Where can I find a portable sawmill for rent that will cut a trunk over 44 inches in dm?

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Forum topic by John Fleming posted 09-01-2012 02:24 AM 53161 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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John Fleming

4 posts in 2870 days

09-01-2012 02:24 AM

We are about to cut down an old black walnut that has been dropping limbs the last couple of years. The tree has sentimental value to our family so I am hoping to cut multiple slabs from the length of the trunk – and use the wood for various projects including table tops. The tree is about 44 inches in diameter and, so far, I haven’t located anyone locally who has a portable sawmill that can handle a tree with a diameter over 36 inches. I live in East Texas.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated as I want to keep the slabs together (in one piece).

John Fleming

-- John Fleming

18 replies so far

View Scott Wunder's profile

Scott Wunder

13 posts in 2875 days

#1 posted 09-01-2012 02:32 AM


We need to see photos before you go crazy cutting that thing up. If it is that big and a good quality log, it is worth more to sell it than cut it. The biggest walnut I have run into is 36” inside the bark at 10’. That is a size that had veneer buyers ready to come and see me. Unfortunately, the tree had nails in it, so I wasn’t able to sell it for as much. Also, I have a friend (David Stine) that builds slab tables that would be very interested in slabs from a tree that large and pay for them.

-- Scott Wunder, WunderWoods, St. Charles, MO. Read my sawmilling and woodworking blog at

View John Fleming's profile

John Fleming

4 posts in 2870 days

#2 posted 09-01-2012 04:06 AM

Scott – Thank you for the reply. I will take pics tomorrow and post. While I don’t know much about the quality of trees, I suspect it is of lower quality because of the likely presence of nails and such and because a limb recently fell off that looked rotten. Much of the tree, however, has fresh leaves on it. I’ll get the pics up. Thanks again. John

-- John Fleming

View WoodMizerGuy's profile


6 posts in 3050 days

#3 posted 09-04-2012 12:43 PM

Hi John,

Wood-Mizer has a form that you can use to find local sawmill owners. Feel free to plug your info in, and we’ll look up guys in your area.


-- Check out to join our group of portable sawmill fans!

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 3453 days

#4 posted 09-04-2012 02:43 PM

John, I work with large diameter logs all the time, and these are outside of the realm of your typical sawmill operator. Fortunately for you, there is a business outside of Austin that specilizes in slabbing and milling very large diameter logs. Your best bet is to trailer your log over to Brandon Berdoll’s operation. He can both mill and kiln dry your wood. Let me know if you would like his contact info.

If you follow Jake’s advice and find a local Woodmizer owner, you’re going to need to make sure that they can handle a log weighing in the neighborhood of 6000 lbs (44” BW x 10’ long log). Plus, you will need to sacrifice some of the logs diameter as even the largest, commonly available Woodmizer mills can only handle a 36” dimeter log.

I think that you’ll find that most Woodmizer operators are not equipped to handle logs this size. They are great mills for logs under 30” diameter though.

-- Scott, North Carolina,

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4013 days

#5 posted 09-04-2012 03:15 PM

But I was wrong. They have a monster of a machine in their commercial division. It will handle a 67” diameter log. The bed can be extended to as much rail as you can afford. Just like the LT15 or a Timberking 1220 like mine. The price for this beast is industrial quality too. They don’t try to use a cantilever sawhead on this monster. Wish I had one!

-- Hal, Tennessee

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 3041 days

#6 posted 09-04-2012 07:33 PM

Hal, do you have a price on that bad boy? I’m already salivating.

John, this is a very large log for a bandsaw mill (as you have found out). I don’t know of one that is truly portable that will handle this.

You may be sitting on a potentially very valuable log like Scott said.

It’s best to find a sawyer who knows what they’re doing and isn’t just going to cut this thing as fast as they can. Cut for quality not quantity or speed.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Scsmith42's profile


125 posts in 3453 days

#7 posted 09-04-2012 09:01 PM

Hal, they introduced the WM1000 earlier this year, but there are not very many of them available to mill lumber… I researched them when they came out, but the price does not have a positive ROI versus my current setup.

That’s why I said “largest, commonly available Woodmizers”....

