Small or home made sawmills

Hello all . We have had some interest in sawmills so I thought I would start a topic on them .

Below are some info on my junker .

I use a much smaller cordless drill for sharpening now .


I love that mill! Thanks for creating this thread, I am eager to see all that everyone has to share. When I get started building a mill I intend to document it and share here as well. Thanks Wayne!

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Hello John .

I believe there are at least a dozen folks here on the DOW ( drive on wood site ) that have small mills . Maybe they will post a few pics and videos here .

Yes there is a lot of reading here on the DOW if one likes to read . I have read 74.2k post :lying_face:
And in the library there is more reading than one can do in a life time .

Also it is snowing here in the Springville valley . Yall usually get more there on the mountain.


So far there aren’t any places it is sticking here, and it appears to be turning to sleet now instead of snow. Hopefully the road conditions stay relatively safe. I have been searching the online market for materials for a mill today. Seeing yours operate has definitely encouraged me to get started sooner rather than later. Once we sell our previous home we will begin the build! I agree, hopefully everyone else will share their experience’s and sawmill projects, I enjoy seeing different perspectives to a sawmill build.

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Hi Wayne, it is snowing too. But it will not last long. Should be up in the low 60’s *f today and sun shining bright. I just Love the fall to winter weather. We see 40 plus degree temperature changes in just hours.
I just love watching your saw mill videos and would like to see everyone else post their videos here too. You can’t DOW with out processing wood.


Hi Wayne. I saw the first video sometime back but didn’t understand everything I was seeing. The other ones solved that. I have a mill I built. I posted a picture of the carriage somewhere here. Not nearly as elaborate as yours. The carriage pushes through the log on mine like most of the homemade ones. When I set it back up I want to get more track made up and run the log through it on a carrier like you do. When I am pushing mine through a log I generally have to slow down if I hit a big knot or I’m afraid I’ll break the blade. You ever have any problem with your feed? I would like to eventually quit have to walk that blade carriage or trolley back and forth for every cut. Just haven’t figured out a good way to to that yet. I’ll post some pictures of mine in case some of the details would be of use to anyone building one of their own. I’d like to see how you get a log that size flopped around to get it squared up before you start cutting boards.


Hello Mr. Tom

I don’t worry about breaking a blade , I think only 1 has broke in the last ten years . I do have to slow down the feed speed or throttle up blade speed when cutting through knots or the blade will dip or rise .

When flipping the big logs I use a homemade cant hook with about 6-7 foot handle . Even with that sometime I’m not hardly fat enough and need to fill my pockets with rocks :smiley:


Mr. Wayne,
I dunno if you encounter this down south, but the day we were cutting this white pine, it was well below freezing. The man we bought the saw from said to use water to lube the blade, but we couldn’t keep it from icing up. I found a jug of wet transmission fluid in the back of a junk truck and I poured that in the drip tank. It seemed to clean off the dust from the blade and the belts and blade didn’t slip, so I suppose it was a win.

I wonder what we are supposed to use?


I use diesel fuel in a little squat bottle to clean the blade just a few squirts after each pass. Maybe it isn’t the best but several people who have done alot of sawing recommended it to me ask it cleans pine and other pitch off really quick. I squirt right at the blade guides. Seems to work best there to clean things.


Funny how in the white mountains in NH we are getting rain and it will be 59F tomorrow.

I will track down some photos of my mill at some point. I think I posted a bunch when someone was building a mill last summer.


I started out putting Pine-sol in my water but that was a waste of money since I only cut hardwood. Now I just use plain water. I guess if I had a problem with it freezing I’d add some salt to the water. We are north but because of the lake it doesn’t get really cold here very often.

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Good morning Bruce .

I have no experience with sawing frozen logs and really hope I never have to . Being from Alabama working in 100F weather is no big problem but anything below 40F is another story.

I have used diesel fuel in my water drip but have not in several years . I keep a can of cooking spray ( Pam ) handy but have not used it in a long time .

If I run into a pithy pine I will open the water up and it seems to work OK .


Dear Wayne,
Thanks for the response. I appreciate the tips. I completely understand about your desire to stay in a liquid water temperature zone.
Here of course, the trees get skidded on snow which means they show up clean on the saw table. I like to wear clothes, so I like to work in cold temps.
I encountered a few 240d engines in West Germany. I liked them alot. Mercedes had a gas six cylinder that I always wanted to bring home and put in a pickup, or a 73 Nova.
Have you ever considered running your mill operation on electricity?


Hello Bruce .

With hindsight electricity would have been a good option. When I made the mill the intent was to move it to some other property that had no electric grid.


My bought 3rd hand made-in-New Zeeland swing blade Peterson mill was electric driven at it’s first deployment. As a breakdown mill at a pine operation in Montana.
The second owner a one-man cedar fencing board maker, here Washington State wet-side. Same job - log breakdown saw. To make cants to load into the band saw board maker saw.
He converted to a V-twin Kohler 20hp gasoline engine. Works. Actually quiet and smooth cutting. But wicked dangerous.
The factory gas engined units have electric cutches with electric blade brakes. A big red smack to stop emergency switch.
Got none of that.

Ha! I ran the belts a bit loose. Sawed very aware,. And carefully.
Pictures back on the older DruPal DOW.


What do you use all the sawdust that becomes when you saw timber?


Disposable woodgas filters for your truck maybe?


Yes JO, chain saw and fine saw blade approved just roll it up in loose fabrics or wool or weld blanket, and see the blue flame with no black soot. Do you know how to make a saw dust filter for vehicle gasification?

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Bob, I think the problem with sawdust in a bag of fabric is gas will try to bypass and sneak past it. The gas inlet (or outlet) would probably have to be placed in a screen cage inside the sawdust. Complicated and messy to wash or change.
If I were to try it I think I would go for planer shavings. Just sprinkle a layer on top of the hay. I believe shavings would be able to keep their integrity and not get compacted even if washed down with buckets of water. I like to be able continue doing cleanouts in my Sunday shirt :smile:


Good morning Jan .

If I am lucky enough sometime folks will come by and get the sawdust for horse stall bedding but 95% of the time I ( really the wife :neutral_face: ) haul it out in the pasture and pile it up to rot .

I keep a bucket of very dry saw dust handy when I do mechanic work . If hands are real greasy I will wash my hands first with the saw dust then soap and water .