Monday, June 24, 2013

Milling little boards---The Sequel

I've built another little log mill, this time for my band saw. I saw a video of a store bought version. I had a very similar idea 20 years ago for my table saw, where I built the jig with the sliding fence, pinching the log between two clamps. With that one, I'd slide the fence over to a measured increment and keep sawing 
and moving the fence. It worked and I've used it alot, but the thickness of the blade wasted alot of wood and it was hit or miss accuracy-wise. (I can get around that now, with my thickness sander.) The premise behind this jig is to cut two sides square, then use a re-saw fence to mill down the boards.

It's kinda funny because here I've got a $100.00+ beautiful Kreg re-saw fence mounted on an old 1940's band saw that was found at a flea market for dirt cheap.  And yes I had to rig it up to fit.  But anyhow....the store- bought log mill is nothing like this, I just used the premise.

This is the front of the jig. I "borrowed" a plastic bench dog from a cheap little work table, the kind that
opens up and closes flat, to use for the back clamp. I drilled a series of holes to accept clamp and even though it was cut in a grid pattern on it's face, I added some of that non-slip stuff. For the locking clamp, 
I found the perfect thing in a "box of cool junk". Junk is your friend :) (I had to cut off one side, and make the plywood clamping surface, again with that non-slip stuff )I drilled two holes in it for the knobs and another series of holes in the fence. 

This is the back of the jig. (I've gotta get to Woodcraft, I'm all out of knobs....hence the mis-matched ones here....) I made two slots in the platform for the fence to ride in.

This is the bottom, showing the miter bar. I put tiny screws in the side of the bar to micro adjust it to the miter slot so there would be no side to side play.I didn't have any T bolts so I had to use carriage bolts in the fence slots.

Here it is mounted in the miter slot of my saw, ready to go.

Last year I cut some little sassafras trees from around my electric pole. No it's not like Green Acres, I don't have to climb the pole to answer the phone :) A whole bunch of these trees have encircled the pole. It's pretty in the fall. I took a little log, cut in half and decided to use it to try out the new log mill.

I ran the log through the blade creating a flat side. This will now be turned to ride on the platform in the next step.

And here I've made the second pass creating a 90 degree square.

One side rides flat on the saw table and the other against the Kreg re-saw fence.

I adjusted the fence to about a quarter inch and ran the little log through.

I like this wood!

I got a really nice re-saw blade from a favorite woodworker supply company " Highland Woodworking" called "The Wood Slicer" They custom made it for my odd sized beautiful old band saw.


  1. Even after you brilliant explanation I am mystified. You obviously did it right because I see how well it works. Congratulations on your new tool! :-))

  2. I love wood/timber too, my dad was a carpenter/builder so I guess I got it from him. I really admire your skills but my mind turned off reading about the tools. I just like to see the fresh-cut pieces, ready to be turned into something beautiful. I must have a mental block where tools are concerned, maybe one day that will change.

  3. I just read (and re-read) your post because I'm trying to set up a shop in my garage and I have to admit , it kind of went over my head, too! I'll get it eventually --I'm both pretty AND smart, after all ;-D Anyway, I just lost a rather large-ish black walnut limb to a storm so your timely post comes in handy...thank you, kindly!

  4. I agree with all others: my mind turned off reading about the tools. But I think I'll get an idea about this all after reading this blog post over and over again. Your finding is great! I ever will try to make such a tool for my electric scroll saw in order for sawing my own boards, if that would be possible?
    Thank you for showing!

  5. Hmmm, maybe i'm weird, but i stayed stuck with you. Your explanations made sense, until...

    I was wondering.... slicing the wood off, into, no other words then; adorable little planks! Deliciously looking :) the log becomes thinner, of course. But hey... how about the locking clamp. The cool-junk part. That must get sawn too, doesn't it? As you rip each pass and reach the end of the log. And how do you get past the moment you reach the bolt that holds the locking clamp??? Or did you 'simply' stop when you reached the clamp? But then i wonder how the clamp could still hold and secure your ever thinning log?? You see my brain fry here? I cant get my head round it. "-*

    Other than that, a great way to cut lumber! Essential when you get to this stage. And let's be honest, some wood merchants charge you a million to cut your wood. If they even can, at this scale. The way i do it is by clamping it to a piece of scrap wood and make a cut to give me a flat surface, like you did. Then face the log down onto that flat surface and glue it down on a piece of scrap wood. Sawing it into slices on my table saw. The only trouble is i'm limited to the max hight of my saw blade :( Your method works way better as you get the full width of the log!
    Note to myself; safe for a bandsaw :)

    1. Hi Debora,
      I guess I wasn't too clear, I just use the jig to cut the two square faces, then I remove the log from the jig and set the Kreg re-saw fence to the desired thickness and saw the boards. So no, the clamps are not getting cut :)

  6. It would be less mystifying to people if you would tell people to loosen the clamping knobs on the back of your fence to move it over for the next cut. But my question is in your design how are you keeping the fence on the jig lined up in the same orientation to the blade. Fence position on a bend saw is typically set at a slight skew to the saw blade. Are you measuring from the base plate edge nearest to the bandsaw blade? If so you might want to mention in this posting that you are doing that. Otherwise people won't understand that if they don't do that their boards will not be of an even thickness.

    1. I set the Kreg re-saw fence to compensate for the blade travel when I bought it. That's what this fence is for, micro adjusting for blade travel. I put a line on the table to mark it too after I found it. I just use the jig to make the two square faces, then I re-saw the log into boards of my desired thickness. The fence stays put. My old jig for the table saw, now that one I kept having to move the fence and measuring, very unreliable (which wasn't so critical after I built my thickness sander) but I still wanted to make this one for my band saw which already was a dedicated re-saw band saw complete with the "wood slicer" blade from Highland and the expensive Kreg fence system

  7. Thats weird. I recall writing a comment beneath this post... I must have hit the wrong button some time?? Any way, my words meant to say your inventive mind has done wonders. Always great when you can find solutions forissues or desires!

  8. Thats weird. I recall writing a comment beneath this post... I must have hit the wrong button some time?? Any way, my words meant to say your inventive mind has done wonders. Always great when you can find solutions forissues or desires!

  9. Yes, I got it....after reading all the replies as well, it makes sense. Now all I need is a band saw ;-)