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$800 Sawmill Build I found on Reddit.  RSS feed

 
Josh Pasholk
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Location: Southern Oregon
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This was a super cool post I saw on the homestead subreddit. With a little bit of knowhow, this guy was able to build a decent sawmill with only 800 bucks. I'd say that's pretty impressive.

What do you guys and gals think?

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Reddit Post
 
Aaron Barkel
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Way beyond my skill level, but cool as anything.
 
Mike Cantrell
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Location: Mid-Michigan
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Up until recently, my first thought would have been, "Ok, fine, you can build an awesome machine if you've got an awesome machine shop".

In other words, " nice job, guy, way to ignore $8,000 in equipment and five years of experience when you tally up your costs. "


BUT, that's no longer true!

Now, with makerspaces popping up everywhere (like my modest little town of 30,000 people), you can go and get access to serious machine tools like the author's mill and lathe PLUS training to use them... for like $20/month. It's a good time to be alive.
 
Nick Watkins
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Location: Akron, Ohio
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Mike Cantrell wrote:Up until recently, my first thought would have been, "Ok, fine, you can build an awesome machine if you've got an awesome machine shop".

In other words, " nice job, guy, way to ignore $8,000 in equipment and five years of experience when you tally up your costs. "


I thought the same thing when looking at homemade sawmills and in the process stumbled on a DIY combination lathe/mill/drill press that could be built for a few hundred bucks (or potentially free) with instructions found at at http://opensourcemachine.org/. The gist is that it leverages the precision of the piston bores in junk engine blocks and you build from there. The engineer in me is skeptical about the precision of such a machine. so take this with a grain of salt. I haven't built one, don't know anyone that has, and I haven't seen one in action personally.
 
Guy Marknes
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Frankensaw Chainsawmill 1.0

100 year old house studs from the kitchen wall tear out.

New pipe parts from Home Depot

$50 42" bar

$53 chain

misc. screws

Started off renting powerheads from Home Depot Tool Rental (Makita's) and slabbing logs.

Sold enough logs and bought a used chainsaw.

Burned it out.

Watched some youtube videos on how to rebuild a chainsaw.

Bought some parts, rebuilt the powerhead.  (Built 20 or so custom saws in the past 2 years, never tinkered with a 2 or 4 cycle engine in my life prior).

Current powerhead is a 101ccc Husqvarna non-EPA with a nikasil cylinder set up, total investment: $150 for a $700 machine because self built.

Most permies already have a groundsaw already, and if not your powerhead does double duty with a shorter bar for firewood or other yard tasks.

But, if approached well, you can DIY a portable one-man sawmill for $200-$300, that can net you thousands in slab lumber for projects.
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Guy Marknes
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Frankensaw Chainsawmill 2.0

Later I rebuilt the sled with some straighter whitewood planks from ye olde local Home Depot, but kept all the pipes.

Simple lynch pins in pre-drilled holes set the height.

Caution on drilling your bar tip: I called the company and talked to one of their engineers and discussed the most Northward point I could safely drill a 1/4" hole and not compromise the integrity of the bar.

Using a ladder for the first pass gives you a straight and true flat surface for each following pass, and no need for any pesky rail systems.

It's a full on Citybilly set up, no safeties, no guards whatsoever.  I do NOT recommend you build anything without guards and safeties, and PLEASE if you decide to sawmill, even with a bandmill wear chaps and other safety gear.  Things go awry and wrong.   Just because one crazy SOB has a gaggle of guardian angles on his shoulder doesn't mean anyone else can invoke them by copying designs.

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Ladder for passing cut.
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New sled. (well, built it last year, but still using it)
 
Matt Walker
Posts: 244
Location: North Olympic Peninsula
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That's a nice DIY AK mill James, I like it.

Here's my favorite roll your own, built by my lovely neighbor for around $350.



Check out his other videos too for some great ideas, the three point chipper is a good one.
 
Larry Bock
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I really enjoyed this post. I was thinking of a portable sawmill somewhere down the road. this post gave me alot of ideas...i love this site......Larry
 
Guy Marknes
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That was a great video!  And about the best/cheapest/sturdiest rail system I've seen for a bandmill yet. He also has a TON of blade guards in place, especially on the operators side.  Most I've seen on the various milling forums I lurk and reside in as well, use trailer tires and axles for their inexpensiveness and ease of access, but fail to take into account that those small diameter tires have too fine of a crown on the rubber, and that the blade needs a flat surface to run on, or you dismount the blade at full velocity.  Those motorcycle tires and wheel bearings will stand up much longer to those RPMs.  Nice job, and a great looking build.
 
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