Frequently Asked Questions
Have you browsed our website and still have some questions? The answers may be below, but if not, please send your question through to us and we will contact you as soon as possible.
One of the features that set Peterson sawmills apart are the materials that we use. Made of aluminium and stainless steel/mild steel the mills won’t rust like others do, even if you have to leave it out in the harsh elements. They won’t be badly damaged by nails or bullets in logs, and because they are powered by reliable Honda, Kohler or Briggs & Stratton engines (dependent on model), they won’t drive you nuts with breakdowns.
Peterson mills can be assembled in 10 minutes by 1 or 2 proficient persons. They are so simple to set up! (See set up diagrams for ATS, WPF, ASM). You don’t need flat ground for set up either, although milling up a hillside isn’t much fun. The mill allows 360 degree access to the log and timber, and can be changed from portable to fixed-site setup. It can also utilize the same tracks for the Dedicated Wide Slabber mill.
A Peterson mill can easily be run by one proficient person. It doesn’t take a master’s degree to operate, nor does it require big burly men to lift and move! The mill can fit in the back of a pick-up, ute, or small tandem trailer and can be wheeled or hand-carried to the site by one person. All mills have wheels, they are so easy to load and unload. For safety reasons, we do recommend a second person at the milling site during all operations, including tree felling and pruning.
Peterson mills can achieve over 80% recovery from good logs. They have 1-point sizing, are accurate to 1mm (.04″) and do not cut wavy boards, even with tension.
Peterson’s blades last for 2-6 years, depending on their frequency of use and how well they are maintained. Some owners have been using the same blades for over 10 years.
Blades are not a problem at all. They can easily be sharpened on the mill in about 5 minutes, and they can be re-tipped in your own garage. Each new mill comes with a sharpener and two spare blades.
The Peterson mill can handle almost any kind of log, and is able to cut any size and length that you require. It works great on both hardwoods and softwoods and you can cut efficiently in both directions. You can take the mill right to the log, so an entire log can be milled without even moving it! Read up about different tree species in our tree dictionary.
The Peterson mill is so versatile it can do almost any cut you need. It can cut solid wide slabs, beams by double cutting (without turning the mill around), and also produce perfectly dimensioned lumber. You do not need to double-handle or re-saw (unless the log has high tension), and you can mill the entire log without moving it. The Peterson mill can easily quarter-saw a log, and is also great for specialist cuts like cants, pole barns and tapered weatherboards. Find exact measurements on each mill’s Specification Chart – ATS, WPF, ASM, DWS. See also our range of Cutting Patterns.
The order process is simple! Call our office or email us to place your order. Once your order is received, we require 1/3 deposit (Visa/Mastercard or bank transfer) to confirm (full payment required with JP model). When funds are cleared build times will be sent to you along with your warranty form, training manual and DVD.
When your order is complete, we will give notification that full payment (by international wire/bank transfer) is required. Once payment has cleared and your mill is ready to be collected/shipped, we will let you know.
Peterson export worldwide and encounter differing (and fluctuating) freight, currencies and export costs, therefore we have tailored pricelists pertaining to each country. We also have over 40 different mill options to suit all applications, so it often helps our customers to call and speak to us about their particular needs. Request an information pack here.
When purchased from an agent or within a state rep’s territory, every Peterson sawmill comes with a half-day’s training. Outside these areas, a detailed instruction and training video is supplied prior to your mill delivery. Peterson also offers unlimited free phone support, using our international free phone numbers.
Our mills always include a complete kit to get you milling right away. We also have a wide range of accessories and merchandise available.
The mills and tracks are packaged within a solid crate (2×4″ frame, 6×1″ base and fully covered in 12mm (1/2″) ply sheets). All mill components are strapped down to prevent damage within the crate.
All mills are covered by insurance from when they leave the factory up until they reach the customer. In the unlikely event of damage occurring during shipping, Peterson will immediately airfreight damaged components or source replacement parts from our agents/state rep’s. Peterson will then handle dealings with the insurance company, leaving the customer to get on with sawing lumber.
Standard frames on the 6″ and 8″ WPF mills (1.2m/4ft) can be upgraded to a larger dimension (1.8m/6ft) at the time of order for larger logs. When upgrading models, but keeping the same size motor, output is reduced by about 5%. Upgrading from 20hp to 24hp can increase output by up to 15%.
Spare parts can usually be delivered to your door within 2-10 days, depending on availability and location. Agents and state rep’s stock a number of high-turnover parts, so that you are not waiting for extended periods of time.
