capacity with that so the mill fit everything well really well with the pallet racking and the wheel size and everything and then from there I welded up my bill along the way and I just took a tape measure and stretch it around the wheels as tight as I could and made sure I had some adjustment that I could always tension the blade a little more and I got my measurement I think it was a hundred and two hundred and seventy two and a half inches is what I ended up with and plates places that actually manufacture and cut bandsaw blade so it should be will cut you to any length you need if you just give them the measurements and so that's what I end up doing and number two would be if you kind of get an idea what capacity you want your mill would be at what diameter wheels you have if you looked on name-brand mills and you're running similar wheel sizes of them and capacity you could always probably buy a blade for a specific mill and model and use that the template blade when you're marking everything up and laying it up and work around that but for me it seemed like that was more restricting than to actually build the mill what worked best with my pallet Rocky and my frame my wheels and just get a blade cut for it so those are two approaches to it so hope those help out so number 10 I would have to say number 10 is one of those things that can go overlooked that's probably one of the most important things that safety guards yes safety guard okay so I know what to get your mill bill you get a blade on it and you can throttle it up and the blade spins up to full speed you can be excited to roll log on there and start cutting away of course I did that once to buy you the damn 2×4 to push the mill I don't wanna get too near that thing with the blade spinning in case something went wrong anyways I would recommend when you're still in your shop or wherever you're building it and you get your middle up and it can run just take your time build them out of plywood little amount of plastic build amount of mellow whatever you want to do just put them on there it's well worth it no you don't want to risk your life or limb just not worth it to cut some older so it just takes the time I know it's tough because you want to go out and try this thing out but um it's well worth it if you don't put them on when you're in the shop you'll end up not getting them on for a long time you'll just start getting comfortable run in the middle without them and I have not had a band break on this thing yet but at my work we have a 30 horsepower electric big Baker risa and I'll be back there working on machines back in the core shop and all it's done you hear BAM just go flying and a blade will break it's definitely loud something you don't want to have happen around you and you don't want flying out anywhere usually they just break and they expand out into the guard and they stay there you know have a guard on this thing it's going to go flying so thank you everybody sticking around a help a few more things words wrap up this video and we'll cover that next that and most of that in amps go up to ten well you guys are familiar a spinal tap I guess this one goes to 11 these crowd 211 so I'd have to say final words on this is I'm really happy I stuck it through with those build as a few spots where it got complicated and yet to figure out some problems it's always a solution to every problem so just stick with it but I started off to those mill I wanted a mill I've always wanted one never thought I had enough money and it just was going to be hard to put money aside to get a mill I never even used the mill before I built this one those first cut on it was the first no live ever operated it seemed kind of funny to build something so sure about it but you know what you wing it and figure it out and I've been figuring out how to mill really well with it it's fun I have to say it's quite satisfying something about taking a log and mill it into lumber from your property and as loud as the mill is it's some pricing Lee relaxing too when you're running it something about it I don't know it's nice you cut a board you see nice new grain you've never seen before so if you have the capability fabricate and weld and do stuff like that and you want to take it on I'd really really recommend it it's a lot of fun now if you really want a middle you don't think you got money and you're not sure if you can really weld or fabricate something to this extent I would say if you have trees in your property and you are interested in milling something that's but cross your mind a lot of times I would say just start putting a little money for a paycheck aside if it takes a year or two to get it you're not going to regret it keep in mind they're valuable if you build it or you get it even after saving up for a few years and you just think you really don't like this you can sell it but is a great great chance that you're going to keeping you're going to be happy about it maybe you'll make a little money on the side with it as well but biggest thing is get it even if it takes you a few years or save up just a little bit of money here and there it's well worth it I think you'll be really happy in the long run so till next time be safe milling take care bye

34 thoughts on “Homemade sawmill tips on how to building one

  1. Hey Guys It's Michael here 🙂 If you enjoyed this video of my mill and info on building one here's some links to some of my other mill videos!
    Video 1 of building my mill start to finnish https://youtu.be/dFNpKC3JTVQ
    Video 2 of adding bearing guides and running the mill https://youtu.be/nE5Ars6igiA
    Video 3 Building a power feed part 1 https://youtu.be/2M1JMKUrSkQ
    Video 4 Building a power feed part 2 https://youtu.be/qCjdSc-nLEg
    Video 5 A quick overview of my mill and cutting up some Cedar https://youtu.be/vMNN7dqtICE
    Video 6 Adding a auto board cut height control for $80 https://youtu.be/7x7Ek81UXgE
    Video 7 Extending the Mill track to cut 22 foot long lumber https://youtu.be/M3QFI4a5t2M
    Video 8 How to easily coil and unfold bandsaw blades https://youtu.be/G7UiriFkGcM
    Video 9 How to build a simple log arch for moving trees to your mill https://youtu.be/4akT8e1KO1M
    Video 10 Using the log arch https://youtu.be/ZSfr6XZV-FA

