I am going to build a bandsaw mill this winter, and am looking for recommendations from people who have built their own mills. I would like to build a system with hydraulic loaders, turners, etc. that would be able to cut at least a 32" diameter log. Any ideas on where I can get these parts?
You can get a number of different hydraulic pumps from a local farm supply store. They should also sell the hydraulic rams. I believe you can also make a manual log turner from a heavy-duty boat-style winch.
You will need a lathe, mill, drill press, power metal saw, welders. If you have to have machine work done, figure at least $50 per hour. Most materials will be bought at retail prices. It would be helpful if you have design experience, as mistakes can cost money and time.
If you can start with an old, large band saw or meat saw as a base, you can really save time. I converted an old Toledo meat saw. I built mine for under $1100 with mostly new metal. I didn't need a lathe, mill or any machine work. You must like to design and fabricate, because if you factor in the time it takes you to build it, it is probably not cost effective. My guess is that you will spend at least 40 hours on it. For band blades, I have been using some custom blades from a local re-saw band manufacture, but I have heard a lot about Wood-Mizer double hard blades.
Comment from contributor T:
I designed, engineered and built my own bandsaw sawmill from scratch along with a vacuum kiln and a hydrostatic skidder. The sawmill cuts 54" in diameter at 12 feet long for hardwood, mainly.
Blade guide rollers, bearings, v-belts and pulleys, hydraulic cylinders, valves, motors, 20hp electric motor and 3ph generator. I used a school bus frame and rear axle and built it up from there from scrap metal. It takes time.