Equipping a Swing-Blade or Bandsaw Mill with a Laser

      Sawmillers discuss the practicality of adding a laser pointer to a sawmill as a cut location indicator. January 11, 2007

It would appear that my eyes are not what they used to be, and I was thinking that I should put a laser on my Lucas mill, something that would show exactly where the saw blade would touch down. Of course being a daylight sawyer, I was wondering if a few of you folks have installed such a item on your saws? I was thinking when I cut wane off the log or have to dodge a knot that it would help a bit.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor R:
I don't think it will work if the log is in bright sunlight. I've tried a 12 volt laser on my sawmill and it just seemed more trouble then it was worth.

From contributor H:
I tried this earlier this summer. I found that the 12 volt or battery operated lasers were not really visible in sunlight at any great distance. They were slightly visible at 3 to 6 feet but were essentially useless at any greater distance. I tried a laser excavation set with a receiver that emits a tone at level but I still had to sight down the log to get any idea where the cut would be.

What did work is a piece of paper at the end of the log. I routinely cut 20 foot pine logs and needed some way to see where the cut would be at the end of the log. I mounted the laser at the guide roller and used a piece of white paper at the end of the log to show the level. I tried different colored paper, but the white worked the best. The only trouble that I had was the initial setup of the laser at level to the bed. I discovered that the best way was to make a cut and then level the laser to indicate the end of the log cut.

Overall, it was not a very good investment of time. I wish they did make something that would be visible at 20 feet. I hope somebody here has the answer.

From contributor K:
I have put a laser on my Lucas 6", and it works great. Note; it does not shine down the entire log, making a line. It points straight down just in front of the carriage. It shows exactly where the blade will cut.

I move the saw left-right until the laser hits the middle of one end of the log (with the carriage raised 6" above the log. Then I lock the saw in the carriage and roll it to the other end of the log. Then I move that end of the log until the laser hits the center. I roll the carriage back to the other end of the log to make sure that end of the log didn't move. Now the log is aligned with the rails, and the first cut will take a flitch from the center of the top extending left. This saves lots of time and increases the yield. The laser is only a spot, not a line, so it is visible even in direct sunlight. I just used a regular pointer laser.

From contributor J:
I did the same thing as Contributor K. A $15 Bosch laser level from the local hardware store and $2 worth of rare-earth magnets in a chunk of wood gives me a quick-mount cut indicator. Mine is aimed down at about 45 degrees to put the spot out in front of the mill a bit. The line is hard to see but the spot at the end of it shows up clearly even in direct sunlight.

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