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Wood band saw

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  • Wood band saw

    Hi all I haven’t posted in a wile, been busy moving and bring 2 new baby boys into this world.
    I recently have been doing some research on band saws to cut up some lumber.
    I would like to start constructing one.
    Does anyone have any tips, plans, advice etc?
    Or maybe go with a circular.
    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    What are you going to do with the lumber?

    1. Fire wood
    2. Milling
    3. Rough cuts
    4. Finish cuts
    5. Build something
    6. Cut plywood

    Each one needs a different saw.


    • #3
      I am going to use it in building a new shop, greenhouse maybe. I have herd a band saw leaves a very good finish on the wood. One drawback is blade sharpening intervals. We have just purchased a quarter that has lots of poplar on it but I’m unsure of its strength for construction.
      I plan on getting a wood permit for the area I cut birch fire wood at to take out some wood for lumber.
      I haul out about 6 cords of birch per year for fire wood and have seen some monster spruce in the same area. I know I can get a permit just can’t remember if it is for dead or live spruce.
      I’m tossing the idea of a straw bail shop with a pole supported roof around. Purchased a how to book a year ago. I have farmers all around me for the straw. I like the idea of R 40-50 with the price of energy nowadays.


      • #4
        Hello, Stephen,

        The band saw does not necessarily leave a good finish. Like many other saws, the finish depends on the type of cut and the number of teeth per inch of blade.

        It sounds like you are really talking about tasks that are appropriate for a chain saw. There are designs and tools available to use a chain saw to cut trees into dimensional lumber. That would be rough finished cuts to a size of 2" by 4", for instance. That rough cut lumber would then typically be planed to smooth surfaces on all 4 sides and end up at 1 1/2" by 3 1/2".

        The chain saw is the tool of choice for cutting fire wood.

        If you plan on the shop of straw bales, you can probably use a chain saw lumber cutting machine to rough cut timbers for post and beam construction. That style construction does not require smooth lumber, though it should be dried lumber.

        Hope this helps a little.



        • #5
          I have looked at the chain saw mills (Alaskan) I think they would be hard on the back to run.
          I’m thinking of a band mill that has a power feed table. Or one that the band saw travels down a track, raise it and lower it for size of boards. Some of the models you can purchase listed on the net look quite simple. There are plans on the net for sale. They use two small trailer stub axles, rims and tires for the band to go around. two angle iron tracks and carriage that roles on the tracks.
          I still may build a chain mill they would be handy for making 6x6 etc.


          • #6
            You are talking about a portable saw mill, which has a band saw on it. Get a brochure from one (or more) manufacturers for ideas.
            Wood Mizer is one name--check the web for portable saw mills


            • #7
              this company sells bits to make your own,


              if you dont buy at least you can see how its done.


              • #8

                i have an Alaskan chainsaw mill adapter. they are a big pain in the ass. if you have one 15" diameter log and want to saw it into four equal-size posts (making about six cuts), it would be okay, but if you want to cut a bunch of boards and get some lumber you can actually use for anything, it is a pain. i've been acquiring logs for a while (from storm damage and such), and hope to build a bandsaw mill next year. there are some decent ones for sale for abut $4000 on up, but i figure i should be able to build one for well under half that.

                a word on circular saw mills - everyone i have spoken to about them (including a local sawmill owner with one) has said to stay away from them unless you are trained on one. they all told me they are a good way to lose life and limb. plus, it is MUCH cheaper to just slap on a new $25 bandsaw blade than to replace hundreds of $$$ worth of teeth when you hit that inevitable chunk of iron.

                andy b.
                The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining


                • #9

                  I have never heard anyone say anything good about the Alaska chainsaw mills. The only thing they have going for them is portability, otherwise they are just about useless. They take forever even with a big saw. Chain saws aren't meant for ripping.

                  E-mail me at my profile Stephen. My wife's uncles are in Wildwood, Alberta and have a portable circular saw mill that is probably for sale. They used to use it for cutting poplar baffles for the coal trains and the odd spruce including building a house or two. They are getting on and don't use it any more.

                  Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                  • #10
                    Older used 14" bandsaws are going on Ebay for around $200-300. For that you get wheels and guides, and a frame. If you want bigger wheels, some of the really old saws in the 24-36" range go for scrap prices. Most of the 14" saws are Delta clones which have 2-piece frames that you could take apart and add a "riser" block to get enough depth to handle a larger log. Weld up a frame, and check Bishop-Wisecarver for v-grooved wheels that will run on the back or inside of a piece of angle iron for the track.

                    Don't forget that handling logs is not easy, so you may need a frame and rollers for that too.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the replies guys. If I go the build rout I will most likely go with the trailer tire idea I have two tires just need the stub axles. I also have a lot of I beam scrap to use. If anyone has any bad thoughts on the tire idea for wheels let me know.
                      I will take that advice on the chain mills I had a feeling they wouldn’t be all that good.


                      • #12
                        Check around for a sawmill to do your work. Ones with the newer band saw mills that run on a track over the log wast less wood, leave a better finish and a lot more accurate thickness control.

                        You supply the logs and $50 or $100 bucks and you get enough boards to wear you out getting them home. Also you'd be suprised how much these guys know that we don't.


                        • #13
                          On the use of trailer or auto wheels -- I don't see how this is going to work. Bandsaw wheels are crowned and one wheel (the upper wheel in vertical saws) usually has a tracking adjustment so the blade runs in the middle of the wheel rim. I don't have any experience with band mills, but I've messed with a couple of big ship saws, one with 48" wheels, and they had crowned wheels and tracking adjustment. I may be missing something here, but I'd nail this down before you build your saw.


                          • #14
                            Dang GK, you look like Evan's twin. Hey Evan I found your brother!




                            • #15
                              What I have read is that the wheels are towed out. This keeps the blade on the support bearings. I just purchased a meet saw it has wheels that are convex without the support bearings the blade would most likely fly off.
                              The reason I would like to build one is I am very cheep. I have a lot of materials already pipe angle iron h beam etc. And besides after I am tired of it, it could be sold.
                              I had a chance to purchase one at an auction but it went way to high. It was a home built and was not very pretty.
                              Again thanks for the replies.