Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Woodworkers Sawmill Build

So it seems I have talked myself into committing to the sawmill build this summer. This is going to be a long project, hopefully we can saw some boards before the snow flies again. If you have followed any of my builds you will know I usually start of with a rough drawing to lay out the basic dimensions and expectations and then work from there, according to what I have available or can fabricate myself. Here is my rough concept drawing.


As you can see this is different from most of what is out there. Different variations of this idea have rolled around in my head for many years. I don't have the trees to go into business producing large amounts of construction length lumber, and now that my house and shops are built, I don't have the need for it either. My sawmill dream has always been to be able to cut a tree down, saw it into good quality boards, and build a nice piece of furniture with it, (the whole process, forest to bookcase).

For a woodworker the largest pieces he is likely to build are bookcases, or bed frames. All under 8', for that reason I sized the mill for a maximum log length of 8'6". This will still allow you to cut stud length lumber if needed.

The most distinct difference in this mill is that the saw arch is stationary, the log carriage moves the log through the stationary saw arch. In my opinion a more accurate cut should be produced, for two reasons, the blade arch is not moving over a less than perfect surface, and the carriage, which is moving, has a larger stance than a traveling arch, which helps to smooth out the irregularities in the track.

The first question here might be "How are you going to saw 8'6'' logs on a 6'2" carriage?". The answer is the carriage wheels are inset 1' from the ends of the carriage. This allow's the carriage to overhang the frame 1' at both ends, allowing 8'6" of travel past the blade.

Blade elevation and carriage travel will both be powered by ATV 1500 lb. winches, this may change if things don't work out.

Engine clutches for anything larger than 12 or 13 HP are very expensive, competing with the price of the engine itself. So I will try an idea used by many others, tightening and loosening the belt, by installing the engine on a movable base, I could see this being hard on the belt, we will see.

Another different idea I dreamed up was installing a small crane on the towing A frame. This simplifies log handling, it rotates 360* and should load anything you can get within 6' of that end of the mill or straight out of the back of my truck. It will also turn logs on the carriage.

The 5 trailer jacks allow you to level and support the mill, the three at the crane end give the crane good support.

I don't know if I am going to post this on the forums yet. I know the first comments I am going to get are "my Wood-Myzer can cut 18' boards and 10,000 board feet per day" thats great if your going into business but it will cost you $30,000 and lots of maintenance keeping up with the blade sharpening etc. This one should come in around $1,800 total and hopefully produce all the wood any woodworker could ever hope to find projects for.

So I think thats enough info to get started, and give viewers an idea of were I am headed with this. We'll try to get out in the heat tomorrow and start cutting metal for the base frame.

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