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Does anyone have a good suggestion for a sawmill? I looked at the chainsaw types, but I think I need to stay away from them, as it will be hard on my back. I have back/disc trouble. I need something around the 26” diameter range. I am looking to cut up oak and pine right now and then air dry. Oh yea, I need guidance on air drying as well. I like the looks of the gas powered ones and my max price is $3000.
 

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Depending on your budget

:gizmo:

I have an old Woodmizer and that's a proven bandsaw mill. The 26" diameter is pretty feasible with any of the thin kerf band mills. Frankly, if you have a bad back, unless you have someone helping you with tailing, stacking etc. it's going to hurt a lot more.

While I like Woodmizer as a company, they are not the only successful band mill on the market. If you can afford it, I would look at something on a trailer. It's harder to load logs but much easier to take slabs and boards off a table that's waist high. Again, depending on your budget hydraulics are very, very nice and save a ton of effort plus give you a higher production speed but they are also :gizmo:.

I definitely would go for a model that powers the blade through the log rather than you pushing. It's not only on the cut (forward motion) that a powered head helps but also on the return. If I'm working by myself, I can flip the saw return, tail the board and be back to stop the carriage before it hits the stop, at least most of the time.

Another back saver is some mechanism to take the taper out of logs. Hydraulic toe boards are wonderful, next are some crank or screw arrangement and the hardest is using wedges.

Look at the log clamping mechanism as well. If you can clamp from the operator side, it saves a ton of steps.

Finally, compare how logs are turned on the mill. That's another hard on the back process but it can and should be mechanized, either with hydraulics or a winch. Small logs are easy to flip with a cant hook. A 26" diameter oak log 16' long takes a pretty good grunt by hand. It can be done but it's not the fun that it was when I was much younger.

If I was still sawing much, my old Woodmizer would be on the market so i could go hydraulic. If I was doing production sawing, it would be hydraulic with automated setworks and probably a diesel engine but those are $40,000 or so.

One last thought- the mill is only as good as the blade that's on it. Woodmizer has excellent blades, good enough so I have a friend with another brand of mill but he runs Woodmizer bands. They also have a resharpening service that works very, very well.

Good luck with your purchase. If you are interested in used equipment, check out the Sawmillexchange.com .

A sawmill is a lot of work but also a lot of fun. Just be sure to identify what you can afford and whether it's a business or a hobby. There are mills to match either need.

Treefarmer
 
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