Which sawmill should I buy?

It’s easier to decide you need a sawmill than it is to make the choice about the sawmill you’ll eventually buy. A sawmill is usually a once in a lifetime purchase, especially if you choose the right mill for your intended future use. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself which Peterson model best suits your operation:

How often will you be milling?

If you’re looking to mill occasionally to cut lumber for small projects, your needs will be much different than someone who is using the mill to make a living, or someone who is planning to build an entire home out of wood.

How often you will use your sawmill should affect the options you choose. For example, someone who will be using their mill on a daily basis should consider investing in options that make milling easier and more efficient.

Whether you are buying a portable sawmill strictly for hobby use or to earn all or part of your living, you are almost sure to find you end up using the mill a lot more often and for milling a wider variety of lumber and timber than you imagined when you first decided you needed a mill.  You’ll almost never go wrong buying a little more mill than you think you need but you will certainly regret not buying enough mill.

Where will your operation be located?

All Peterson sawmills are portable, however some models are easier to carry around and quicker to set up. You may prefer to set up a fixed work site and take the logs to the mills instead of the other way round, or use the mill at multiple locations.

What type of operation will you be running?

Will you be milling lumber for your own use, will you be offering a custom milling service, or perhaps a combination of both? The type of operation you will be running determines the type of sawmill you’ll need. A full-time commercial operation will require a different mill than a part-time hobby miller.

What dimensions will you be cutting?

Do some thinking about the type of product you intend to mill. Depending on the size of the sawblade, you can mill various sizes of lumber:

  • 6″ Blade: maximum of 6″ x 6″ or 4″ x 12″ (double cut)

  • 8″ Blade: maximum of 8″ x 8″ or 8″ x 16″ (double cut)

  • 10″ Blade: maximum of 10″ x 10″ or 10″ x 20″ (double cut)

What length log would you like to cut?

Peterson sawmills come with standard tracks that can cut logs up to 6m (20ft), or 4m (13ft) on the Junior Peterson (JP). The manually operated mills can have unlimited track extensions without compromising accuracy or portability. (extensions for the Automated Swingblade Mill (ASM) must be included at time of mill order)

Do you require slabbing capability?

Peterson Portable Sawmills have made slabbing simple with the Clip On Slabber chainsaw mill, enabling you to cut slabs within the solid frame of your Peterson JPATSWPF or ASM Sawmill.

With the clip-on slabber you get a slab that has the same thickness throughout, with a finish that requires very little sanding to achieve a perfectly smooth end-product. Slabs have become more sought-after in the past few years, with over 60% of sawmill purchasers opting for the Clip On Slabber to complement their dimensional mill.

Peterson also has a Dedicated Wide Slabber available. The Dedicated Wide Slabber is not a swingmill sawmill like the rest of the range; its sole purpose is to cut logs into high value wide slabs (up to 6′ 1/4″ (1.9m) wide) using a chainsaw slabber style bar.

Talk to the experts

One resource that really helps customers when they enquire about our mills, is to answer the “Which Peterson Model Best Suits your Needs” questionnaire. In it, we ask similar questions to the ones above. Feel free to complete the questionnaire and our mill experts will send you their recommendation and a cost estimate for the Peterson model that suits your requirements.