Portable Band Saw Mills

Portable band saw mills review and buying guide. Best portable saw mills for wood cutting, including TimberKing, Wood-Mizer and Hud-Son manufacturers.

Tips when buying portable band saw

portable band saw mills Mobile band saw mill

The best portable band saw mills are designed large enough to provide stability, durability and strength in heavy duty work, and small enough to be portable. 

Whether you are a wood worker, woodlot operator, cabin maker, timber framer or DIY backyard hobbyists, and you need something for easy transport or storage; portable bandsaw mills is what you should look for.

The bandsaw mills are handy and economical; they provide an ideal solution for farmers and ranchers who always need boards and timber for barns or fencing. Using a portable bandsaw mill does less damage to the environment than when transporting the log to the mill.

The best bandsaw mills should have a strong foundation made of steel and welded together to create one solid, quality log deck; powerful electric, gasoline or diesel engines with a blade speed control, accurate saw lift mechanism with locking system, depth indication mark possible at the eye level and other safety elements and accessories.

Portable band saw mills can be found from small and simple, user friendly ones, designed for hobbyist and sawyers, to the larger mills constructed with the more powerful engines and hydraulic features and for larger log capacity.

Based on the sawmill model and brand, feed system is either manual push, hand crank or power feed; up and down movement is also controlled by hand crank or electrically.

An example from one of the manufacturers: smaller bandsaw mills can handle 20" in diameter logs and cut 175' per hour, while for larger portable mills maximum log capacity is 42" and speed is 700' per hour. And the price varies; it can go from few thousands to over $30,000.

When comparing to the traditional mill saw, portable mills can be trailered and set up on site, next to the trees being cut; they are using the resaw blade as found on the band saw where the smaller kerf blades dramatically increased the yield from a given log.

There is only operator needed and he moves the saw head with the blade and the power source, back and forth while the log remains fixed.

Summary of advantages found on the portable bandsaw mill vs. circular saw:

  • Portable saw mill is safer and quieter than circular saw.

  • The kerf on a blade is smaller so timber yield is higher.

  • Bandsaw mill can handle larger diameter logs.

  • They use less power to operate.

  • Replacement cost is lower than on circular saw.

The best portable band saw mills

TimberKing

TimberKing is one of the biggest manufacturers of portable sawmills in US, present on the market from 1929. Every portable band saw mill TK offers is equipped with the 4-post saw head for precise and consistent alignment between the blade and the log deck. All models have a strong and durable log deck that can resist heavy timber from bending or twisting while providing enough support for log.

Bigger cut throat allows wider and taller cuts while direct action hydraulics provides the system running smooth. Other useful features such as auto blade clutch or cam-lock log clamps will guarantee efficient and reliable work.

TimberKing offers four different portable band saw mill models, for four different applications.

The simplest model 1220 is a manual portable band saw mill that can be used for smaller logs; when building a cabin or for occasional cutting at the farm.

The 1600 model is equipped with more features such as hydraulic power feed, hydraulic blade up/down and log loaders, and it can handle higher production needs.

TimberKing models 2000, 2200 and 2400 are serious machines for serious production. With their fully automated operation they can handle large 36" capacity, while a computer board thickness control will get you perfectly dimensioned lumber.

Wood-Miser

Wood-Miser is another leader in the band sawmills industry and production of thin-kerf portable bandmills.

Wood-Miser advantages and high quality level can be seen at every step; from the laser cut components, stainless steel beds to sophisticate controls. Cantilever head design is what they are proud off; it assures accurate cuts even on sloped terrain.

Wood-Miser produces thin-kerf blades for its own sawmills. Buying a band saw mill from this company will get you produce more lumber than with traditional blades. This increase is up to 40% and at the same time there will be 60% less sawdust. By using the thin-kerf bandsaw you will also see the saving on the blade cost and power and have better quality cut.

Wood-Miser has also a solution for cutting on the sloped or rugged terrain. This is done with the monorail system that allows easy and quick setup and a heavy log won't cause the imbalance in the frame.

Wood-Miser offers a great selection of portable band saw mills. You can find manual sawmills that are using gasoline or diesel and the maximum cutting capacity, based on the model is 24, 28, 32 or 36". Hydraulic sawmills are using gasoline, diesel and electricity to power the machine and the maximum cutting capacity is 36".

Hud-Son Forest Equipment

Hud-Son Forest Equipment manufactures portable bandsaw mills and "mills to go" from 1976. They offer several models, different in size and for different applications that are easy to move around either with the pick-up truck, 4-wheeler or carrying by two guys.

As opposed to Wood-Miser's cantilever single beam design, Hud-Son has a dual beam design which according to them is more superior. A cantilever single beam design hangs the blade out over the log; the blade is held from one side and can make wavy cut or sag, which is not a case with a dual beam.

The smallest Oscar 118 hobby cuts up to 18" diameter logs and it cost $2200. It is light weight and small enough to store in the garage or barn.

Oscar 236 is Hud-Son's best selling portable band saw mill that can cut any wood up to 36" in diameter. For the basic price of $6000 this unit offers a 12-v winch control for saw-head height control, electric start, 16 HP engine and option to buy it as the ground track or trailer unit.

Every model they produce has a 4-post head mill design bandsaw mills for better head stability and more accurate cuts. Blades are easy to replace and there is no need for adjustment or realignment. Hud-Son Company is proud of their own blade guides with support on the top, bottom and back so it limits the chance of blade wander. Their H-frame bearing support system eliminates the unnecessary stress.

With over 40 locations throughout US, Canada and Europe, Hud-Son sawmills are getting good technical and customer support.

Summary

Buying a reliable portable band saw mill doesn't have to be hard. Just follow simple steps before buying one and you are good to go. Look for the recommendation from someone who owns the mill, read the online reviews and test the sawmills before buying.

Also, ask yourself... Does the manufacturer have an expertise in designing and manufacturing the saw mills? Do they outsource their work, do they provide a warranty or money back guarantee? Compare the prices on new and resale value on used mills. How powerful the motor is and what special features the saw mill offers so you can save time and money? Don't forget to check the quality of the customer and technical support.