Designing a Reciprocating Saw Mill

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Forum topic by StarBright posted 02-27-2021 03:07 PM 440 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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38 posts in 337 days

02-27-2021 03:07 PM

We’re thinking about designing a reciprocating saw (sawzall) mill for people who don’t have or want to use a chainsaw.

Challenges to overcome are:

1.) Supporting the blade as it exits the kerf.

2.) Managing movement of the mill due to vibrations.

Problem 2 shouldn’t be prohibitive. Heavy sandbags will likely be enough to dampen vibration. Problem 1 is going to be more of a challenge. Any thoughts?

8 replies so far

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11025 posts in 3343 days

#1 posted 02-27-2021 03:20 PM

What size were you thinking? Possible to hold the blade on top and bottom? I’d almost think a massive circular saw blade would be more ideal if there’s no top support. If it could basically be a huge scroll saw, that might be easier to mitigate #1.

Old line shaft scroll saws would essentially hang half of the mechanism from the ceiling, which would minimize the footprint without limiting the width of cut it could make. Maybe something like that? (I can’t recall for the life of me what they called them back then)

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

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38 posts in 337 days

#2 posted 02-27-2021 03:30 PM

Hey Mosquito,

That’s an interesting setup. I’m thinking something like Izzy Swan’s urban sawmill with a Sawzall in place of the electric chainsaw. Maybe usinig a 12” blade. I’m trying to see if some of the 24” blades can be adapted for use. The idea is to run the mill with a 15 amp Super Sawzall or equivalent Makita or Skilsaw recip saw. The Sawzall is limited y its ability to clear the kerf, but 15 amps and the right blade will rip a board. That’s 2.4 continuous horsepower going through a kerf much thinner than than a chainsaw bar. I think if we’re creative enough it can work and people will be happy with the results.

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11025 posts in 3343 days

#3 posted 02-27-2021 03:56 PM

Ah, now I see what you’re after. I guess I was thinking more generically a reciprocating motion, and didn’t even think about a recip saw lol

That’s a neat idea, and I think you’re right, with that sort of setup, #1 will definitely be tougher. Have a look at a Rockwell Bladerunner X2, I think something like that adapted for a larger 12” reciprocating saw might be something to springboard off of

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

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1457 posts in 4133 days

#4 posted 02-27-2021 04:25 PM

I think a biggest problem you’ll have if the saw is fixed and only the blade moves, is keeping the gullets in the blade clear. Reciprocating saws don’t have a very long stroke(1-1/4” 1-1/2”?) Once the gullets that don’t clear the material fill up with sawdust, you’re done….she won’t chooch no more.
I don’t even think a real heavy tooth set would fix the problem.

-- “Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” – Plato

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6925 posts in 2438 days

#5 posted 02-27-2021 04:31 PM

If the goal is to mill logs into lumber, I think that you need to mount the blade in a C-shaped holder, sort of like a coping saw. The holder should be rigid with a way to tension the blade. Or you could make a square holder but it has to be larger enough for the entire log to side through. I’ve seen old commercial mills like this with multiple blades to saw multiple boards at once. Perhaps you could use pieces of wide band saw blades mounted in the holder. The holder would then be mounted on some sort of linear guide rails and moved side to side or up and down using a rotating wheel.

Just did a quick search with google images. Here is one from an old patent that sort of shows what I was thinking though with a different method to drive it.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

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2487 posts in 1639 days

#6 posted 02-27-2021 04:32 PM

There is a reason you don’t find saws as you describe.

Chain saw blade moves in one direction, dragging chips out of the kerf.

Reciprocating blade motion is back and forth. Max material thickness is limited to 1/3 of stroke so chips can be carried out on both the up and down stroke. Doesn’t matter how long blade is, chip clearing is key.

Sawzall type sabre saws are not precision tools.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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1158 posts in 2270 days

#7 posted 02-28-2021 01:34 AM

heres an awesome one you could go off of

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16109 posts in 2035 days

#8 posted 02-28-2021 02:53 AM

yeah i dont think a sawzall is gonna do what you want with the short stroke.what kind of milling are you thinking about,small logs?

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

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