Buyer’s Guide To Portable Sawmills. Timber king portable sawmill

Timber king portable sawmill

Providing the Midlands’ widest range of tree-related services, including our diesel-powered TimberKing 2020 portable sawmill bringing unmatched precision lumber production to your site.

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Cut your Trees into Lumber

Do you have trees recently cut from your property? With some building projects in mind there’s no reason to discard the logs. Given sufficient working area at your location our tandem axle, full hydraulic-controlled machine can be towed to your yard, cutting hundreds of board feet of top-quality dimensional lumber per hour.

Speaking of projects, have you ever worked with full-sized dimensional lumber where a 2×4 is actually two inches by four inches… with square corners? The quality of lumber we produce with your logs can’t be matched by the box stores… at about 1/2 the price.

We can accommodate any size sawmill order with logs up to 39” diameter and 32’ long. Perhaps you have a single cedar log. It could be readily cut to make closet shelves or lining for the closet itself. An oak log can be made into a beautiful bench or fireplace mantle. The possibilities are endless. Give us a call to discuss.

A word about differences in portable sawmills. SiteClear operates the only four post cutter head / twin rail portable sawmill service in South Carolina. Our mill produces precisely cut boards, side to side and end to end. Cantilever, single rail type mills can not match our product quality.

Properly covered lumber responds well to air drying in the Midlands.

After sufficient drying your yellow pine lumber can be pressure treated to various levels at plants in Columbia or Orangeburg. For our personal use we choose maximum strength, providing protection in extreme salt water applications.

This black walnut slab provides an example of the beautiful wood slabs that can be produced. Trees common to the Midlands like pecan, poplar, cedar, hickory, heart pine and others can also yield exceptional results.

Portable Sawmill Cut Lumber

Stack of (11) 1”x10”x12’ ready to unload. Clear grade SYP without a single knot.

From the mill, boards are stacked to air dry, minimum 6” above ground in area providing good air circulation. One inch “stickers” are cut on the mill and used to separate the boards. Best cover is surplus metal roofing.

Hickory boards fresh off the sawmill. The live edge boards are perfect for making benches or tables.

Let SiteClear Portable Sawmill Services help build your dreams.

Removing trees, grinding stumps and portable sawmill services in the Columbia area including Irmo, Chapin and Little Mountain.

Buyer’s Guide To Portable Sawmills


Milling your own lumber can save you big bucks, and maybe even earn you a few. A portable sawmill comes to the log and makes it relatively easy.

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Lumber increased during the pandemic. Although came down when some lumber shortages were resolved, other factors, such as dwindling forest supplies, probably will be with us for the foreseeable future. That means are likely to remain volatile.

And that makes sawing your own lumber an increasingly Smart decision, assuming you have a ready supply of suitable logs.

A full-scale lumber producer has the means to transport the logs to the sawmill. But to turn your own fallen trees into lumber, you’ll need to bring the sawmill to the logs. There are plenty of portable sawmills on the market, but increasing demand lengthened wait times to a year or more for some of the most popular models.

In any case, most DIYers should choose a chain saw mill. These are far and away the least expensive portable option and the easiest to deploy. There’s no wait time if you order one of these.

What Is a Portable Sawmill?

A portable sawmill is a track that clamps to a log, allowing you to make straight cuts with your chainsaw. Bigger, more expensive and more efficient units come with a bandsaw or circular saw sized for milling logs. Some have cradles to hold logs, but some cut logs in place.

Users may have to load logs onto the cradles of less-expensive machines with a log peavey or cant hook. Both are long-handled log-turning tools. But top-of-the-line portable sawmills come with hydraulic log loading systems.

Why would you want a portable sawmill? For one reason: to mill your own lumber. The alternative is selling your seasoned logs to a sawmill for transport to their facility. That’s easier than milling them yourself, and while it might generate income, it isn’t as cost-effective.

A portable sawmill gives you a ready supply of lumber for free. Considering lumber prices, it can quickly pay for itself.