Due to varying schedules of suppliers and staff, Peterson Head Office is unable to dispatch spare parts on a Friday. If you want parts urgently, please ensure you contact us Monday to Thursday to confirm your spare parts orders with Rachel Browne.
All of our standard mills (excludes electric mills) comply with CE Certification. We added a number of features to the mills for them to attain this. As pioneers in swing blade sawing technology, Peterson has acquired a great deal of experience over the years in dealing with hazards associated with single blade sawing. We have used that to design and build a portable sawmill which is second to none in terms of operator safety and ease of use.
You can’t do this with a Lucas
Scott Smith, North Carolina, USA
For background, my principle interests are cutting very long and large beams for timber frame-type applications and quartersawing. These goals narrowed my selection down to a swing blade as opposed to a band mill. First, Peterson basically invented the swingmill concept that both they and Lucas use. Second, you can double-cut with a Peterson mill without having to pick up and turn the carriage. You can’t do this with a Lucas. I often work alone and this was an important feature for me. Third, their customers consistently rave about them. Fourth, you can cut a bigger cant with the Peterson than you can with the Lucas. Considering my goals, this was also important.
Life is good with my JP
In 2013 I bought the very first JP sold in the US. I haven't purchased any dimensional lumber since then. One of the major reasons I chose the JP is that I can operate the JP by myself, and I do. We heat our home and shop with the waste and sell the chips to horse folks to use in their stalls. I love my JP!
No problems whatsoever
I didn’t have any problems with shipping or communications whatsoever. The mill fired right up. They even called a couple of days after I started sawing just to see how things were going. I’m not sure how much more support a person could ask for. If I had to do it again, the only thing I’d do different would be to have bought it sooner!
Peterson just always seemed to come out on top
The bandsaw millers I talked to all complained about one thing – constantly having to replace saw blades. It was something that I wanted to avoid and the circular blade of the swing mill seemed to be the perfect solution.
The mill is easy to use and simple design that is durable. Cuts are extremely accurate and consistent from end to end. I just wanted to let you know what a good job Russell Wilkins is doing representing Peterson. I e-mailed him with some questions about Peterson mills on Sunday and this Monday evening he called me to answer my questions. We talked for about an hour, and I had all my questions throughly answered. I did not expect to receive this kind of personal service, so needless to say I was very pleased. This is the kind of help that keeps customers happy and coming back for more business.
The Peterson just made more sense
Tracy Brittson, Oregon, USA
I spent many hours researching both the Peterson and the Lucas on the net before I decided. I chose the Peterson over the Lucas because of the ability to more easily double-cut and the fact that both vertical winches are on one end of the mill just made more sense.
Two mills working in tandem
I love how I don’t have to reconfigure the setup and that I can use both my WPF and my DWS anytime.
Thanks for a great mill and great staff
I wanted a mill that I could use by myself, that was low in maintenance, was accurate, durable, and that I didn't have to have 2 or 3 people with me to run it. I own a tree farm and have been in the metal fabrication for 35 plus years. I was VERY pleased with the welds and workmanship of your mill. A friend of mine who is a woodworker just couldn't believe how even my boards were in thickness and how smooth. Aluminum and stainless steel are not the easiest metals to work with. So I bought a Peterson. I want to thank all of you for a great mill. All of you have been very easy to get along with, answering questions and concerns and anything else. Please accept my thanks for a great mill and a great staff.
It never skips a beat
Bill Johnson, NSW, Australia
We here at Johnson Bros Sawmill still use our Peterson WPF regularly, and are completely satisfied with its performance over the several decades we’ve had it. It never skips a beat.
Believe in your machine – you have the very best
It's exhilarating when seeing tree trunks rapidly converted into usable timber accurately and with minimal effort. At timber shows the Peterson stops people in their tracks, they have never witnessed the like.
The epitome of eco-recycling
Ark Yingling. Illinois, USA
Small portable sawmills are the epitome of eco-recycling. The three legs of sustainability (environment, social, and economic) are all served well by the Peterson machines.
I sure am glad I picked Peterson every time I double cut
My family and I have been having so much fun using our new mill and I can’t seem to stop talking about it. Thanks for such a great mill. I use the double cutting much more than I ever expected to. I sure am glad I picked Peterson every time I double cut.
