Log sizes for portable sawmills

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Matt-AL, May 31, 2005.

  1. Matt-AL

    Matt-AL Wannabe Farmer

    Jul 4, 2002
    Central Alabama
    For those of you familiar with the woodmizer type portable sawmills, what diameter trees would be they be able to work with? I would like to have barn siding cut if my trees are large enough. I guess the smaller trees could be cut as fence posts.

    I am going to measure the diameters of the trees this weekend. I hope they can be used as more than firewood.


  2. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    central idaho republic
    If you are looking for full size cut, an 8 inch diameter log will square to 6 inches, and wood mizers will do those well, a 6 inch diameter will square a full 4 inches, and those band mills problably wont have a problem doing those either..... remember thats on the small end of the log too, trees all taper, some more than others.

    I have a circle mill, mobile dimension, that handles the bigger logs extremely well, but it takes so long to switch the smaller logs that even charging by the hour it is almost a losing proposition sometimes to cut smaller timber. even my saw will cut a 4x4 or samller out of those small logs, but it takes so many 1x4's to add up to a 1000 board feet that it is maddening.... so people like me charge extry for small diameter timber/logs..... not alot but i charge 25% more if everything is small and all you are getting is 1x4 and a few 1x6 or 2x6. I am flexible though.... not everyone is who operates a portable speacialty sawmill is....

    another thing to consider when measuring your timber, is to figure what length the logs will be, if they are all longer, it makes it easier to get your monies worth for the job, and the fella cutting has a better time too if charging by the Mbdft. It costs about so much per day to run a mill, and if a person cant come out on it they are not gonna take the job or they are gonna do a poor job of getting your lumber out of the logs....

    Anyhow if you need 8 foot lumber, try to cut 16 foot logs if they dont taper to much, 10 foot lumber 20 foot logs [although many trees in 20 feet taper more than 2 inches and you get som shorter boards from the side. And ifyou have to cut various lengths of logs, try and sort them to length, it makes it easier to keep a count and stack and sticker for drying as well.

    hope i helped some, ive been sawing since 1988 and come across some fairly common problems as far as log owners go at times...... even had to show a fella that although his logs had 2 inches of shell on them a person could not get more than a 2x4 out of the sides, and then it cost me more in time than i got in lumber.... but he finally understood after watchng me saw one of his logs.


  3. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

    Apr 29, 2005
    South Carolina
    I own a Wood-Mizer and I have cut lumber out of a 6" tree on the small end, But being honest I don't like it. I did this for one man that had alot of 6, 8, 10" logs, by the Board feet. Worked all day for ---not alot. The next time he called me to cut some more for him, I told him I would only saw by the HR. This man took all the 6" tree's out as I was sawing and set them to the side-----he said "They Were To Time Consuming to saw"-----But when I was cutting by the BF-------he throwed everyone on the mill---LOL. When I am sawing the tree's into logs for myself, when I get to 8" on the small end--I stop. Its like William said-------------its best to cut the logs longer if possible, but only if they are straight or close. When cutting tree's to length--try to cut to the best length to work with a bow or crook, for example-----A few days ago I cut a 24" tree---I wanted some 20ft logs--the tree was real straight up to about 24ft--then crooked bad--then was straight right to the top--So I cut one 20ft log then a 8ft where the crock was, then another 20ft etc. I can cut alot of 8ft with a crook in it, but would have lost to much if I had of let the crook be in the 20ft piece. When sawing for customers I have cut 16ft logs in half so he would get more BF or cut 4ft bow off of a 16ft log to get a straight 12ft log. I can saw the 4ft into what ever he wants if he wants it cut. I always cut MY 4ft sections into 4x4 because I use them to stack my 4ft wide stacks on, also use them on the top of the pile for weight and a spacer to keep the tin top from touching the lumber. If you have questions--I will be glad to try to answer them. Randy
  4. MoBarger

    MoBarger Goat's Milk soap for sale

    Mar 5, 2003
    upstate NY
    Randy brings up good points. You'll get more BF with the straighter logs.
    What WM model are you using? We have an LT40 with setworks. Straighter larger logs go fast as once you get to your cant, it's easy to set the setworks and zip out those boards. If you have to monkey with a crooked log or one with a knot, you are going to need more room to turn it over to get your cant and it will take longer. Plus you'll get more slab wood for your winter fires. *wink.
    You don't mention what wood you are cutting. We typically use pine or hemlock to do board and batting sides, and we have put them on when they are freshly cut. You wll get some shrinking but that is what the battings are for, right? ;-)