are the most frequently asked questions from the many
e-mails and phone calls I receive. When you have read
everything at this site, please go to my other site
at www.sawmillchainsaws.com for
information on how to take care of your chainsaw bar,
how to file your chain, and info on different chains
I have never built anything like this,
is it really possible?
A very large yes to this. When I was designing Procut I
gave the completed sawmill plans to a high school student
and a doctor without any experience and asked them to build
Procut. They kept a record of the hours spent and detailed
notes on what they found difficult or needed more explaining.
The sawmill plans were changed to include all their suggestions
and come with a written explanation text,drawing.an photo
at each step. This makes Procut the easiest plans to use
to build a h/d portable sawmill anywhere in the world.
I have never cut lumber before, do
you give any hints?
There is a really good guide to cutting lumber in the plans
using the through and through method or the already edged
method, along with sawmilling aids, drying lumber, log tables,
board foot tables. Procut was designed for the novice and
I am sure you would have no trouble cutting lumber on Procut,
at the lowest possible cost.
What welder should I use?
You will do just fine with a home style buzz box stick welder.
This will cost you between $199 and $299 and will give
you a 230 amp welding capacity. I have used a Century
welder for over 8 years, which cost me $225 new, and
still does all my work.
What size log will it cut?
Procut will cut a 16 ft log, 24" in diameter. It was designed
this way as I have found 80% of logs are this diameter or
smaller. If you have large wood, look up the tree about 16
feet and see what size your tree is, you will probably find
it is 24" or under. Why buy an expensive sawmill for just
that butt log ?. Sell that butt log to another sawmill, you
will have cash in your pocket, your own sawmill at a very
low cost, and still have enough logs to cut. It also saves
you having to use supporting equipment to move those large
logs around to cut.
can widen Procut to cut logs p to 36" just by moving
apart the sawframe track and mount on the side beams,
widening the sawframe and extending the sawframe legs.
This is easily accomplished as you build and only adds
approximately $50 to the cost in steel. You would however
have to have a sawbar of at least 42" as you lose
approximately 6" on the sawbar length to be able
to bolt the chainsaw end and the sawbar end to the sawframe.
plans include building in 2 lengths as a portable sawmill.
A 20ft sawmill that will cut a 16ft long log and a 24ft
sawmill to cut a 20ft log.
The above lengths are because the main side beams of
Procut come in 40ft and 48ft lengths from the steel
supplier, when cut in half produce the above lengths.
The 40ft and 48ft lengths are produced by different
steel manufacturers so depending on where you live
you may only be able to purchase 40ft lengths. As a
portable sawmill the lengths above are about the maximum
you can go due to licencing laws for both Canada and
the U.S., longer than than the 24ft length and you
could have to install dual axles, electric brakes etc
depending on where you live and obviously this will
raise the cost considerable, so i advise you stay with
either of the 2 lengths above.As a stationary sawmill
however you can extend Procuts length substantially
and probably keep to the same costs of building as
a Procut portable sawmill. You can use the 40ft or
48ft main side beams in full length to be able to cut
36ft or 44ft long logs. As a stationary sawmill the
main side beams can be much lower cost channel steel
instead of boxed steel but you would have to install
either supports in the ground or add more mill stabilizers.
How fast will Procut cut lumber?
Generally the speed is controlled by how large a log you
are cutting, and what size saw you are using. You could
achieve up to 15 feet a minute with the right size
saw and bar for the logs you are cutting, depending
on the species (hardwood or softwood) and size of log.
I will also mention here that a lot of sawmills proclaim
to cut thousands of board feet a day, you should discount
any of this information. A 1 man sawmill can only produce
around 1000 board feet a day on the average, no matter
what sawmill you are using. You have to take into consideration
the time loading the logs, cutting the log, removing
the lumber, stacking the lumber, and a host of other
things you will run into. 1 man can only do so much,
so the rule is 500 to 1000 board feet per day. Only
occasionally will you be able to cut over this amount
What chainsaw would be best?
Regarding make I have found there is not any one better than
another. Stihl, Husqvarna, and Jonsered are all proffessional
saws, built to withstand the rigors of sawmilling.
Any chainsaw over 80cc will work well in logs up to
and over 90cc in larger wood. The choices you have are:
- Stihl 064 (84cc) 066(91cc) 088(121cc)
- Husqvarna 288 (88cc) 394 (94cc) 3120 (119cc)
- Jonsered 2077 (77cc) 2094 (93cc)
buy the largest chainsaw you can afford either new or
used. I have had lots of enquiries on can a smaller chainsaw
be used. When you are milling you are cutting the fibres
of the log a different way and it does take quite a bit
more power than just crosscutting a log (bucking as in
firewood) but I do have customers who are using smaller
chainsaws in the 50cc to 60cc size. This only works in
logs up to 12" to 14" diameter size and it
will be rather slow, but will do the job. You just have
to consider that smaller saws are really not designed
to handle long steady cuts like milling 16ft and can
What length of bar should I use?
The longest bar to use is 36", this will cut any logs up
to 24". If you only have smaller logs, you can use any length
of bar down to 14"
as Procut adjusts to fit all bars.
Do you sharpen the chain a different
The sawchain is filed for ripping, not crosscutting and generally
the chain teeth should not have an angle over 10 degrees
as opposed to bucking which has an angle of 35 degrees. There
is a very good guide to rip chain at my other site at www.sawmillchainsaws.com which
explains the above.
should know that there are basically only 2 angles for
milling, 0 degrees (straight across the bar) which will
give you a very smooth cut but at a slightly slower speed
and 10 degrees which is a faster cut but with just slightly
rougher lumber. You can use a 15 degree angle but this
is used in only larger chainsaws for hardwoods.
2 angles, but what rip chain do I buy.
can get very frustrated on trying to decide what rip chain
to buy due to all the different styles and configurations
out there and not knowing which one to buy. As far as I
am concerned with all the years of experience behind me
overall the best rip chain to buy is the Oregon rip chain
for several reasons. It is not very expensive and will
do the job at a good rate of speed, should be readily available
at any chainsaw dealer or chainsaw supply shop and comes
with a 10 degree angle. The Oregon rip chain is a 3/8th's
pitch chain (375) with an 058 gauge (see chainsaw site
to understand this) and has a designation of Oregon 73rd.
You can also modify any standard chain for ripping just
by changing the angle from 35 degrees set for bucking back
to 10 degrees.
Are the materials and parts easy to
All you need to build Procut is access to steel, a hardware
store or industrial supply store, and that's it. In the plans
are three different supply stores with outlets all across
Canada and the U.S. that supply you with free catalogues.
also help you to build more easily and in a much shorter
amount of time as i supply a hardware kit.
What does the sawmill really cost
The cost of steel is constantly going up all the time due
to supply and the chinese market demands and it seems also
to depend on where you live in N.America. Some steel dealers
are pricing at the highest level they can get so shop around
at different suppliers. As a portable sawmill it will cost
approximately $1300 to $1500 Canadian and $800 to $1200 in
the U.S this includes everything you need except for the
stationary sawmill in the 20ft or 24ft length you can save
quite a lot of the above cost, but you also could lengthen
Procut substantially for around the same cost as building
a portable Procut sawmill.