  2. idk about building the mill down to size, if youre open to building a second one with improvments in the future sure but if youre building one to last forever id build the track out to your biggest expectations then put the engine on it you can afford.. its alot easier to put a new engine on it than a new track and rolling blade unit ntm if you ever try to sell it comparing it price wise to the professionally manufactured ones sized to say 36" can make yours seem like a steal even if maybe it doesnt have the hydraulics and power to handle those logs

  3. hey there thank you so much for sharing your experiences! i have very interesting question to you, Would you be able to come down to Mongolia and make one for me??? of course my offer won't dissapoint you. best regards creative man! 😀

  4. Really like your saw mill
    I m looking at building one too
    I like the idea of using pallet racking frame to weld the rail on…
    I can have a used one 36 inch x 14 feet
    I guess it need to be square and not twisted at all
    How can I tell if it s ok for sawmill
    Mesuring from each corner ?

    Also how did you find out the distance that You were needing from wheel to wheel and blade lenght … did you just go according to the lenght of the blade first ???

  5. YES!!!!! 123456789101112. If you don’t know what that is you’ve missed out on life!! Great info and YES!!! Sesame Street. YES!!!!

  6. Great video. I live in Northern Virginia and I've found it very difficult to get scrap materials such as scrap steel to build a mill. As such, I'll probably have to save up a bit more money to buy the materials needed. Not much free around here. Had you ever though about using two 6.5 hp motors to get the hp output needed? Just curious.

  7. Manipulating dead tree carcisis is not one of my favourite thing to do but this tree mill was built perfect. Excellent work.

  8. I bought a mill because I don't weld but it's true what you say in number 11. Sometimes I make a cut and spend time just looking at what I discovered in the log. I had no experience when I got my mill but you soon learn the dogs don't cut well.

  9. Great tips, out of all the home made saw mills I've seen yours is in my top 3, great design and great tips, new dub here

  10. To get the belt length build the saw with wheels in situ,measure the centers of the wheels and add the circumference of one wheel and that is the length of the blade.

  11. Excellent comments and well thought out . Your machine is a great build, and like you said be realistic. Too many rush it and have problems myself included in that. I built a vertical bandsaw 3 years ago and had a few teething problems along the way like balance of the wheels and some tracking problems so, it can be a bit tedious . My next project will be building one of these similar to yours as it's a FAB build,

    Great vid. Cheers.

  12. There are large glulam beams that you might need to cut in half, that's a good reason to have a 36" capacity.

  13. Good points on the mill. I built mine about 25 years ago and it has paid for itself many times over. Mine is 18Hp, will cut 36" dia and 25' long and used standard Woodmizer length blades. My house and mill at: http://www.pbase.com/jimthode/house_construction
    Other tech tips I'd add: Use a hydraulic blade tensioner with with a gauge, knowing the blade tension will tell you a lot about the mill. Think of ergonomics in the design, controls all at a arms length and remember you will be going back and forth along the log thousands of times. Think about where the saw dust is going to go, Woodmizer missed this one, saw dust covers the sawyer. A movable bunk is a good idea, I can and have cut "logs" as short as 12". Make or build a blade sharpener, I modified a $120 chainsaw sharpener for bandsaw blades.

  14. I can add a few things to these 10 awesome tips I learned from building my mill. Blade speed should never exceed 4500 SFPM and it should be reduced in increments as HP drops (I run a 19 [email protected] 4500 SFPM) Use the blade speed calculator @http://vintagemachinery.org/math/sfpm.aspx so that you know what pulleys to buy before you just guess at it and waste money.

  15. Really good tips for building a bandsawmill! Be realistic is a tip i really can second 🙂 wet big logs ways a lot!!
    I built a mill from junkparts a couple of years ago and it is extremly satisfying to be able to open up trees and make slabs and boards.
    In spring i will do a upgrade of my milltrackbed and make it portable.

    I just found your channel and subbed 👍

  16. I couldn't agree more with your video I built a band saw mill from scratch also out of things i could find laying around. Its powered by a Honda 185 3 wheeler engine and modified aluminum motorcycle wheels. I wish I would have videoed the build, maybe someday i'll post up a walk around. Your comment about milling being therapeutic is spot on my wife and kids don't get it but it takes me to my happy place.

  17. Can the lumber you cut be sold as building material? Are there any limitations on selling the lumber to be concerned of? I have a large number of pine trees on my property that I'd just love to get rid of…looking for a way to make some money in the process….

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