Can Bandsaw Mills Handle Wide Logs?

Most bandsaw mills are limited to 36-inch boards or less — and with wide cuts, waviness is a problem. December 15, 2005

We are slabbing out large logs (45"+) with a Lucas mill with a 60" bar for live-edge furniture slabs, and are hoping to purchase a bandmill soon. Is there a portable mill (or even a small stationary mill) out there that can handle logs over 40" and make flat cuts? I'm wary of pushing a bandmill to its limits and dealing with band drift and broken blades. It looks like most mills can only handle 36", with the maximum cut being well under this. I'm looking at a Hud-Son mill that has a large capacity, but I want to make sure we are not asking too much out of this machine.

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor B:
What is the widest cut possible with a standard 1½ inch blade? I'm looking into building a bandmill for breaking down 4-5 foot logs, but I understand that there can be some trouble with wavy sawing, among other. What is the smallest advisable diameter of bandwheel for a 1,3mm band? Speed is not essential, but of course…

From contributor A:
I've been thinking about the Hud-son mill, but likewise had concerns with regard to using a narrow blade for such wide cuts. Contacted Hud-son some time back but had no response. Has anybody seen these wider cutting mills in action?

From the original questioner:
I've been talking to Hud-Son as well. They suggested a 1.5" blade for the wide cuts (with appropriate guides). I'd like to know they work before making the purchase, though.

From contributor M:
Forget a bandsaw mill for wide cuts. The wood will come out very wavy and even worse if you get into a crotch or knots. Why would you want to get into a mill that is going to cause problems for you when you already have an ideal setup for your purpose? The only bandsaw mill that will mill your slabs in a correct manner is a huge commercial mill where the blade costs $700 and is about 6" wide.

From contributor T:
Contributor M is right. You will need a wider band and a greater thickness, which means more kerf. Thicker the band, larger the band wheel diameter (less bending and stress on the band). Getting back to more kerf probably close to your Lucas mill bar attachment.

I'm sure it's possible to make 40" cuts with a 1 1/2" band. But even if the guides hold the band perfect on the outside of the log, knots can deflect the band on the interior portion of the log. So you made a straight cut down the log, but lay a straight edge across (perpendicular) - you might have lower/ higher places.

From contributor D:
Look up Cutting Edge Sawmills in Langley, British Columbia.