Not Quite Successful Stories

| June/July 1999

5950 Wilson Drive, Huntington, West Virginia 25705

About ten years ago I decided to build a chain saw mill. I had a lot of used beams and parts.

First I built a three-axle trailer 8 feet x 25 feet long. A friend gave me a saw mill carriage with a three-head block set works. I removed the wheels and mounted it on the trailer. I fabricated a four-wheel frame and tracks for the power unit and saw. The chain saw and blade was four feet long. I mounted another engine on the front end of the mill to turn a hydraulic pump. The pump powered three hydraulic motors. One motor moved the saw unit; one motor ran the conveyor to carry sawdust and lumber off the mill; one motor took the sawdust from the main conveyor and dumped it off the mill.

I sawed a few logs with this setup. It sawed too large a kerf and made a wavy cut. I stripped the saw and power unit off the rig and built a band-saw setup. This time, using a 16 HP Tecumseh engine, I set the band wheels up so I could use Wood-Mizer blades. I sawed about 2,000 feet of lumber with this setup before I gave up and bought a used Wood-Mizer mill. The problem was I could not back the blade away from the log. When I returned the saw back across the log, it would sometimes get hung up on the log and pull the blade off the band wheels. That would cost me a blade every time it happened, which was very often. It would do a good job sawing and saw a log 30 inches by 20 feet long. The board or scab would drop on the conveyor and be taken off the mill. In GEM February 1999 I saw pictures of a mill built by Mr. Mateka. With the experience I had with my mill I would like to make a suggestion or two. Put a table over the bottom band wheel like a regular band saw. If a chip of wood falls between the band blade and the wheel, the blade will jump off and be ruined, possibly injuring someone. Find a way to back the log away from the blade on the return stroke.

I had a little more success building my mini-dozer from a 7 HP Sears garden tractor with a hi-lo transmission. I used sprockets and track from a 1960 Struck dozer kit. The problem I had was steering. I used steel rotors and mechanical calipers on each side of the real axle. It steered but would not completely stop the track for short turns. It looked good but steered bad. Last fall I took it and a 1960 Wheel Horse to the Wood County Fly wheelers Engine Show in Parkesburg, West Virginia.

The dozer was the most looked-at exhibit at the show. The best compliment I got was a man saying he did not know Sears made a mini-dozer. I had for-sale signs on the dozer and the Wheel Horse. I found someone who wanted them more than I did.


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