small mills

Don Staples dstaples at
Mon Feb 9 01:33:19 EST 1998

alan haley wrote:
> Has anyone ever used or seen used a small chain or band saw mill process
> trees on the site?  Are they effective and accurate?

Yes, we have used both BellSaw circle saws and wood mizers, one of my
associates has recently purchased and installed what I beleave is called
a NorthKing (?).  All work well for a small operation.  The WoodMizer
and NorthKing are band saws, the woodmizer being self propelled and the
NorthKing being pushed through the log by the operator.  Both are one
man saws, but work best with two if not three folks.  The Bellsaw cannot
hold up to the accuracy or wood recovery that the two bandsaws offer..

The wood mizer is anywhere from $16,000 up depending on type, engine,
bells and whistles.  The NorthKing and some like it are running $6000
and up, again depending on bells and whistles.  Both are capable of
cutting veneer, although it will be a little roungh on both sides.  Wood
recovery is about 1/4 to 1/3 more than on a circle saw.  Production
claims of 1500 board feet a day are with experienced crew, many sharp
band saw blades, and a clean set up.  Much of the product can be sanded
smooth rather than surface planning, using a newly sharpened blade.  My
associate with the NorthKing has developed his own sharpening technique
and claims to get better results and smoother cuts with a blade modified
to his own specs.  He is a machinist by training and his ideas of
tollerances extends to the wood products industry.  He also insists that
he prefers the push through carriage in that it allows him to "feel" his
cut in the log, and does not over feed like the WoodMizer can do at
times.  In fact, I suspect that he feeds slower, less waver in the
blade, less dust built up in the saw gullets, and gets a better job, to
his liking.

So, yes, they are effective and accurate.  Like any equipment it takes
time to get used to them, and some folks get better with them than
others.  I would not think it worth while for just a few trees, but if
you live in a area where you can rent the machine and yourself out, it
could help pay for the cost, and you could well end up with a free

We use ours for hardwood production, primarily, but cut southern yellow
pine as well.  We got in to it because the local market for grade
hardwood is non-existant, and we figured to produce our own grade
hardwood for furniture/cabinet work.  By the time you get through
logging, milling, drying, building, and finishing, you have a very
healthy respect for wood workers, both woods and shop.

WoodMizer ships theres or you can go to (I think) Kansas City and
trailer it back, NorthKing comes in a large crate and you put it

For more information contact WoodMizer for a catelogue, or any of the
mill makers, most are pretty good and talking out your concerns and the
catelogue is worth the postage.  WoodMizer even has a neat solar kiln
set up that works just fine.
Don Staples

My Ego Stroke:

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