And you’re right – they are not cheap.

Doss – you NEED a WM1000! Go buy one so that the rest of us can salivate. Of course, you’ll need to buy some extra large forklifts or cranes for taking care of your log feeding needs!

-- Scott, North Carolina,

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 3041 days

#8 posted 09-04-2012 09:55 PM

Yes sir! I think a heavy equipment purchase would be in order if I got that thing. LOL

I’ll keep looking at 36” mills for now and ignore the fact that that beast exists.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View WDHLT15's profile


1819 posts in 3252 days

#9 posted 09-05-2012 01:14 AM

Hopefully your log will not be full of nails and iron. Sadly, most yard walnut are. Be sure you understand the terms and conditions on the front end that apply when the sawyer hits metal.

-- Danny Located in Perry, GA. Forester. Wood-Mizer LT40HD35 Sawmill. Nyle L53 Dehumidification Kiln.

View Post_Oakie's profile


84 posts in 2930 days

#10 posted 09-11-2012 08:32 PM

Couple of thoughts. A swing blade mill (Peterson or Lucas) can handle that log. The swing blade mill can cut out one slab, and cut the rest into dimension lumber, but both have slabbing attachments that drive a chain saw with a 4- stroke engine. I have milled walnut that size with a double-ended chain saw mill (Granberg Alaska mill), running a Husqvarna 372 on one end and a Stihl 660 on the other. Every slab took about 20 minutes and a tank of fuel in each saw, but it was worth it. As happy as I am with my Norwood band saw mill, you might consider a Hudson. The Oscar 52 can handle 52” logs, though I’ve never seen one in person. That’s asking a lot from the mill!

-- Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

View TreeBones's profile


1828 posts in 4799 days

#11 posted 03-24-2017 03:01 PM

The Sawmill Finder

Better late than never…

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View avsmusic1's profile


642 posts in 1461 days

#12 posted 03-24-2017 03:22 PM

I had the same thought as Post_Oakie – This seems like a job for a chainsaw mill with a large bar

View dcg4403's profile


35 posts in 2361 days

#13 posted 02-17-2019 03:50 PM

Next time, consider getting any large diameter logs in Texas to the Texas Urban Sawmill located in Dripping Springs, TX just outside of Austin Texas.

We operate the largest thin keft sawmill in Texas. A Woodmizer WM1000 and we can handle a 6 foot diameter log with absolutely no weight restrictions. We can cut up to about 28 feet long.

We also operate a portable sawmill. A Baker 3665D which is a high production sawmill with all the bells and whistles. It will out cut any Woodmizer, Timberking, etc and remains the reigning king of the “Great Portable Sawmill Shootout”. It is portable and cuts up to 36” with a debarker, 8000 lb log loader & turner. So we can cut live edge slabs, dimensional, quarter sawn, etc.

Our Texas sawmill usually serves the Austin to San Antonio metropolises, especially for Texas hardwood lumber sales. Most our client base is located in Central Texas. We do work occasionally in Dallas and Houston but those tend to be larger volume jobs or commercial tree re-use projects where we remove trees & re-purpose them back into the building design. We run a 9-ton crane truck and a lot of heavy equipment for tree salvage & re-purposing work.

I’m not aware of anyone who is portable that can cut over 36”. That’s a thin kerf mill. There are a few folks that operate chainsawmills…which are painfully slow and extremely inefficient. But they work.

-- Devin Ginther, Refined Elements LLC & TX Urban Sawmill LLC, Owner

View Fresch's profile


489 posts in 2697 days

#14 posted 02-18-2019 12:45 PM

Austin to East Tx. isn’t just around the corner. Check Louisiana too.
You could use a chainmill to make it smaller then bandsaw it.

View DBDesigns's profile


232 posts in 774 days

#15 posted 02-18-2019 02:12 PM

This may be too little too late but if the tree is that meaningful to your family, and it still has leaves, you may want to get an arborist to look at it. I have several large white oaks on my property and they tend to drop large branches infrequently. The arborist basically told me that they are healthy and self pruning. Also, he said stay out from under the branches that look dead.

Good luck with your decision.

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

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