Bandmill ratings

Sawmillers share their opinions of various bandmills. April 4, 2001

Does anyone have comments about the usability of a Lumbermate mobile bandmill or a Woodmizer?

Forum Responses
I owned a Woodmizer when I was cutting full time. I sold it when I changed occupations, and recently purchased a Lumbermate (2000 version). Overall, they are both good machines.

The Woodmizer's frame is much stiffer and more forgiving when it comes to repeated setup/take downs. I set it up on all kinds of terrain and the bed always remained rigid and true. The Lumbermate needs more TLC in its setup, but with a little extra time, cuts just as well and accurately.

I'm running a 13 hp Honda on the Lumbermate, which is fine for the type/amount of cutting I do and it's amazingly quiet. The Woodmizer had an 18 hp Briggs (I don't believe they go that small anymore on the LT40s), which was okay for most cutting, though the alternator it came with was not big enough to keep up with the drive system. This resulted in many dead batteries (again, something I believe they changed).

I actually enjoy the manual feed of the Lumbermate because you really can feel the cut. I can see the "feeling" losing its appeal if I was running full time, especially on the carriage return.

The purchase and setup of the Woodmizer was painless and informative. I spent a couple of days at their plant in NY and they made sure I knew exactly what I was doing before I left.

If the Lumbermate had been my first mill, my learning curve would have had many more bumps in it. For the Lumbermate, we pulled up to a loading dock in Buffalo, loaded the boxes in and left. Unless you have Lumbermate do the work for you, be ready for a lot of bolting things together. Air tools help a lot. If you're at all mechanically inclined, it's not complicated, just time consuming.

I purchased my Woodmizer without hydraulics and very quickly built a set of hydraulic lifting arms. I'm not sure I would have paid for the full hydraulic package, but the lifting arms made a huge difference in speed and efficiency. Being on the ground, the Lumbermate doesn't need them, but having a loader or lift of some type would be a big help.

When I ran the Woodmizer, I did all of my own setting and sharpening. Currently, I plan to use their Resharp program. I also bought a set of their blades based on what I've read on this site and my previous experience with their blades.

Overall, if you are planning on a lot of onsite cutting and will frequently be moving and setting up in rougher, uneven terrain, and you need to set up and load quickly, and you can swing the cost, then a hydraulic Woodmizer is a good choice.

If you plan on working from one or just a few sites (or time isn't a big issue), have access to some way of moving logs or stacking them near the mill, don't mind the assembly/do it yourself piece of the deal, and maybe need the option of an unlimited cutting length, a Lumbermate is a good choice.

While there are certainly differences, if the basics are there (sharp/well-set blades, solid footing for the machine, extra hands when needed, thinking ahead, etc) both machines are capable of highly accurate, fast, and efficient cutting.