How to Saw Lumber with a Bandsaw Mill

Among the common chores of a woodworker is sawing lumber with a bandsaw mill.

The entire process is not easy as you convert the lumber into useable boards. The carpenter has to endure many steps such as cutting, sizing, and finishing.

Different tools can assist you in processing your lumber. For example, one can opt to use a modernized hybrid table saw or a simple chainsaw.

One must ensure that the process achieves quality cuts without ruining the woodwork.

After exhausting the roots of this topic, we came up with the following findings.

Also read: 9 Cool Uses for a Bandsaw

Log Preparation

It is more sensible to begin the process by preparing the log. Ensure the butt log remains close to the diameter. In addition, trim all the numb or limbs to achieve a new level. A simple chainsaw is critical to compensate for any adjustments you need when milling.

Safety is paramount when you are working in your workshop. Use a metal detector to locate any nail in the logs to prevent any mess on your blade. The logs must be clean; hence washing them is a must.

A dirty log can ruin your blades, so it calls for an additional effort of washing them. Such action prevents any eventualities in the later processes. Click here to learn how to sharpen your blade.

Again, you should choose the right approach. Many techniques exist which woodworkers use to process the lumber using a bandsaw mill. One should select a suitable method that matches your skills, the bandsaw model.

The Procedure of Cutting Lumber with a Bandsaw

Mark the Miter Bar Locations

The first step is to make the sled which is ¾ inches of MDF. Measure the distance between the blade and the miter track. After that, transfer into MDF. Put an 18-inch long miter bar and mark the hole location for effective band saw cutting.

Attach the Miter Bar

Attach the miter bar to machine screws. Ensure that your drill the countersunk hole into the same MDF. Caution log sliding is key as you should prevent log sliding on the sled surface. That calls for proper long-cutting procedures. You can use adhesive spray to hold the log in place as you cut the piece.

The First Cut

You need a wooden shim to ensure that no log rocking takes place. Figure out what you have to cut off to leave it with a flat surface. Later, pull the log gently as you cut off a few inches of your log. Such assist your lumber in balancing its weight. You can style make different types of cuts based on the wood type.

The Second Cut

After completing the first cut, a second one is necessary too. The process will be easier for you if the first cut is perfect. That is so because you now have a flat bottom surface. One should determine what you have to cut off for you to achieve a smooth surface. You can repeat this process many times if you re-saw with the bandsaw.

Cut the Boards

The carpenter should determine the board’s thickness before you cut. The standard boards feature one inch in thickness. Once you complete the first two cuts, take off the sleds. Strive to get more board out of the lumber by altering the direction and the face.

Dry off the Boards

After making the boards, you must subject them to this phase to increase their usability. Begin by drying them to eliminate excess moisture. Perform a natural drying process by unstacking and exposing them to open air. Avoid placing them in direct sunlight or heat to prevent cracking.

Smoothen and Surface Boards

After ending the drying process, surface and smoothen up these boards. A carpenter can employ many ways to complete such a task. A moisture meter is crucial in determining the perfect board moisture.

Lastly, rip off the board’s outer edge and run it through a planer and jointer. Perfect the process by running it through a planer to eliminate unfinished surfaces.

Bandsaw Sawing Techniques

The above process was only one of the sawing techniques with a bandsaw mill. However, other techniques exist for a carpenter to use and get similar output. More importantly, every technique bearing a unique name, as indicated below.

Live Sawing

It is among the easiest pattern when cutting lumber using a bandsaw mill. Another name could be slab or line cutting. This method allows you to cut the log along the opening face. After that, you saw in the opposite direction and make line patterns easily. Live sawing is suitable for making large boards.

Cant Sawing

Such is the most popular log cutting style to provide a valuable board. The only difference with live sawing is that it produces a board without edges. This method allows you to cut the sides and the opening faces of the log.

Start by cutting the log’s top and let the next cut flip at 180 degrees. Retain the same angle as you cut the left three sides. Doing so leaves you with an edge-free square board.

Plain Sawing

Plain sawing resembles cant sewing. The only difference is that it allows you to cut a four-sided log to get the right output. Notably, you have to follow similar instructions as you did in cant sewing. Many use this technique to achieve the best quality.

Grade Sawing

One can employ grade sawing to employ the best pieces of the log. For one to get the slide, then you must turn the log five times. Similarly, you follow ant instructions by adding one more turning. However, you will encounter a low production ratio by using this method.

Quarter Sawing

The method works by cutting the log along the grains. The method is ever costly, featuring low production. That is so because one has to cut slides severally.


One can use basic techniques with the help of a bandsaw mill for safe lumber production. It is vital to select the suitable method that fits your style. When you master the techniques, you become a qualified woodworker expert. The listed procedures have a stable learning curve to upgrade your working skills.

Marcus Weldman

Marcus Weldman is the main author of Marcus is a tool and DIY enthusiast. He spends his time discovering the comparative differences and practical limits for all kinds of tools.