Amazing Tools #7: The Circular Swing Blade Mill

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 09-26-2009 11:44 AM 13177 reads 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: The Bench SlideMount Part 7 of Amazing Tools series Part 8: SAWSTOP on TimeWarp »

Just stumbled upon these tonight. I’ve never seen them before. Very clever! It’s basically a band saw mill with a circular saw instead which can swing from horizontal to vertical blade alignment, and thus be run across a log 2 times to saw out a rectangular piece of dimensioned lumber. It helps to watch these 2 videos to understand what I mean:

Obviously, no large through-cuts, so no very-wide slabs, but if you need to turn a big pile of pine, or a very huge tree into dimensioned lumber, it seems these are designed to be quickly set to swing and slide to make those cuts in 2 fast passes with a swing of the large lever between each pass. Push it forward, pull the lever, pull it back, and you have a dimensioned plank. I think I saw some 4×6s at the end of that second video, but it looks like the larger ones could make at least up to 8×8 beams.

There’s a good write-up on these saws by Peterson Sawmills here – the link at the end of the first paragraph goes to a PDF of the steps taken to saw out boards. The other name I keep seeing is Lucas, and their page on these saws is here.

One final late-entry – I found another video by Peterson of them milling a log into lumber in under 10 minutes. They really get going at about the 1/3rd mark in the video, and they have a bunch of other videos under their account that obviously I will be digging through next :)

Edit: Timberline has a version that makes both cuts in a single pass, using a secondary ‘edger’ blade pair, with several other little clever enhancements:

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

14 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5323 days

#1 posted 09-26-2009 11:52 AM

I like that. Very cool!

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Broda's profile


313 posts in 4854 days

#2 posted 09-26-2009 12:28 PM

There’s a few company’s in aus that make these. One is called a Lucas Mill and its absoloutley huge in austrailia. I’m surprised you guys haven’t seen them in the US before.
Just about every saw miller that I know has at least one of these. There allways doing demo’s at the ww shows.
they come with slabbing attachments too,which is basically a huge chainsaw bar.

-- BRODY. NSW AUSTRALIA -arguments with turnings are rarely productive-

View degoose's profile


7286 posts in 4690 days

#3 posted 09-26-2009 12:29 PM

Petersen and Lucas Mills ar very popular here in Australia.. Also have the bandsaw mills..
Check out here

-- Be safe.

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4726 days

#4 posted 09-26-2009 01:08 PM

Very interesting, thanks.

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View jeffreythree's profile


38 posts in 4511 days

#5 posted 09-26-2009 01:22 PM

Those are pretty sweet on the big logs. You should check out one can do with a slabber attachment on a big walnut crotch.

-- My Etsy store:

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5157 days

#6 posted 09-26-2009 02:00 PM

Thanks, Gary. Those are some interesting sawmills.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View drfisherman's profile


33 posts in 4505 days

#7 posted 09-26-2009 02:07 PM

WOW! nice large logs and a very effective way to make short work of them…

-- "The worst day fishing is better than the best day working!"

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4749 days

#8 posted 09-26-2009 02:43 PM

Interesting videos Gary, Thanks

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View glynn's profile


306 posts in 4655 days

#9 posted 09-26-2009 03:39 PM

I used one in australia called a lewisaw it was just great. Two men could pack it into the bush and pack out finished cut lumber

-- jim nevada

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5008 days

#10 posted 09-26-2009 04:42 PM

Looks like an amazing tool.

View Jimi_C's profile


507 posts in 4570 days

#11 posted 09-26-2009 06:32 PM

I told the wife that I want one, but I don’t think she’s having it…

-- The difference between being defeated and admitting defeat is what makes all the difference in the world - Upton Sinclair, "The Jungle"

View Rustic's profile


3260 posts in 4931 days

#12 posted 09-26-2009 10:05 PM

I don’t dare ask the wife for one of these

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 5273 days

#13 posted 09-27-2009 04:02 PM

I’ve seen this type of mill before, and that sawblade in the first one would scare me senseless!

I think we’ve all thought about how great it would be to saw our own lumber, but I can tell you that there is no such thing as “free wood”. I helped a guy once on his bandmill and we were slabbing some walnut. A 3” thick slab that was 20” wide (give or take) and 8’ long took 3 guys to carry and stack. Wet wood is heavy.

It cured me of wanting to cut my own lumber very quickly :-)

Great videos. Thanks for posting

-- Steven

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4717 days

#14 posted 09-28-2009 10:31 AM

Seems you guys in Australia in particular know all about these.

socalwood – I had a feeling you’d either know what these are, or actually have one in your inventory. You didn’t disappoint!

Steven – that is one massive slab in my book.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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