Cutting Lumber from Logs

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George Vondriska provides tips on how to use a backyard saw mill to cut lumber from logs for your woodworking projects. A WoodWorkers Guild of America (WWGOA) original video.

Saw mill provided by Logosol. For more information, visit

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13 Responses to “Cutting Lumber from Logs”
  1. Bob Cochran

    Many years ago, I worked for a family member in his sawmill — which was a small commercial operation, not a backyard rig like the one shown in this video. So I’ve been there and done that. You need to take the most extreme care if you cut lumber from logs. You do not know what is inside the log. Run a metal detector over the log, give it a really good scanning for metal embedded in the log. Even then the detector might not capture things like bullets in the wood, wire, nails, and so on. If your saw blade hits one of these you will be lucky if you are not seriously injured. Wear long sleeved shirts of a fairly thick material. Always have hearing and head protection like you see in the video. Protect your face and eyes and neck. Expect it to be brutal work to cut lumber from logs — because it is.

  2. Mark Ragnar

    Any idea how long it took you to break even buying your set up vs. the cost savings in milling vs, buying your wood?

    • Customer Service

      Hi Mark. This is a complicated formula, and is really a personal decision. It depends on how much you value your time, how much you pay for lumber in your area, and how much you value the end to end process. I would suggest going into this if you feel that you will enjoy the process. If you are mainly interested in cheap wood, there are generally lots of good sources if you keep your eyes open for buying opportunities.

    • Michael Kratky

      That’s an easy question to answer having owned a portable band saw mill for 10 years, you’ll never even break even its all about one’s extreme passion for woodworking/ woodturning.


    Wow, one man job?? I have never seen one of these before, only heard. I have a century old buzz saw driven by a tractor side PTO. Can you guess if this would work? As far as worth the money for the mill in the video? Of course it is, those planks and from elm in particular is fantastic.

    • Customer Service

      Hi Robert. I don’t have experience with running a buzz saw on a tractor PTO, but it would be interesting to try this. In terms of whether a mill is worth the money, it depends on how much lumber you produce and what the price of lumber is in your area. It’s a lot of work, so you will have to factor in your time, but with it probably wouldn’t take too many days of cutting lumber with a mill to pay for the cost of the mill based on the value of lumber produced. And you can mill species and widths that are not commonly available from commercial lumber suppliers. For example, I need a slab of apple wood for a project that I’m working on. Its difficult to find apple wood from commercial suppliers in MN, but with a mill things like this are possible.

  4. Vee

    There is a reason that Elm is not available in lumber stores. That is because it harbors the elm beetle that transfers the dutch elm disease. That is/was a real nice pile of elm you have but in many jurisdictions it is illegal. To make it legal all the bark would need to be removed or the log would need to be processed immediately upon receipt. Don’t get me wrong. I love trees and wood and my heart breaks when this stuff gets sent to the dump. But because I love trees, I also don’t want to see any more die than necessary. So please practice safe log handling/transport so as not to bring disease/pests from one area to another. PS. In my understanding, the elm lumber is safe. Its just the barked logs that are a problem.


Tags: diy woodworking, Free Videos, George Vondriska, log cutting, Logosol, lumber, lumber cutting, woodworkers guild of america




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