Peterson Portable Sawmills

Milling Tips for New Sawmillers

Layla Robinson

There are many experienced millers here at Petersons. I wondered what their best milling tips would be for new sawmillers. So I asked each of them “If I was new to the milling industry and asked for one tip or piece of advice, what would it be?”

Here’s what I got from them…

The Milling Tips and Advice from the best:

  1. If you get the chance to run a sawmill before you buy, DO IT! To new millers, small operational differences between mills may not become apparent until it’s too late.
  2. When sawing with a swingblade, make it your first priority to flip the blade after every pass. AFTER flipping the blade, re-set your sizing and remove boards etc. If you build the habit of flipping the blade after each pass into your routine, you will reduce the chance of running the blade into the log in the wrong orientation.
  3. Using water while operating your sawmill will keep the blade from heating up. Dishwashing liquid in your water containers will prevent algae build up. If you mill in cold conditions, then add a little anti-freeze to your water container.
  4. A simple way to cut a tensioned Australian hardwood log : To ensure straight boards, you will need to over size your initial cut and then re-size your bowed board to your target width. E.g If your target width is 6 inches, you may need to over size your initial cut to 7 inches. This should give you enough width to cut the bow out of the board when you resize. Each log will vary depending on the amount of tension, so you won’t know how much to exactly over size your boards until you cut the board in the log.
    N.B. When re-sizing your bowed board, drop your saw mill down two clicks (first saw kerf) to cut through the entire thickness of the board without cutting into the log below.Milling tips; used tin for roof to speed lumber drying time.
  5. Set up your milling site properly before you start, and always keep it clean. A good foundation leads to better results at the end.
  6. A good idea to stop sun checking and to keep your timber dry is to cover your packets by building a small roof with a timber frame and corrugated iron. When building your roof, ensure you have a good amount of overhang which will reduce the chance of your packets being weathered. When shed space is limited and you have a couple of packets of timber to cover, just place the roof on top with a slight fall. Then secure the roof by using guide lines and pegs.
    N.B. A tin roof will allow the air to flow through the packet which will reduce the drying time.
  7. When milling solo (vertical cut first) with a swingblade and cutting your last board from the layer, you can actually cut your board and waste piece at the same time.
    1. Wind centre unit over to desirable board size.
    2. Pull mill back cutting in vertical position
    3. Flip the blade into horizontal
    4. Wind the centre unit across enough to remove your waste slab.
    5. Now push mill through in horizontal cut.

Great milling tips for milling solo is to cut vertical first.
The blade will now be cutting your board and the waste slab at the same time!

Read more Sawmilling Tips and Tricks here.

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