Using The Quick & Dirty Band Saw Mill!

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Some final thoughts on this:
– it’s hard work and probably not worth the time and effort of building the saw, unless you plan on doing a lot of it.

– the design for the saw is a good one, in that it was rock solid as it was making the cuts. Making the saw itself move as opposed to moving the wood through it would really make the build a lot more complex. Beefing up the frame to resist movement (chatter) while cutting through 16″ of hard maple would be difficult, especially if the height was also adjustable.

– using a stick to lever the wood through the saw was a very good way to regulate a steady feed rate and took little effort.

– adjusting the depth of cut by stacking boards under the wood worked well, much easier and faster to do than I expected.

– cutting through thick, green hardwood gums up the blade and dulls it fairly quickly. Running water onto the blade while it’s cutting keeps it clean and free of resin, but also makes quite a mess. I learned that the blade will come off a lot easier if water is used to lube the blade, and of course water and MDF don’t ply nice.
For serious cutting in green, thick hardwood, a 2hp motor doesn’t really “cut” it. To make the cutting more efficient (read faster), the blade speed should be very high – as high as 6000 fpm – and a motor that size doesn’t have the power. A 6-8 hp gas engine would be much better.

– the blade I used was ok, but not really well suited to this kind of cutting. Better to go with a much wider (1-1/4″ – 1-1/2″) blade with a lot fewer teeth. Carbide, even, but those blades are expensive and hard to find.

– it’s moderately dangerous. First, the wood is massively and deceptively heavy, so there’s a crush risk (wear work boots). Moving and handling things this heavy will likely involve muscles that you’ve not used since you were a kid, so plan on being stiff and sore for a few.
it is moderately dangerous. The blade can break and get tangled in the drive wheel and after that, it’s hard to accurately predict what damage it can do to the machine itself and / or to the personnel operating it.
All in all, for me it was an interesting project and did make me appreciate even more the work involved. I will say honestly that what I’d get out of it in material is not worth the time and effort it takes to do the work, so I’ll likely not pursue it again.

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