Making Lumber With a Bandsaw Mill
One alternative to the high cost and poor quality of lumber these days is finding the trees and cutting them into boards yourself.
Synopsis: Using a portable bandsaw mill to make lumber from trees cut locally is one way of beating the high cost and declining quality of lumberyard material. This article is a quick look at the process, with a helpful list of manufacturers who can steer you to a sawyer in your area.
There’s a whole section of my property covered with neat stacks of lumber that I’ve cut on my bandsaw mill either to sell or to use in my building business. To justify the time I spend milling wood, I always tell my wife that these stacks of wood are like money in the bank. Now whenever we’re driving around and we see piles of stickered lumber in someone’s side yard or at the edge of a field, she always says, “Look, dear, there’s another branch office.”
For many years, I took any logs I needed to have cut into lumber to a circular-saw mill just down the road. But the sawyer who ran the mill retired, and his son hasn’t shown any interest in keeping the mill running. Faced with no local sawmill and frustrated by the quality of commercially sawn lumber, I decided to purchase a portable bandsaw mill for about $10,000. I found a slightly used Wood-Mizer bandsaw mill in my price range, and since then, I’ve been making most of the lumber I use in my business — from large timbers and framing to finish stock for cabinets and trim.
Bandsaw milling is not just for sawyers
Working with that old sawyer really put the process of making lumber under my skin. I thoroughly enjoy the whole lumber-making operation: obtaining the saw logs, moving them to the sawmill, performing or helping with the sawing and properly stacking the sawn lumber.