Steadwood Forest Products

Log on Sawmill

Portable Sawmill Services

On-site portable Sawmill Services are available for $75/hr. This includes the machine and an expert sawyer to operate the machine. Your logs are sawn into your lumber. We work with you and cut to your specifications. Our expert sawyer can also "maximize" the value of your lumber in terms of quality and quantity, or minimize the time on site. There is an extra charge for damaged blades, if metal or foreign objects are found in the logs. Please see our FAQ below.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



How long does it take to saw up my logs?


This depends on what type of lumber is being cut, and in what dimension. Typical 6/4 lumber can be cut at the rate of 500 bf/day, stickered and stacked. If a tailman (lumber off-bearer) is available, the produciton rate can double to ~1000 bf/day. Some customers may wish to assist with lumber off bearing, and if equipment is available, the rate can increase as well.


When can you saw my logs?


Sawing is performed as time is available. The sawyer has a full time job and is available on weekends and evenings throughout the summer. Please contact us to talk about your job using the Contact Us page.


What is the extra charge for damaged or broken blades?


The nominal cost per blade is $25 which covers the cost of blade replacement. Once a foreign object is found, it can often be removed to salvage the remaining lumber in the log. Heirloom Logs found in yards or fields can have nails, staples, insulators, hooks, or other such foreign objects which cannot be detected beforehand. Logs from forested land rarely have such objects.


What kind of site preparation is typically needed?


The location needs to be relatively flat, ideally with a small slope on the right hand side of the mill location. The logs should be placed on that uphill slope, and the mill at the bottom of the slope, to let the logs roll down toward the mill. If placed this way, there's almost no need for equipment to move the logs around after placing them. The larger ends of the logs should be placed together, and at the 'far' end of the mill (easier to see once the mill is on site).


I'm having the logs cut down, How should I have them cut the logs?


Logs should be cut to convenient lengths of 8', 12', or 16' with 4" of extra "trim" on one end. This allows the sawyer some margin to cut the best grade lumber. The Logs should be well-trimmed, with no protrusions or branches sticking out (these may get stuck on the sawmill as it passes over the log, and slow down the produciton rate).

Optionally, by prior arrangement, the sawyer can provide guidance on the best places to cut, and / or mark the logs for best results. If the time required is substantial, there may be an hourly fee for this work. Please contact us to work something out if this would be helpful.


What size logs can a portable sawmill handle?


Logs from 8"-24" in diameter, from 5'-18' in length. Logs larger than ~26" in diameter may need to be "split" down the middle with a chainsaw. This can be done prior to the sawmill work to keep costs down, or the sawyer can perform this work.


Can I use the Lumber immediately?


No. Green lumber is not typically used immediately, because it tends to shrink, warp, twist, and cup as it dries, and will almost certainly change the final dimension of the final project. For this reason, lumber is typically dried using a kiln which gently heats the lumber, or can be stacked and protected to allow air drying.


Can you kiln dry the lumber for me?


We do not have a dry kiln available at this time. We can refer you to local kilns to have the lumber dried. The lumber must be stickered and stacked, or there is additional labor charge. If you plan to use the lumber outdoors, then there is no need to kiln dry the lumber, as air drying is fine.

Air drying sometimes results in higher "losses" of lumber, but that can be minimized if there is a cover or roof to stack the lumber underneath, out of direct sunlight and with good air circulation.


How much time does it take to dry lumber?


Kiln drying is quicker than air drying. Drying times depend on the thickness and type of lumber. A local kiln can dry ~3000 bf / load in ~45 days.

Air drying takes much more time, and can depend on what time of year it is cut. 4/4 Lumber cut early in the spring can be dry enough to use by the end of summer. Lumber cut in the fall might not be dry enough until the following summer.


How much sawdust is left over, and what about the waste wood?


Along with a stack of lumber, there's usually some sawdust, and a pile of slabs left over. The slabs can be ground into mulch, cut up for firewood, or left to decay naturally in a field or nearby brush area.

The sawdust can be used as mulch, compost, animal bedding (see note below). It can also be worked into the ground as a soil enhancer, or even pushed off into the weeds.

NOTE: Walnut sawdust can be poisonous to livestock, so if there were some being cut, the sawdust must NOT be used as animal bedding.


What does the sawmill look like?


The size / dimensions are approximately:
27' long x 7' wide x 11' tall.
Slighly wider when the log lift is deployed.
See picture above and on our home page.


What type of fuel does the sawmill use?


The mill is gasoline powered. We provide all the fuel needed to saw the logs.