Peterson Portable Sawmills

Comparing Peterson and Lucas Portable Sawmills – from a guy who has both

Layla Robinson

Portable Sawmill being demonstrated in PennsylvaniaAs the current owner of a Peterson 8” swingblade, and a Lucas 8” swingblade, Bill Shore is uniquely qualified to discuss their similarities and differences.

“I moved to the George Washington Forest in WV back in the early 90’s. I couldn’t wait to saw my own lumber and bought the first tool I could afford, an Alaskan mill that attaches to a chainsaw.

“It didn’t take long until I knew I had to get something more substantial, because I wanted to offer custom sawing services. I bought the best I could afford at the time, the Lucas portable sawmill. I admit that as an Australian, I wanted to support an Australian company.”

Bill used his Lucas mill to cut the lumber and posts and beams for a workshop, a house and a storage shed. He offered on-site custom sawing but it was labor intensive, and not profitable enough when working solo. He moved on to other pursuits, but continued to saw lumber for his ongoing projects.

“We cut 8” x 16” beams for the house and had to manually turn the Lucas saw head every beam. Now I make those same beams by myself with the Peterson sawmill’s ability to double cut without delay.”

In 2014, he was milling more frequently. A local logger cutting a wood tract up the road, had offered to drop off logs suitable for railroad ties. Interested in giving it a go Bill decided ties would be too time and labor intensive to cut on the Lucas.

Wide Slabs form the structure of this buildingSomeone was selling their Peterson 8” swingblade, and he jumped at the chance to own one.

“The Lucas was fine when I was a younger man. Now with the Peterson Portable Sawmill I get more done with less effort, by myself.”

He cut the railroad ties with the Peterson swingblade while he had access to the timber, and then cut posts and beams and lumber for a 30’ x 50’ and a 40’ x 60’ foot building.

While these portable sawmills both feature circular swingblades, there is an apple and orange comparison here. The Peterson is clearly built for production.

Some of the differences in usage that stand out to Bill:

  • Electric winch – saves time and effort: “By the time I adjust my next depth of cut on the Lucas and get back to sawing position, I’m already starting to cut the second board on the Peterson swingblade.”
  • Push button controls are on the saw head of the Peterson sawmill.
  • More rigidity, particularly on full depth horizontal cuts: “Peterson sawmill is heavier built, more robust.”
  • Peterson sawmill is more stable, doesn’t develop “sideways chatter”.

Wide Slabs created this buildingAnd how does the Peterson transport?

“Although it’s heavier, it’s easier to transport because of the electric winch’s ability to raise and lower the saw head on the transport wheels. I can take it to the back of the pickup, raise it up electronically, and slide it in.”

Once in the pickup, the Peterson swingblade’s own frame serves as a rack to hold the rails in transport.

“I had to make a rack on the side of the pickup, similar to a ladder rack, to hold the Lucas rails.”

Demonstrating the Peterson swingblade at Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA in September 2016 was enjoyable and easy according to Bill.

“We were packed up and headed out before other demonstrators had loaded their mills. It was a blast!”

He does have one regret…

“Wish I’d bought a Peterson swingblade as my first mill.”

– Submitted by Tamara Shore
www.wolfgapwoods.com


Mill Specifications:

2006 Winch Production Frame
27 hp
8″ Blade (to cut up to 8″ deep and 16″ wide – by double cutting)
Electric Winch
Hi/Lo Tracks

Product page: http://petersonsawmills.com/products/wpf/

Enquire now: sales@petersonsawmills.com

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14 comments shared

  1. Robert Farmer says:

    Wow my lucusmill is nice but very hard for one person to put togather and operate and the stove nolt are not flush on the blade its like you have to grind the head to flußh it up bad craftsmenship im my part.. i have model 30 lucus and not happy with it..

    • Sorry to hear about your unsatisfactory experience, Robert. Have you been in touch with Lucas Mills to give them your feedback? Peterson pride ourselves on refining our products with not only our design skills, but also customer feedback so even if something isn’t complimentary, we still want to hear it!

      If you’re interested in an ‘upgrade’ ;-) feel free to email us: sales@petersonsawmills.com.

      Best of luck!

  2. ok 2 people on the lucas can outsaw any bandsaw andsome circles i like the lucas 6” which has a honda 13 hp engine and all manual controls
    its portable and light so can be packed 2 people to a good size log i like it and have built several buildings from it

  3. Giorgi says:

    Hello, i am from Georgia. Interest price of your product and can you send me it to Georgia?

    I am waiting for you.

  4. Brian says:

    Comparing a Peterson Winch Production Frame to the Lucas Mill is hardly a fair comparison. A more accurate comparison would be the Peterson ATS to the Lucas Mill, since these two particular mills are quite similar.

    I agree that if one has to manually swing the whole saw carriage around to double cut, then that won’t be done very often.

    • Hi Brian, thanks very much for your feedback. This particular comparison was brought to us by an owner, it was not commissioned by us. So he is giving his feedback based on his experience having upgraded from the ATS-type frame design to the WPF.

      If we were to do a direct comparison of the Lucas copy of the ATS frame design, the benefits of the Peterson are certainly the winches being at the operator’s end of the mill (to save time walking to the other end of the tracks), and as mentioned, the ease of double cutting. Not only that, our blade is much easier to pivot and uses a positive locking device to keep it in position (instead of gas struts that need replacing). You’ll also find very few plastic parts on our mills (except for handle covers, the battery box and the water bottle). Anyway, thanks for reading and maybe we’ll see if we can get a Peterson ATS owner who previously owned a Lucas to let us know what he thinks.

  5. David Emerson says:

    Bought my 8 inch Peterson ATS about 8 years ago and still love it. Got the 27 horse Kohler engine.
    Went to a demo of the Lucas and was about to buy one when I saw an ad for the Peterson in Sawmill and Woodlot, called the 800 number and they sent me a DVD. The quality of the machine was very clear. The winches both at the head end of the mill and no overhead cross link to duck under as the Lucas had. Bought the Peterson.
    I have sawn a 32 x 36 barn for myself as well asassorted other lumber for the farm.Custom sawn several small barns and sheds and 6 x 8 cabin logs for a 28 x 32 addition for a friends log home. Also have the attachement for sawing taper board siding which has been handy on several occasions. Atogether a very nice basic portable mill and the people at Peterson are outstanding to work with on any problems or questions.
    Highly satisfied all around. I saw a lot of white and red pine and Eastern Hemlock, all of which run to hard knots which are notorius for deflecting bandsaws into wavy cuts. The carbide toothed circular saw just goes straight thru.
    As far as portability,A pickup truck with an overhead ladder rack works well or a long boat trailer does also. I usually work alone and at 71 years old, I am not as fast as I once was but I can set up and be sawing in about 2 hours I spend a lot of that time getting the bed pieces decently aligned and level as this can save a lot of grief later. Tear down and load up to move in less than an hour. Of coarse an extra pair of hands will easily cut that time to about a third.

    • Hi David, thank you so much for your feedback. Hah! Lucky you saw our ad in S&W :-) I’d love to see photos of your barn if you have any? If you’re able to email them to marketing@petersonsawmills.com that’d be great!

      Yes, we often get feedback about how hardy our blades are for cutting knotty wood, we reckon no log will be wasted with a Peterson around!

      Thanks again, David :-)

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