Find a Sawmill Operator

Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 4.48.37 PMIt’s not every day you need a sawmill operator to slice up a log that’s come into your possession, but when you do they can be hard to find. They don’t exactly grow on trees (sorry about that). Another problem is the nearly impossible task of moving a heavy log to a sawmill site.

Wood-Mizer, maker of portable sawmills capable of handling large logs, has solved both problems. The company now offers an online directory of portable sawmill services operating throughout the United States. I checked out the directory and found it well populated with portable mill owners who offer custom cutting services. These sawyers may also be a source for lumber.

You’ll also find helpful information on Wood-Mizer’s web site about working with a sawyer.

Over the years, I’ve used a portable sawmill service to saw up a couple logs. One log was a prize black cherry from my backyard that had died, the other a massive black walnut that was taken down in a neighbor’s yard. I air-dried the material and consider the lumber a prized possession.

– Steve Shanesy

9 thoughts on “Find a Sawmill Operator

  1. Jonas Jensen

    I own an old circular sawmill, and I agree wholeheartedly that there is a lot more work involved in making quartersawn board.
    I am currently working on installing an old mulesaw, and I doubt that it will be any easier on that one.
    Another thing to remember is that often trees from yards or gardens contain foreingn object such as nails, insulatiors for electric fences etc. These will ruing the blades of most saws, bandsaws or circular saws. If your tree causes a ruined blade, you will sometimes be charged the price of sharpening the blade.

  2. bkcollins

    lhowland’s post reminds me that sawyers will sometimes charge a higher price per BF for cutting quartersawn, since that involves quite a bit more log turning, i.e., time and labor (pretty physical labor unless the saw is equipped with hydraulics). There is no reason, though, that a sawyer would be reluctant to cut thicker than 4/4, since that actually reduces labor and time, without reducing the BF they charge by. Unlike at a lumber dealer, 8/4 and 12/4 shouldn’t cost you any more per BF from a sawyer, since the price differential at the dealer represents the longer investment in drying, which is all on you. One more lesson I learned is that sawyers cut the wood extra thick so that after drying it will meet the typical 4/4, 8/4, dimensions. So 1-1/8 inches sounds like those boards were expected to dry down to 1 inch.

  3. lhowland

    I found a sawyer about a mile away from my father in laws campground. I begged him to save some logs from trees that fell during high winds several years ago. What I found interesting is that these private sawyers aren’t able or don’t know how or don’t have any interest at cutting the logs up in quarter sawn.
    What was worse, was the only thickness I got in rough sawn lumber was 1 1/8″ thick. Nothing thicker! At the time it was a little disappointing. Next time I will look a little harder and ask more questions up front.

  4. LHFixer

    Id you’re in South Central PA I use CJ Doudrick. He has a mobile saw mill and log truck. He also has a great deal of dried and cut lumber available. Look him up.

    E

  5. bkcollins

    In certain areas, sawyers can be found on Craig’s List. I found several in the Philadelphia area. The one I used was willing to quote me a price based on log dimensions. Charges are typically by the board foot, but there are a number of BF from log estimation tools available on the internet (e.g., http://www.woodweb.com/cgi-bin/calculators/calc.pl?calculator=log_volume). Sometimes there is a setup fee, and depending on distance, the operator may charge for mileage.

  6. Buche

    The company seemingly offers a directory of operators in the United States. North America has two more countries that are not represented in the online tool.

  7. danoelke

    Another place to check is your state’s DNR website. I know that at least both MN and WI have listings of sawmill operators. I have found both operators of portable mills and larger stationary mills thru this. These listings can be great both for finding someone to saw up your logs as well as a source of lumber direct from the sawmill.

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