Types of Portable Sawmills

If you do a quick search for portable sawmills, you’ll find that most are chain saw mills. They are the least expensive, most easily transportable and most DIY friendly, but not the most efficient. Two other kinds work faster and produce better results. Here’s a rundown of the three types available:

Chain saw mill

This is merely a metal track that clamps to a log and guides the saw through the wood. You have to supply the saw.

A reliable model accepts saws with bars from 10 to 36 inches long (and longer) and costs less than the saw itself. It’s a great option for large logs, because it lets you do the milling without moving the log.

Band saw mill

Basically, this is a super-large and heavy-duty version of a shop Band saw, with a few key differences. The blade housing is positioned over a conveyor track and the blade oriented parallel to the track, so the saw cuts logs on the horizontal rather than vertical plane. The housing typically glides along a track to cut a stationary log.

Circular saw mill

Circular saw blades are faster than other blades at milling lumber, and most large-production sawmills use them. To make this technology portable, a circular saw is typically mounted on an overhead, moveable track and cuts through a stationary log.

An innovative example is the swing-blade sawmill, which lets you rotate the saw 90 to 180 degrees and slice boards of accurate depth and width without moving the log. That’s unique to this type of sawmill.

How to Choose a Portable Sawmill

Choose based on need. If you’ve got one or two logs you want to turn into beams or posts, a chain saw sawmill is fine. It works slowly, and the wide kerf (thickness) of the saw blade means it wastes wood. But it will do the job without moving the log.

People interested in actual lumber production, for their own project or for sale, are better off with a bandsaw or swing-blade sawmill. These tools cut faster and more accurately than a chain saw. Their blades with thinner kerfs produce less sawdust and waste less wood.

Of these two, the Band saw mill is the more popular. The blade has the thinnest possible kerf, it’s less likely to be damaged by metal in the wood, and you can send it to the shop for re-sharpening. (Typical cost is around 10 per blade, plus shipping.)

On the other hand, circular saws produce straighter, more accurate cuts. They excel with large-diameter logs, although they don’t work as well as a Band saw for milling small logs.

How Much Do Portable Sawmills Cost?

As you might expect, chain saw mills are the least expensive. They average around 100, although some models cost as much as 300.

Band saw mills start at around 4,000 for an entry-level model. A top-of-the-line machine, with a hydraulic loader and attachments for planing and sanding, can handle extra-wide logs. They cost as much as 70,000.

for a swing-blade sawmill can range from 6,000 to 40,000, with 20,000 about average. You’ll pay extra for attractive add-ons like a planer, orbital sander, and a router bit for producing tongue-and-groove boards straight off the mill.

Best Portable Sawmills

The best sawmill for you does the job within the parameters you set for it. If you’re milling lumber for personal use, here are some top choices:

Best chain saw mill


The Imony 36-inch Portable Chain Saw Mill is easy to deploy and accepts chain saw bars up to 36 inches, suitable for pretty hefty logs. Made of aluminum and steel, it’s lightweight and strong.

Best Band saw mill


The Wood-Mizer LX2515 accepts logs up to 26 inches in diameter. You’ll want this only if you’re interested in moderate to large-scale lumber production. The log clamps firmly into the cradle while the operator turns a crank to move the saw along a track to slice it into boards.

It’s a basic machine at an affordable price. One of its most attractive features is Wood-Mizer’s reputation for good customer service.

Best swing-blade saw mill


It’s tough to find swing-blade sawmills at retail outlets. But if you’re prepared to go to the source, the Junior Peterson is worth the effort. Specifically for home and farm use, it sets up in five to 10 minutes and mills a log in place — no forklifts or winches needed.

Chris Deziel has been active in the building trades for more than 30 years. He helped build a small city in the Oregon desert from the ground up and helped establish two landscaping companies. He has worked as a carpenter, plumber and furniture refinisher. Deziel has been writing DIY articles since 2010 and has worked as an online consultant, most recently with Home Depot’s Pro Referral service. His work has been published on Landlordology, and Hunker. Deziel has also published science content and is an avid musician.

