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Anybody make your own lumber?

HoLeChit

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I would really like to get ahold of a few dozen cedar trees and make some boards. However, I don’t have a sawmill. Anyone have one? Is it worth the cash/something you can make some money off of? I have too many pokers in the fire to spend big bucks on another hobby that doesn’t at least pay its keep.

has anyone taken trees to a sawmill to get them cut down into boards? What did it cost? What was the process like? How was the End product?
 
Nice man!!! How are you drying?
 
My dad took some walnut and sycamore logs to a sawmill in the OKC area and had them turned into lumber. My brother's father in law (a cabinetmaker by trade) knew the mill, but I don't recall what they paid (plus, that was nearly 20 years ago). The finished product was rough-cut lumber, but hopefully you're not expecting finished lumber from a sawmill. My dad made a few things from it, but most of it sat stacked away in my garage, then got moved to his shop. My brother's FIL ended up buying it at the estate sale after my mom passed last year.

When the tornado went within a mile of my house and broke a huge red oak up near the road, I had my brother's FIL take a look at it. He said it would make some decent lumber, but probably wouldn't be worth the cost of having it milled--but red oak is common as weeds around here.

A few years ago, one of my dad's hay customers had his portable sawmill stored in his hay barn when it burned down, so my dad traded him some hay for the burned up sawmill. It was another of those "more projects than time" deals, so my dad's plan to restore it never came to fruition. When he passed, the guy who traded it to him offered to sell it for my mom. It was in seriously rough shape (it had warped from the heat of the fire, the the little Briggs gas engine that ran it was slag, and all of the wiring was burned away), so we expected to get scrap value for it, but those things are (or were, in '22) in high demand. He put it on FB Marketplace, and some dude paid $2,500 for it.

I don't know what the market is like, but if you can get $2.5K for a burned out hulk, I'm guessing it wouldn't be hard to get your money back out of one if you choose to go that route.
 
Nice man!!! How are you drying?
The boards I’ve cut and used I didn’t store them to dry. I just used them. Cedar is pretty low moisture in my experience. I’ve got some big 8x8 square cedar posts in one of the grain bins just to keep it out of the weather until I decide what to use them for. They’ve been cut/milled for two years and haven’t twisted, bowed or anything.
 
The boards I’ve cut and used I didn’t store them to dry. I just used them. Cedar is pretty low moisture in my experience. I’ve got some big 8x8 square cedar posts in one of the grain bins just to keep it out of the weather until I decide what to use them for. They’ve been cut/milled for two years and haven’t twisted, bowed or anything.
How many of the 8x8 posts do you have?
 
@Chazroh made a very nice project out of a slab I cut. He knows way more of wood than I.
 
I think there’s 3 of em. I’ve got a stack of cedar logs too. I need to get em squared up in all this free time.
Any interest in selling some of them? I might have a use for them.
 
I've thought about a mill, just don't think I'd ever use it enough to justify the price,

Surfed the harbor freight and multiple woodland sawmills,

Prices were $2200 to $6000,

iirc prices of the band blades were $100 & up,

Figure would need several and learn how to sharpen them.

Around here it'd be cedar, Red oak, Hickory, elm, maybe a walnut lumber.

Idk how blackjack and post oak lumber would hold up once it dried.
 
The boards I’ve cut and used I didn’t store them to dry. I just used them. Cedar is pretty low moisture in my experience. I’ve got some big 8x8 square cedar posts in one of the grain bins just to keep it out of the weather until I decide what to use them for. They’ve been cut/milled for two years and haven’t twisted, bowed or anything.
That surprises me. I would have thought cedar would go crazy when it was drying. Good to know.
 
@Cowcatcher brand on that chainsaw mill? If you chose between a chainsaw mill and a bandsaw mill, which would you choose?
 
@Cowcatcher brand on that chainsaw mill? If you chose between a chainsaw mill and a bandsaw mill, which would you choose?
A bandsaw mill if definitely better in many ways. The chainsaw mill is more portable though. Just depends on what equipment you’ve got to move whole logs. The chainsaw mill I have is a Granberg. I’ve got a 36” bar on a 92cc Stihl 660 clone saw. The guide rails (2”x2” square tubing) are nothing special just steel from the steel yard. The plates that hold them, I made. I stole the idea off a guy on YouTube. By far the simplest fastest guide rail setup I’ve seen. The Chinese company, Holzfforma/farmertec, that has copied all the husqvarna saws and Stihl saws has also copied the Granberg mill and guide rails. I did buy the Chinese Stihl 660 clone (what they call the pro). It has been a great saw. Yes if you watch enough videos there are parts that need replaced pretty much instantly but Stihl Oem can go right on them. I didn’t want to put $1400 into a saw that I would only use to mill with. I did buy the real Granberg mill though. I also purchased several loops of milling chain. Milling chain has a different cutter angle and leaves a smoother finish. 10 degrees I do believe. Your regular crosscut chain will be 20-30 degrees. I hand sharpen them easy enough. I have not bought Granberg milling chain because it was out of stock when I was blowin n goin. I tried a few other brands and off the top of my head I can’t remember if it was Archer or Woodland Pro that I decided was the clear winner for surface finish. It was far superior to all the others. I can get you the for sure brand if you go down this path. A bandsaw cuts maybe 1/8” kerf? Well the chainsaw cuts 3/8” so you lose quite a bit of wood. I bought a premium bar. You want straight obviously and also a bar the chain doesn’t walk in. I bought a 36” Cannon Superbar. They are Canadian.

Anyhow, if I was gonna do quite a bit I’d love a bandsaw mill. I was actually gonna buy one a while back when @Chazroh sent me a link to a smokin hot deal on a used one but someone else beat me to it.
 
@HoLeChit heres some more pictures. Those original plates I built (bare steel/later orange) are the dimensions of the YouTube guy. Pictured below is another set I built from aluminum that are much wider they work better on bigger logs. I watched lots of YouTube about this stuff and still was nervous cutting the first few slabs. Doesn’t bother me anymore. My advice is all the power in a saw you can lift and a sharp chain. Level your end brackets then go at er like a bitin sow. After your first cut you won’t need the guide rails for the rest of that log if you are just ripping boards. I cut my boards to width removing the live edge on my table saw most of the time but you surely can turn a log into a square cant with the chainsaw. Also, I called it milling chain above, some saw milling and some say ripping.
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