by James B. “Jim” Kea
Area Extension Forestry Agent – now retired
Thursday, February 9th, 2006
There has been a resurgence of interest in small sawmills for farm use. Part of the interest is due to the ease of operation and safety of the new mills versus the old circular saw portable mills. Many people are fascinated with the idea of running a small sawmill such as those seen at the State Fair.
With the new portable sawmills, the log remains stationary and a band saw travels the length of the log to produce a board. These mills can produce between seven hundred and fifty to one thousand five hundred board feet of lumber per day.
Due to their low production, portable sawmills may not prove feasible for commercial operations. However, for the farmer that wants to produce some lumber for his own use or do custom sawing on a hobby basis, a small portable band saw may be the answer.
The small mills promise to produce smooth, accurate lumber.
To get this lumber, the operator has to learn to maintain and sharpen his blades correctly. Keeping a sharp blade is probably the most difficult task in running the small portable band saw mill.
Those that are thinking about purchasing a small portable band mill for starting a possible business should make a business plan like any other small business. Have a market for lumber before starting to saw. Careful planning and investigation prior to purchase will help the potential small portable band mill owner avoid business pitfalls.
If you are considering the purchase of a small portable band sawmill, contact your local Extension Agent.