Mobile handsaw mills range in price from under $5,000 to $25,000, depending on log-diameter capacity, engine size, and the extent of the mill's hydraulic log-handling capability. Log capacities range from 17'/>in. dia. on the smaller Ross mill ($4,950) to 36-in. dia. on several others. Motor power ranges from a low of 8 HP on the smallest Wood-Mizer up to 65 HP on the largest Paul Bunyan. Log-handling capability ranges from entirely manual to mills with full-hydraulic loading, log-turning and leveling controls. There are lots of options with mobile bandmills.
The mobile bandmill that I came across most often was the Wood-Mizer; in fact it's the only mobile band-mill that I saw in action. I got to compare two Wood-Mizer mills—one with hydraulic log-handling equipment and one without. Both did a great job sawing up logs, but the owners of the manual model spent a lot of time muscling logs up onto the saw. The owner of the hydraulic-equipped Wood-Mizer never seemed to work up a sweat. The hydraulics lifted the log. rolled it onto the saw and turned the log till you found the best face.
To sum up, each type of small-scale sawmill has its own best application. Chainsaw mills saw the widest logs and are the least expensive way to gel into lumber-making. The Ripsaw portable bandsaw combines the portability and modest cost of the chainsaw mills with the Vi<.-in. kerf of the mobile bandsaw mills. The tradeoff is the limited maximum board width.
Mobile circular mills are efficient and productive rigs for sawing out dimension lumber, especially for construction purposes. Mobile bandsaw mills seem to me to be the most versatile for sawing furniture-shop lumber. I found it interesting that Lee Stitzinger of Brookville Wood Products in Brookville. Pennsylvania, a good-size commercial sawing operation with a conventional sawing setup, uses a Brcezewood bandsaw mill to cut up his finest specialty logs.
Don't rely entirely on my opinions. Contact the manufacturers (see Sources) to find out where you can see their mill in operation in your part of the country.
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