Bandsaw mills are more affordable than ever
The latest addition to Michael Fortune’s woodworking homestead, in rural Canada near Toronto, is a portable sawmill, which will let him saw his own lumber from the log. After seeing the Woodland Mills HM126 in action at a local demo, he was surprised to see a sticker price under $3,000, meaning the machine would pay for itself in a few years.
But watching him fire it up on a snowy day, I got the sense that owning this machine is at least half about the fun of it all. Fortune didn’t stop at the basic equipment, of course, but made it permanent on a concrete platform, with a timber platform alongside for rolling logs aboard. Walking behind the bandsaw carriage, Fortune rolled it smoothly through a 2-ft.-thick walnut log, exposing the creamy interior and grinning the whole time.
Soon after, Fortune built a solar drying kiln from framing materials and clear plastic roof sheathing, to handle the green lumber he produces. The temperatures inside hit 100 on a 25-degree day. A small computer fan keeps the air moving.
Michael Fortune's new Woodland Mills HM126 bandsaw mill can turn raw logs into beautiful boards.
You just set the log in place, and then walk through the cut, pushing the mill along on its smooth, solid tracks.
The sharp blade cuts effortlessly, lubricated by a mixture of oil and water that drips onto the blade, plus the water in the log.
You can flip the log any which way to create the boards and grain appearance you want.
It's a great moment when the first slice comes off the log, revealing the treasure within.
To turn the wet lumber into air-dried material, ready for furnituremaking, Fortune built this front-loading solar kiln from common construction materials, adding a small computer fan to move air through.