Starting a Portable Sawmill Business: Top 5 Portable Sawmills and Pros Cons

Portable sawmills are an essential tool for independent wood businesses, allowing for the on-site milling of logs into usable lumber. Here are the top five portable sawmills for independent wood businesses, along with their pros and cons:

  • The Norwood LumberMate LM29: This sawmill is known for its versatility, with the ability to handle logs up to 29 inches in diameter and up to 17 feet in length. It also has a patented, adjustable bed that allows for easy, accurate cutting. The main con of the Norwood LumberMate LM29 is its relatively high price point.
  • The Wood-Mizer LT15: This sawmill is a popular choice for those just starting out in the portable sawmilling business, as it is both affordable and easy to use. The Wood-Mizer LT15 can handle logs up to 15 inches in diameter and up to 12 feet in length. One downside is that it is not as versatile as some other sawmills, and may not be able to handle larger or more complex jobs.
  • The TimberKing 1600: This sawmill is known for its durability and heavy-duty construction, making it a good option for those who plan to do a lot of milling. The TimberKing 1600 can handle logs up to 34 inches in diameter and up to 20 feet in length. However, it is also one of the more expensive options on the market.
  • The Granberg Alaskan MK-IV: This sawmill is a great option for those who are looking for a lightweight, portable sawmill that is easy to set up and use. The Granberg Alaskan MK-IV can handle logs up to 26 inches in diameter and up to 12 feet in length. One downside is that it is not as durable as some other sawmills, and may not be able to handle heavy use over time.
  • The Hud-Son HFE-21: This sawmill is a good choice for those who are looking for a compact, affordable option. The Hud-Son HFE-21 can handle logs up to 21 inches in diameter and up to 13 feet in length. However, it is not as versatile as some other sawmills and may not be able to handle larger or more complex jobs.

“Like anything, the sawmill has pluses and minuses but overall, it is a dream and a workhorse far superior to the previous sawmill we had.”

Starting a portable sawmill business can be a rewarding and profitable venture. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when starting out. First, it is important to have a clear business plan in place, including a budget for equipment and operating costs. Next, it is essential to have a solid understanding of the portable sawmilling process and the equipment used. Finally, it is important to build a strong network of contacts, including loggers, sawyers, and potential customers.

Choosing the Right Portable Sawmill for Your Business

When starting a portable sawmill business, it is important to consider the type of lumber you will be producing. Different sawmills are designed to handle different types of wood and produce different types of cuts. For example, some sawmills are designed to handle hardwoods, while others are better suited for softwoods. Additionally, some sawmills are designed to produce rough cuts, while others are better suited for finished cuts.

Another important factor to consider when starting a portable sawmill business is the equipment you will need. In addition to the sawmill itself, you will likely need a variety of other equipment, such as a generator, a log turner, and a lumber edger. Additionally, you will need to have a way to transport the logs to the sawmill and the finished lumber away from the sawmill. A trailer or a pickup truck would be ideal for this purpose.

Finding the Right Market

When it comes to the market for your portable sawmill business, there are several different options available. One option is to sell the lumber to lumberyards or sawmills. Another option is to sell the lumber directly to consumers, either through a retail location or through online marketplaces. Additionally, you could also sell the lumber to woodworkers and builders, who may be looking for specific types of wood or cuts.

In order to be successful in the portable sawmill business, it is also important to establish a strong reputation for quality and reliability. This can be achieved by consistently producing high-quality lumber, providing excellent customer service, and building relationships with your customers. Additionally, it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and technology, as well as any changes in regulations or safety standards.

Financials of a Portable Sawmill Business

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that starting a portable sawmill business requires a significant investment in time and money. It’s essential to have a clear understanding of the costs involved and to have the necessary capital to invest in the necessary equipment. Additionally, it is important to have a good understanding of the market and the potential for profitability, as well as the necessary skills and experience to operate the sawmill and manage the business. With hard work and dedication, however, a portable sawmill business can be a rewarding and profitable venture.

In conclusion, a portable sawmill is a great investment for independent wood businesses, allowing for on-site milling of logs into usable lumber. The Norwood LumberMate LM29, Wood-Mizer LT15, TimberKing 1600, Granberg Alaskan MK-IV, and Hud-Son HFE-21 are the top five portable sawmills for independent wood businesses. Starting a portable sawmill business requires a clear business plan, knowledge of the portable sawmilling process and equipment, a strong network of contacts, good understanding of the market, and the necessary capital and skills. The key to success in the portable sawmill business is to consistently produce high-quality lumber, provide excellent customer service, and stay up-to-date with industry trends and regulations.

