Time-Saving Tips for Running a Bandsaw Sawmill

Running a ​bandsaw sawmill can be productive and enjoyable. But it can also be a frustrating waste of time. It all depends on how you approach it. If you plan carefully, you can save time and curb frustration while keeping yourself and others safe.

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Always Cut With a Sharp Blade

Log being cut on a portable sawmill
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Have you ever left that blade on the sawmill just a little bit too long? We have all done it. Thinking we can get just one more log cut and then it happens. The blade starts to dive and pops off. Now the blade is stuck in the wood, and you either have to cut the half sawn board off or try to work the blade back out.

Frustrating situations like this can be avoided if we take the time and change the blade when we should. One sure sign that your band saw blade is getting dull is if you have to tighten the blade frequently while cutting. A dull blade gets hot and therefore expands, causing loose tension.

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Avoid Breakdowns

Engineer Polishing Steel Parts for Industry
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Routine maintenance takes time, but it is time well spent. Think of all the time and money you will save. Every time the saw breaks, you have to repair it, and that takes precious production time.

How long does it take to grease your mill every morning? Twenty minutes? Compare that to how long it takes to replace bearings on your band wheels, not to mention the cost of the parts.

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Prepare Your Logs

Tracking His Lumber Deliveries
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You can save time by properly preparing your logs before they go on the mill. Trim the bell of a butt log as close to the diameter of the rest of the log as you can.

This will prevent having to adjust the mill to compensate. While you have your chainsaw in hand trim any limb, numbs or protruding knots flush with the rest of the log.

If you are cutting logs from the trees in someone's yard, then grab your metal detector. Chances are there is at least one nail left from someone's yard sale sign or treehouse. You don't want to hit one of them with your blade.

Wash dirty logs. Next to metal, dirt is the band saw blade's worst enemy. If your logs are dirty, it is well worth the extra effort to power wash them before you start cutting.

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Edge While Cutting a Cant

Cut log on a portable sawmill
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Edging on a band mill can be rather tedious. Why not save yourself some trouble and edge while you are cutting the board. Once you have your log squared into a cant and are ready to start slabbing off boards, set your unedged boards back on the sawmill.

Cut your boards from the cant like you usually would. When the boards are edged on one side flip them over. Keep doing this until all your boards are edged.

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Don't Rush

'Slow' sign stencilled in white paint on a concrete driveway
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One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to get into too much of a hurry. Trying to push out as much board footage as you can you begin to cut corners. We try to push the equipment farther than it is intended to go. This can lead to disaster.

One of the biggest causes of breakdowns is the misuse and abuse of equipment. Don't rush it. Take your time and go easy on your equipment. In the long run, you will have higher production and less stress.