Maintenance is easy
It’s relatively easy to perform general maintenance and to replace wearable parts like bearings etc. myself, especially when you compare the relative simplicity of this mill to fully hydraulic ones.
I’m impressed with the accurate cuts I can get with my Peterson mill
It really is a remarkable machine that can take on any job. I have used a Norwood bandsaw in the past, but I prefer working with a swingblade because it’s much more hands-on. You get a feel for each individual piece of timber that you cut as you work through the log, as opposed to turning the log all the time to square it off.
Doing my research
While I could see the advantages of a swing mill, I wasn’t impressed with the quality of the Lucas mill brand. Further research led me to Peterson and it was obvious to me that the Peterson mills were of better quality.
The best part of the Peterson Sawmill is the whole package
To us there is no saw that compares. As we are on a remote island lacking any roads or vehicles, all transport is done with man power. The Peterson is so portable!
Always making a profit
Contract and tree work is as competitive as it's ever been - winning the bid depends on finding ways to reduce costs where others can't. With my Peterson mill I can always make profit out of the driest and knottiest wood out there. When the tree work isn't coming in, I'm pulling a profit from logs that most others are sending to the landfill or burning in the stove.
Ready to saw in around 20 minutes
It was amazing how quick the mill was assembled and how quickly we were sawing. The two of us were able to unload and have the mill ready to saw in around 20–25 min. Not too shabby for our first set-up. I really couldn’t believe how easy it was and how smoothly everything went. We produced 2 dozen 12’ 1x6’s in almost no time at all. And they were perfect! I would like to take the credit for how well they came out, but I think that the credit goes to the mill. My WPF was worth every penny. I bought an 8” with a 27hp Kohler and couldn’t be happier. I still can’t believe the amount of lumber that I have gotten out of it in a very short amount of time.I’m sure you will enjoy your Peterson as much as I do mine. The word is starting to spread that I have a mill, and everybody was right... logs are finding me!
The ultimate in portable sawmills
We are really pleased with our amazing machine! I think it is the ultimate in portable sawmills. I have sawn approximate 12,000 board feet of high-quality lumber with it in under a year. I bought it because I had property with quite a bit of timber on it and I needed a quick and inexpensive way to make it into lumber for my buildings.
Intuitive mode of operation
What I enjoy most about the JP is its intuitive mode of operation. It’s actually a fun and rewarding machine to operate and I always look forward to working with it.
I’m happy with the top-quality dimensional lumber which I’m producing by myself. I received top-notch support from the Peterson team and expect to be able to recoup a large part of my sawmill investment, once I sell the mill after this project is finished.
Robert loves his Peterson mill…
When I told my wife Darlene I was going out to hug my mill she said (due to the cold weather): “You are going to get your lips stuck to that sawmill!” Apart from that, running my ATS is safer than driving a car.
Bandsaw vs swing blade
I’m very happy with how it has made my life easier compared to operating my old bandsaw mill. That machine produced wavy boards and involved a lot of manual handling of logs and blade sharpening. With the Peterson, my job is much less physical, which suits me well.
Very Happy With The Service That Peterson’s United States Agent Has Provided
As our Wood-Mizer aged, we started to realise that the downtime for maintenance and repairs was higher than the uptime. We were running in to problems that just don’t occur with a swingblade mill.
I don’t know any American companies that stand by their products or care the way you guys do
Hans Petersen, California, USA
I am writing to tell you that I have sold my sawmill. Thank you for your years of excellent customer service and fabulous product that you provided me with. I had the mill for 13 years and it works as good now as the day I bought it. What an amazingly strong and wonderfully engineered piece of equipment. Sad to see it go. I hope the new owner appreciates it as much as I did.
Compared to other brands, a Peterson seemed to be much more versatile and efficient
I still enjoy milling, even now that I’m nearly 80 years old. Taking on the challenge of a log feels bloody good!
JP as a stepping stone
The JP is the perfect sawmill for a part-time miller. It’s a simple machine really, and easy to use. For me, it was the logical first step to blade milling.
My Peterson is one of the best investments I’ve ever made
My Peterson is one of the best investments I’ve ever made, it is by far the best swingblade sawmill on the market. While I don’t use my sawmill every day, it’s always ready for me when I need it. Even though I use the saw mostly in the same place it’s always good to know if I need to move it, it’s fairly easy to do so.
The Peterson is the only mill we’ve come across that cuts true and square
As a log home company we have built in excess of 60 homes using the mill. We are using our Peterson all the time, it has definitely been a key component to our success.