The 5 Best Portable Sawmills

Steve Nix is a natural resources consultant and a former forest resources analyst for the state of Alabama. He is a member of the Society of American Foresters.

Portable sawmill manufacturers with good mills are thriving and do-it-yourself sawmilling for lumber is on the rise. If you have energy enough to saw your own, here are the most popular mills sold in North America.

These excellent companies were chosen because of their popularity and because they are respected by seasoned portable sawmill operators as well as because they each have Internet sales with great descriptions of their products.

Below are links to manufacturers that represent the very best in portable sawmilling products. These mills are designed to fit nearly every book, include many model options, and have accessories that enhance the mill readily available. Every company has a proven reputation for quality and each sells throughout the U.S. and Canada.

It is generally understood that the less expensive the mill, the lower the production output, and most smaller mills can actually be purchased online. New portable sawmills from these companies can range in price from less than 1,000 like the Norwood PortaMill Chainsaw or thousands of dollars like the LumberMate Sawmill depending on the amount of production you need.

TimberKing Sawmills

Founded in 1929 under the name “Belsaw,” TimberKing has been manufacturing quality products for nearly a century, and the strength and durability of their American-made quality sawmills are unmatched in the United States.

TimberKing is one of the largest portable sawmill manufacturers in the United States and offers three different models to serve three very different needs: the 1220 mill is suited to small, occasional cutting projects on the farm or at a hunting or fishing camp; the 1600 has more productive capacity with features like hydraulic power feed, hydraulic blade, and available hydraulic log loaders; the B-20 is the choice for using a mill as part of a full-time business venture.

No matter which model you buy, though, TimberKing sawmills come with a 3-year warranty and a 30-days-no-questions-asked return policy — so there’s no risk in trying out one of these powerful machines before fully committing to the purchase!

Wood-Mizer Sawmills

WOOD-MIZER is one of the largest sellers of portable sawmills in the United States and has operated out of Indianapolis, Indiana for over 20 years, manufacturing thousands of personal and portable sawmills to people all over the world.

Their claim: No other company can match Wood-Mizer’s selection of mills. They offer two small personal sized mills for small weekend jobs, four professional sized mills for increased production using larger logs, and industrial-strength bandsaw mills that can match circular saws in productivity.

Engineered for quality and performance, the products of this relatively young company are comprehensive and well-reviewed. From stationary to portable, standard to wide, the selection of models in Wood-Mizer’s collection is second to none.

Norwood Sawmills

Not only does Norwood Sawmills offer an excellent website with helpful sawmilling references and video, but they also are a fine vendor for purchasing anything associated with small sawmilling. They even offer a free book for the beginner called “The Ultimate Guide to Portable Sawmills.”

Their claim: Each and every Norwood portable sawmill are quality-built in the USA and Canada. The Company emphasizes that you should “never expect an import from China, Taiwan or Poland. You can be assured that every single custom-fabricated component in every Norwood is precision-made in the United States and Canadian facilities. They are never assembled out of foreign-made parts and easily customized to handle post-purchase hydraulic upgrading and increased portability.”

Hud-Son Sawmills

Hud-Son Forest Equipment, Inc. is located in Barneveld, New York and has one of the largest dealer-distributor networks in North America with decades of experience in the manufacturing of sawmill and wood processing equipment.

Hud-Son specializes in portable sawmills, bandmills, and sawmilling equipment and offers reasonable consumer loans for financing the purchase of these industrial-grade machines. According to its website, Hud-Son manufactures “quality, affordable portable sawmills and wood processing equipment” with competent dealers who work hard at helping you get the sawmill up and running.

Enercraft/Baker Sawmills

Canadian company ENERCRAFT/BAKER has more than 27 years of combined experience in the manufacturing of sawmill equipment. Through continuous improvements to the equipment, Enercaft is a leader in the industry for both portable Band sawmills and Band resaws.

Enercraft sawmills are built to last, with many of their older models still in use by businesses and homeowners today.

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